While some Hollywood stars have immediately contributed to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, this devastating natural disaster — perhaps the worst in modern history — has not generated the kind of massive star-driven fund-raising we’ve seen in the past.
Major Hollywood studio types, shared their disappointment with their pool of talent on Wednesday.
“Especially since so many of those actors have made huge amounts of money in Japan — both from their films and TV commercials and print ad campaigns — I’m surprised we haven’t heard about a huge telethon being organized,” said a veteran executive.
“Where’s Julia Roberts? Where’s George Clooney? Where’s Jamie Foxx? Where is Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt?” asked another Hollywood honcho.
The efforts so far haven’t matched the celebrity outpouring that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2004 tsunami in Thailand and South Asia, the Haiti earthquake or the Darfur tragedy.
“[Stars] all make millions from those commercials for liquor or cigarettes that only air in Japan and in Asia and are never seen in the U.S. … Plus Japan is one of the largest markets for our films. Stars love to run over there to promote movies. They should now be doing everything they can to help those people in this terrible time of need,” added the second source— who requested anonymity, “since I may work with some of those actors in the future, and don’t want to piss them off.”
† For the record, a number of stars have stepped up to the plate already. Lady Gaga’s selling a bracelet that already has netted $250,000 for Japanese relief. Demi Lovato wrote a personal check for a cool $1 million.
Blink-182 singer Mark Hoppus has set up an eBay auction site where he’s selling rare band memorabilia for the cause. Linkin Park rocker Mike Shinoda quickly got creative and designed some T-shirts to sell for Japanese relief — including one stating, “Not Alone.”
After pop star Jack Johnson had to cancel his tour in Japan, he donated expected profits from those shows to relief efforts.
† Even though Charlie Sheen is expected to pocket $300,000 from just his first two live shows in Chicago and Detroit, he reportedly is donating just $7,500 of the proceeds to Japan.
Other stars are doing even less. Katy Perry, Conan O’Brien, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift merely tweeted to fans suggesting donations to charities like the Red Cross.
IT’S OFFICIAL: While the names of Paula Abdul, Jessica Simpson and Brit Cheryl Cole all have been mentioned as possible judges on Simon Cowell’s upcoming U.S. version of “The X Factor,” veteran music industry mogul Antonio “L.A.” Reid apparently is going to be on the “X” judging panel.
Sources tell the Hollywood Reporter “it’s a done deal” for the Island Def Jam chairman.
BIG BUCKS: Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti is the recipient of the $1 million Birgit Nilsson Prize for his “extraordinary contributions and influence in the world of music.”
The jury that awarded the prize — established by the Birgit Nilsson Foundation after the 2005 death of the Wagnerian soprano — noted how Muti has conducted concerts in international trouble spots, including the Balkans and the Middle East. Jurors also focused on his founding a youth orchestra in Italy.
The maestro will receive the award Oct. 13 in Stockholm — in the presence of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia.
Bill Zwecker reports on “Good Day Chicago” and “Fox Chicago News.”