LIZ SMITH: Heartbreak Dead Ahead ...

Danger, Heartbreak Dead Ahead! Are Those Words Music  (and Money) To Taylor Swift? 
A Very Tom Cruise Christmas ... Scarlett Johansson's Big Year — In the Shower or In a Slip, She's Hot. 
by Liz Smith
Wednesday, November 28, 2012


“HE WILL definitely break her heart!” That’s what an “insider” says about the current relationship between country music sensation Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, one of the cutest members of the boy-band “One Direction.”

Well, Taylor is probably looking for a broken heart. More grist for the mill of her songwriting, which is ever-so-personal. Miss Swift is only 22. She is making the most of it, from Taylor Lautner to John Mayer to Jake Gyllenhaal to Conor Kennedy and now Harry Styles. Good for her — to be young! She seems to have it under control.
JUST BECAUSE Tom Cruise is a Scientologist that doesn’t mean he’s not into a good old-fashioned Christmas. He is. And that extends to the books he reads to daughter Suri. Tom reads Suri “The Night Before Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and “Santa’s Toy Shop.” Apparently, Tom’s mother read these to him as a child.

These are from the Little Golden Books collection, and are illustrated in classic watercolor style. (Tom especially loves the picture of Frosty peering into the window of a pastry shop.)

I know — you’d rather I told you Tom was indoctrinating Suri with the works of L. Ron Hubbard. But this was just a sweet, normal item. A revolutionary approach to gossip!
SPEAKING OF things Christmas, some of you might remember a 1964 movie titled “Jack Frost.” It was a Russian production with an all-Russian cast. It was a fairy tale about a girl who falls for a prince who isn’t very princely — in fact, he’s kind of a schmuck.

There are many travails for the girl and her bad boy, including something to do with the head of a bear. (The Russians have a thing for bears.) It does end happily, despite the machinations of an evil witch, putting the girl into some kind of winter hibernation. The movie played for years as a kiddie matinee, wretched, hilariously dubbed into English. (One of the many reasons it became something of a cult classic.)

Now we hear that Angelina Jolie’s production company at Universal is mulling an American remake. Angelina is said to be a fan of the original film. Well, no surprise there, Miss Jolie prefers her screen material on the dark side. Maybe she’ll play the the evil witch?

Remember how effective Jolie was in “Alexander” as Colin Farrell’s seductive mother, Olympias. She was a woman who never went anywhere without a passel of snakes and handbook of plots. She even slept with snakes, which was one way to keep her husband Phillip II, away from her. Eventually, she had him assassinated.

She ended badly, but had a hell of good time while she lasted.
WE ARE only just recovering from Lindsay Lohan’s high-school production/impersonation of Elizabeth Taylor in that TV movie “Liz and Dick."
One for the ages, that’s for sure. (You couldn’t tell there was a movie for Lifetime’s thousands of commercials!)

It’s dicey for a famous actor to play another really famous star! Sometimes it leads to awards and/or nominations — Susan Hayward as Lillian Roth ... Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash ... Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn ... Diana Ross as Billie Holiday ... Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice ... Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer ... Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. Sometimes it’s just a big bust, as in “Liz and Dick.”

Miss Scarlett as Janet Leigh.
Anyway, the latest star to play a famous star is luscious Scarlett Johansson.

She appears in the just released feature film, “Hitchcock” opposite Anthony Hopkins. He plays the great director Alfred Hitchcock, and Miss Scarlett is Janet Leigh, the big star who agreed to be shockingly bumped off in the shower scene in the first 45 minutes of “Psycho.”

Scarlett Johansson is a good actress, and — not having seen the film yet — I wonder if her impersonation of Janet Leigh includes replicating Miss Leigh’s voice, low and scratchy. It was one of the most distinctive and instantly recognizable movie voices. (Once, years ago, the phone rang. I picked up the receiver and I heard, “Hello, may I speak to ...” I interrupted with “Janet Leigh?” It was indeed Janet, and she laughed, “Liz, how did you know?” I said, “Janet, anybody who doesn’t know your voice shouldn’t be in the entertainment business.” Janet was extremely flattered but quite modest about her career achievements.)

Anyway, it’s a big year for Scarlett Johannson. She will also appear on Broadway in the latest revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

She will be competing not only with the memory of the indelible Elizabeth Taylor screen performance, but following the stage footprints of Barbara Bel Geddes ... Elizabeth Ashley ... Kathleen Turner ... Ashley Judd ... Debbie Allen.

But, of course the big question always is — how is the leading lady going to look in her all-important slip? My guess is that at the very least, Miss Johansson will triumph in that aspect of the role.

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