Michael Douglas booking

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Michael Douglas is primarily regarded as an actor while his work as a producer of films such as ‘One
Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ is less well known to the public. He was even responsible for helping to
bring 70’s shocker ‘The Exorcist’ to the screen at a time when most studios had shyed away from
producing controversial horror film. Born to Hollywood action star Kirk Douglas and actress Diana Dill
in 1944, Michael attended the prestigious prep school, Choate Rosemary Hall, in Wallingford,
Connecticut. One of his fellow students was Glenn Close, who he was later to star with in the
sensational 1987 hit ‘Fatal Attraction’. Douglas became a global household name through 70’s TV cop
series ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ (1972-76) co-starring film star actor Karl Malden. But it was to be
the romantic-adventure-comedy ‘Romancing The Stone’ with actress Kathleen Turner in the mid 80’s
that acted as the breakthrough movie to catapult him into the superstar league. After leaving Streets in
the mid 70’s, Douglas appeared in a string of notable movies such as ‘Coma’ (1978) and ‘The China
Syndrome’ (1979) – the latter with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon. ‘The China Syndrome’ was one of
the first films to highlight the dangers of nuclear fall out and somewhat ironically was released just
days before the real life events at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania. Douglas’ success as a producer
was marked by the Oscar winning ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ (1975) which made a star of
actress Louise Fletcher, who as the insidious ‘Nurse Ratched’ won an Oscar for her debut
performance. Michael’s father Kirk, had originally bought the movie rights after hoping to play the
central role on film. He gave the rights to his son who later decided Kirk to be too old to play the role.
Instead the part went to Jack Nicholson who won one of the film’s five Oscars. Only three movies have
achieved such a feat. Kirk was said to be extremely angry with Michael for some time for making this
decision. ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ ranked number 20 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 greatest
American films and cemented Douglas Jnr’s position as a film producer to be reckoned with. The rest
of the 70’s for Douglas were disappointing, particularly as an actor. He appeared in several
unmemorable films and less popular fare such as ‘Running’ (1979) a tedious melodrama starring
Douglas himself as an American marathon runner determined to run for his country at the Olympic
games. The actor’s era of superstardom associated with a plethora of high profile, box office hits was
to begin in 1984 with ‘Romancing the Stone’ when Douglas had turned 40. He also produced as well
as starred in this hugely popular action-fantasy romp set in South America.
The irreverent, tongue-in-cheek adventure yarn appeared on the coattails of the massively successful
‘Indiana Jones’ franchise – even though it had been written years before- but with a far more
contemporary and realistic edge to it. It was followed up in 1985 with another box office instalment
‘The Jewel of the Nile’ Part of the box-office success was due to the on-screen chemistry between
Douglas and Turner, who were to team up years later playing another battling couple in ‘War of the
Roses’. Further hits followed, none more so than Wall Street (1987) where Douglas’ famously callous,
corporate raider ‘Gordon Gekko’ summed up 80’s excess and obsession with money. ‘Greed is good’
was one of Gekko’s mantras, which, along with his city attire of pinstripes and braces, became a
catchphrase and model for many a wannabe city boy and ‘yuppie’ during the time. The role won
Douglas his second Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. 1987 continued with the golden
streak as Douglas appeared in the year’s 2nd most successful movie, ‘Fatal Attraction’. The movie, costarring Glenn Close as a disturbed woman who has an affair with Douglas’ married character and
sets out on a destructive path, was a commercial hit that had audiences gripping the edge of their
seats. Despite its success the movie did not escape criticism. Some critics believed the film to be
misogynistic and pandering to right wing moralising about sexual behaviour outside marriage. Douglas
teamed up again with Kathleen Turner in 1989 for the blackly-comic ‘The War of the Roses’. Once
again the Oscar winning Douglas was able demonstrate his comedic skills as an irate husband
violently battling with his wife (Turner) in a vengeful tale of domestic disharmony. But his second film
that year, ‘Black Rain’ (1989) was a very different celluloid affair. Directed by British movie maestro
Ridley Scott, this tale of two New York cops fighting with Japanese Yakuza members was an overstylised and middling success at the box office. It was going to take three years before Douglas
revisited the heady successes of earlier hits. It came in the shape of a glossy, racy and sexually

explicit tale featuring femme fatales, murder and revenge in the controversial ‘Basic Instinct’.
Catapulting co-star and small bit player Sharon Stone into superstar stratosphere, the steamy movie
became notorious for Ms Stone’s apparent lack of underwear in a now much parodied police
interrogation scene. Stone later claimed that she was unaware of the position of the camera during the
infamous “leg-crossing” scene and that director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop) had “tricked” her into
removing her underwear before re-positioning the camera. The film originally received an NC-17 rating
in America, mainly due to the sexual acrobats between Ms Stone and Douglas.
‘Falling Down’ (1993) directed by Joel Schumacher, again appeared to tap into the US’s preoccupations with social politics, red tape and crime. Douglas’ character, Bill Foster, a stressed out
white collar worker, simply wants to get home for his daughter’s birthday but finds everything
conspires to stop him. Douglas’ portrayal of this meek pillar of the community turning into a vigilante is
both funny and disturbing. More recently it has been Douglas’ personal life that has put him in the
public glare, particularly with his marriage to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones in 2000. Despite the
cynical jabs from the press, the couple have appeared as the perfect Hollywood union and have
produced two children, son Dylan and daughter Carys, to join the famous Douglas acting clan.
However, the marriage has not been without its controversial moments. A High Court appearance in
the UK relating to unauthorised pictures that were taken and published of the couple’s wedding,
garnered column inches in the global press. Another legal proceeding, this time centred on thirty-five
year old Dawnette Knight, an obsessive fan of Douglas, only ended when Knight was incarcerated for
three years. Compared to the 1980’s Michael’s recent film career has had little impact despite
commendable performances in small, quirky projects such as ‘The Wonder Boys’ (2000) where he
played ‘Professor Grady Tripp’ a novelist, teaching creative writing.
The commercial failure of ‘It Runs In The Family’ (2003) starring many of the Douglas clan including
Michael and his elderly father Kirk in a family drama, was a disappointment to the award-winning
actor. He did not star again in a movie until ‘The Sentinel’ (2006) a thriller set in the White House and
co-starring Keifer Sutherland and Kim Basinger. Douglas starred in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
in 2010, earning himself a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Gordon Gekko.
The actor’s latest movie Haywire is due to be released in August 2011. He stars in the film alongside
Ewan McGregor and Channing Tatum.

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