Duelling divas

Started by alien, Nov 20, 2004, 08:17 PM

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Duelling divas  
November 21, 2004

It's slim pickings for leading roles among actresses, Amy Cooper writes. No wonder they can't relax.

During production on this summer's big release Ocean's Twelve, star-watchers noticed something interesting: there was a gender divide among the movie's stellar cast. While the leading men George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia and pals bonded and goofed around for photographers, the women Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones rarely emerged from their trailers. And certainly not together.

There were endless shots of the blokes kicking back on boats, playing pranks and behaving like high-spirited mates.

Forget blondes the boys were having all the fun.

Roberts, of course, was pregnant with twins. But there was no sign of mother-of-two Zeta-Jones and her co-star sharing confidences about names and nappies. If they did, they weren't half as keen as the men to show off their solidarity.

Rumours of tensions between the pair were further fuelled by reports this month about squabbles over billing on the Ocean's Twelve posters. Sources claimed Roberts was furious her name appeared beneath Zeta-Jones's, who joined the cast for only the second Ocean's movie.

If you believe everything you read, Hollywood's top women just can't seem to play nicely together. One glance at this month's tinseltown gossip reveals an A-list riddled with catfights. There's Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie supposedly warring over Aniston's husband Brad Pitt; Renee Zellweger blaming anorexic pal Mary-Kate Olsen for her own drastic weight loss; and rifts between Sharon Stone and Halle Berry over the sequel to Catwoman.

While men rarely seem affected by rivalry, female stars seem locked in constant battle either with each other, or with occupational enemies including age, weight and body clock. Dolly Parton had it right when she sang: "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman." Especially if you live and work in Hollywood.

Nelson Aspen, Hollywood correspondent for S and the Seven Network, says the Roberts/ Zeta-Jones rumours are typical of an industry that tends to pit its best actresses against each other.

"There's something about women fighting which just seems tastier. It makes a better story," he says. "That's why you hear about camaraderie among the boys and frostiness between the women on Ocean's Twelve, or the stars not getting along on the Charlie's Angels movies."

While everyone loves a good catfight, says Aspen, Hollywood is so brutally competitive for women that often they do have to slug it out.

"Unquestionably, show business is much harder on women," he says.

"The men have a longer shelf life. Mother Nature must really be a man - the same extra weight, crow's feet and silver hair men acquire after a certain age would never be tolerated on a woman.

"Cary Grant could be exhumed from the grave and still get romantic leading roles. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford are acting opposite leading ladies who could be their granddaughters."

Ann Fay, from Maura Fay Casting's Sydney office, agrees. "From my point of view as a casting consultant, when I get a script most of the protagonists are invariably male," she says.

"There simply aren't as many roles for women. And that becomes much worse as actresses get older. If you're a guy in movies you can hit 40 and just keep sailing on. But those character roles just aren't there for women. It's sad, but true."

Adds Aspen: "Last year, with Chicago, The Hours, Monster and Cold Mountain, it looked promising for women's pictures; but the 2004 box office hasn't really lived up to it."

Celebrities also feel a pressure familiar to women everywhere: to lead a seemingly effortless, superwoman lifestyle. Julia Roberts and her colleagues at the top of the feeding chain must remain thin, happy and impeccably groomed. They must handle heartbreak with dignity and own magical tummies which spring back to pre-baby shape within hours of birth. They must date suitable men, face paparazzi with grace and turn the other cheek when a rival scores a coveted role. And if you're a single star, such as Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie, you must endure rumours you're chasing everyone else's husbands.

Despite increased salaries and status, it's still bad form for a female to assert herself too loudly, says Aspen.

"A man who is tough and no nonsense [such as Bill Clinton, Steven Spielberg and George Clooney] is considered strong, determined and powerful, while the same qualities in a woman make her perceived as a bitch. Just look at Hillary Clinton, Barbra Streisand and Catherine Zeta-Jones."

Should we be kinder to Hollywood divas? Perhaps the pressure had become too much for Roberts when she wore that bitchy T-shirt with the A Low Vera slogan aimed at her husband's scorned ex-wife? And maybe serial prize-fighters such as Courtney Love, Shannen Doherty and Paris Hilton are just misunderstood, stressed girls trying to make a dollar in the world's hardest business?

Maybe, says Aspen. But probably not.

"It's tough at the top, for sure," he says, drily. "But sometimes a bitch is just a bitch."
Everyone loves a celebrity catfight

Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna v J.Lo

J.Lo fired the first volleys in this feud, by claiming in the 1990s that she was a better actress than both Madonna and Paltrow, of whom she said: "Some people get hot by association. I heard more about her and Brad Pitt than I ever heard about her work." Paltrow and Madge hit back when J.Lo's engagement to Ben Affleck disintegrated last year. "Marriage isn't something that should be taken lightly," Paltrow told an interviewer. "I don't want to be married for six months, then say: 'Oh, well, never mind. On to number two.' " Madonna, who once left a New Year's Eve party when J.Lo arrived, said that the couple had only themselves to blame.

Charlie's Angels v Demi Moore

Filming of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle was dogged by rumours of squabbles between the first movie's stars, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, and newcomer Demi Moore. US tabloids reported that the trio refused to socialise with Moore and wouldn't let her use their luxury facilities.

Kate Moss v Jade Jagger

The fashionistas fell out when Moss started seeing Jagger's then-boyfriend Dan Macmillan. Jagger, who designs jewellery for Aspreys, sent Moss a diamond-encrusted necklace spelling "slag". The pair have since settled their differences.

Lindsay Lohan v Hilary Duff

A man or rather, a boy came between the teen queens this year when Duff started dating Lohan's boyfriend, singer Aaron Carter. Duff and her mum reportedly had Lohan banned from an awards ceremony, and Hilary's song, Haters, is said to be aimed at Lohan.

Kelly Osbourne v Christina Aguilera

It's been lipsticks at dawn for these two rock chicks ever since Osbourne dissed the Dirrty singer on The Osbournes. At last year's MTV Europe Awards Aguilera threw darts at a picture of Osbourne's face, while Osbourne says she has a voodoo doll of her foe.

The Sex And The City Girls

Rumours of rifts persisted throughout the show's run. Kim Cattrall sat apart from her co-stars at an Emmy Awards show and there were reported tensions between Sarah Jessica Parker and Cattrall when she refused to take part in the proposed Sex And The City movie.

The mother of 'em all: Bette Davis v Joan Crawford

These two legends set the standard for show biz catfighting with a feud that ran the length of their careers. Art reflected life when they played warring sisters Blanche and Baby Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?

Shannen Doherty v everyone

After leaving Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994 amid tales of on-set spats with fellow stars, Doherty departed the hit show Charmed after friction with her co-star Alyssa Milano. The feisty actress also fell out with Paris Hilton when she saw the heiress kissing her ex-husband, Rick Salomon. Hilton claims Doherty attacked her and covered her car in eggs, lipstick and Vaseline. Doherty retorted that she did not wear red lipstick, so it must have been someone else.



Just for the record, because it's a favorite of mine...Dolly didn't sing it...I love Tammy.

While men rarely seem affected by rivalry, female stars seem locked in constant battle either with each other, or with occupational enemies including age, weight and body clock. Dolly Parton had it right when she sang: "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman." Especially if you live and work in Hollywood.

Artist: Wynette, Tammy Lyrics
Song: Stand by Your Man Lyrics

Sometimes its hard to be a woman
Giving all your love to just one man
You'll have bad times
And he'll have good times
Doing things that you don't understand
But if you love him you'll forgive him
Even though he's hard to understand
And if you love him
Oh be proud of him
'Cause after all he's just a man
Stand by your man
Give him two arms to cling to
And something warm to come to
When nights are cold and lonely
Stand by your man
And tell the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
Stand by your man
And show the world you love him
Keep giving all the love you can
Stand by your man
It is impossible to reason a man out of something he was never reasoned into in the first place- Swift

"The cardinal principle of judicial restraint--if it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more."

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