Thandie Newton Talks About Playing Condoleezza Rice

Thandie Newton, who will portray Condoleezza Rice in Oliver Stone‘s biopic of George W. Bush, seems as conflicted about the controversial Secretary of State as the rest of us. It is actually quite humorous to listen to her describe the process of getting under the elusive Condi’s skin. She talks to Laura Barton in The Guardian:

At present she is knee-deep in preparation to play Condoleezza Rice in Oliver Stone’s film, W, about the Bush administration. “I’ve been very grumpy all day,” she laughs, “doing my work.” Does she like her? “Uhm … I er …” she says and frowns, “that’s too black and white. I don’t see people or the world in terms of good, bad, those polar opposites. I keep trying to restore the correct view of things after my kids watch Disney movies: ‘Is he a baddie? Darling, there is literally no such thing.’ I am fascinated by her. Spend three months thinking about anybody and they’re fascinating. People are fascinating. We have a huge and complex capacity to be all kinds of things. And you look at someone like Condoleezza Rice and you see an example of just how far a person can stretch themselves. And I don’t mean that in a good or bad way, but she is an …” Newton hesitates, “… oh God, I really want to get this right … she is an incredible example of discipline.”

Loose translation: I’m trying to submerge any sense of conscience or soul and find my cold inner bitch.

In other news:

  • Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson brags that he has driven at 186 mph and gotten away with it. Now BBC is facing calls to fire him. Clarkson chalks up his lead foot to a tireless work ethic: “The speed limit is annoying because it holds up people who have got a job to do!”(Daily Mail)
  • Gordon Ramsay plans to “f*** off” to Australia in 10 years, he says.(The Sun)
  • British-born Kim Cattrall says there never was friction between her and her Sex and the City co-stars: “We always have [got on]. The fantasy is that we all really do hang out, and in in the past we have had dinner together. But it is a job. We were working 20-hour days. I just wanted to have a nice cup of tea and go to bed.”(Telegraph)
  • The works of Amy Winehouse are on the English syllabus at Cambridge.(BBC)
  • Alex Haines – the bespectacled man who was supposed to be bringing Amy Winehouse to a path of sobriety – has been fired for allegedly smoking crack.(Mirror)
  • It’s official: Madonna is the adoptive mother of David Banda.(BBC)
  • Kylie Minogue has turned 40, which isn’t quite the death sentence it once was. “Now there are entire industries devoted to reversing Newton’s law of gravity and the pursuit of eternal youth: thanks to diet, dentistry and exercise – and, for those less blessed than Kylie, cosmetic surgery – we can now look as peachy at 40 and beyond as we did at 30.”(Telegraph)
  • The Guardian‘s Gareth McLean asks readers, “Who is the anti-Judi Dench?” – meaning that the actor’s appearance in a certain TV show guarantees it will be crap. There’s a huge picture of Max Beesley in the article, but several readers come to his defense, noting his highly regarded role on Bodies.
  • 27-year-old actor Ben Whislaw – set to appear in the Brideshead Revisited remake – is “making a convincing bid for the title of Britain’s busiest thesp.”(Guardian)
  • Michael Lohan says it’s true: Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson are more than friends: “[It's] evident to anyone with half a brain.”(The Sun)
  • Westlife will play at Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin‘s wedding: “Some of Wayne’s teammates gave him a bit of stick but he knows how much Coleen loves them.”(The Sun)
  • In photos: the men of all shapes and colors who have dated Danielle Lloyd.(The Sun)
  • Kelly Rowland is becoming increasingly satisfied with being “big in Britain”: the former Destiny’s Child member will sing the U.S. national anthem…at an England football game at Wembley.(The Sun)
  • That Ronan Keating of Boyzone is a funny guy: “I spoke to Gary Barlow [of Take That]. I called him to say I was looking for a support act and would they be up for it?”(The Sun)
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look star David Mitchell has lost a lot of weight. Ironically, he was showing off his newly svelte physique at the premiere of a play called Fat Pig.(Daily Mail)
  • Mitchell’s co-star Robert Webb, My Family‘s Kris Marshall, and Gavin & Stacey star Joanna Page appear in Fat Pig, Neil LaBute‘s “exploration” of obesity. The Daily Telegraph‘s reviewer Charles Spencer thinks the production could use a bit more meat on its bones: “In short the play tells us nothing we didn’t know already, and this drama about obesity itself comes over as a small idea with far too much surplus fat on it. Worse still, the jokes in the show (directed by LaBute himself) aren’t nearly as funny as they should be.”
  • Kristy Wark, a Newsnight presenter, has “triggered a flood of complaints” for her revealing hemlines. (Daily Mail)
  • The Guardian‘s Mark Lawson quite likes Sebastian Faulks‘ Bond novel.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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