Posts In "Talent"


“The Best Legal Blog I’ve Ever Read!” – [Insert Big-Time Celebrity's Name Here]

Celebrities have a lot of influence over modern society. They influence how we dress (hey celebrities, can someone put an end to the unflattering skinny jeans trend, please?), how we talk (or had you not noticed your frattiest coworkers repeating “that’s hot” and “winning” ad nauseum), how we dance (who started this fist-pumping thing, anyway?), the way we vote (or whether we vote at all), and what we buy. Not surprisingly, companies take advantage of this bizarre phenomenon by paying celebrities to promote their products. For example, football great and ladies’ man Joe Namath showed off his shapely gams to endorse Beautymist pantyhose in a silly commercial, supermodel Heidi Klum strangely decided to lend her name and face to a fat-free fruit candy, and Oprah’s multi-sector Midas touch is so potent she has an “Effect” named after her.

Occasionally, a company might incorporate a celebrity’s quote into an advertisement to hype a particular product or service. For instance, the late suit designer and proprietor of “the most expensive store in the world,” Bijan, teamed up with the uber-expensive Rolls-Royce in a partnership that Bush the Elder (that’s right, George H.W. Bush himself) describes on a Santa Monica Blvd. billboard as “[a] class act designer partnered with a class act car.” It is probably safe to assume that Bijan/Rolls-Royce obtained permission to use George Bush’s name and quote on that billboard (and if not, I know a good lawyer). But, because we live in a world where people do not always ask for permission (or otherwise abide by the law), this billboard made me think about the limitations on using a celebrity’s quote in an advertisement. Continue reading the full story . . . »

Q&A: So…What Exactly Is “Pay or Play?”

Q: I’ll keep this brief to avoid boring you to death. From my understanding, a pay or play agreement means an actor will attach themselves to the project, but if the film never makes it to production, at least the actor will still get paid. So basically, it’s an arrangement that will permit an entertainment professional to attach their client to a project with confidence by assuring the actor that at least they will get paid.

A: Avoiding boring you to death has never been this blog’s goal. Yet, it effortlessly fails to achieve it on a consistent basis, week in and week out. Setting goals in life is a mammoth mistake and a recipe for failure. The only way to achieve all your goals is to have none. This blog had no goal, direction, or purpose of any kind. But look at us now — we’re bigger than U.S. Steel and Huffington Post. This blog is so tremendously influential now that every word I type sends trepidations down my spine, up my brain, and sideways to other places. None of it was planned, deserved, or earned. How can something so lackluster, mediocre, and banal be so successful? You can ask the same rhetorical question about your boss or Jay Leno. C’est la vie. Continue reading the full story . . . »

Leggo My Likeness Part Trois: Pau Gasol’s Celebrity Doppelganger

Ever wonder what it’s like to be so famous that people who look like you can make money just by acting like you? We’ve all heard of stunt doubles. And most of us have seen the movie Dave. But not everyone is familiar with the phenomena of professional celebrity impersonation and the fun legal issues associated with it.

In this edition of Leggo My Likeness, we’ll take a look at 6’8” Michael Fanter of Antelope Valley, CA, who reportedly charges up to $600 per hour as a Pau Gasol impersonator. (For the record, the real Gasol — power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, just in case you actually need that information — is listed at an even 7’, so I’d look for a $100-per-missing-inch discount.)

The Double Take

One of the two pictures below is Pau Gasol. Can you guess who it is?

(Read to the bottom of the post to find the answer, after some deeply insightful legal analysis about Fanter’s work — do not scroll without reading!) Continue reading the full story . . . »

Double Trouble: What Black Swan, The Exorcist, and Maria from West Side Story Have in Common

Even before Natalie Portman won her Best Actress Oscar for her role in Black Swan, critics and audiences alike were buzzing about her disturbing performance as a dedicated-but-delusional prima ballerina. Recently, however, the discussion of Portman’s performance has taken a turn towards the controversial, as Sarah Lane — an American Ballet Theater soloist and one of Portman’s Black Swan dance doubles — has emerged with allegations that Portman did just 5% of the full body dance shots seen in the finished film.

Lane claims she is the victim of a “cover-up” by the filmmakers. Although she commends Portman for trying “to go method” and losing “a lot of weight” for the film, Lane blasts her single’s dancing (if Lane is Portman’s double, doesn’t that make Portman Lane’s single?), saying Portman didn’t look “at all” like a professional dancer and couldn’t even dance in pointe shoes. Lane’s comments came just days after Portman’s choreographer-slash-baby-daddy Benjamin Millepied boasted to the Los Angeles Times that Lane did only a very minimal amount of dancing in the film and that “Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.” Since Lane made her “5%” claim, however, the film’s producers, director and co-stars have come to Portman’s defense, with director Darren Aronofsky issuing a statement yesterday saying that of the 139 dance shots in the film, 111 — or, 80% — are Portman untouched, and when you consider screen time, 90% of the dancing is Portman.

Even if all the “did she or didn’t she” discussion surrounding Portman’s Oscar and dance performance misses the real issue — namely, that this should have been Annette Benning’s year — it did get me thinking about the use of doubles in film, and what potential legal claims actors and their doubles might have when situations like this arise. Continue reading the full story . . . »

Old Navy Is Definitely “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”

By now, I’m sure many of you have seen the Old Navy commercial starring Kim Kardashian Melissa Molinaro, a curvy, dark-haired Kim Kardashian lookalike who bursts into song and dance while looking “super C-U-T-E” in her Old Navy duds. Like many of you, I did a double take when I saw this commercial for the first time. Upon closer examination (read: once I caught a glimpse of the star’s normal-sized backside and nimble dance moves), I realized the star of the commercial was not Kim, but just a woman with a striking resemblance to the reality TV star/fashionista/walking proof of the decline of Western civilization.

After the commercial first aired in February, articles devoted to Old Navy’s use of Kim’s spitting image popped up all over the Internet. Molinaro herself has called the comparisons to Kardashian “extremely flattering” — but of course, who’s to say whether Kim herself would agree? So, naturally, upon first viewing Molinaro’s commercial, the lawyer in me immediately thought, “Can Kim sue Old Navy for using her lookalike in a commercial without her permission?” Then, the blogger in me thought, “I should write a blog about this!” (Then, the normal human being in me thought, “What have I become?”) So, let’s see if the law is on Kim’s side. Continue reading the full story . . . »

Oh My God…She Wore WHAT? Lessons on Courtroom Fashion, Care of Lindsay Lohan

Living in Los Angeles (and the world, really), it’s nearly impossible to miss any news about Lindsay Lohan. This will certainly be true again come Friday, as Lindsay makes the latest in her seemingly never-ending string of court appearance (this time, in connection with charges that she stole a $2,500 necklace from a Venice Beach jeweler). You might expect that, as a lawyer, my observations about the proceedings will be focused on all the legal wrangling and/or nuanced issues of law. But it doesn’t look like there’s anything particularly legally interesting about Lindsay’s situation, and — like every other media-watcher in America — I’ve been conditioned to instead watch Lindsay’s monthly courtroom visits with a keen eye for the fashion.

No, it’s not that I saw a story about Lindsay’s courtroom fashion choices on Access Hollywood. … Okay, maybe I did see that story on Access Hollywood (a gal’s gotta relax after a hard day’s work somehow). But even “reputable” news outlets like CNN and the Los Angeles Times have been no less obsessive about the sartorial elements of the Lohan legal drama.

Terrifyingly, I have sometimes found myself agreeing with Lindsay herself in thinking, “Who cares what she wears to court?” But the reality is that courtroom fashion choices can represent a considered element of legal strategy — and are even subject to specific judicial rules. Continue reading the full story . . . »

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