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Martin Scorsese's A-List Birthday Party and More Celebrity News

Martin Scorsese's A-List Birthday Party and More Celebrity News

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so we're recapping the week's celebrity food news before everyone sits down at the table. The big news? Justin and Selena do dinner dates a second and third time, Rihanna's a serious snack freak, and we wish we were at Martin Scorsese's 70th birthday bash. Oh, Leo.

Restaurant Buzz

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and a few buddies strolled into New York City's Bleecker Street Pizza after midnight and helped serve pizza. [NY Post]

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez went for take three and headed to Benihana with friends in Los Angeles. [E!]

The night before, Gomez and best friend Taylor Swift met up for lunch at Osteria La Buca in Los Angeles. [E!]

Martin Scorsese celebrated his 70th birthday at New York City's Monkey Bar with his uber A-list pals, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Harvey Keitel, Elvis Costello, and more. Guests celebrated him with a champagne toast and chocolate cake. [NY Post]

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are continuing their vacation in Rome. The couple was spotted at Antica Pesa in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood and dined on Parma ham crudo and mozzarella, eggplant parmigiana, mini beef sliders, pasta with chickpeas, a salad with marinated anchovies, and more. [People]

Seen & Heard

Kelly Preston and husband John Travolta strongly believe that chemicals in food led to their late son Jett's autism.[NY Post]

Rihanna's backstage request list has been leaked for her upcoming tour. Her list (that looks like a serious munchie-fest) includes Oreos, Haribo brand Gold Bears, Capri Sun juiceboxes, 10 bags of Cheddar cheese Ruffles, Red Bull, Grey Goose, Coke, Sprite, ginger ale, Diet Coke, 10 bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, stuffed olives, Golden Grahams cereal, and Mini Babybel cheeses. [TMZ]

To celebrate the release of her memoir, Grace, Vogue's creative director Grace Coddington took part in a live Twitter Q&A where she deemed Momofuku cookies her favorite and chamomile tea as her source of energy. Apparently, the Q&A exhausted her as she declared a need for a vodka tonic after it was all over. [Twitter/Vogue]

While Suri Cruise sat on her lap and munched an apple, mom Katie Holmes fell asleep riding the New York City subway. [E!]

Want to see Lady Gaga covered in buttercream? [Us]

Ben Affleck takes his venti iced Starbuck coffee black, thank you very much. [People]

How a Malaysian Money Scandal Ensnared Leonardo DiCaprio, Miranda Kerr, and Martin Scorsese

The 1MDB financial scandal has forced Oscar-winners and models to return millions in gifts from a notorious Hollywood party boy. And more stars may soon be linked to the case.

Amy Zimmerman

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

The Wolf of Wall Street, itself a risky investment, almost wasn’t made. That’s right: Every banker bro’s favorite cinematic ode to Quaaludes and deregulation only made it to theaters by the grace of a mysterious production company named Red Granite Pictures. Founded by Riza Aziz, the stepson of the current prime minister of Malaysia, Red Granite Pictures gave more than $100 million to see DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film to completion. At the time, DiCaprio was praised for his performance little did he know that he was pulling off a simultaneous role as “Hollywood Actor 1,” an A-lister who found himself embroiled in a large-scale Malaysian money-laundering scandal. To hear the Department of Justice tell it, what was going on behind the scenes of The Wolf of Wall Street was every bit as debaucherous—not to mention criminal—as anything in the script.

To boil down a long and growing list of allegations, Red Granite Pictures was potentially investing money that had been pilfered from 1MDB, a fund that was set up by the prime minister of Malaysia in order to jumpstart economic development. According to the complaints, more than $3.5 billion was misappropriated from the 1MDB fund from 2009 through 2015. Instead of, say, improving the well-being of the Malaysian people, 1MDB money was allegedly used to fund films like The Wolf of Wall Street and to purchase incredibly valuable artwork and real estate, not to mention a whole lot of Cristal. According to the DOJ, the funds were allegedly laundered through a series of shell companies and bank accounts located in Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the United States. The money was then ultimately processed through U.S. financial institutions—hence former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s announcement last July that the U.S. would be attempting to revoke more than $1 billion in misappropriated assets.

So where does “Hollywood Actor 1”—not to mention a wide-reaching web of possibly implicated celebrities—fit into this criminal plot? The answer lies with Jho Low, a businessman and childhood friend of Riza Aziz and the man at the center of this Malaysian scandal. As early as 2009, Low made a name for himself as a hard-partying man of mystery, keeping Champagne flowing and gossip rags wondering. While the Wharton Business School grad was clearly a businessman of some sort, publications were hard-pressed to explain where exactly the money was coming from. Luckily, Low surrounded himself with club-circuit mainstays who didn’t seem to be asking too many questions, including celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. A Page Six bulletin breathlessly detailed the sugar daddy’s opulent 28th birthday in Las Vegas, when he flew his entire entourage out to Caesars Las Vegas in a “jumbo jet.” The tabloid describes a four-day extravaganza, “where sources said the swimming pool was stocked with bikini-clad party girls and surrounded by caged lions and tigers.” Low and his guests kept the party going at a Vegas nightclub, where he reportedly purchased 120 bottles of Cristal and partied with Paris Hilton, Usher, and Jamie Foxx.

But Low—who stands accused of using stolen 1MDB funds to bankroll his lavish lifestyle—had a particularly special friend in Leonardo DiCaprio. Low wasn’t just the perceived “face of the financing” at Red Granite—he also quickly became The Wolf of Wall Street star’s No. 1 bro. As an honorary member of the Pussy Posse, Low joined DiCaprio for bromantic trips, like an $11 million Las Vegas rampage. As evidence of their intimacy and/or punishment for the other guests, DiCaprio reportedly got onstage during Low’s 30th birthday party and rapped with Busta Rhymes. And like any true friendship, Low and DiCaprio’s bond was cemented through frequent, one-sided presents. Low and Red Granite Pictures even gifted DiCaprio with Marlon Brando’s On the Waterfront Oscar, a $600,000 token of affection. Because what’s a little money laundering if it will finally get Leonardo DiCaprio an Oscar?

According to a recently filed complaint, DiCaprio also accepted a host of crazy-expensive artworks from his hard-partying pal. Among the pieces that were marked for seizure are a $3.28 million Picasso, a $750,000 Diane Arbus photograph, and a $9.2 million Basquiat. While the latter two were personal gifts from Low, the Picasso was allegedly sourced to Low’s associate Eric Tan, who paired it with this handwritten note: “Dear Leonardo DiCaprio, Happy belated Birthday! This gift is for you.”

DiCaprio’s spokesperson maintains the actor has been fully cooperative: “Last July, upon hearing of the government’s civil action against certain parties involved in the making of The Wolf of Wall Street, Mr. DiCaprio’s representatives—working under his instruction—initiated contact with the Department of Justice. This effort was to determine if there were any gifts or charitable donations originating from the parties named in the civil complaint, and to offer the return of any such gifts or donations with the aid and instruction of the government. Prior to the government’s filing of the civil pleading today, Mr. DiCaprio initiated return of these items, which were received and accepted by him for the purpose of being included in an annual charity auction to benefit his eponymous foundation. He has also returned an Oscar originally won by Marlon Brando, which was given to Mr. DiCaprio as a set gift by Red Granite to thank him for his work on The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Additionally, DiCaprio has pledged to return any donations to his charitable foundation that are found to be illegally begotten Low reportedly donated a $700,000 Roy Lichtenstein sculpture at DiCaprio’s 2015 charity auction, and it’s hard to imagine that that was the full extent of his contributions to the foundation.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

DiCaprio’s tearful goodbye to his Basquiat isn’t the only tragedy this high-profile case has wrought. Model Miranda Kerr, who was romantically linked to Low in the past, was forced to dig deep into her safety-deposit box, surrendering $8.1 million worth of fine jewels. Low gifted the pieces—including a $3.8 million, 8.88-carat diamond pendant—to the model in 2014. According to Page Six, Low made his first sparkly offering on Valentine’s Day, shortly after Kerr’s divorce from Orlando Bloom. That first present was a heart-shape diamond inscribed with the model’s initials, for the low, low price of $1.29 million.

While Kerr and DiCaprio are the only celebs to have surrendered assets to the feds so far, Low has a wide network of celebrity pals that he may or may not have paid to hang out with him. According to a 2010 Gawker report, Low paid Paris Hilton a reported $1 million to party with him in St. Tropez. Her publicist denied reports, instead claiming that, “He has not paid her in any way, although he is extremely generous.” Of course, a great way to avoid giving up your fancy things to the feds is by drinking all of your most expensive presents—just ask Lindsay Lohan, who received 23 bottles of Cristal from Low on her 23rd birthday. From flying Busta Rhymes and Ludacris to Malaysia to perform to allegedly bankrolling his favorite celebrities’ pet charities, Low has left quite the money trail in his wake.

Another high-profile recipient of Low’s largesse is The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese. According to reports, more than $4.2 million in stolen funds were used to purchase original movie posters, including a $1.2 million original of 1927’s Metropolis. In addition to adorning his (allegedly) ill-begotten apartment with these incredibly expensive pieces of paper, Riza Aziz also gifted some of the posters to DiCaprio and Scorsese in fact, according to the feds’ suit, DiCaprio actually introduced Aziz to the poster purveyor. And then there’s Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Institute, which received donations from Low’s Jynwel Foundation. While The Tribeca Film Institute does not deny the charitable contribution, De Niro seems rather nonplussed. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter to speak to his link to the Malaysian scandal, De Niro responded, “I don’t care whether my name is associated with it. I didn’t do anything.” He continued, “I’m aware of it, but I don’t give a shit. When I have to tell something to somebody, I’ll answer to them and that will be it.”

Rounding out the most glamorous Malaysian plot since Mugatu are all of the other celebrities that Low has either paid or partied with, including Megan Fox and Kanye West. And for an added touch of absurdity, let’s take a moment to relish in the fact that, as a result of their investigation into Red Granite, the federal government has seized the rights to Dumb and Dumber To.

Martin Scorsese's A-List Birthday Party and More Celebrity News - Recipes

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30 Facts About Your Favorite Martin Scorsese Movies

In the pantheon of iconic American film giants, Martin Scorsese gets to sit at the head of the table and carve the turkey. In a career spanning 50 years, he has created some of the most visually spectacular and quote-worthy material ever put on celluloid. To celebrate the auteur’s 75th birthday, here are 30 facts about some of your favorite Scorsese movies. Ready? Great… now go home and get your #@$%ing shinebox!


Clearing songs for 1973's Mean Streets ate up almost half of the film's $500,000 budget. Staying true to his well-documented love of rock, Scorsese used tunes by The Ronettes, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones for the soundtrack. “For me, the whole movie was 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Be My Baby,'" the director said in Scorsese on Scorsese.


Future Oscar nominee Laura Dern made one of her earliest, albeit uncredited, appearances toward the end of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. Working alongside her mother, Diane Ladd, Dern—who was seven years old at the time—played a little girl eating a banana-flavored ice cream cone at Mel’s Diner. It took 19 takes to get the shot, which required Dern to consume 19 ice cream cones. Impressed by the budding actress, Scorsese told Ladd that “if she doesn’t throw up after [19 takes’ worth of cones], this girl is ready to be an actress.”


Robert De Niro improvised that whole paranoid monologue, including what would become the movie’s most famous line. (The film's screenwriter, Paul Schrader, later said, “It’s the best thing in the movie, and I didn’t write it.”) De Niro got the line from Bruce Springsteen, whom he’d seen perform in Greenwich Village just days earlier, at one in a series of concerts leading up to the release of Born to Run. When the audience called out his name, The Boss did a bit where he feigned humility and said, “You talkin’ to me?” Apparently it stuck in De Niro’s mind.


In 1977, Scorsese released New York, New York. What was meant to be an epic musical turned out to be one of the director’s biggest bombs, due partly to the fact that the normally very regimented director decided to take a more improvisational approach to the film. “I tried to have no idea at all what I was going to do, as much as possible, on the day of shooting—as opposed to having a fairly strong idea of what I was going to do,” he said. “I was really testing the limits … I had a very chaotic style, on purpose, on New York, New York. And I found it didn't work for me."


The seven 35mm camera operators who shot The Last Waltz, Scorsese's 1978 concert documentary, included Michael Chapman (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter), and László Kovács (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces). Scorsese and Robbie Robertson (who also served as a producer) came up with a 300-page shooting script of diagrams and text that assigned the camera positions with the music lyrics and cues. According to the film's production notes, it was the first music documentary made on 35mm.


Joe Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 1970s. His 1975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 1976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 1978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement to co-star in Raging Bull.


Robert De Niro passed Paul D. Zimmerman’s script for The King of Comedy on to Scorsese, hoping that he could interest him in directing it. "I didn't get it," Scorsese later admitted. "The script is hilarious. But the movie was just a one-line gag: You won't let me go on the show, so I'll kidnap you and you'll put me on the show.” Eventually, he came to see how it could be turned into a feature.


In order to capture the desperation and paranoia to play word processor Paul Hackett in After Hours (1985), Scorsese gave star Griffin Dunne some very specific instructions. “I was at a symposium with Marty Scorsese and he said, ‘I really had to be hard on Griffin for this part. I said, no sex, no going out, none of it,’” Cher told People at the movie’s after-party. “It must have worked,” she added. “He’s so good at being frustrated.”


Walter Tevis had written the book The Hustler and its sequel, The Color of Money, yet Paul Newman didn’t care for the adapted screenplay to the latter. So Newman went to Scorsese, as he was a fan of his work, particularly Raging Bull, which he felt had a similar tone to what The Color of Money should be.


In a rare moment of downtime on The Color of Money set, "I read a review of [Nicholas Pileggi's] Wiseguy . and it said something about this character Henry Hill having access to many different levels of organized crime because he was somewhat of an outsider," Scorsese told Rolling Stone. "He looked a little nicer. He was able to be a better frontman and speak a little better. I thought that was interesting, because you could get a cross section of the layers of organized crime—from his point of view, of course. So I got the book, started reading it and was fascinated by the narrative ability of it."


The most famous (and certainly the most quoted) scene in Goodfellas comes at the beginning, when Pesci's Tommy DeVito jokingly-yet-uncomfortably accosts Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) for calling him "funny." In addition to being the driving force behind the scene on screen, Pesci is also responsible for coming up with the premise.

While working in a restaurant, a young Pesci apparently told a mobster that he was funny—a compliment that was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response. Pesci relayed the anecdote to Scorsese, who decided to include it in the film. Scorsese didn't include the scene in the shooting script so that Pesci and Liotta’s interactions would elicit genuinely surprised reactions from the supporting cast.


Scorsese was set to direct Schindler's List, but was apprehensive about making it after the controversy surrounding his previous two films, Goodfellas and The Last Temptation of Christ. At the same time, Steven Spielberg was set to make Cape Fear, but decided that he "wasn't in the mood" to make a movie about a "maniac." So they traded projects. Spielberg had Bill Murray in mind to play Max Cady. Scorsese had other ideas.


Saul Bass is certainly the most famous (and possibly the only) well-known designer of opening credit sequences, with more than 50 to his name. If there was a movie in the '50s or '60s with distinctive opening titles, odds are good that it was Bass's work, often in conjunction with his wife, Elaine. (Among them: Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest, West Side Story, Spartacus, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.) Bass did the titles for Scorsese's Goodfellas, Cape Fear, The Age of Innocence, and Casino, which turned out to be the final film of his career. He died five months after the film opened, at the age of 75.


Scorsese read Herbert Asbury’s 1928 nonfiction book The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld in 1970 and immediately thought it would make a good movie. He didn’t have any money or clout yet though, so he had to wait. He bought the movie rights to the book in 1979, and even got a screenplay written around that time, then spent the next 20 years trying to get the project off the ground.


While Scorsese and screenwriter William Monahan claim they did not watch the 2002 Hong Kong action movie Infernal Affairs before making The Departed, the two films share more than a few similarities. Infernal Affairs director Andy Lau unsurprisingly prefers his own film, saying of The Departed, “Of course I think the version I made is better, but the Hollywood version is pretty good too.”


Before The Departed, Scorsese had previously used the Rolling Stones song in Goodfellas and Casino. It seems Billy Costigan loves the Stones, too the CD that he mails to Sullivan is housed in the case for the Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street.


Originally titled Season of the Witch, the film’s name was changed to Mean Streets from a line from Raymond Chandler’s 1944 essay “The Simple Art of Murder.” Writing about the art of storytelling and plumbing the depths of humanity, Chandler wrote. “In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”


This was in early 1978, before it was even written as a movie yet, when De Niro was collaborating with Mardik Martin to adapt LaMotta’s memoir, while simultaneously trying to convince a noncommittal and increasingly drug-addled Scorsese to take on the project. De Niro’s idea was to stage it as a Broadway play (to be directed by Scorsese), and then, during the run of the show, spend the daylight hours shooting the movie. De Niro liked the idea of the day’s filming influencing the way they performed the play that night. But Martin’s script wasn’t yet ready for either medium, and Scorsese was in no shape to do it then anyway.


Scorsese was supposed to be in New York editing the Liza Minnelli/Robert De Niro musical drama when he was in San Francisco preparing and shooting The Last Waltz. According to Scorsese, New York, New York producer Irwin Winkler was "very upset" when he learned this.


The performance recorded for The Last Waltz was designed by Boris Leven, who has served as production designer on West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965). Leven created a backdrop inspired by the films of Luchino Visconti (Death In Venice, The Leopard), borrowing props from the San Francisco Opera's production of La Traviata and chandeliers designed for Gone with the Wind. Robertson wasn't sold on the elaborate decor. He told Leven, "Chandeliers? I don't think that's going to go over with Neil or Bob or the rest of the musicians. These people don't do chandeliers, Boris."


As you might know, the business of filming is rarely chronological—directors tend to jump scenes for cost, scheduling, and efficiency reasons. For Goodfellas, the scene that broke shooting ground was the intentionally low-budget Morrie’s Wigs commercial, which plays just before Henry and Jimmy hassle Morrie about a debt near the beginning of the film. To get the feel of the commercial right, Scorsese contacted Stephen R. Pacca, who had created his own ultra low-budget ads for his replacement window company, to write and direct the Morrie’s Wigs ad.


"It was my second audition ever," Witherspoon said in 1999. "My agent told me I'd be meeting Martin Scorsese. I said, 'Who is he?' Then he mentioned the name Robert De Niro. I said, 'Never heard of him.' When I walked in I did recognize De Niro, and I just lost it. My hand was shaking and I was a blubbering idiot.''

Drew Barrymore auditioned for the role, too, but believed she overacted for one of Scorsese's assistants. In 2000, she called the audition "the biggest disaster" of her life and said that Scorsese thinks she's "dog doo-doo" because of it.



The Star Wars creator, then working on Attack of the Clones, had visited the massive set in Rome and told Scorsese that it was probably the last of its kind, that such large re-creations would be done on computers now to save money. Lucas’s know-how in such matters came in handy later, when Gangs needed an elephant and none of the animal wranglers in Italy were able to produce one in time. So Scorsese called his old friend Lucas and asked for help: “We’re effed," Scorsese told Lucas. "We don’t have [an] elephant! Tell us how to shoot it!” Lucas, an old pro at such things, guided them through the process of filming without the elephant and having it digitally created later. It’s the only thing in the movie that’s completely computer-generated.


The Marilyn Monroe-inspired pictures, taken by Herb Ritts for a Teen Vogue cover, caught Scorsese's eye. Stefani told MTV the story, as she heard it from DiCaprio. “Martin Scorsese’s driving in New York City and he sees my Teen Vogue cover on the side of a bus stop shelter. And he’s like, ’Who’s that girl? Let’s get her!’ I had Leonardo DiCaprio tell me the whole story in Martin Scorsese’s voice, so it was pretty bizarre.” Stefani portrayed Jean Harlow it was her first film role.


Scorsese was lucky to get Bernard Herrmann, a Hollywood legend who had scored Citizen Kane, Psycho, Cape Fear, North by Northwest, and dozens of others. Herrmann wrote the Taxi Driver score and conducted the recording sessions himself, finishing in Los Angeles on the evening of December 23, 1975. He retired to his hotel and died sometime during the night, officially Christmas Eve morning, at the age of 64. He was posthumously nominated for an Oscar.



Ever the Method actor, Day-Lewis first took lessons from two Argentine brothers with a butcher shop in Queens, then from a master butcher specially flown in from London.


Very late in the post-production process, when the film was due to premiere soon and Scorsese was still tinkering with the final sound mix, producer Irwin Winkler gave him a drop deadline: All work would cease at midnight on a certain night, and that would be it. When the hour arrived, Scorsese was obsessing over one minor line of dialogue someone says to a bartender —“Cutty Sark, please”—which he didn’t think was audible. Winkler told him too bad, we’ve got to send this thing out. Scorsese declared that if Winkler released the film this way, he wanted his name taken off it as director, because it no longer reflected his vision. Winkler said, “So be it.” Like all good producers, he knew that sometimes you have to let an overtired director throw a tantrum and say things he doesn’t really mean. Sure enough, Scorsese recanted sometime later.


Scorsese desaturated the color in the film’s gorier scenes, rendering the blood less realistic and more like a black-and-white tabloid newspaper (without actually being black-and-white). Not only did it fit the lurid tone he was going for, it soothed the nerves of the ratings board.



At Scorsese's request, Blanchett watched all of Hepburn's first 15 movies for The Aviator. Blanchett also screened Hepburn's 1973 interview with Dick Cavett, read a memoir about her, took golf and tennis lessons, and took cold baths just like Hepburn. On June 29, 2003—the same day that Blanchett arrived on set for the first time—Hepburn passed away. "I picked up the paper thinking, 'Isn't it odd that Katharine Hepburn's on the cover?'" Blanchett recalled. "She had such a remarkable life, and then with her death, she was even more present in everyone's mind."


Lefty Rosenthal—the inspiration for Sam Rothstein, who died in 2008—said he only ever saw Casino once. If that's true, it was the screening of a rough cut that was also attended by Nicholas Pileggi. Pileggi sat with Rosenthal—they were the only ones in the screening room—and said Rosenthal's reaction was positive. But near the end of his life, when an interviewer mentioned that, "You only saw Casino once—and you don't like the movie," Rosenthal replied that "It lacked the detail of what I did. There are scenes where the Rosenthal character repeated the same thing twice. I would only tell you to do something one time—that's all I needed. And there was that scene that still angers me when I think of it—I never juggled on The Frank Rosenthal Show. I resent that scene. It makes me look foolish. And I only did that TV show [at] the behest of the chairman of the board of the Stardust so that the public would realize I was a decent guy and not a mobster as portrayed by the media covering us at the time.” Did Rosenthal change his mind over time? Did Pileggi misinterpret his initial reaction? We'll never know.

Curtis Martin Used Football to Find Some Real Work

Inside Trinity Boxing Club in Lower Manhattan, Curtis Martin looked more like an active running back than a retired one. He pounded the heavy bag with the biceps of a bodybuilder, his body absent fat, still thick, solid, imposing, perhaps more sculptured than when he left professional football after the 2005 season.

His trainer, the boxer Ehinomen Ehikhamenor, summoned Martin, the fourth-leading rusher in N.F.L. history, into the ring. There, Martin implored a reporter with the same conviction that guided him through 11 seasons and more than 14,000 rushing yards that last week made him a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Hit me,” Martin said. “Hit me in the face.”

That was vintage Martin, a back who welcomed contact, who played hurt and with an abandon that masked his secret: Martin never loved football, never found passion in pigskin. Instead, he saw the game as the fastest, most influential route toward the platform he now enjoys in his dizzying array of business and philanthropic efforts.

Even when he played, Martin did not want to be a scout or a coach or a broadcaster afterward. He wanted to own part of a team. He befriended Woody Johnson, the Jets’ owner and Martin’s mentor. Three years ago, at Johnson’s 60th birthday party, only three people gave speeches. One was Martin.

The party theme was “Wig out for Woody,” and most of the guests wore wigs, including Donald Trump. “People remembered two things,” Johnson said. “The wigs. And the speech from Curtis.”

That was Martin, too, as comfortable in swanky ballrooms as on muddy football fields. He was different from every other player Johnson met. As the Jets prepared for Monday night’s Martin Bowl — the Jets against the Patriots, Martin’s former teams — Johnson carried into a conference room at his Manhattan offices a list of Martin’s accomplishments and a framed letter with immaculate handwriting.

Martin gave Johnson the letter after he retired. The tone is appreciative and charming. Martin mentioned that Johnson once “offered to carry my equipment,” and he signed off, “I respect and appreciate you, #28.” Johnson calls the letter poetry, and it is the only item in his office given to him by a player.

To Johnson, the handwriting summed up Martin perfectly: “He took the time to write this. It’s distinctive, recognizable. He probably signed less often, but with higher impact. And that was Curtis.”

Martin played with an understated excellence that led him from the streets of Pittsburgh to the University of Pittsburgh to the third round of the 1995 N.F.L. draft. On that day, Bill Parcells called Martin and asked if he wanted to become a Patriot. Sure, Martin responded. But his heart said something else.

He hung up, turned to a friend and said: “I really don’t want to do this. I really don’t have the desire to play football. I don’t want to play football.”

But Martin also understood the platform an exceptional football career provided. If he wanted to feed the homeless and send doctors to poor countries and give life lessons to celebrities, football would provide the launching pad.

Parcells found Martin serious, intelligent, aware even early in his career of exactly what he wanted. Instead of venturing immediately into all his outside interests, Martin dedicated himself to football. With the first $70,000 in his bank account, he hired an assistant and a housekeeper. Each night, he came home to a clean house and a home-cooked meal. Martin was already investing — in himself.


“A player like Curtis Martin inspires you to coach,” Parcells said. “Everything he said he was going to do, he did.”

On the field, Martin was consistent. He remains one of two backs in N.F.L. history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first 10 seasons (Barry Sanders was the other). Martin was shifty, powerful and evasive. He moved, Johnson said, “in a way that defied description.” And Martin was vocal. His former teammate Brandon Moore remembered how Martin went one speed in practice: full.

Mostly, Martin impressed with his durability — as important as a player’s ability, according to Parcells. Martin said he played with second- and third-degree ligament tears, with broken fingers and busted shoulders. In the 2000 season opener, at Green Bay, Martin so injured his ligaments it felt as if the top half of his right leg had separated from the bottom. He wore a brace and rushed for 110 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Jets’ win.

That performance was special to Martin because of the way he earned it. “I believed my value to a team was in things like that,” he said.

Martin retired when doctors told him that if he returned from another knee injury, he might require a cane to walk by age 38. In describing how the announcement felt, Martin wiped his hands clean.

All along, Martin had a plan. Like a bride dreaming of her wedding day, Martin said, he dreamt about retiring from football. He donated at least 12 percent of every check to charity. He started the Curtis Martin Job Foundation. He met with Johnson, asked questions, even attended the N.F.L. scouting combine with Jets executives.

Everything Martin is doing now stems from that preparation. He works with single mothers and Surgicorps, an organization that sends doctors to third-world countries to perform operations. He helps fight homelessness in New York City, even once sitting for three hours with a homeless man who went by the name Cowboy. In the winter, in freezing temperatures, Martin said he convinced Cowboy to take temporary residence.

Of his business ventures, Martin remains more private. Shortly after retirement, he served as a life coach to celebrities and others in New York and Los Angeles. He is designing a home fitness center in a partnership with the Jets. Martin said he preferred stable businesses, and as such, he was also buying an insurance company.

Mostly, Martin wants to own an N.F.L. team. He declined to name specific teams, but predicted he would be an owner within the next five years.

“Football has been a great platform to reach people,” Martin said. “Ownership is just an extension, a bigger, better way of doing that.”

Last month was a good month, a perfect month, for Martin. He married his fiancée, Carolina, before roughly 180 guests. He honeymooned in Cabo San Lucas, zip-lining and whale watching and rappelling down mountains. After returning, he received word from the Hall of Fame, and he said even his status as a semifinalist prompted more emotion than he expected.

Martin has good company on the coming ballot. His first year of eligibility coincides with those for Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Willie Roaf and Deion Sanders. Parcells acknowledged his lack of objectivity, but said Martin should be elected on the first ballot.

Martin said: “When I think of the Hall, what’s most satisfying is this really wasn’t something that I wanted. But I’m proud of that fact. I made the most of that situation. I maximized my opportunity.”

Imagine that. The reluctant running back giving his Hall of Fame speech, on the verge of ownership. Only in the world according to Curtis Martin.

Who Is Jerry Vale and Why Does Martin Scorsese Love Him So?

On a typical Sunday afternoon when the director Martin Scorsese was growing up on Elizabeth Street in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York, the family apartment was filled with both the aroma of a simmering sauce and music from the popular Italian-American crooners of the day.

“Aside from Sinatra, Tony Bennett was the authority in that sense,” the filmmaker recalled in a recent interview. “He had such an extraordinary range and was top of the line. And of course, Dean Martin and his coolness. But it was Jerry Vale who we listened to pretty much all the time.”

Vale has a big role in a crucial scene in Scorsese’s new drama, “The Irishman.” The singer, as embodied by Steven Van Zandt, performs at a gala thrown in honor of Frank Sheeran, the mob hit man at the center of the movie. As Vale sings, gangsters discuss the fate of Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters leader who in real life disappeared in 1975.

A member of Mitch Miller’s saccharine yet hugely successful Columbia Records roster, Vale (born Genaro Louis Vitaliano) was one of many Italian-American nightclub singers of the era who were influenced by Bing Crosby. Even stars like Sinatra based their early style on Crosby, who was himself influenced by Louis Armstrong.

But in Scorsese’s view, Vale had a different quality that set him apart from the rest of his contemporaries, whether Bennett, Perry Como or Al Martino. “He sounded like as if my uncle sang, or the way my brother could sing,” Scorsese said. “Of course Jerry is 100 times better, but he felt like that person in the room who would break into song. It was like a family member in a way that voice was so familiar and comforting.”

Scorsese recently turned 77, and it’s the music of his youth that has informed his films, many set to deep cuts and classics. “For me, it’s very, very serious,” he said of his tune choices. “Probably the most enjoyable part of making movies is to select these songs.”

It’s a tradition that continues with “The Irishman.” While the film covers many decades, its soundtrack is grounded in an easy-listening style that was forged postwar and remained unchanged, fostered by singers like Vale and orchestrators like Percy Faith.

“In the movie, if we’re playing something that was popular in 1955 but the scene takes place in 1975, it didn’t matter because they were still listening to it,” Scorsese said.

The brutality in the film is ironically set to a melancholy soundtrack, a symbolic nod to the era. “They used violence as an instrument, but in the meantime they tried to have tranquil lives,” he said of the popularity of easy listening during times of strife, likening it to meditation. “One can’t really describe in words the effect music has on the human soul. It’s something that transcends and takes you in.”

Vale provides a common thread through Scorsese’s work. The singer, who died in 2014, played himself in “Goodfellas” and “Casino.” In “The Irishman,” Van Zandt — known as a member of the E Street Band and for his role on “The Sopranos” — recreates an actual performance when he lip syncs two of Vale’s isolated vocals from his master recordings against a backdrop of fresh instrumentation: “Spanish Eyes” and the Italian standard “Al Di La.”

“I don’t really understand Marty’s obsession with Jerry Vale,” Robbie Robertson, a longtime Scorsese collaborator who provided the movie’s haunting score, said, laughing. “But with those kinds of choices, it adds an authenticity. It’s something that Marty does that underlines something in the storytelling.”

The music supervisor Randall Poster, another frequent collaborator of Scorsese’s, agrees. “The power of his point of view is what makes it all coherent,” he explained. “Things that are disparate somehow come together by virtue of his intellect, memory, instinct and passion. Somehow, that’s where the coherence comes from. From today’s point of view, I don’t know who appreciates how popular Jerry Vale was.”

Scorsese’s musical choices have given largely forgotten tracks new life. “There’s no doubt that when I choose a piece, for the most part, that’s considered,” he said, citing as an example the inclusion of a long-forgotten 1951 No. 1 song, “Cry,” performed by Johnnie Ray.

Poster said, “There’s great joy in bringing these things forward and I think that’s part of our dialogue and commitment,” adding, “It’s a terrific bonus when a song is embraced again after such a period of time.”

Vale’s daughter, Pamela Vale Branch, is grateful for that commitment. “Growing up, I knew all of these people from this other era and generation,” she said. “When people find out he was my dad, they’ll say he was played during every Sunday dinner or at every special event like he was part of the family. But a lot of my friends I have now didn’t grow up with that.”

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The show format was a spontaneous, open forum for people in the entertainment community. The idea, originally conceived by Favreau, originated from a time when he went out to dinner with colleagues on a film location and exchanged filming anecdotes. Favreau said, "I thought it would be interesting to show people that side of the business". [1] He did not want to present them in a "sensationalized way [that] they're presented in the press, but as normal people". [1] The format featured Favreau and four guests from the entertainment industry in a restaurant with no other diners. They ordered actual food from real menus and were served by authentic waiters. There were no cue cards or previous research on the participants that would have allowed him to orchestrate the conversation and the guests were allowed to talk about whatever they wanted. The show used five cameras with the operators using long lenses so that they could be at least ten feet away from the table and not intrude on the conversation or make the guests self-conscious. The conversations lasted until the film ran out. A 25-minutes episode would be edited from the two-hour dinner. [1] The one exception to the standard format was Favreau having a conversation with Martin Scorsese, done in a more traditional interview style. [ citation needed ]

The show was canceled by IFC in favor of The Henry Rollins Show because the network felt that "four years in, we needed to make a change, and we needed to make a bold statement." [2]

Netflix and the Independent Film Channel produced a special 50th episode of Dinner for Five, which premiered on IFC February 1, 2008 and is available on Netflix starting February 4, 2008. The 50th episode features Favreau and Vaughn, as well as Peter Billingsley, Justin Long and Keir O'Donnell, who appear in Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show.

A DVD was released by Fox Lorber in 2004 of the complete first season. Subsequent DVDs were released by Fairview Entertainment in 2007 as "manufactured on demand when ordered from Amazon" discs. The Fairview DVDs aren't programmed as complete season, but under the aegis of "Jon Favreau presents his 10 most memorable moments/segments" from the series. These bear the titles "Favreau's Favorites", "Best Directors", "On The Road" and "Producer's Picks".

Michelob Ultra’s ad calls attention to the fact that less than one percent of America’s farmland is organic. To help grow that percentage, Michelob introduces the 𠇆 for 6-pack” initiative𠅏or every six-pack bought, the company will help transition six square feet of farmland to organic farmland.  

Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross star in this The Shining-inspired ad, where Cranston offers Ross new Mountain Dew Zero Sugar. He breaks through the door with an ax, and Ross accepts the drink because she’s thirsty. 

Martin Scorsese has hilarious reaction to Eminem's surprise Oscars performance

Martin Scorsese sent Twitter alight after appearing to fall asleep during Eminem’s eclectic performance of Lose Yourself at the Oscars last night.

The iconic director – whose Netflix film The Irishman was up for 10 nominations – was in the crowd in Hollywood to watch the rapper&aposs surprise appearance at the 92nd Academy Awards.

But at the grand old age of 77, the legendary rapper’s head rocking track – which won Best Original Song way back in 2003 – didn’t quite seem to click with Scorsese.

As Eminem belted out the famous lyrics, cameras caught the director with his eyes closed before blearily opening them again.

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The moment happened for just a few seconds but it was enough to see thousands of people talk about it on Twitter.

“Martin Scorsese wondering if he went to the wrong show,” one wrote.

Another commented: “I never much cared for Martin Scorsese before I saw him listening to Eminem at the Oscars.”

A third added: “Martin Scorsese definitely not getting an acting award for pretending to enjoy Eminem.”

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And a fourth said: “Martin Scorsese totally ‘loses himself’ when Eminem is on.”

Elsewhere in the hotly-anticipated awards ceremony, South Korean thriller Parasite made history by becoming the first non-English speaking film to win Best Picture.

Director Bong Joon-ho – who also took home the Best Director award for the film – paid tribute to his country in his speech saying: “We never write to represent our country, but this is very personal to South Korea.”

Watch the video: Happy Birthday Martin Scorsese (June 2022).


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