Kevin Spacey may avoid trial for sexual assault, as the case against him suffered a serious blow Monday when his accuser declined to testify due to fear of self-incrimination.
William Little accused the actor of groping him in a Massachusetts bar in July 2016. The actor, 59, was charged in January with indecent assault and battery.
The Massachusetts District Court judge for Nantucket, the posh island community where the alleged aggression took place, called on Little Monday to testify. Spacey was not present in the court.
But Little chose to plead the Fifth Amendment, which allows citizens not to testify so as not to incriminate themselves after it was revealed his cell phone — a key piece of evidence in the case — may have been compromised.
Little has said he took a smartphone video of the incident, which he says took place when he was an 18-year-old busboy in a Nantucket bar and restaurant.
The smartphone images, which Little said he shared with a then-girlfriend and a group of friends, allegedly show Spacey shoving his hand into the teen’s pants and fondling him.
But the phone — which the defense wanted to examine – has disappeared, as confirmed by Little and his parents, who were also called upon to testify Monday.
A police officer said he returned the phone to the family after extracting all the information but admitted he neglected to ask for a receipt upon return. The family said they never received the phone.
Interrogated at length about what he did with the phone and the messages on it, Little insisted that he had not deleted anything.
But when warned that manipulating the information on the phone could result in charges being brought against him, Little pled the fifth.
Little’s mother Heather Unruh, a television news anchor known in the Boston area, admitted she had deleted some potentially embarrassing photos before giving the phone to the police but said she had not erased anything related to the alleged assault.
Spacey’s lawyer Alan Jackson insinuated that text messages from Little — who was a fan of the actor — that implied his consent in the situation had been deleted.
“This entire case is completely compromised,” said Jackson.
“This case needs to be dismissed and it needs to be dismissed today.”
Although the judge did not make a decision, Spacey’s defense team added it would promptly request that the case be dropped.
The prosecution did not rule dropping the case, but asked the judge for a week to decide.
Spacey has insisted on his innocence in the matter. The charges carry a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The allegation of sexual misconduct against the two-time Oscar winner was one of more than a dozen to emerge since 2017 in the wake of the #MeToo movement – in both the United States and Britain — with devastating effect on his acting career.
He was dropped from the cast of the popular “House of Cards” series and from a leading role in director Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” Christopher Plummer was brought in as a last-second replacement.
Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor who gave masterful performances as Adolf Hitler in “Downfall” and an angel seeking mortality in divided Berlin, died Saturday aged 77, his agent said.
Ganz, who was suffering from cancer, died “in the early hours of the morning” at his home in Zurich, the agent said.
Considered one of the greatest German-speaking actors in the post-World War II era, Ganz had a distinguished career on screen and stage before his 2004 appearance in “Downfall”, which unfolds over the final, suffocating days inside Hitler’s underground bunker.
For many critics, his nuanced portrayal of the fascist tyrant that veers between explosive and sombre was unparallelled.
Hitler is a figure that German-speaking actors have historically been reluctant to take on and the Zurich-born Ganz conceded that being Swiss provided a necessary buffer.
Ganz won acclaim, and some criticism, for a performance shaped by historical records that showed a complex Hitler — at once unhinged and quivering as he berated his defeated generals, but who later displayed tenderness towards a frightened aide.
Ganz told The Arts Desk that he was amused by those who chastised him for “humanising” the Nazi leader instead of portraying a caricature of evil.
People “need an intact icon of the evil itself”, he said. “I don’t know what evil itself is.”
When asked if he approached the part with the mindset that Hitler was, in the end, a human being, Ganz said: “Of course he is. What else should he be?”
Before the Oscar-nominated “Downfall”, which vaulted Ganz into new levels of global fame, he had already been acknowledged as one of the most important German-language actors.
In 1996 he was given the Iffland-Ring, a jewel officially owned by the Austrian state but held successively by the most significant performer in German theatre of the time.
His fame was based on theatrical performances such as a landmark starring role in Goethe’s “Faust”.
He played the part in a 21-hour production mounted by director Peter Stein that ran at the beginning of the century.
On screen, his most prominent role before “Downfall” was in “Wings of Desire”(1987), in which he starred as the angel Damiel who eavesdrops on ordinary, melancholy moments around pre-unification Berlin. The original title was “The Sky Above Berlin.”
Dieter Kosslick, director of the Berlin film festival which holds its awards night late Saturday, called Ganz “one of the greatest and most versatile actors”, who made “international film history.
Ganz also starred in American films such as “The Boys From Brazil” about Nazi war criminals starring Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, a remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” and “The Reader” starring Kate Winslett.
His latest films saw Ganz play Sigmund Freud in “The Tobacconist” and included a role in “The House That Jack Built” by Lars von Trier which revolves around a serial killer.
Bookseller, paramedic, forgetting Hitler
Ganz’s family, mostly blue collar workers in Zurich, were baffled by his decision to quit school and pursue acting, the German news outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on the actor’s 75th birthday.
He got by as a bookseller and a paramedic before moving to Germany in the early 1960s hoping to make it as a performer, according to DW.
He worked in some of Germany’s most prestigious theatres before breakthroughs in film that culminated with his depiction of the country’s most reviled leader.
He told The Arts Desk that to distance himself from the part after a day of shooting he had to “construct a wall or iron curtain” in his mind. “I don’t want to spend my evenings at the hotel with Mr. Hitler at my side.”
He later told the Berliner Morgenpost paper that the role haunted him for years.
But it may well have carved out his permanent place in film history.
The New Yorker magazine’s film critic David Denby called the performance “a staggering revelation of craft”.
“Ganz’s work (as Hitler) is not just astounding, it is actually rather moving,” Denby wrote in 2005.
A famous Turkish actor was on Monday accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and inciting an armed uprising over comments made during a television programme last week, local media reported.
Metin Akpinar — who is also a well-known comedian in Turkey — was taken in by police for questioning on Monday, along with another Turkish actor, Mujdat Gezen.
“If we don’t become a (democracy)… the leader might be hung from his feet or maybe poisoned in the cellars or meet the same end as other leaders in the past,” Akpinar, 77, reportedly said on television on Friday.
An Istanbul court said the two men would be released on conditional bail after they were summoned to give statements to prosecutors. But they will have to report to a police station once a week and are banned from leaving Turkey.
Both men are suspected of “insulting the president”. Akpinar also was suspected of “inciting an armed uprising against the government”, the Istanbul public prosecutor said Monday, quoted by Hurriyet daily.
The probe is still ongoing and the men will be formally charged after an indictment is prepared by the prosecutor.
Akpinar had also claimed on opposition Halk TV that any leader who “turned to Russia except Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) left office” through coups, referring to the founder of modern Turkey.
Turkey witnessed three military coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980. In 1997, an army-led campaign forced the government to resign and then in July 2016, there was an attempted overthrow of Erdogan blamed on a US-based Muslim preacher.
Akpinar said democracy was the “only option to save Turkey from polarisation”.
Gezen, 75, was more direct in his remarks against Erdogan on the same programme: “He tells the people ‘know your place’. Look Recep Tayyip Erdogan, you cannot test our patriotism. Know your place.”
The investigation into the men came after the president said Sunday: “They should be brought to account for this by the judiciary.”
Erdogan hit out at the “so-called artists” during a speech in Istanbul. “We cannot leave this business without giving a response, they will pay the price.”
Thousands of Turks including artists and journalists have been prosecuted in recent years over allegedly insulting Erdogan, although most have not been imprisoned.
French star Gerard Depardieu “absolutely denies any attack, any rape”, his lawyer Herve Termime said on Thursday after a judicial source told AFP he was facing a probe over alleged “rapes and sexual assaults”.
The source said the Paris public prosecutor’s office had opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations against Depardieu following a complaint lodged on Monday in southern Aix-en-Provence.
“I regret the public nature of this process which poses a major prejudice to Gerard Depardieu, whose innocence I am convinced will be recognised,” his lawyer Herve Termime added, calling for restraint on all sides.
Depardieu, 69, is France’s biggest international star and has made more than 180 films.
A controversial and larger-than-life character, he became the very face of French cinema due to roles in films such as such as “Cyrano de Bergerac” for which won best actor at the Cannes film festival and was nominated for an Oscar.
He made his name in the 1974 film “Going Places” after which he enjoyed a meteoric rise, demonstrating talent and allure in wide-ranging roles in classics, dramas and comedies alike.
In 2013 Depardieu sparked a huge outcry by leaving France and taking Russian nationality in protest at a proposed tax hike on the rich in his homeland.
Russian President Vladimir Putin treated him to a dinner to present him with his new citizenship and Depardieu was subsequently full of praise in an interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
The legendary Robert Redford — who has said he intends to retire from acting — has done it all: from romantic leads to Westerns to playing the Great Gatsby.
The 81-year-old heartthrob may yet continue his impressive career behind the camera but his days in front of it appear to be over.
From Barbra Streisand’s lover in “The Way We Were” to a renegade cowboy in “The Electric Horseman” to a 70-something voyager adrift at sea in “All is Lost,” Redford has had dozens of memorable turns.
Here is a look at the classic performances that made Redford an American classic:
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
“Don’t tell me how to rob a bank. I know how to rob a bank!”
Redford uttered that key phrase as the Sundance Kid to Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy — the pair played affable outlaws in perhaps the granddaddy of all buddy films.
Tracked by a posse, the handsome, quick-witted and quick-drawing leaders of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang split to Bolivia, where their illicit antics ultimately prove their demise.
The glib humour did not sit well with critics, but the hippy Western was a huge hit with moviegoers and it made Redford a bankable star.
The Sting (1973)
Redford and Newman reunite, this time as con artists in 1930s Chicago where they seek revenge on a big-league mobster by setting up an ambitious scam.
Redford plays a charming but novice grifter in a blockbuster film.
His memorable performance as Johnny Hooker is optimistic and believable as he tries to pull off the big con, and it led to the only best actor Oscar nomination of his career. He lost to Jack Lemmon, but the crime caper won seven other Academy Awards, including best picture.
The Great Gatsby (1974)
This Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterful 1925 novel was intended to cement Redford’s role as a leading man in Hollywood romantic dramas. The film earned mixed reviews though it was a financial success.
He played the mysterious and decadent Jay Gatsby opposite Mia Farrow’s Daisy Buchanan. The sparks between the two were muted at best, and Redford caught flak for being too dull in a role critics said he should have nailed.
The film nevertheless won two Oscars for costume design and best original score.
All the President’s Men (1976)
Redford bounced back in full force in a stunning portrayal of a presidency in turmoil.
He took on the role of Bob Woodward and Dustin Hoffman played Carl Bernstein in the adaptation of the Washington Post journalists’ book about how the pair uncovered Watergate, which proved to be the biggest political scandal of the 20th Century.
Many critics point to this classic as one of Redford’s most important roles. It was not his first foray into politics though.
His satirical turn as a hapless US Senate hopeful in “The Candidate” in 1972 raised eyebrows, and Redford had contemplated a run for Senate in the 1970s.
The Natural (1984)
Redford emerged as a sporting star in this classic hero’s story about a rising baseball phenomenon whose lifelong love of the game helps him overcome tragedy and mount a spectacular comeback.
The big-budget spectacle is overindulgent at times, but Redford shines in his scenes in the ballpark.
And while the feel-good Hollywood ending — a Redford home run to win the pennant gives the actor almost mythic status — is the stuff of dreams, author Bernard Malamud’s novel that is the movie’s source material has a far darker ending: the slugger strikes out.
Out of Africa (1985)
Redford portrays untamable and aloof hunter/adventurer Denys Finch Hatton, who engages in a steamy, ill-fated affair with plantation-owning baroness Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep).
The film, which draws from the writings of Denmark’s Isak Dinesen, was a sweeping cinematic spectacle, scooping up seven Oscars including best picture.
Redford and Streep play headstrong, independent spirits contending with a changing Africa and Blixen’s dissolving personal life.
When Streep’s character asks Redford what is wrong with marriage, his answer is devastating: “Have you ever seen one you admire?”
Robert Redford, the screen legend and Oscar winner, has announced that he’s retiring from acting at the grand old age of 81, with the upcoming movie “The Old Man & The Gun” his last gig in front of the camera.
The actor, director and founder of the Sundance Institute and its film festival began his career on stage 60 years ago, before moving into TV and film, and eventually into directing.
“Never say never, but I pretty well concluded that this would be it for me in terms of acting,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “(I’ll) move towards retirement after this ’cause I’ve been doing it since I was 21,” he said.
“I thought, well, that’s enough. And why not go out with something that’s very upbeat and positive?”
His publicist Cindi Berger confirmed the article was accurate.
When asked if his prospective retirement would extend to directing, Redford was tight-lipped and his agent did not elaborate.
“We’ll see about that,” Redford told Entertainment Weekly.
In “The Old Man & The Gun,” directed by David Lowery, the California native plays Forrest Tucker, the real-life career criminal whose bank-robbing spree and multiple escapes from prison lasted more than 60 years.
“To me, that was a wonderful character to play at this point in my life,” Redford told Entertainment Weekly.
The film, set for release in the United States on September 28, also stars Oscar winners Sissy Spacek and Casey Affleck.
Lowery told Empire magazine that he felt the “weight” of directing Redford in his final screen role.
“He mentioned that right before we started production,” Lowery told Empire.
“I think the movie is as much about (Redford) as it is about this character. It’s about someone in the twilight of their life, doing something they love,” he added.
“There’s an inevitability to the character that is impossible to separate from Mr Redford himself, and an inherently bittersweet quality.”
He was born Charles Robert Redford, Jr. on August 18, 1936, in Santa Monica, California, the son of an accountant. His mother died in 1955, a year after he finished high school.
He went to the University of Colorado, but dropped out a year later and subsequently moved to Europe to study art in Paris and in Italy, a formative experience that transformed his political and social awareness.
After returning to the United States, he moved to New York, where he enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Art and made his debut as a stage actor.
After a variety of television roles, he moved on to the silver screen, where he found success with romantic comedy “Barefoot In The Park” opposite Jane Fonda, before his major breakthrough in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in 1969, when he was 33.
Subsequent hits as an actor came in “The Sting” (1973) which won him an Oscar nomination; “The Great Gatsby” the following year; “Three Days of the Condor” (1975); and the critically acclaimed “All the President’s Men” (1976) — his sun-kissed all-American good looks making him a household name.
Other majoring acting credits for the man with the sun-kissed, all-American good looks were baseball classic “The Natural” and epic romance “Out of Africa” (1985) alongside Meryl Streep.
In 1981, he won an Academy Award for his directorial debut on “Ordinary People” and has a string of other directing credits, including “A River Runs Through It,” in which he starred alongside a young Brad Pitt, and “Quiz Show.”
Also in 1981, he founded the Sundance Institute in Utah for aspiring filmmakers, disaffected with Hollywood’s commercialism and lack of diversity.
The annual Sundance film festival is one of the most influential in the world and has fostered more than a generation of independent directors.
Despite his fame, Redford has led a largely private life and steers clear of many award shows and public film festivals. A passionate conservationist and environmentalist, he has often spoken up for social responsibility.
In 2002, he won an honorary Oscar as an actor, director, producer and creator of Sundance. To date, he has also won six Golden Globes and one BAFTA.
In 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian award, by Barack Obama.
He married his first wife, Lola Van Wagenen, in 1958. They had four children, one of whom died as an infant. They divorced in 1985 and he married second wife, German artist and long-term girlfriend Sibylle Szaggars in 2009.
Police said Wednesday they are investigating an alleged road rage attack on Corey Feldman after the former child star reported being confronted and stabbed — although he was uninjured.
The 46-year-old actor and musician — who appeared in cult 1980s movies including “Gremlins,” “The Goonies” and “The Lost Boys” — was given a check-up at hospital but no wound was found.
“I’m in the hospital! I was attacked 2nite! A man opened my car door & stabbed me w something! Please say prayers 4 us! ????????” Feldman tweeted.
“Thank God it was only myself & my security in the car, when 3 men approached! While security was distracted w a guy a car pulled & attacked! I’m OK!”
Feldman said the attack occurred around 10:45 pm (1745 GMT) on Tuesday as he was waiting at a red light, bodyguard in the passenger seat, in the Los Angeles suburb of Tarzana, the LAPD confirmed.
“My client’s paranoid because he’s got a lot of threats online, there’s a lot of haters out there,” his attorney Perry Wander was quoted as telling celebrity news website The Blast.
He said Feldman “filed a formal police report that three young Hispanic males jumped out of their vehicle and attempted to instigate a fight with Mr. Feldman’s security guard and… one of the males approached Corey Feldman’s side of the vehicle opened his door and attacked him with a sharp object.”
Feldman drove himself to a hospital, according to LAPD spokesman Drake Madison, who said there was “no laceration to Feldman’s abdomen.”
No stranger to controversy, Feldman announced in October he was planning a $10 million documentary to expose an alleged network of pedophiles working in Hollywood.
The entertainer has long claimed his career was destroyed for campaigning against what he describes as a Hollywood pedophile ring that abused him as a child.
The LAPD announced in November his allegations were beyond the statute of limitations and could not be investigated further.
He may be famed for portraying the quintessential Englishman but for Italy, British actor Colin Firth has “amore” and more.
Firth took up Italian citizenship on Friday, the interior ministry in Rome announced.
“The celebrated actor, who received an Oscar for his work in the film ‘The King’s Speech,’ has married a citizen of our nation and has repeatedly expressed his love for our country,” it said in a statement.
Firth, 57, married Italian producer Livia Giuggioli, 48, in 1997, according to the specialist movie site IMDb. They have two children.
His many successes include “Pride and Prejudice”, “Love Actually”, “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and the movie adaptation of the stage show of ABBA hits, “Mamma Mia!”
Mark Wahlberg soared to the top of the world’s highest paid actors on an annual Forbes magazine list that highlighted a huge disparity between male and female Hollywood stars.
Wahlberg, 46, earned an estimated $68 million in 2017 thanks to his pay days for movies ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’, according to the Forbes ranking released on Tuesday.
The rapper-turned-actor knocked 2016 leader Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson into second place, with estimated 2017 earnings of $65 million.
Forbes estimates earnings, before taxes and management fees, from movies, TV and commercial endorsements.
The Forbes list again highlighted Hollywood’s gender pay gap. Last week, the magazine named “La La Land” Oscar winner Emma Stone as the world’s highest paid actress with an estimated 2017 take of $26 million.
Forbes said the 10 highest-paid leading men earned a combined $488.5 million before tax in its June 2016-June 2017 scoring period, nearly three times more than the $172.5 million earned by the top 10 scoring women.
Forbes attributed the disparity to the prevalence of superhero and action blockbusters that earn big at the box office for Hollywood studios but tend to have fewer leading roles for women.
‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star Johnny Depp, who for years has been among the top five paid actors, did not make the top 20 this year, Forbes said.
Depp is currently embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with his former business managers who have detailed what they describe as his lavish spending habits.
Last December, before the May 2017 release of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean; Dead Men Tell No Tales’, Forbes named Depp the most overpaid actor for a second straight year as films such as ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ and ‘Mortdecai’ did not fare well.
Three of Bollywood’s biggest stars – Shah Rukh Khan ($38 million), Salman Khan ($37 million) and Akshay Kumar ($35.5 million) took the 8th, 9th and 10th places on the Forbes list, respectively.