"I don't believe in coincidence," says actress Juliette Binoche.
Love, love, love the idea of Jane Fonda playing a Ted Turneresque TV titan running a 24-hour cable news program. This will be the new Aaron Sorkin production for HBO. Fonda's co-stars include Sam Waterston, Jeff Daniels, Olivia Munn, Emily Mortimer and Dev Patel. Fonda certainly knows the territory, having been married to Turner for 10 years. They remain friends. (At least until the first episode airs.)
Jane was interviewed recently by CNN's Piers Morgan, and rose admirably above the experience. No matter whom Morgan interviews, he looks (and acts) as if he's smelling something really bad and that talking to these people is far beneath him. Jane appeared rather amused.
* * *
Who can forget Shirley Bassey blasting her way to international fame, singing the title song of the third James Bond movie, "Goldfinger," released in 1964.
Miss Bassey -- Dame Bassey, actually -- went on to record two more Bond themes. She belted out "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Moonraker." In years to come, artists such as Carly Simon ("Nobody Does It Better"), Paul McCartney ("Live and Let Die"), Nancy Sinatra ("You Only Live Twice"), Tom Jones ("Thunderball") and even Madonna ("Die Another Day") put their mark on various Bond soundtracks. But it is the sassy Miss Bassey whose voice is forever associated with 007.
Now, here's the tidbit. Bassey actually recorded a song, titled "No Good About Goodbye," for 2008's "The Quantum of Solace." This was Daniel Craig's second turn as Bond. The song was rejected. In its place was a Jack White/Alicia Keys duet, "Another Way to Die." That, well ... died.
You can find "No Good About Goodbye" on Bassey's album, "The Performance." It's great. In the first place, Bassey's voice is virtually -- no, perhaps, literally -- unchanged since 1964. This woman takes care of her instrument! Second, it is such a "Bond" sound. Suggestion to producer Barbara Broccoli -- when the time comes to score "Skyfall" -- the latest Bond film -- use Bassey's song. Or write her a new one. The image of Daniel Craig as 007 and the sound of Shirley Bassey are a great mix of 20th- and 21st-century pop culture.
* * *
A year's end brava for the great Dame Helen Mirren. Did women of the world realize she stood up for them at this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies in Oslo?
Helen hailed the fact that the Nobel Prize this year went to three women. But added that it was "slightly shameful statistically" that it marked an extraordinary moment in history, yet only 12 women have won it since it was created in 1901.
Otherwise, Helen, who swept the year's awards ceremonies back in 2006 for playing both Queen Elizabeth I and II, struck another blow for women months ago. That was when she appeared, looking quite ravishing and sexy, in a bikini someplace in Italy. Helen is 66.
* * *
Better Watch Out, Better Not Cry! Division: There has been a bumper crop of mistletoe this year with more berries than ever. For the Romans, mistletoe represented peace, love and understanding. This was also a fertility symbol.
Kissing is inevitable -- and very nice!