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Surely Zeta's not green-eyed over Kidman?

Feb 11 2004

The Western Mail - The National Newspaper Of Wales


IT HARDLY seems likely that one of the richest, most beautiful and successful actresses in the world would be envious of another woman.

But Swansea's own Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones is being painted by the American press as being green with envy when it comes to fellow thespian Nicole Kidman.

The star of Chicago and face of cosmetics giant Elizabeth Arden is said to be setting her sights on outshining the former Mrs Tom Cruise as the Australian beauty is beating her to the best scripts to bag the leading lady roles.

That's the verdict of the US tabloids after she ditched the man who helped make her an international movie star, switching to rival agency Creative Artists, one of the most powerful talent agencies in America, who last night confirmed the move.

Welsh supporters of Zeta have rubbished the claims, one Swansea fan insisting, "She's much more appealing than Kidman".

But a top UK entertainment agent thinks switching agencies may prove to be "a big mistake".

Jonathan Shalit, the talent scout who was famously sacked by singer Charlotte Church after he helped turn her in a multi-millionaire, thinks Wales' most famous export may find the "grass is not always greener on the other side".

He said, "There's only a few people who remain loyal to the agents who were with them from the start.

"The challenge as an agent is to be honest. Sometimes the stars don't like that. If you're critical you might get someone's back up and a lot of them can't take that.

"Maybe that's what happened in Catherine's case.

"The manager she had was outstanding, helping her to become one of the biggest film stars in the world.

"But she might think the grass is always greener. She might have met her new agent [Bryan Lourd] who has told her everything she needed to hear and might have forgotten what the other agent did for her.

"He might also be taking less of a percentage from her."

He added, "A great agent can take a great talent to the world - a bad agent can't do that, even if you're working with a great talent.

"Maybe the new agent impressed her and told her things she really wanted to hear.

"Or she might be getting a better deal now."

An American newspaper has claimed that Zeta-Jones, 36, was told by husband Michael Douglas that she could win another Oscar by dumping her longtime William Morris agent, George Freeman.

The speculation has stunned Tinseltown as Freeman, widely regarded as being the number one agent with the Midas touch in Los Angeles, represented the star for 10 years, becoming a close personal friend.

A source in Hollywood was reported as saying, "This was Michael's doing.

"He pecked away at Catherine saying, `Why didn't you get this part? Why didn't you get that part?'"

But the source, reported in the New York Post, said that part of the problem was that Zeta-Jones was bound to be envious of Kidman's career and the Australian star came across as a more sympathetic and likeable character.

"Nicole gets first look at every script. Catherine doesn't. Nicole and Catherine had very similar careers until Nicole's divorce from Tom Cruise. Then audiences found her sympathetic." Shalit, who discovered Church when she was just 11 and played a large part in nurturing a talent which went on to sell millions of albums worldwide, said swapping agents will not change Zeta-Jones' reality - and that is that Kidman is widely regarded as a better actress.

"Let's be honest here, Nicole is in a different league.

"Both of them are massive stars but of course directors are going to want to give Nicole first shot at a script as she is a better actress.

"I've got no problem with Michael Douglas thinking Catherine is the greatest thing since sliced bread. But she's not up there with Nicole yet. Catherine is great, but I think Nicole is better." Rise of Zeta

The man who discovered Charlotte Church

The top 10 roles that made Catherine a star:

1. Chicago (2002) - Velma Kelly
2. Intolerable Cruelty (2003) - Marylin Rexroth
3. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) - voice of Marina
4. America's Sweethearts (2001) - Gwen Harrison
5. Traffic (2000) - Helena Ayala
6. High Fidelity (2000) - Charlie Nicholson
7. The Haunting (1999) - Theo
8. Entrapment (1999) - Virginia Baker
9. The Phantom (1996) - Sala
10. The Mask of Zorro (1998) - Elena.


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