Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
 

Keanu Reeves (below) was in town last week for the Hong Kong International Film Festival and attended the premiere of documentary Side by Side. The actor was a bit of a rebel in his youth and was expelled from school for being, in his own words, 'just a little too rambunctious'. His educational development was also hampered by the fact that he suffers from dyslexia - not that that has stopped any number of high achievers, among them people whose very business is words, such as Gustave Flaubert, W.B. Yeats, Hans Christian Andersen and F. Scott Fitzgerald ...


The chronicler of the Jazz Age lived it as he wrote it: like many of his characters, he was a prodigious boozer throughout his adult life, only completing four novels before essentially drinking himself to death by the age of 44. Little wonder, then, that his novels are full of doomed youth and high living, along with emotional nuance and withering social satire. The first two may be the stronger of the four suits when it comes to the forthcoming film adaptation of Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby by director Baz Luhrmann ...


Unsurprisingly, the Australian campmeister has cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. But surprisingly, he hasn't given Nicole Kidman a role in the film, which marks the Hollywood debut of possibly the most successful actor on the planet - at the age of 69. Taking on the unlikely role in the film of Meyer Wolfsheim, a man who claims to have fixed the 1919 baseball World Series, is Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan ...


The biggest star of the world's biggest film industry, Bachchan has been in more than 180 productions and even became the first living Asian to be immortalised in wax by Madame Tussauds, first in London, and then in New York and Hong Kong. The oldest waxwork still on display at Tussauds, The Sleeping Beauty, was modelled on French King Louis XV's mistress, Madame du Barry ...


Born Jeanne Becu, she was the illegitimate daughter of a seamstress. She rose to become the king's official mistress (a characteristically French office of state if ever there was one) and was guillotined while doing what most of us would do - crying out in terror - at the age of 50 in 1793. She enjoyed a strained relationship with the king's son's wife, Marie Antoinette, and features as an antagonist in the 2006 film of the same name by Sofia Coppola ...


The American director's brooding, introverted films come with appropriately intense yet dreamy soundtracks. Among her numerous musical collaborators, the only one to work on all her films is Thomas Mars of French rock band Phoenix, who just happens to be her husband. Coppola was previously married to fellow director Spike Jonze, had a relationship with Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and was briefly romantically linked, in the early 1990s, with Keanu Reeves.

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