Forbes magazine released its list of highest paid actresses for the year with Jennifer Lawrence taking the top spot earning $52 million over the past 12 months. The list included other stars who held parts in big productions this year, like Scarlett Johansson in the second spot with $35.5 million, Melissa McCarthy at $23 million, and Jennifer Aniston at $16.5 million. The prestigious list included only one actress with Latin roots: Cameron Diaz, whose dad’s family is of Cuban descent, taking the 11th spot and making $11 million. The actress, who married longtime boyfriend Benji Madden in January 2015, had an amazing year, starring in The Other Woman and Annie. Noticeably absent from the list were other Latina blockbuster makers, like Jennifer Lopez, Zoe Saldana, and Salma Hayek. Here’s hoping for next year.
The Mortal Kombat movie hit theaters 20 years ago this week. If that doesn’t take you back, you might not have been in the target demographic for the graphic violence that made the games such a hit with preteen boys.
However, you might also be surprised to learn that the martial arts flick was a huge success. Made for just $18 million, it has earned $122.1 million to date, making it one of the more lucrative video-game-to-movie adaptations ever.
Not only was it the 22nd top-grossing movie of 1995 – right in between The Bridges of Madison County and Nine Months – it trounced the other teen-friendly movie that opened on Aug. 18, 1995: The Baby-Sitter’s Club, which made only $3 million on its opening weekend, compared to Kombat’s $23.2 million. (There’s a “Finish her!” joke in here somewhere.)
This week, The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the film’s key players, and one of the surprise tidbits is that the female lead was nearly played by a different actress: Cameron Diaz.
As in the original game, the main female character in the movie is Sonya Blade, a U.S. Special Forces agent who infiltrates a martial arts tournament. In the movie, the role was played by Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (then just Bridgette Wilson), who had previously appeared in Last Action Hero and Higher Learning. In the THR interview, associate producer Lauri Apelian revealed that Diaz was set for the role until right before shooting began.
“We originally had Cameron Diaz cast as Sonya Blade. We were at New Line when The Mask was in postproduction,” Apelian recalled. “New Line said, ‘Why don’t you look some of the dailies that are coming in from this film and see what you think of this young, unknown actress?’ As soon as we saw the dailies from The Mask, there was no question that she was a star.”
Diaz, however, broke her wrist while training for the fight sequences.
“She couldn’t do the martial arts stunts we needed,” Apelian said. “We were very happy with Bridgette. It was great she was available.”
Wilson-Sampras, who was finishing up her lead role in the Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison at the time, recalled that the last-minute job worked out perfectly.
I have decided to continue to updated all the movies Cameron has done in true HD. The next movie on the list: What Happens in Vegas
A man and a woman are compelled, for legal reasons, to live life as a couple for a limited period of time. At stake is a large amount of money.
I have decided to go through the gallery and updated all the movies Cameron has done in true HD. Any movies that are out on blu-ray and I can get in better quality then DVD will be replaced. The first movie: In Her Shoes
Strait-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose’s boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
Cameron Diaz’s new role isn’t in front of a camera! A source tells Us Weekly the actress is taking a year off from making movies to “be a wife and try to have a baby” with husband of five months, Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden.
“All she wants is to stay home and enjoy this special time in her life,” the source reveals. Although the 42-year-old raked in $18 million in 2014 from films such as Sex Tape, The Other Woman, and the musical adaption of Annie, “she has told her team she won’t answer the phone for any amount of money — even though she has received offers for various things. She is adamant that she is not available for anything.”
The pair’s $10 million Beverly Hills mansion, where they held their 100-guest traditional Jewish wedding ceremony in January, provides the perfect retreat. Diaz, who’s “all about healthy living,” meditates every day and is one of those “really spiritual” people who values her quiet time alongside 36-year-old Madden, a second insider says.
“She loves watching TV and movies at home with Benji, and she’s working on new recipes for a follow-up to The Body Book,” the insider continues. “Her priorities have 100 percent shifted. She wanted to settle down and she has.”
And when Madden’s away, his wife is always on his mind. Just take his sweet puppy Instagram from March (he called her his “bae”!) as an example.
“He’s incredibly faithful,” the source adds. “He messages her all the time and tells her how much he loves her. She does not doubt him for one moment.”
Three struggling elementary schools in Broward County will be getting star treatment.
Three performers, including actress Cameron Diaz, will help bring arts education to Lake Forest Elementary in Pembroke Park, Mary M. Bethune Elementary in Hollywood and Walker Elementary in Fort Lauderdale next year.
It is part of a growing White House initiative to use the arts to fix failing schools, officials said Wednesday. Broward was the only Florida school district chosen.
The band at Bethune Elementary School performs during the school’s open house. (Robert Duyos, Sun Sentinel)
“All children deserve to have access to the arts, not only to discover their passion, but as a tool to engage them in the joy of learning,” Diaz said. “I look forward to working to inspire the students at Bethune Elementary … to discover and reach for their dreams.”
John Lloyd Young, an actor and singer known for his role in Broadway’s Jersey Boys, will work with Walker Elementary. Carla Dirlikov, an opera singer, will partner with Lake Forest. Both schools are F-rated. Bethune received a C last year.
The three-year partnership will bring art supplies to the schools, extensive training for teachers, and will incorporate art and music into core subjects like math and reading.
The celebrities will make multiple visits to the schools — teaching classes, meeting with parents and sending video messages to students when they are away. Each performer will work differently with each school, depending on the students’ needs.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker works with schools in Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis, sending cupcakes, and video-conferencing with the kids. Actress Kerry Washington works with a school in Inglewood, Ca., where she attends student performances and works with students during class. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma frequently visits his Boston school, conducting workshops, classes and performing for students.
“Giving [students] this creative outlet through the arts, whether it’s in the classroom or in the music room, it’s going to get them to want to be part of a group and collaborate,” said Sharon Boyd, principal at Lake Forest. “I can see it helping because it’s going to really assist those students in wanting to be engaged in their learning.”
She said math classes could incorporate things like drumming, rhythms and beats. Boyd said she was looking forward to working with Dirlikov, whose mother is Mexican and father is Bulgarian, because many of her students are diverse and transient.
“Getting the students to see someone successful who has travelled the world … it can really help the students understand what it’s like to come from a place where you might not have a lot” and still succeed, she said.
The Turnaround Arts Initiative is already in effect at 49 schools in 14 states, with schools generally increasing their academic performance and student attendance. The program began in 2012 with eight underperforming schools.
Schools will receive $25,000 to purchase art supplies and musical instruments. Districts and local partners will also contribute resources to the schools.
“When children learn using creative skills, it’s often something that they remember, it’s something that really sticks with them,” said Jan Goodheart, vice president of external affairs at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
The high-profile celebrities will also “bring a high level of energy” and raise excitement for the program.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, vice chairwoman of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, said participating schools were showing marked improvement.
“We designed programs that would demonstrate that if well-designed art programs were in the public schools, they could turn around those schools,” she said.
Singer Josh Groban has been working with a school in Chicago since last year. He said he benefited from arts programs at his high school and knows how influential exposure to the arts can be.
“So many of the programs I was lucky enough to have were being cut at a really drastic rate,” he told reporters Wednesday. “The students that needed them the most were getting them the least.”
Joel Madden has reportedly been “leaning on” Cameron Diaz for support in fighting for Nicole Richie.
The rocker and fashion designer tied the knot in 2010 and they have daughter Harlow and son Sparrow together.
There are rumors of trouble in their marriage at the moment, with Nicole being spotted out without wearing her wedding ring recently. While both appear to be putting on a united front on social media by posting cute photos of one another, it’s thought things aren’t in good shape.
Joel has apparently been relying on sister-in-law Cameron, who’s married to his brother Benji, for help.
“Joel is determined to fight for Nicole. He’s been leaning on Cameron, saying he doesn’t want to give up on the marriage. He says he’ll do whatever he can to prove his devotion to her and their family,” an insider told British magazine Closer.
Meanwhile Cameron has apparently been “begging” her pal to not throw what she has with Joel away, even inviting Nicole to stay with her while she thinks things over. The former reality star is said to have been open about her marriage woes with friends, admitting she and her husband have been drifting apart over the last few months.
This could be in part due to Joel’s stint as a judge on The Voice Australia, meaning he spends long periods away from home.
In contrast, things appear to be going well for Cameron and Benji, who got hitched at the beginning of this year. The couple are apparently keen to start a family and those close to the blonde beauty are sure it’s bound to happen soon.
“Having a baby has been something she’s dreamed of since meeting Benji and she’s happier than ever,” a source added.