Almost Famous Socialite & Celebrity Blog
SILVER SCREEN
The Homesman is a Beautiful, Star-Studded Mess

It is easy enough to find a movie that attempts to tell a familiar story in a remarkable way. What makes Tommy Lee Jones’ second directorial venture, the deconstructed western The Homesman, so unusual is that it attempts the reverse. Here you can find an extremely unusual story made to look like any other piece of Oscar bait, and the end result is a mess, but a fascinating one.

The Homesman stars Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones as an odd couple of weathered frontiersmen who are forced to work together over the course of one terrible Nebraska winter. Swank plays Mary Bee Cuddy, a straight-laced, God-fearing single woman who has aged into an old maid on the edge of civilization, while Jones is George Briggs, a claim-jumping rascal with a dark past. The two take on the mantle of three women, driven insane by the terrible conditions of the west, who need to be carted back to Iowa where they can be properly cared for.

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Muffin Top: A Love Story

The October 18th world premiere of indie breakout film, Muffin Top, A Love Story, at the Carmel International Film Festival was hailed with shrieks of laughter from both female and male viewers. Not a minute passed without uproarious hilarity. Not the formula Hollywood comedy—predictable, ho-hum; it’s a laugh around every corner. When was the last time you watched a move that funny?

The plot is a universal theme: shallow, bored (and boring) man leaves woman. Woman fixates on her body image. But it delivers a wallop of a message with broad audience appeal. Youth, adult, and “mature” (the upper arms thing) viewers will all relate. The script, written by Cathryn Michon and her New York Times bestselling author husband, W. Bruce Cameron, showcases their formidable talents.Hunky David Arquette plays love interest to Cathryn’s Suzanne who out-“Bettes”Middler (Cathryn and Bette are both certifiable geniuses, but Cathryn is funnier).

INDUSTRY NEWS
Hillary Swank Graces the November Issue of MANHATTAN Magazine

Hilary Swank is pretty much the ideal celebrity. Apart from consistently killing it on the silver screen, the Oscar-winner started a charity, The Hilaroo Foundation, to help kids and animals "heal one another through rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and responsibility training." In addition to her philanthropic foundation, Swank is also set to co-host and co-produce a Dog-A-Thon on Fox on November 27th - Thanksgiving evening. The unique show is a platform for fellow animel-rescue enthusiasts to share their stores. It also features rescue stories from celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Fergie, Josh Duhamel and Betty White.

Check out her full interview with Manhattan magazine below. Manhattan's November issue is availble for download here!








Tell me about your firsthand experiences with dog rescuing.

I’ve been doing it since I was kid. I recall being 7 years old and saying, ‘Stop! There’s a dog!’ And my mom and I would rescue the dog, get it in a safe place and try to find it a home. It started even way before then, rescuing kittens that would come to our house. I always wanted a dog, from as young as I can remember. It was all I asked for for my birthday. Finally, when I turned 18 and was able to move out of the house, I went and rescued my first dog, Lucky, a black lab-shepherd mix, at the Glendale Humane Society in California. There’s a fear around black dogs called the Black Dog Syndrome, where people think they’re mean, so it’s tough for them to get adopted.Later I got a dog named Karoo. All of my dogs have a special place in my heart, but Karoo was like my sidekick. I could take her everywhere—she would always travel with me. She died prematurely, just before she turned 8 years old, from a undetected autoimmune disorder. And it broke my heart. It shattered me. After Karoo came Roomie and Kai. Those have been my dogs that I’ve rescued and taken into my home. But the number of dogs that I have gone in and taken out of the shelter right before they were euthanized, I couldn’t even count them—whether I get them out and place them in a forever home right away, or if I get them into a no-kill shelter so they have a chance at life and to get adopted. You launched your own animal charity, the Hilaroo Foundation, a combination of your name and your dog Karoo’s name. How did you decide to form a foundation? Feeling like an outsider as a kid and wanting an animal that would connect with you and really see you—especially when you’re in a place where you feel you’re not seen—is really powerful. So I thought, how can I bring these two things together—kids who feel like outsiders and animals who have been abandoned—to help heal each other through rescue, rehabilitation and responsibility training? When an animal and a human come together, it’s very healing, especially for a child who has been given up on and who doesn’t trust people anymore. On Thanksgiving night you’re co-producing and co-hosting a Dog-A-Thon, a TV special on Fox that will encourage dog adoption. How did that come about? Knowledge is power. The more people know, the more we can do something to eradicate needless euthanization. The Dog-A-Thon is the first of its kind. The Fox network has given us two hours to celebrate dogs and their human connections. It’s another way for us to give thanks for all the unconditional love that our four-legged friends have brought us. It’s in tandem with my belief in rescue and adoption, and getting the word out about all the animals—something like 2 million animals who need to be adopted and upwards of 4 million that are put to sleep every year in the U.S. alone. The more we talk about it, the more people who want to get a dog will be inspired to adopt—by the way, 25 percent of those animals who need a home are purebreds. This is just another way to get the word out about something I feel passionately about. In the meantime, you’re up on the big screen starting Nov. 14 in The Homesman. How was working with Tommy Lee Jones, who directed, co-wrote and co-stars with you in the film? It was extraordinary. I had such a great time that I didn’t want it to be over. He’s a true artisan and visionary. To be directed by someone like that, who has such a strong opinion, is wonderful because you’re in sure hands. When you’re in a position when you’ve had some success, some directors may feel a little intimidated to give you direction. But I yearn for it. I really want that opportunity to be able to go deeper. I need that guidance, and I got that from him. What drew you to the story? It takes place on the frontier—did it have anything to do with the fact that you grew up in Nebraska? It’s my roots. I was born in Nebraska. My family lives in Iowa. I’m actually right this second headed to Iowa from New York because I’m going to visit my dad for a day on my way back to L.A. I come from a generation of farmers, so it’s definitely in my blood. So yes, that was a big draw for me, but I’d say that more of a draw was that the character I play, Mary Bee Cuddy, a woman who has values, morals and manners, which, in my opinion, are qualities that at this moment we’re lacking as a culture. I thought, what a great, great woman. What a great person. The film explores issues that are timeless, and things that we’re still doing now, in 2014. Even though it takes place in the mid-1800s, I connected to it as a woman. Do you find yourself migrating to roles of innately strong women, or women who persevere against the odds? I’m drawn to women who defy stereotypes—women who remind us how multifaceted we are. What drives you? What inspires you as a woman? The need to embrace our strength. To embrace my strength. To not shy away from what I believe in because of what anyone might think. On the flip side, I also embrace my femininity. I just turned 40, and as you grow and have hindsight, you feel less alone. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, you feel like, Am I the only one feeling this? And in your late 30s to 40s you start feeling that we’re all going through something, and the more we share our experiences, the less alone we are. What advice would you give your younger self? To not be as scared, to trust my instincts. We know what is best for us—we innately know. But I was scared to trust my instincts, and less strong because of it. We can be paralyzed by fear, and I’d like to think of myself as someone who steps into fear and into the sharp corners. And yet, we all have our weaknesses, and there are areas where I was afraid to trust my instincts, and I don’t want to do that anymore. You produced and starred in another film that’s out now, called You’re Not You. How does producing compare to acting? It’s very different. It’s the nuts and bolts, the glue bringing all of the elements together. Acting is just a piece of that puzzle. Obviously, a huge piece. I essentially became an actor because I love people and I love to tell stories. Being a producer gives me the opportunity to tell a story in a different way. I’m not just producing things that I’m in. I’m also looking for stories that I feel need to be seen and told. There’s a story everywhere you look in New York. You’ve lived here a long time. What do you love about this city? I love that it’s a cultural blender! I love that you see all walks of life, and you’re right there in the middle of it. It’s like traveling the world in a day. Give us some inside scoop: Do you have any favorite restaurants? Minetta Tavern has the best cheeseburger! And I really like this upscale Indian place, Tamarind, in Tribeca. God, it’s so good! I take a bite and I am like, ahhhh. I was there not long ago, and I was just moaning as I ate. The person next to me was like, You’re weird! Photography Credit: Alexei Hay/Trunk Archive
TV TALK
Miranda Lambert Wins Big At the 2014 CMA's

The 2014 CMA’s were held November 5th in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena with Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood returning as hosts for the seventh year in a row. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest moments from the show and the full list of winners.

The Monologue:

Paisley and Underwood were not afraid to speak their minds during the opening monologue talking about everything from Ebola to President Barack Obama. They also poked fun at how Taylor Swift has gone from singing country to music to pop. The hosts told the crowd that they are suffering from Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder, to which Paisley responded, “President Obama does not care about Postpartum Taylor Swift Disorder.”

BLIND FATE
Benedict Cumberbatch Announces Engagement in Classifieds Section

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement in a not so traditional celebrity kind of way— in the classified section of a British daily newspaper.

His engagement to theater director/actress Sophie Hunter in The Times reads as, “The engagement is announced between Benedict, son of Wanda and Timothy Cumberbatch of London, and Sophie, daughter of Katherine Hunter of Edinburgh and Charles Hunter of London.”

The actor’s rep also released a statement about the engagement, “I am delighted to confirm this morning’s announcement that Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter are engaged.”

The couple met while filming the 2009 film Burlesque Fairytale. They reportedly only began dating earlier this year and were spotted as a couple at the French Open in June. No wedding date has been set yet.

Congrats to the couple!

BLIND FATE
Chris Brown Has Yet Another Angry Outburst

It’s no secret that Chris Brown has had some outbursts in the past. There was the chair out window, the numerous angry Instgram posts, and how can we forget the infamous Rihanna incident? Well, it seems as though the tyrant has returned. After Adrienne Bailon (The Cheetah Girls ) made some comments regarding his relationship with Karreuche, CB quickly let his thoughts be known via social media in an extremely verbal manner.

First, the artist proceeded to post a picture of Adrienne calling her a slew of vulgarities and calling her out for allegedly sleeping with married men and claiming she has poor life goals. With comments like “ain’t you a cheetah girl?” Chris was clearly upset by the comments made on her show “The Real” with co-host Tamar Braxton. The girls were merely chatting about how some can benefit from friends being in well-known relationships. A clip of the comments can be seen below. Chris also attacked Tamar in his Instagram post.

CELEB SPOTTINGS
Celebrities Run TCS New York City Marathon For Charity

On November 2nd, the annual TCS New York City Marathon drew thousands to participate in the 26.2 mile run, including several of today's top public figures. Some famous names ran the marathon to support a charity, while others simply came to show their support. Regardless, their appearance was a much-appreciated addition to the electric atmosphere of the race.

Among A-list attendees, top-ten WTA player Caroline Wozniacki ran for the New York Road Runners Team For Kids, and finished in record time at 3:26:22. At the finish line, number one-ranking tennis champ (and close friend) Serena Williams, was waiting.

SILVER SCREEN
Marvel Makes Huge Movie Announcement

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has no intentions of slowing down, it seems. On Tuesday October 28th Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced the MCU’s entire Phase 3 lineup of films – Nine films, five years, and some truly exciting new heroes. Oh, and an excruciating wait for some of the next few years most exciting films.

Of course, our old favorites are getting some more sequels. The lineup includes Captain America: Civil War, which will also star Robert Downey Jr. The film will introduce the popular “Civil War” storyline from the comic books, which pits Captain America and Iron Man against each other in a world clamoring for superhero registration. As Feige described the film, "Events of the whole cinematic universe will make all governments in the world want regulation. Not so much about secret identity, but about who reports to who." This one’s due in theaters May 6th, 2016.

Thor is also getting another sequel, and this time his film will be more crucial than ever. Described as a linchpin for Phase 3, Thor: Ragnarok will “impact everything that comes after” according to Feige. This one won’t be hitting theaters until July 28th, 2017. It won’t be the only 2017 summer blockbuster, though, as it’ll be joined by Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5th.

INDUSTRY NEWS
Katie Holmes Opens Up About Her Divorce from Tom Cruise

Katie Holmes opened up to People magazine about her marriage to ex-husband Tom Cruise and being a single mom to daughter Suri.

Before her marriage to Cruise, Holmes was best known for her role as Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek and wants to be known for her acting not her marriage. “I don't want that moment in my life to define me, to be who I am. I don't want that to be what I'm known as. I was an actor before, an actor during and an actor now,” she told the magazine.

As for being a single parent now to the couple’s 8-year-old daughter, she has learned to have some patience, “My patience has grown, but between 4 and 6 p.m....I mean, wow. Between tickle fights and glitter art, I try to throw in some manners along the way.”

INDUSTRY NEWS
Disney Villains Count "Scars"

Hey Disney Fans, this is for you. The infamous Disney villains have teamed up to accomplishment something good for once. This cover of OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” is about to climb the charts. Ok, that might be a stretch, but it is definitely a good video to watch. Featuring the evil masterminds Ursula, Hades, Jafar, Cruella De Ville, and others, the video shows off the vocal skills of your favorite people you love to hate. As they honor one of the cruelest creatures we’ve hated for years, Scar, they sing about “Counting Scars” and their need to be bad. We can name all the villains, can you?

BLIND FATE
Hilary Duff, Mike Comrie Show Off PDA at Halloween Party

Even though they announced their separation this past January, Hilary Duff and Mike Comrie were not afraid to show off some PDA this past weekend while out celebrating Halloween a little early.

Duff, wearing a mask and fairy wings, and Comrie, dressed up in a suit, were seen holding hands as they were walking into the Casamigos Halloween Party that was sponsored by George Clooney and Rande Gerber’s tequila brand in West Hollywood on Friday night. On Saturday the two were spotted with their son Luca shopping for Halloween decorations and pumpkins.

Although the couple is not officially back together they have been spotted out together on shopping trips, at Coachella and on the set of Duff’s music video for her song “All About You” in September.