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My Movie Week... with Mike Shaw

The Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, is facing a weighty issue over size comments. Picture: PA Photo/Entertainment One
The Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, is facing a weighty issue over size comments. Picture: PA Photo/Entertainment One

In the past I have written about the awful way some commentators have picked on Jennifer Lawrence for her weight, claiming she is ‘too fat’ to play Katniss in The Hunger Games.

In response, Lawrence has stood up for herself, as well she should, and just last month she told US TV host Barbara Walters that it should be illegal to call someone fat on TV.

Obviously that’s a laughable idea. However, this week she made comments about not wanting to kiss Christian Bale in American Hustle because he was fat, and that’s not such a laughing matter.

“I finally get to make out with Christian Bale and he’s a really fat guy,” she’s reported as saying. Following up with the zinger: “He’s Fatman, not Batman.”

Now, perhaps suggesting that calling people ‘fat’ should be illegal then doing it herself is a symptom of Hollywood egomania, but someone who has been using their profile to make a serious social statement should choose their words better.

Unless, you’re only not allowed to say it if it’s to a woman.

Which gets closer to my real problem with her comment. This isn’t really an issue I have with Lawrence. She said something that was almost certainly meant to be a joke and I’m sure Christian Bale took the comment in the nature it was intended. I’m not offended by what she said, and I’m sure nobody else is either.

What I am offended by is the silence coming from the websites and magazines that have carried this story; websites and magazines that would be baying for blood had Bale said something similar about Lawrence.

“Yeah, she’s usually hot, but now she’s gained a stone I don’t want any part of that mess – she’s Fatniss, not Katniss.”

Would the celebrity columnists be happily reporting those comments, without censure? Would they hell, but it’s just another example of the double standards we’re seeing more and more in the mainstream media.

They should be more like me: happy to pick on a movie star for looking like a potato regardless of their gender.

Quentin Tarantino has been talking about making another Western since before Django Unchained, but it’s only now that it seems to be anything more than an idea.

Tarantino wants his Django Unchained star Cristoph Waltz to feature in his next Western film
Tarantino wants his Django Unchained star Cristoph Waltz to feature in his next Western film

The controversial director has been letting people read the work in progress, and sharing with others has led the name to be leaked – The Hateful Eight.

Tarantino has also talked about remaking The Magnificent Seven; could this be it? Even if it is now, it might not be in six months. Tarantino’s usual practice is to get feedback on his drafts and then continuously rewrite, polish and refine until he’s happy.

In the past, that way of working has led to films becoming very different beasts by the end of the process.

But as it stands, the film is a Western (though not a Django sequel), and Tarantino knows who he wants for two of the leads; the first being Christoph Waltz who has produced such great work in the director’s last two films, and the second is fellow Django-alumni Bruce Dern.

Of course, this is all subject to change, but the prospect of Waltz and Dern sharing the screen sounds good to me.

Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in Naked Gun 33 and a third
Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in Naked Gun 33 and a third

When news of a Naked Gun reboot first surfaced, there was an overwhelmingly negative response. My Twitter feed was full of furious film fans, outraged by yet another plan to dump all over a comedy classic.

It’s easy to see why. Reboots are usually terrible, and the late Leslie Nielsen (Frank Drebin in the original Naked Gun movies) is one of the finest comic actors of all time.

However, things are happening that make me think this might not be the grotesque debacle it seems to be.

First of all, the film is now being touted as a sequel, not a reboot – that should be enough to divert some of the fury.

Secondly, Ed Helms has been cast as the new Frank Drebin. From The Office to Cedar Rapids and Jeff, Who Lives Who Lives At Home to The Hangover, Helms has proved he’s an excellent comic actor.

What’s more, this Frank Drebin is unconnected to Nielsen’s. Ben Garant, who will be co-writing the screenplay with Thomas Lennon, says that Helms’ Drebin will not be a revamp of Nielsen’s character: “Right now we’re calling (the film) Episode IV – A New Hope. That will change, but that’s the working title…

“Our take is that Ed Helms is Frank Drebin, no relation. That’s how he introduces himself.

“We’re making it pretty clear that he’s not Leslie Nielsen. Those are just too big shoes to fill.”

Garant added that they will not be copying any of the previous storylines, but will stay true to the tone and style of the original movies.

So what do you think? Is enough being changed to make the film more than just a cheap copy, or is it still the worst idea since someone turned to Russell Brand and said: ‘You should give acting a go’?

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