Category Archives: Hollywood Insider

Baby Boy’s Taraji Henson, On The Cusp of Fame. By Michelle Alexandria

Actress Taraji Henson has done it all and seen it all. This hot young star grew up in “”the hood”” as she calls it. We Washingtonians like to think of it has plain old Southeast, Washington, DC. One of the roughest neighborhoods in the country, at one point known for having the highest number of murders per capita than any other neighborhood in the country. Not a pleasant distinction to have. Although she grew up around rough surroundings, her parents made sure that she got out and experienced life. She spent many summers in the country with her grandparents, and attended and graduated from Howard University. With her outstanding work in acclaimed director, John Singleton’s newest film, “”Baby Boy””, ready to break down the doors of Hollywood. One cannot help but get caught up in her unbridled enthusiam and optimism.

EMTaraji. How did you get involved in this project?TarajiI went in and auditioned for it just like everyone else did. Because John was looking for new faces, it was basically like a cattle call. I went and read for John and the casting director told me that he really liked my work. Right after that he went into production on “”Shaft””, so I didn’t here from him until a year later.EMDid you study acting or was working before you went in for this audition?TarajiYeah, I did a lot of television. I’m professionally trained and can do it all. I do Greek Tragedy, Comedy’s, Shakespeare, anything. You name it I can do it.EMHas this movie opened doors for you?TarajiThis town is all smoke and mirrors. It’s not really going to have an affect on my career until the movie actually comes out. There’s a really good buzz going on about me right now, but most people will wait until they see how well the movie does at the box office. Everything in Hollywood is about the bottom line, money. I mean they are impressed by the fact that I’m in a John Singleton film, but it boils down to the dollars. EMWhere did you get the emotional strength to do that character?Taraji [laughs]My past. I just lifted up that old carpet and looked at the dust that I had swept under there. EMSo you’ve had yourself a Jody?TarajiOh my god, more than I care to remember. No more though, I’m over the Jodys EMAs a filmgoer, you know we like things to be in black and white. One of the things I was trying to figure out during the film was – is Jodie a good guy, a bad guy who gets redeemed in the end, or what?TarajiHe’s just a guy, a guy who is trying to find his way. I think, my character A.J. said it best, “”Sometimes as people we always want answers in black or white, we don’t want to deal with the gray. That’s where we learn our lessons in life – in the gray and you have to be willing to live in the gray.”” You have to not know what the future brings. I can walk out of here today and get hit by a bus tomorrow, you have to start living your life now.EMDo you think that so many black women, and really women in general are single now, because we do not want to deal with the gray?TarajiI think that has a lot to do with it. A lot of problems in black relationships is that we like to point the finger at each other instead of taking personal responsibility for our own actions. If you know you are in a relationship with a mamma’s boy, why are you taking care of him? Why are being his mother?EMAs young girls we are told that you should watch how a man treats his mother, because that’s how he’ll treat you. Is there a fine line?TarajiMost definitely, I’ll tell you one thing my son will not be a mamma’s boy. I think a lot of times as women we are told so much that a man will be unfaithful to you, after hearing that so many times you start to accept it. I’m not buying that. I think that if I can be faithful – so can he.EMHow close are you to your character?TarajiI’m a spitfire. There’s no doubt about that, but I can communicate. If I say I hate you, then I hate you, there’s no two ways about it. I’m not saying that I love you or any of that stuff. EMDo you find that all of your different experiences help you bring more to your characters?TarajiThe more you live the more seasoned you are in life helps you bring your characters to life. Acting is nothing more than the experiences that make up your life.EMWhat has the experience been like working on this film?TarajiAmazing. At first I was so intimidated, running around like a scared chicken. I remember when John, first called me. I was so nervous, I mean John has accomplished so much and here he is calling me personally, I was so nervous that my hands were shaking and I kept accidentally hanging up the phone. EMNow that you have the cache of having worked with John Singleton, what projects are you working on now?TarajiNothing, I’m just waiting for the film to come out. When it blows up, I’m sure the phone will start ringing off the hook.

Final Fantasy Producer Extroadinare Chris Lee, By Michelle Alexandria

Final Fantasy Producer Chris Lee has been around the blocks of Hollywood several times. Much like the director of Final Fantasy (Hironobu Sakaguchi), many people have seen his work, but not to many know his name. As a matter of fact, I had no idea who he was when I first met Chris during a private press lunch (I will not complain about the food, I will hold my tongue, it’s taking every ounce of will power not to complain about the “”food””…) at the MPAA’s headquarters in Washington, DC a few months ago. At the time the PR Reps asked me if I wanted to see a 17-minute clip of Final Fantasy and participate in a group Q and A with Chris Lee after words. Well being a fan of the game, this movie is one of my top three movies that I want to see this summer (and don’t get me started on how disappointing the summer movies have been so far), so I said sure, but who the hell was Chris Lee? The PR Agent said he’s the Producer of Final Fantasy.

I said “”Oh, ok””. So I went and looked him up in the IMDB. I didn’t see him there. I declined the one on one opportunity thinking that the group Q and A session would be good enough – not to mention it’s a lot less work, because I wouldn’t have to come up with all those brilliant, probing questions that I’m famous for. When am I going to learn not to turn down anyone? I still regret turning down the Blair Witch and South Park guys -who knew?Well during the original Q and A session (which I will post when the film opens) I found him to be a fascinating man, and quite the namedropper as well. He was so Hollywood, without being Hollywood. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that he was the former head of production at Columbia Pictures. Responsible for putting together such films as – “”As Good As It Gets””, “”Jerry Maguire””, “”Philadelphia””, “”My Best Friend’s Wedding””, “”Sleepless in Seattle””, “”Starship Troopers””, “”Zorro””, “”Godzilla””, and others. Ok, “”Godzilla”” was a dog of a movie, but you can’t complain about the others (well maybe “”Starship Troopers””, which I liked). But you can’t argue with the man’s track record. After “”Final Fantasy”” his next project is a “”hip”” spy movie with Antonio Banderas, and a movie adaptation of the hit television show “”S.W.A.T.”” Let’s hope they don’t screw up the theme song, like they did with “”Mission Impossible II””. Well after finding all of this background information about Chris, I told the PR Rep that I had to get him one on one. Not to seem shallow, I did want to talk with him some more after our initial encounter. It’s just that all of this “”new found”” information made him even more interesting than he already was. So recently we had a quickie little telephone chat with him, and again I found him fascinating, and he told me several things that is “”not for publication””. Let’s just say the Final Fantasy DVD will Kick Ass. EMWhen we met at the MPAA, I must be honest I had no clue who you were, other than being the producer of the movie “”Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within””. Imagine my surprise when I later found out that you were the head of production at Columbia Pictures. Tell us a little bit about your stint there, what projects you worked on. Just what the heck does the head of production do anyway?CL [laughs] Well my first job was at Tri-Star pictures, where I worked for about 13 years. At Tri-Star, I started as a freelance script reader and worked my way up to become the President of Production at Tri-Star. When I was there, I became Story Editor, Production Assistant, President of Creative Affairs, etc. When Tri-Star merged with Columbia Pictures, I ended up moving over there. Through these various roles I had a chance to work on many different projects. You bring relationships and people to the studios and hopefully they’ll do well. I’ve been lucky in that the films that I worked on all did fairly well.EMScript readers are the first door or hurdle that a movie producer has to go through to get a project made and is also among the lowest end of the Hollywood ladder. As a script reader how did you know which films were going to be successful? Not only that but successful enough for you to pass the script along up to the next level in the chain and to fight for that script to be read? What in a script moves you?CLWell filmmaking is such a long process. I originally bought Final Fantasy when I was the President of Production at Tri-Star. At the time it was based on a 12-page outline. It wasn’t so much the story that I cared about it was working with the Director, and being part of such an innovative project. “”The Legend Of The Fall”” took us ten years to make, it started as a novella, went through several rewrites, etc. Harrison Ford was originally going to star in it, and it ended up being Brad Pitt. In order to be in this business you have to have passion for what you are doing and a perseverance to see a project through to completion. The challenge is reading something and knowing that it is going to be right for the market.EMWith such a long production schedule is it really hard to predict what the market will want to see?CLIt’s like I said, with such a long schedule, you are often trying to predict the audience wants to see in the future, not what they want to see now. Music is a good barometer of what future trends will be, so I follow that industry quite a bit. As a producer you cannot afford to be behind trends, you have to stay ahead of them.EMDo you think Videogames are a good barometer of future trends?CLNot the entire market, but definitely a good indicator. Four years ago when I bought “”Final Fantasy”” I also had the chance to buy “”Tomb Raider””. Which is another gaming title that I thought would make a great film. “”Tomb Raider”” I would have done differently than “”Final Fantasy””. I would have made that as a live action film because it was essentially Indiana Jones.EMThere are several Video Game franchises that are in various stages of production. What would you say are the top two or three videogame franchises that deserve the big screen treatment?CLYou know what? I don’t even know what other projects are in the pipeline. I know that I’m not doing anymore myself. I can think of a few games that I’d like to see get made, but I’m not sure if they are in the pipeline or not. The question you have to ask yourself is would the game property be enhanced at all by creating a movie out of it.EMLike Super Mario Bros?CLThat was a movie where the producers didn’t know what they wanted to do, or even why it should be a movie. A game that I would love to see made is Metal Gear Solid.EMWell there’s an obvious difference between a title like “”Super Mario Bros”” or “”Metal Gear Solid.””CLWell Metal Gear Solid is a movie even the lead character’s name is “”Snake””. People really love that game because it is so true to life. That game is a great example of true convergence. EMHow far do you think this convergence will go?CLOne of the interesting things about Final Fantasy is that while we were making this game, we were also creating a version to play on the Playstation 2. It won’t be so much as a game, but you will be able to rearrange the movie into any format you want, in essence become your own director. The DVD movie will have it’s own separate features, like multiple angles, editing ability, and some other enhancements as well. Hollywood is always trying to figure out what the next ancillary market you can get out of a movie. It’s funny that this movie started as a game franchise, became a movie, and is going back to being a game.EMWhere you thinking of these markets as you were creating this movie?CLYes. When you are doing a film like this, it is only natural to think about what other mediums you can port it to. With a property like “”Jerry McGuire there is but so much you can do with it. When doing a big action movie or franchisable film like Final Fantasy you are always thinking about the next possibility. For instance Sakaguchi is thinking about taking Aki Ross [the lead character] and putting her in another film.EMHow exactly would that work? Put her in a totally different animated film? Or use a mix like “”Who Framed Roger Rabbit?””CLWell since this has never been done, we haven’t figure out exactly how that is going to work, but it’s really matter “”casting”” her in the right movie.EMWhat can you tell me about your latest project, the one with the cool theme song?CLWhat project?EMS.W.A.T.CLWell, we are waiting for the script it’ll be young, hip, and fun. Other than that there’s not much I can say about the project.EMWell what else are you working on?CLWell I’m working on a new action film, starring Antonio Banderas for Warner Brothers. It’s going to be a cool, hip, spy film, written by the same guy who did “”The Fast and Furious””. It’s called ECK X and it’s already becoming a video game.EMHow did you come up with such a goofy name?CLWell the writer did, it’s the name of the character.EMWhat’s it about?CLIt’s kind of a hip spy movie that is a cross between Desperado or “”The Professional”” but a little more high tech. It’s sort of a spy vs. spy situation until they find out that they have a common enemy. I was shocked when I looked at Next Gen [popular videogame mag] and saw that it was already being made into a videogame.EMWell there you go, you already have your very own MGS, your Solid Snake. What did you think of the Tomb Raider movie?CLI’ve been so busy working on Final Fantasy that I haven’t had time to go see it.EMWhere you disappointed to see the numbers it pulled?CLWhat did it pull?EMAbout $80 million.CL[laughs] Well $80 million dollars is a great number in my book.EMDo you think that mainstream critics will understand what this film is about? What has the critical and audience response been to the movie so far?CLIt’s been largely positive. I think it’ll appeal to a large audience

Final Fantasy Creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, by Michelle Alexandria

Many people outside of the gaming industry have never heard the name Hironobu Sakaguchi, but many have seen or played his stunning work. As the head of video game giant Squaresoft, he has sold more than 40-million units of computer game software worldwide. He is most known for his beloved creation Final Fantasy. By any measurement possible this game series has been a huge success, selling more than 33 million units and breaking sales records worldwide.In 1991, Sakaguchi was promoted to executive vice-president of Square, where he oversees the development of all of Square’s games as well as producing other film projects. His dream of building an advanced digital studio was fully realized several years ago when Square opened the doors to their advanced studio in Honolulu-Hawaii (and hey I’m still waiting for my invitation to come and tour the place.) The early result of his labor of love is the 60 million dollar, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It took Sakaguchi, four year to research, develop, and create this movie. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sakaguchi during a quick 15-minute telephone interview. It went a little something like this.

EMLet’s start by talking about the transition of Final Fantasy from the hit video game series to the theater. What made you want to do the movie?HSThe original motive wasn’t to do a film, but to build a brand new state of the art digital production studio that could push digital technology and the Final Fantasy game series to the next level. While working on new games for the next generation of gaming systems, I decided that there was no reason that we couldn’t use this new technology to make a new kind of film.EMWhen you first started thinking about this project, it was long before the Playstation 2, X-Box, etc. became known to the general public. Did you think that gaming platforms at that time [four years ago, circa 1997] were too limited for your vision?HSNo, it was actually the opposite. I was involved in all the original conversations regarding the development of the Playstation 2. The reason I wanted to build a new, more advanced digital studio was so that we could actually maximize the full potential of the new console.EMAre you using the Mya software [the software used to create the film] in any of your current games or just for film projects?HSOf course we are using Mya in several of our game properties. We used it in the last several installments of Final Fantasy, including Final Fantasy 10 and are using it again in some upcoming titles. EMThe Final Fantasy series has always been known and loved for its totally immersive game experience. The stories have been long and involved, while the game play itself has always been stellar. It takes the average gamer at least 40 hours (or months) to complete a typical installment of Final Fantasy. How do you translate such a deep and involving experience like this to the big screen, without disappointing the fans of the series?HS Yes, as a feature film, the story and experience will be much shorter than fans of the series are used to but I do not think fans of the game will have any problem getting involved in the storyline of the film. EM With a film like Final Fantasy, you have a built in audience base. When creating a film based on a franchise you have to create a film that will appeal to a broader audience, while maintaining your base. How difficult was it to translate the film to the big screen without loosing the essence that fans of the series love?HSWell actually, the Final Fantasy game series does reach a pretty broad audience already. We have done research, and have been surprised by the findings. When were doing this film we did it with our fan base in mind.EMFinal Fantasy VII is credited with reviving the Role-Playing Game genre and expanding the entire market. When Final Fantasy VII was released, it broke numerous sales records, and sold over 2 million units in the first week. The series has gone on to sell over 33 million units worldwide. How do you explain this amazing accomplishment?HS Well for starters the RPG genre was not dead. It was always hugely popular in Japan and other parts of the world. It was only in the US where RPG’s had a hard time selling. Why the breakthrough with Final Fantasy VII? I think there was a number of reasons, for starters, it was the first RPG to move away for the flat 2D image of the past. Final Fantasy VII was truly a cinematic experience, in story, game play, and in graphic quality. Also Sony did an excellent job of marketing the title.EMWhat other projects are you working on now?HSWe have a number of projects in the works now, including finishing up Final Fantasy X for the Playstation 2, and working on Final Fantasy XI, which will be completely online. For movie projects we are having several discussions about what to do next, everything from doing sequels, to taking several of the characters from the movie and putting them into other movies that are not Final Fantasy related.EMDo you think that the realism of these characters and the advancement in computer animation will ever make live action films and actors obsolete? HSNo, I don’t think animation will ever replace live actors. I think it can enhance live action films, but never replace them.

Anatomy of a Thriller – Behind The Others, by Tiffany N. D’Emidio

Acclaimed Spanish Director, Alejandro Amendabar’s “”The Others”” is a bone chilling, psychological thriller that takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The Director’s first American film is a strange tale of loss, fear, and psychological war far. The film features a talented ensemble cast which is headed by Hollywood, A-Lister, Nicole Kidman.

Kidman stars as Grace, a widow raising two ailing children who are suffering from a mysterious affliction to light. Kidman brings to the table an outstanding portrayal of a woman on the edge of sanity. Her character suffers from excruciating headaches which only subsides by forcing complete quiet through out the house at all times.

Not only did this talented Director write and direct the film, but he wrote all the music as well. We recently sat down with this hot director. Here

Mulholland Drive, A Justin Theroux Interview

Writer/Director David Lynch, who is best known for such off beat, cult classics like “”Blue Velvet”” and “”Twin Peaks””, is back in action. In his latest homage to film noir, or maybe just film weirdness, “”Mulholland Drive””. Love, deceit, a mysterious wad of money and the fantasyland of Hollywood make up this complex tale played out by a talented ensemble cast, created in the innovative and somewhat surreal mind of David Lynch. We recently sat down with cast member Justin Theroux to talk about what it was like working with David Lynch and the low down on Mulholland Drive. For those that don’t know, Justin Theroux is best known as Ben Stiller’s writing partner.

EM:What was your experience working with David Lynch?JT:It was wonderful working with David. I had never met David or seen David, didn

Colleen Haskell, From Survivor to Hollywood, by Tiffany N. D’Emidio

Colleen Haskell first burst into the headlines by being one of the original Survivors in the CBS series, “”Survivor””. This CBS show became more than a television show, it became a way of life and cultural phenomenon for over 30 million television viewers a week.

Viewers watched Colleen eat rats, bugs, and use political savvy to backstab her fellow “”Survivor”” cast mates – although Colleen became known as the “”nice one”” from the show. Colleen is one of the many cast members to parlay their fifteen minutes of fame into what they hope will become a long lasting career in the spotlight. After surviving, “”Survivor”” how difficult can it be to face the beasts known as Hollywood Movie Executives. Now that’s a jungle. In her first feature, Colleen plays Rianna, a kind-hearted animal lover, in the new Columbia Pictures, Rob Schneider comedy “”The Animal””. Recently, we sat down with Colleen, to discuss her new role in the comedy.EMLast year you were on one of the top-rated

Catch A Rising Star – Paul Bettany, by Michelle Alexandria

For years actor Paul Bettany has been making waves on the London film scene starring in such cutting edge films as “”Dead Babies””, “”Gangster No. 1″”, “”Bent”” and others. Now he is about to explode onto the American film scene. In his first major American movie, Columbia Picture’s, “”A Knight’s Tale””, he gives an over the top, hysterically funny performance as Geoffrey Chaucer: an oft-naked, unknown writer and compulsive gambler. Paul almost steals the movie from Heath Ledger (The Patriot). Paul’s Chaucer dazzles the crowd and the movie going audience with his glowing introductions, hip attitude, and quick wit. Note, This interview was done several years ago, before “”A Beautiful Mind,”” and of course “”Master and Commander”” was released. Paul is yet another EM Find, who is now part of Hollywood’s “”B”” List

He is currently shooting his second major film “”A Beautiful Minds”” produced and directed by A-List director, Ron Howard and stars Oscar winner Russell Crowe. We would say, that Paul’s future doesn’t just look bright, it glows.We recently had a chance to sit down and have one of our famous EM chats with Paul about his career and his experiences working with, “”A Knight’s Tale”” writer/director Brian Helgeland who also won an Oscar for his screenplay, “”L.A. Confidential””.EMLet’s start this interview with my standard overly broad question. Tell us who you are and why we are speaking with you today.PaulI’m here because I’m doing a press tour of “”A Knight’s Tale””. I’ve been traveling up and down the East Coast doing publicity for the film.EMHow long did it take you guys to make “”A Knight’s Tale””?PaulWe finished it last summer. I’m currently filming a new Ron Howard movie called “”A Beautiful Mind”” in New York with Russell Crowe. In this film Russell Crowe plays John Nash a mathematician who won the noble prize for economics that has a troubled life. I play his best friend.EMWhat is it like to go from playing the role of Geoff Chaucer, which is so over the top comedic to doing something as serious as this?PaulThe extraordinary thing is, that I’ve never played a good guy before. In London I always played the bad guy, or a gangster, so it’s strange that in my first American film, I’m playing this good guy.EMWhich is harder for you playing a good guy or a bad guy?PaulWell normally playing a bad guy is so much more fun. Although playing Chaucer was a lot of fun as well.EMHow much of “”A Knight’s Tale”” was adlibbed?PaulThe entire film was scripted. Brian Helgeland (the writer of “”L.A. Confidential””) is such a brilliant writer, that there wasn’t much adlibbing needed. Although, the line “”I’ll be here for the entire week”” was mine.EMIf you only played bad guys in London, how did you land this choice role?PaulBrian Helgeland is a dear friend of mine. He asked me if I wanted to play the role of Chaucer. When he sent me the script, he included a picture of a dwarf. At that point I threw out all pretensions and preconceived notions of doing any research or about what type of film this would be.EMHow did you guys manage to come up with those great introductions?PaulThe introductions were kind of modeled after a John Lennon performance that he once gave in London, where the Queen was in attendance. He stood up and jokingly said, this performance is also for all the people in the “”cheap seats in the back.”” It was that type of irreverence and “”shock”” value that we wanted to get at. We thought that how Geoff Chaucer would deliver his introductions.EMYour introductions where so hysterically funny and memorable – it truly made the movie.PaulI’m glad you liked it. Some things we made up on the spot, like the “”I’ll be here for the rest of the week””, but Brian is a very great writer. His words fall out of your mouth so easily. He gets all the credit for the introductions.EMCome on, you have to take some credit for your performance. Don’t give it all to the writer/director.Paul[Laughs] Ok, I made it all up and I scripted the entire movie! Seriously though, he’s a really great writer and we had an enormous amount of fun doing it.EMHow did you get your start in acting?PaulI started off in the London theater scene, where I stared in a play written by another brilliant writer name Joe Penhall. I was working a lot before this performance, but this play was what started things off for me.EMHow would you compare making American movies to London films?PaulAll film sets are almost entirely the same; they all have the same feel about them. The only difference is, and I assume it’s because of the enormous amount of money that go into American films, is the desperation and panic in the producers voices. EMSo you don’t find it anymore pleasurable to work on a major Hollywood film versus a smaller independent?PaulI really don’t know yet. The first film [“”A Knight’s Tale””] was such a joy to make because I was working for a dear friend and this one [the Ron Howard film] is such a serious subject, about schizophrenia. I haven’t had to sell my soul yet, to work. I just finished working in Spain on a film with William Dafoe. It was really difficult because we only had 2 1/2 months to make it and we needed four, and we didn’t have enough money. It was a real learning experience.EMHow long did it take to make “”A Knight’s Tale””?PaulIt took 4 1/2 months to shoot and we had two crews shooting in different locations simultaneously. Which was a lot of shooting.EMSo was there a lot of material left on the editing room floor?PaulYes, there was an enormous amount. Which I’m sure will find it’s way onto the DVD. In the original cut there were at least two more of my introductions that didn’t make the final cut.EMOf course on the DVD, there will be an option where we can watch just your introductions. As an actor how difficult is it to go from a film like “”A Knight’s Tale”” where you were really good friends with the writer/director and the type of film that it is, to something as dark and serious as “”A Beautiful Minds””?PaulI don’t know. [thinks] I guess one is more taxing than the other. Making “”A Knight’s Tale”” was long hard work, but it was such a joy that you didn’t notice. While making something like “”Gangster Number 7″” or “”Morality Play”” was just harder work.EMDo you find it more emotionally draining to do a serious role, or do you know how to separate your own personal feelings from what you are doing?PaulIt’s a difficult question to answer. When talking about the craft of acting you come across as sounding like an ass. You either say, “”it’s at the vanguard of changing people’s emotions…”” or you say, “”it’s better than working.”” Neither of which is really true. [Pauses] Even if you are doing a really intense scene with someone, you still have to remain a little playful otherwise I’ll stop listening. [Thinks] Or let’s put it this way, if you are in a Country House, alone, lying in bed, you hear a creak, it’s very easy to convince yourself that someone else is in that house and you get scared. It’s very simple, there’s no magic involved. If you are playing a character for two days where you are pretending to stab someone in the eye with a corkscrew, it’s hard not to feel a little odd by that. It takes a little time to come down off of something like that.EMDo you think a lot of actors have trouble separating the two?PaulI’ve worked with some actors who get so involved with what they are doing that they do take it home with them. I would suspect it is very painful for them. Taking off your clothes in the middle of the Czech Republic [He spends half of his time in “”A Knight’s Tale”” running around naked] is humiliating but I’m getting paid a lot of money and it’s better than working in a mind shaft somewhere.EMHow long did it take you to get comfortable with it?PaulYou never do. You never do!

Cheech Marin, Hollywood Vet Still Going Strong, EM Interview by Cathy Areu Jones

As part of Cheech and Chong, the comic duo which rejoiced in a world of marijuana-smoking and ignorance, Mexican-American actor Cheech Marin, 55, and his partner Tommy Chong, were the counter-culture icons in the 70s and early 80s. The duo won a Grammy Award in 1973, put out records that went gold, and made six movies (which are now top weekend movie rentals). In 1984, the pair, which had met in a Canadian topless bar, split up. What happened? According to Marin, it