Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Can Christina Aguilera make the leap from pop star to movie star? - Boston Globe” plus 1 more

“Can Christina Aguilera make the leap from pop star to movie star? - Boston Globe” plus 1 more

Can Christina Aguilera make the leap from pop star to movie star? - Boston Globe

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 11:16 PM PST

BEVERLY HILLS — Christina Aguilera is a woman at a crossroads. Thankfully, it's not the same "Crossroads'' that we watched Britney Spears struggle with in 2002, but it's a significant and scary moment, nonetheless.

On Wednesday, when Aguilera hits the big screen in "Burlesque,'' she'll join the ranks of pop music divas who've tried making themselves over as movie stars. Fans know the potential highs and lows of that transformation. When it works, we get "Lady Sings the Blues'' or "Moonstruck.'' When it doesn't, we get "Glitter.''

You remember "Glitter.'' It's the reason Mariah Carey had to go without makeup and grow a mustache to be taken seriously in "Precious.''

Anyway, let's ignore, for the moment, the loud and persistent buzz that "Burlesque'' is the new "Glitter,'' or — louder still — that it's "Showgirls'' minus the raunch and so-bad-it's-delicious cult status. At least until critics and audiences weigh in definitively, Aguilera is free to imagine a career that includes acting in movies on a regular basis without compromising her commitment to song — a calling that some have actually begun to question recently, given the timing of this film and the disappointing sales of her last album, "Bionic,'' released in June.

"It's definitely a time of new beginnings for me. It's a time of rediscovery,'' she says during a recent day of promoting her leading-lady film debut at a Beverly Hills hotel. "I came out of the movie a really changed woman with new viewpoints and new things awakened in me. I have a whole new record that I need to write and record and get out of my system.

"Music will always be in my blood, always be my first love, for sure. But acting is a form of entertainment and it also can be an outlet for me. I think I'll have both in my back pocket.''

Aguilera, who sometimes goes by the Internet-friendly moniker Xtina (as in Xmas), projects the image of a woman very much in control of her pockets, and everything else in the room. She carefully positions herself on a couch when she talks to you. Her bleached blond locks (extensions, if you're betting the mortgage money) are purposefully divided to dangle behind one shoulder and in front of the other, so you see one strap revealing that there's more than just cleavage holding up that form-hugging dress. Her legs are tucked in right beside her bottom, as though she's awaiting a passing steed or magic carpet, and because she mentions she's feeling feverish, a cozy wrap is brought in to be draped over her lap. That's where her well-trained Papillon, Stinky, ultimately makes himself comfortable. He knows how to work a room, too.

Even if movies are not her proven or preferred wheelhouse, Aguilera has been doing this show business thing for enough years to have it down. Now nearly 30, she began performing as a child growing up in New York and Pennsylvania, encouraged by her mother, a Spanish teacher who divorced Aguilera's father when Christina was 7. She appeared on "Star Search'' in 1990 (she lost) and joined the cast of "The All New Mickey Mouse Club'' in 1993 alongside Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, and Keri Russell. Her career as a recording artist took off with a single ("Reflection'') from the animated movie "Mulan'' (1998). And the eponymous debut album that followed in 1999 begat three No. 1 hits.

Today she's equal parts pop star, pinup, and self-promoter — famous for big, bawdy behavior that matches her big, bawdy voice. She not only identifies with the rags-to-riches motivation of her hard-working character in "Burlesque,'' she worships everything about the art form's heyday, from the style of the music (heavy on the jazz and soul, she observes) to the fashion sensibility, which she regards as in-your-face confident. But let it be known that burlesque, at least as seen in the PG-13 "Burlesque,'' has almost nothing to do with pasties and striptease.

"In its original form in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s, burlesque was a type of mass-culture entertainment based on popular songs, political events, plays — anything that was popular at the time that they could do parodies of,'' explains writer-director Steven Antin in a separate interview. "Only when it came to the United States at the turn of the century did it take on this more sexually charged quality that people associate burlesque with today. But I was going for the original burlesque: this wonderful pastiche that was an homage to so many different kinds of entertainment. I wanted to tell a fun-filled, inspirational story set in that world.''

The tale he came up with centers on a small-town talent (Aguilera), who moves to LA in search of her big break. She stumbles upon a burlesque club run by Cher and Stanley Tucci, with a stable of lip-synching dancers that includes Kristen Bell and Julianne Hough, and a too-adorable bartender (Cam Gigandet) whom someone's bound to fall in love with. But standing in the way of all their dreams is a cool customer (Eric Dane) who wants to buy the debt-ridden club so he can tear it down and develop the site. Sing, Xtina! Sing!

Aguilera wrote several new songs for her movie debut, including the title track. And her acting carries the endorsement of her costar, Cher, a successful pop diva turned drama queen if ever there was one. "I think she really has the talent to keep going,'' says the Oscar-winning actress. "Our scenes together just got better and better.''

Aguilera, flattered, readily acknowledges the mentoring she received. "I mean, she's the one,'' Aguilera says of Cher. "She's been there and done it more than anyone else has. . . . She really was fearless in changing herself and not caring what people thought about her or negativity along the way. She has stories for days, amazing information, priceless advice.''

Though the two met only a few days before filming began, they say it didn't take long to establish a believable bond. "I think she just had to realize that I was going to be there to support her and not do any kind of weird actress crap,'' says Cher.

Trust onscreen probably came easier given their similarities offscreen. For one thing, Cher, known for personal, professional, and cosmetic stamina that has included numerous comebacks and makeovers in the last five decades, knows a little something about the kind of crossroads confronting her young protégé.

Even as Aguilera works to promote "Burlesque,'' she's dealing with the breakup of her marriage to Jordan Bratman (they filed for divorce in October). And on this day of interviews she's also aching to be home with her 2-year-old son, Max, who's feeling even sicker than she is. So no one can blame her for being distracted and impatient as she sits down with a table of reporters later in the afternoon. This is a part of moviemaking that can't compare to playing arenas or hunkering down in a recording studio. And when the newbie actress barks at an assistant about a bowl of chicken noodle soup that isn't what she expects it to be, she makes no excuses for her diva-sounding outburst.

"Soup drama,'' she quips through the thinnest of smiles.

Leave it to a pop star to sum up all of Hollywood in a single side note.

Janice Page can be reached at

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read our FAQ page at
Five Filters featured article: Beyond Hiroshima - The Non-Reporting of Falluja's Cancer Catastrophe.


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Holiday movie preview — These late-year films are gold - MySanAntonio

Posted: 20 Nov 2010 03:52 PM PST

It's foolish to put too much faith in the incredibly poor science of movie trailers. Based on the short preview, we were convinced that the disappointing "Iron Man 2" was going to be the best summer action movie of the past five years.

But with few surefire holiday movie hits after Part 1 of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which came out Friday, we're going to take our optimism where we can find it. And based solely on the trailers, the rest of the movies coming out this year are transcendent. It's hard to remember such a promising group of previews coming out in one season. We're considering skipping the films altogether and making our Oscar predictions based on the two-minute clips on YouTube.

Here are several films featuring trailers that blew us away, along with the rest of the high-profile mainstream movies of the holiday season.

We've included an imagined pitch to the movie studio executives responsible for financing the films, along with a few reasons why we're hopeful that the finished product will live up to the hype.


The date: Wednesday

The tagline: It takes a LEGEND . . . to make a STAR!

The pitch: "Cher and Christina Aguilera have a mentor/student thing go? ing at an aging burlesque club in Los Angeles. This is either going to be a great piece of musical movie candy or memorably God-awful in a 'Striptease' kind of way. Either way, people will still be watching it 30 years from now."

Three reasons why we're excited: This over-the-top singing and dancing should act as methadone until the next Baz Luhrmann film comes out. Among other career high water marks, writer/director Steven Antin played the bad-guy preppy kid in "The Goonies." Cher, who hasn't had a serious acting role since "Tea With Mussolini" in 1999, chews more scenery in the trailer than any movie since "Mask."

"The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service — if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read our FAQ page at
Five Filters featured article: Beyond Hiroshima - The Non-Reporting of Falluja's Cancer Catastrophe.


This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now


Post a Comment