Oscar writers reveal insider info on Anne Hathaway and James Franco's awkward hosting gig
The pair had completely different energies on the stage, and some even claimed Franco might have been "under the influence."The Academy was probably hoping that Franco and Hathaway's paring would entice a younger audience, but what happened on the stage was a disaster with awkwardness spilling from every word they said and everything they did. In a new interview, writers of the decade-old hosting gig confessed that the lack of chemistry between the pair was visible to all during the rehearsals as well.
James Franco reportedly told Anne Hathaway to not tell him "how to be funny" during rehearsals for the 2011 Oscars. © Bang Showbiz James Franco and Anne Hathaway
The pair were heavily criticised by viewers after they co-hosted the Academy Awards a decade ago, with an apparent lack of chemistry between them and now one of the ceremony's four main writers has admitted the event was like an awkward "blind date" between the two stars.
David Wild told The Ringer: "It was like the world's most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader...
"This is a memory, but [she] was like 'Maybe you should try that,' and he was like, 'Don't tell me how to be funny.' "
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At one point, David thought the pair had "broken through" as he saw surveillance footage of 'The Disaster Artist' star smiling at a person stood next to him on stage.
However, he explained: "I thought, 'Oh boy, they've finally broken through and he's looking at her!' Anne had gone to her dressing room for a minute... James was smiling at her stand-in."
Megan Amram - who also served as a writer for the event - revealed musical numbers were scrapped, including a parody of 'You're the One That I Want' from 'Grease', because there was a struggle to figure out the right "tone" for the pair.
Gallery: 10 things you should know about Kurt Russell (BANG Showbiz)
Happy Birthday, Kurt!
Kurt Russell turned 70 on March 17, 1951. Despite the actor’s laid-back attitude, he’s built a thriving acting career, racking up an impressive 100 credits. While many of us know him for the roles he’s played, there are still many things we don’t know about Kurt’s private life. So, on his big day, we reveal 10 facts about the actor...
He’s been in the business for a long time
Kurt was born into a show business family. His father Bing Russell was an actor, and his mother Louise Russell was a dancer, so it’s no surprise that he followed in their footsteps. The ‘Silkwood’ actor made his film debut at the age of 12 in an uncredited appearance in 1963 film ‘It Happened at the World’s Fair’. This breakthrough led to a slew of roles for the young Kurt.
His name was Walt Disney’s last words
As a young actor, Kurt got some of his first major credits working for Walt Disney Pictures, and had a close relationship with Walt. In fact, the last words Disney wrote before he died were apparently “Kurt Russell”. The actor recalled how he learned about Disney’s last words in a 2017 interview with HuffPost. Kurt said: “They pulled me into the office a couple years after he died, and this woman — who I don’t believe it was his secretary, but it might’ve been, I don’t know ― pointed to [something he wrote] and she said, ‘Do you know what that’s about?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’[She said], ‘Because he wrote something after it. But then he went back up and he wrote your name. That was the last thing he wrote.’ And I said, ‘Oh gee. I don’t know what it’s connected to.’”
He had to use his imagination for auditions
Growing up, Kurt’s father didn’t want his children spending too much time watching TV, and would only allow it if it was a baseball game or a special broadcast. During a 2016 interview with GQ, the ‘Tombstone’ actor said: “My Dad, even though he was an actor, he didn't really condone watching TV. It wasn't a pastime that he thought was a good one. Because of that, I didn't really see much acting. I didn't really have much to go off of. And so I never had any other thing in my mind other than just doing it my way."
He ghost directed ‘Tombstone’
Kurt played Wyatt Earp in the 1993 Western film ‘Tombstone’, but what the audiences didn’t know is that he was responsible for more than his own role. Early on, the original director, Kevin Jarre, was fired, and George Cosmatos was brought in instead. However, Cosmatos wanted Kurt at the helm, so he stepped up to the plate. The actor explained in a 2006 interview with True West Magazine: “I said, 'I'll do it, but I don't want to put my name on it. I don't want to be the guy. I'd go to George's room, give him the shot list for the next day, that was the deal…And it was the hardest work of my life."
He tries to avoid being typecast
Throughout his career, Kurt has gone to great lengths to avoid being typecast. He's appeared in everything from martial arts films like ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and horror movies like ‘The Thing’ to blockbusters like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’. During a 2017 interview with Whisky + Sunshine, Kurt said: “In Hollywood, a lotta times if you have something that's successful, the next 30 scripts you read are gonna be in that zone. So I disappointed a lotta people by saying, 'I get it. I get why you want me to do it. But, if you'll notice, I just did that. I don't wanna do that now. I passed that math test. I wanna go on to this English test now.'"
He owns a ranch and a vineyard
Outside of acting, Kurt has several other hobbies. Him and his longtime partner, Goldie Hawn, own a ranch in Aspen, Colorado, and they sell their beef to local restaurants. ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ actor also owns a vineyard in California and loves making his own wine. He told GQ: “I'm just so happy every time. It's like, wine's been being made forever and ever and ever. And if you love wine and you love really high-end wine, to make it, once you get into it, it's not just a process, it's an art form. It's like the most nerve-wracking day of the year for me."
A famous stepdaughter
Kurt and Goldie Hawn have been in a relationship since 1983, together they share their son Wyatt Russell, who was born in 1986. On top of that, the actor is stepfather to Goldie’s two children, one of whom is none other than Kate Hudson. The ‘Music’ actress considers Kurt to be her real father and has stated that her biological father “doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall".
No need for marriage
Despite having one of the longest-lasting celebrity relationships, Kurt and Goldie have never been married. During a 2020 interview with People, the actor revealed that he never felt the need to marry, saying that a “marriage certificate wasn’t going to create anything that we wouldn’t otherwise have".
She added: "A lot of stuff that made it into the show was written a few days beforehand.
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"We wrote all these jokes, but I don't think we ever landed on a tone or a cohesive feeling of what the show would be."
Both James and Anne have opened up about the ceremony over the years, and he admitted he never pushed to deliver "the best Oscars ever".
Speaking in 2016, he said: "When Anne Hathaway decided to host the Oscars with me…She had said no before, and then they asked me to ask her, and I said, 'Let's just do it. It'll be an adventure,' and then we got a lot of s*** for it.
"I probably got more than she did, but she got a lot...
"I'm going to do what they ask me to and do it as well as I can, but I don't need this to be the best Oscars ever. I'm not getting anything out of that.
"In the best-case scenario, even if I killed it, it's not going to help my career, because that's not what it's based on. It was an experiment."
And back in 2012, Anne commented: "I realised afterwards, I played to the house; it's a 3,500-seat theatre, so I was just shooting energy to the back of it and it was like a party!
"It was great! And I think it looked slightly manic and 'hyper-cheerleadery' onscreen. But I have no regrets about doing it."
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