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Lifetime Schedules Anna Nicole Smith Movie

By Rich Heldenfels Published: May 22, 2013

The bio-pic loving network (it has a June Carter Cash movie premiering May 27) will air the Smtih movie on June 29  For the sake of context, I have followed the press release with a couple of things I wrote about Smith, including a piece when she died in 2007. The official word:

The Lifetime Original Movie Anna Nicole tells the rags-to-riches story of the iconic supermodel who captured the world’s attention with her beauty and unconventional lifestyle.  Exploring the sordid details that created her infamous persona, from stardom to untimely death, the world premiere will be on Saturday, June 29, at 8:00pm ET/PT.

The film, starring Agnes Bruckner (Lifetime’s The Craigslist Killer, Private Practice) as cultural icon Anna Nicole Smith, Academy Award and Golden Globe®-winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood), Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen (Sideways), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), is from executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Lifetime’s Steel Magnolias, Oscar-winning Chicago) and Judith Verno (Lifetime’s Drew Peterson: Untouchable, The Craigslist Killer, Natalee Holloway).  Directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) and written by John Rice and Joe Batteer (Blown Away, Chasers), Anna Nicole is from Sony Pictures Television.

Anna Nicole follows the swift rise and fall of Vickie Lynn Hogan (Bruckner), a Texas high school dropout and single mother with dreams of a better life.  Realizing the power of her beauty, Vickie accepts a job as a dancer at topless bar, where she changes her name to Anna Nicole Smith and first makes her mark.  With a new persona and a shocking marriage to octogenarian millionaire J. Howard Marshall (Landau), Anna’s career blasts off when Playboy features her in a pictorial spread that evokes comparisons to Marilyn Monroe.  But after her husband’s death, Anna’s financial support ends and her hard-partying ways, excessive drinking, drastic weight fluctuation and endless pill-popping take their toll, inevitably setting the stage for the fading starlet’s tragic descent.

 Hungry for celebrity, Anna launches her own hit reality show and soon gives birth to her daughter.  But her newfound happiness and positive outlook on life is shattered when her son dies of an overdose while visiting his mother and newborn sister in the hospital.  Unable to overcome the devastation over his death, in a tragic twist less than one year later, Anna herself dies of a fatal combination of pills, adding her name to a long list of icons who have succumbed to the temptations of fame.

 Madsen portrays Anna’s mother Virgie, Goldberg is Anna’s lawyer, Howard K. Stern; Elwes plays Marshall’s son, E. Pierce; and Graham Patrick Martin (Two and a Half Men) stars as Anna Nicole’s son, Daniel.

 Here is the piece I wrote in 2007:

Asked in 2002 what her greatest talent was, Anna Nicole Smith said, "I have no idea."
It was a sadly sincere answer, an admission that she hadn't really offered the world much beyond a seemingly unquenchable appetite for fame -- and, in later years, an easy object of mockery.
The emphasis here is on the sad, and not only because Smith died on Thursday. She lost a son, and no personal flaw makes a person deserve that. There is now a baby without a mother, and no parent's flaws make a child deserve that.
But it is also sad to contemplate Smith because her life was so wasted, and its end means there is no chance of later redemption. Even her renown was rooted in tawdriness.
It's wrong to say she was just "famous for being famous," although you can see her as the prototype for other minimally talented but tabloid-filling celebrities like Paris Hilton.
But she had actually done a few things to achieve the fame she longed for -- not great things, but things other than spending her parents' money.
Smith was for a time famous for taking her clothes off, an activity that her idol Marilyn Monroe had also engaged in. Only Monroe had an acting skill that was never evident in Smith.
Smith was also known for having married well. But the marriage had its own price: years of legal battles over her husband's estate -- and the assumption that Smith was an unscrupulous gold digger who had taken advantage of a sick old man.
In more recent years, though, the "famous for being famous" tag took hold as she cemented her image as a high-heeled, slurring train wreck. That happened in large measure because of a reality show she starred in for E!
Although she signed the papers and permitted the cameras -- and cashed the checks from E! -- even a brief encounter with her indicated that she was not in control of her own life.
Based on a press conference with Smith, and looking at her TV show, I wrote in 2002 that she was "a none-too-bright woman who is being thoroughly exploited by everyone around her."
The press conference touting her show was supposed to be for laughs -- with Smith bathed in pink light, talking about things like her dog being on Prozac. It was as if she was going to star on the Cartoon Network instead of E!
Only the press conference wasn't really funny. Smith did not seem to realize the joke, such as it was, was on her. That she was coming across as more pathetic than amusing. In the end, the press conference felt -- here we are again -- sad.
To be sure, Smith set herself up for jokes, almost encouraged criticism, was adept at choosing the wrong way of expressing herself and her emotions. Recent tattoos of her children, for instance, prompted one online gossip to say "apparently she doesn't carry a wallet."
But that was not all that different from the combination of attention and scorn modern news-gathering lavishes on the Lindsays and Parises and Britneys of the world. They didn't wear underwear, Smith stripped for Playboy. She surely must have thought, what's the diff?
Smith became a target because she wanted the gossips, and everyone else, to notice her. To invite her on the red carpets, to publish her picture, to legitimize her celebrity.
And in that very narrow respect, she succeeded. Yesterday afternoon, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News were all talking about Smith. Larry King devoted an hour to her. Anna Nicole Smith ended her life as a star.

And here's that 2002 event I mention in the above column:

Anna Nicole Smith has her own TV show.
Amazingly, it's not on the Cartoon Network.
The Anna Nicole Show, premiering in August on E!, is the first series to try to take advantage of the buzz around MTV's The Osbournes, in which Ozzy and family look like a bunch of animated characters let loose on the world.
Certainly, the big, red-lipped, flamboyant Smith - especially famous because of the battle over the estate of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall III - could have been imagined by, say, comic books legend Stan Lee.
And in a news conference Tuesday in Pasadena, E! seemed more than ready to treat Smith like a human cartoon. As if that's not enough, the reality-based show includes her lawyer - named Howard K. Stern - and her personal assistant, Kim Walther, a purple-haired former Jehovah's Witness with a tattoo of Smith on her arm.
Then, just to cement the connection to The Osbournes, there's Smith's dog, Sugar Pie, a 4-year-old toy poodle that joined Smith, Walther and Stern at the news conference. The dog is housebroken, Smith said. It also sees a therapist, is on Prozac and is obsessed with Smith.
You can easily imagine the attraction this has for E! And Smith is something of a star for the network. A True Hollywood Story on Smith from 1997 has run about 50 times, in one-hour and two-hour versions, and has gotten big ratings every time, said Mark Sonnenberg, executive vice president for entertainment at the network. (Smith did not cooperate with the show and did not like it.)
"There's an incredible fascination that people have with Anna," he said.
E! has long wanted to do something else with her, considering, for example, a series where Smith would interview other celebrities.
"When The Osbournes came out, it was a no-brainer to us," Sonnenberg said. "Let's put cameras on her, and let's do a show."
Smith overcame her reservations about E! because of the idea, a lot of talking and some control of the process - E! and Smith have a self-described "partnership" on the show.
Still, clips included unflattering shots of Smith in various positions, as well as her complaining that she had not had sex in two years. At the news conference, Smith shrugged off the sex comment as "one of those things you say and wish you didn't. But I said it. You can't take it back."
But under E!'s pink lighting, Smith herself came off more sad than funny. She looked and talked like a not terribly bright woman who, unlike Ozzy Osbourne, has become famous without actually doing much besides showing off her body.
She has long known she wanted to be famous, and on Tuesday she cited Marilyn Monroe and Christie Brinkley as celebrities who fascinated her.
But when asked what her greatest talent was, she said, "I have no idea."
That would seem to make her putty for E! Long a sort of late-night punch line, Smith could well become more of one when The Anna Nicole Show starts. While The Osbournes made Ozzy more famous, it also made him more laughable.
Still, Stern said the show is part of a larger design for Smith's career.
"I'm doing (the new show) because I've been stuck in my house so long with the litigation . . . and it was a perfect time for me to get out," Smith said.
A recent interview with Larry King was meant to be her last discussion of the Marshall case, Stern said after the news conference.
"We all know people might end up laughing with us, or at us, or whatever, but I don't think it really matters," Stern said. "As long as it turns out to be a funny show, then the goal of this whole project will be accomplished.
"It's part of a larger career plan that she has. There are going to be other things that are coming out in this next year and the year after."
And if it's not a hit, E! can always fall back on that True Hollywood Story.
 

 


 Anna Nicole Smith has her own TV show.
Amazingly, it's not on the Cartoon Network.
The Anna Nicole Show, premiering in August on E!, is the first series to try to take advantage of the buzz around MTV's The Osbournes, in which Ozzy and family look like a bunch of animated characters let loose on the world.
Certainly, the big, red-lipped, flamboyant Smith - especially famous because of the battle over the estate of her late husband, J. Howard Marshall III - could have been imagined by, say, comic books legend Stan Lee.
And in a news conference Tuesday in Pasadena, E! seemed more than ready to treat Smith like a human cartoon. As if that's not enough, the reality-based show includes her lawyer - named Howard K. Stern - and her personal assistant, Kim Walther, a purple-haired former Jehovah's Witness with a tattoo of Smith on her arm.
Then, just to cement the connection to The Osbournes, there's Smith's dog, Sugar Pie, a 4-year-old toy poodle that joined Smith, Walther and Stern at the news conference. The dog is housebroken, Smith said. It also sees a therapist, is on Prozac and is obsessed with Smith.
You can easily imagine the attraction this has for E! And Smith is something of a star for the network. A True Hollywood Story on Smith from 1997 has run about 50 times, in one-hour and two-hour versions, and has gotten big ratings every time, said Mark Sonnenberg, executive vice president for entertainment at the network. (Smith did not cooperate with the show and did not like it.)
"There's an incredible fascination that people have with Anna," he said.
E! has long wanted to do something else with her, considering, for example, a series where Smith would interview other celebrities.
"When The Osbournes came out, it was a no-brainer to us," Sonnenberg said. "Let's put cameras on her, and let's do a show."
Smith overcame her reservations about E! because of the idea, a lot of talking and some control of the process - E! and Smith have a self-described "partnership" on the show.
Still, clips included unflattering shots of Smith in various positions, as well as her complaining that she had not had sex in two years. At the news conference, Smith shrugged off the sex comment as "one of those things you say and wish you didn't. But I said it. You can't take it back."
But under E!'s pink lighting, Smith herself came off more sad than funny. She looked and talked like a not terribly bright woman who, unlike Ozzy Osbourne, has become famous without actually doing much besides showing off her body.
She has long known she wanted to be famous, and on Tuesday she cited Marilyn Monroe and Christie Brinkley as celebrities who fascinated her.
But when asked what her greatest talent was, she said, "I have no idea."
That would seem to make her putty for E! Long a sort of late-night punch line, Smith could well become more of one when The Anna Nicole Show starts. While The Osbournes made Ozzy more famous, it also made him more laughable.
Still, Stern said the show is part of a larger design for Smith's career.
"I'm doing (the new show) because I've been stuck in my house so long with the litigation . . . and it was a perfect time for me to get out," Smith said.
A recent interview with Larry King was meant to be her last discussion of the Marshall case, Stern said after the news conference.
"We all know people might end up laughing with us, or at us, or whatever, but I don't think it really matters," Stern said. "As long as it turns out to be a funny show, then the goal of this whole project will be accomplished.
"It's part of a larger career plan that she has. There are going to be other things that are coming out in this next year and the year after."
And if it's not a hit, E! can always fall back on that True Hollywood Story.
 

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