LOS ANGELES – Denzel Washington’s character in “Flight” drinks a lot throughout the film, but his portrayal of a highly functioning alcoholic pilot isn’t being welcomed by brewing company Anheuser-Busch or the distributor of Stolichnaya vodka.
Anheuser-Busch said Monday that it has asked Paramount Pictures Corp. to obscure or remove the Budweiser logo from the film, which at one point shows Washington’s character drinking the beer while behind the wheel.
Budweiser is hardly the only alcoholic beverage shown in “Flight,” which earned $25 million in its debut weekend. Washington’s character frequently drinks vodka throughout the film, with several different brands represented. William Grant & Sons, which distributes Stolichnaya in the United States, also said it didn’t license its brand for inclusion in the film and wouldn’t have given permission if asked.
Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser, wrote in a statement that the company wasn’t contacted by Paramount or the production company of director Robert Zemeckis for permission to use the beer in “Flight.”
“We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving,” McCarthy wrote. “We have asked the studio to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film, including DVD, On Demand, streaming and additional prints not yet distributed to theaters.”
A spokesman for Zemeckis referred questions to Paramount, which did not return an email message seeking comment.
Other vodka brands, including Absolut and Smirnoff, are also included in the film. Representatives of those companies did not return messages seeking comment.
Experts say the film is unlikely to run afoul of trademark protections, as courts have ruled that products may be featured in films regardless of whether the companies approve.
Hug from The Boss makes Christie weep
KEANSBURG, N.J. – New Jersey’s famously tough-talking governor finally got a hug from his longest-running unrequited love.
Speaking Monday at a briefing on storm recovery. Gov. Chris Christie revealed he unexpectedly spoke with Bruce Springsteen earlier in the day. Christie had been discussing storm-related matters with President Obama when Obama handed the phone to Springsteen, who was traveling with him as part of a campaign trip. Christie also said he got a hug from Springsteen at Friday’s benefit concert for storm victims.
The famously liberal Springsteen had never previously acknowledged the Republican governor. Christie considers himself among The Boss’ biggest fans and has attended more than 100 of his concerts.
Christie says he wept at home after meeting his idol, calling it a major highlight during a tough week.
Sharon Osbourne has preventive mastectomy
LOS ANGELES – Sharon Osbourne has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a mutated gene indicating a much higher risk of breast cancer, “The Talk” panelist has revealed to a British magazine.
“For me, it wasn’t a big decision, it was a no-brainer,” she told Hello! “I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me. I want to be around for a long time and be a grandmother to Pearl.”
Osbourne had previously battled colon cancer, and had her breast implants removed a year ago. By the time she had them removed, however, one had leaked into her stomach wall, something she said helped put her off plastic surgery for good.
The double mastectomy reportedly took 13 hours.
“I didn’t even think of my breasts in a nostalgic way,” she told the magazine. “I just wanted to be able to live my life without that fear all the time.”
Women who have inherited a harmful mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene carry a 60 percent chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute, compared with a 12 percent risk for women without a harmful mutation.
Pearl, Osbourne’s granddaughter, was born to son Jack and his now-wife Lisa Stelly in April. The couple were married in Hawaii last month.– From news service reports