Friday, July 19, 2024

Michael Douglas: Even Stars Have Best/Worst Years


Michael Douglas, movie star: he’s got Oscars from “Wall Street” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He’s got an Oscar winning wife, and what seems like a great life.

But oh what a year he’s had so far. A couple of months ago, his eldest child, Cameron, 31, was sentenced to five years in prison on drug charges. The stress would seem insurmountable.

Now Douglas been diagnosed with throat cancer. He’s undergoing chemotherapy. Doctors predict a good outcome. Everyone’s praying for him.

These are the ironies of success. This year has also been one of Douglas’s best in his long career as an actor. His performance in “Solitary Man,” an under-released indie film, is brilliant. It’s his best work in years. With any luck. some critics groups will cite Douglas for this nifty turn. Maybe he’ll even see some awards action, although tiny Anchor Bay Films doesn’t have the kind of money needed to make that happen.

Then there’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The 20th Century Fox is terrific, and should be the studio’s biggest hit of the year when it’s released on September 23rd. Douglas gives a knockout performance.

But “Money Never Sleeps” has already occasioned three weird strikes against it: first Douglas’s ex, Diandra, perhaps plagued by financial problems set in motion by jailed money manager Ken Starr, filed suit to make Douglas split his fees and income from the film with her. Ouch! Then director Oliver Stone made weird, out of character comments on subjects including the Holocaust. They had to be apologized for and retracted.

Now Michael’s health could impact the film’s launch. But frankly, there are enough stars in “MNS” like Josh Brolin, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and even our old pal Sylvia Miles to go out there and fan the flames. Send Sylvia out there, Fox! She knows how to sell a film.

So here’s to Michael Douglas. He’s a survivor. And my guess is we’ll see him at the Oscars next February, talking away.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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