The smoke clears

The truth about Robert Downey Jr.'s arrest emerges. Plus: Hugh Grant gets a slice; Madonna keeps us guessing; and 'N Sync gets sued.

Topics: Celebrity, Nick Hornby,

Now that the initial shock and sadness of Robert Downey Jr.’s Thanksgiving weekend arrest has begun to wear off and “Ally McBeal” has welcomed him back, it’s time to address a few questions about the unfortunate drug bust.

1) Why’d he do it? While the rest of us blame the addiction — or, if you’re hard-hearted, the addict himself — Downey’s uncle, Jim Downey, blames Hollywood. “If you’re as sensitive and fragile as Robert is, [the Hollywood pressure cooker is] a setup for disaster,” Uncle Jim told USA Today, adding that one really oughtn’t to blame Downey’s dad, indie director Robert Downey Sr., who handed little Robert his first joint when he was 6 years old. “It was the times,” Jim Downey insists. “No one, including Bobby, blames him.”

2) Who does Bobby blame? The coppers, apparently. According to the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, Calif., Downey told the arresting officers who discovered 4.5 grams of cocaine and methamphetamine stuffed into a Kleenex box in his hotel room, “Don’t do this to me. You’re going to ruin my life.”

3) Who dropped the dime on him? Some papers have speculated it was Downey’s dealer, who dialed up 911 to rat him out. Others suggest it was a fellow “Ally McBeal” cast member, concerned about his health. (One NP reader even wrote in to tell me he suspected it was Downey himself, although the fact that the caller got a key fact wrong — there was no gun in the room, as the caller contended, when police arrived — blows a big hole in that intriguing theory.)

A Palm Springs woman named Laura Burnett, who says she spent Thursday and Friday with Downey in his hotel room, opines that the caller “was just somebody who knew [Downey] was there and wanted to make a big ordeal about it.”

But police say locating the dime-dropper is a non-issue. (As is locating Burnett, who has eluded them despite the fact that she went on “Access Hollywood” to tell her story. They did, however, find what is believed to be her Wonder Woman costume hanging in Downey’s closet.) “If we don’t locate the woman or the 911 caller, it doesn’t really go to the heart of the matter,” Palm Springs Police Sgt. Patrick Williams told the Desert Sun. “We don’t need them to file a case.”



4) A Wonder Woman costume?

- – - – - – - – - – - -

The dynasty continues …

“When Debbie Reynolds first showed up, she said, ‘I’m old and I’m fat and I don’t care.’ Then she got a look at Joan Collins and, believe me, she cared.”

– Costume designer Nolan Miller on rivalry on the set of the upcoming flick “These Old Broads,” which stars Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley MacLaine in addition to Reynolds and Collins, in W magazine.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Juicy bits

Bond, Catherine Zeta Bond? According to the U.K. Mirror, the new Mrs. Michael Douglas may play the first female 00 agent alongside Pierce Brosnan in the upcoming Bond flick, “Beyond the Ice.” She apparently found time, somewhere between birthing baby Dylan and planning her opulent wedding, to screen test for the role. Good to know, in case diamonds are not forever, she’s got the old acting career to fall back on.

Hope Hugh Grant likes pie. Chris and Paul Weitz, the geniuses behind that instant classic “American Pie,” are set to direct the film adaptation of Nick Hornby’s most recent novel, “About a Boy” — and according to Variety, Grant is a leading candidate for the lead role.

Whom to believe? The U.K. Sun’s Dominic Mohan, through whom Madonna often airs her news, claims Madonna and Guy Ritchie are planning to tie the knot Dec. 22 at Dornoch Cathedral in northeast Scotland — and says the $1.4 million reception will be held at nearby Skibo Castle. But the Scottish Daily Record claims to have it from a source close to Madonna that Skibo is definitely out — and that Madonna’s people have booked several other venues to “keep everyone guessing until the last minute.” The smart money’s on Mohan, who adds that Madonna will wear a Stella McCartney gown and that Guy “has been fitted for a kilt.” Some people wear tuxes …

Here they come, walking down the street. Heaven help us, three members of the original Monkees — Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork — have announced plans to reunite and tour. The band’s spokesman says that, if the “Monkee Mania Returns 2001 tour,” which will trek through 15 cities, is successful, it could culminate in a run on Broadway. Hmm … what do you suppose happened to Mike Nesmith — and his hat?

‘N Sync’s ‘n trouble. Sid & Marty Krofft Pictures, the folks who brought you such Saturday morning classics as “Land of the Lost” and “H.R. Pufnstuf,” are suing the members of ‘N Sync for copyright infringement. According to Krofft, the boy band owes them a cut of souvenirs depicting the 25-foot puppets of the band members the company created for the group’s “No Strings Attached” tour.

Couldn’t Krofft just have sicced Witchiepoo on them?

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Miss something? Read yesterday’s Nothing Personal.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>