By Susan Hornik
CHRISTINE MAKES MOVES
With such a busy schedule, Bling Empire’s Christine Chiu is always on the go. “The variety of opportunities that have materialized since the show’s premiere have been beyond imagination, so much so that I have to on goingly decide which direction to go in,” she told INDUSTRY
“I have noticed that I am mostly a ‘yes’ person and enthusiastically jump at the next amazing opportunity that comes my way. Recently, however, I have realized that it is okay to sometimes step back and take a moment to ensure that I continue to be the best mother, wife, and friend that I can be. These are my most important roles in life, and maintaining the right balance is a priority.”
Chiu described herself as an over-achiever, “Not so to impress others but rather to challenge myself,” she said. The aspiring author is keen on learning new things: “I have and continue to learn critical skills in balancing a busy life…being unafraid to delegate and ask for help and accept imperfections.”
UNDERSTANDING AN ICON
Another acclaimed docu series about the great music icon Phil Spector’s life was just released. One of Spector’s earliest collaborators, singer/ songwriter Carol Connors (she co-wrote “Gonna Fly Now,” the theme song for Rocky) is featured in the series, which premiered on November 4 on Showtime. “I’m the only living person that worked with him from the very beginning; we were band mates. Everybody else has passed on.”
Describing SPECTOR as “funny and brilliant,” Connors was the lead vocalist on Spector’s famous 1950’s song, “To Know Him is to Love Him.”
“We were part of The Teddy Bears; I was 16 and a half when I sang it,” noted Connors. “Phil and fellow band member Marshall Leib were my big brothers and watched over me. The song became so popular. Phil truly was a music genius.” Yet Spector’s dark side was evident even then. “They say a genius can be very close to madness,” noted Connors.
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, Hallmark Media always releases a platter of new movies under the banner Countdown to Christmas. This year, they will be debuting the 1950s period piece A Holiday Spectacular. The Julie Sherman-written film explores the rise of the Radio City Rockettes, and how they got their first big break.
“For me, the inspiration of the Rockettes and Hallmark coming together is the most important part of this, because these two powerhouses are Christmas to so many people,” said Sherman, who filmed part of the movie at Radio City Music Hall. “When people go to New York City, the Rockettes is the number one thing,” she enthused. “As is Hallmark during Christmas time. Being able to fi lm on that stage was surreal!”
Ginna Claire Mason was thrilled to be cast in the fi
lm. “It was a dream come true for me. The next best thing to being a Rockette is playing one on TV,” she said.
ODE TO DAD
PSA: keep the tissues close when watching Sr., Robert Downey Jr.’s touching new documentary about his complex relationship with his father, who died last year. The black-and white film was a hit at the AFI Film Festival.
“What started as a straightforward documentary quickly devolved into anything but,” said director Chris Smith. “Knowing what I know now, it’s really the only way you could attempt to make something on the two Downeys. Larger than life but open and human as ever, it was such a pleasure and life affirming experience to try to capture some glimpses of the highs, lows, and everything in-between.”
At the New York Film Festival, Downey introduced the film. “Welcome to our 3 o’clock grief group. I’m inviting you to hopefully not feel like this film is about me and my dad, but about that crazy, impossible Gordian Knot that is family and dysfunction and art, and trying to make sense of it all.”
BILL GETS REAL
When Bill Maher is not working on his HBO talk hit Real Time With Bill Maher, the popular political satirist is bantering with a vast range of guests on his Club Random podcast.
“This is not my job, this is my love… to be able to sit and get to know somebody like you, I’ll probably never get this hour again,” he told comedy legend Chevy Chase, who was one of Maher’s recent guests on the podcast. Throughout their hour together, the eclectic duo told each other hilarious anecdotes about their lives, discussing everyone from John Belushi to Frank Sinatra.
Chase also talked about his longtime friend Dan Aykroyd, who he described as “the resident genius of Saturday Night Live. Maher has been a fan of Aykroyd for decades. “I was 19 when SNL came on the air. I was in college, just first having gotten stoned. So the combination of watching that show, thinking about getting into comedy…seeing this revolutionary gang take over and make me laugh, split a gut, and do things I’ve never seen on television before, in the time slot of my hero, Johnny Carson, but it was, “Oh wow, this could be something that is a step beyond.’”