Richard Gere’s Fiat fiasco

Richard Gere just can’t catch a break in Asia these days. First it was the Shilpa Shetty kiss heard round the world, which led to him being threatened with lawsuits for public indecency. Then it was his outspoken remarks about the upcoming Olympics, and how the opening ceremonies should be banned due to the Chinese government’s treatment of Tibet. Both of which, yes, were either intentionally or unintentionally bound to push some buttons. But now an ad that Gere filmed for Fiat’s Lancia Delta sedan is causing an uproar. The reason? Towards the end Gere plays in the snow with some pint-sized Buddhist monks.

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Seriously? The Chinese are that paranoid that an ad with no spoken words and no overtly political message can be interpreted as inflamatory? Apparently, yes. So much so that the Italian auto maker issued a public apology, saying it feels bad for “misinterpretations of its well-established position of neutrality.” Which, let’s face it, is like saying, ‘I’m sorry you blew things out of proportion,’

Fiat to keep running ad featuring actor Richard Gere in Tibet despite apology to China” [AP]

Chinese censors make Ang Lee recut ‘Lust, Caution’

lustcautionposter.jpgAng Lee’s new Mandarin-language spy thriller has plenty of things going for it: a Golden Lion win in Venice, critical praise and comparisons to his own “Brokeback Mountain,” and the studio’s willingness to release Lee’s director’s cut of the movie, despite the fact that it got an NC-17 rating in the States.

However, Lee, who lives in Larchmont, couldn’t seem to catch a break when it came to Chinese censorship rules. And so, according to The China Post, he’s agreed to slice seven minutes of especially explicit sex scenes from the movie in order to get an R rating and distribution in the People’s Republic.

Even more surprising: The censors actually asked him to kill an entire half hour of the movie. Lee negotiated with the motion picture authorities to whittle down their request to three key erotic scenes. The movie is expected to debut in Taiwan on Sept. 24, in NYC on Sept. 26, and in mainland China sometime in October.

Watch out, China…Here comes Martha?

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The good folks of the People’s Republic are facing a U.S. invasion. No, the American administration didn’t throw a dart at a map to choose its next war, the threat facing China is much more existential…Martha Stewart!

According to NY Post media columnist, Keith Kelly, the Katonah resident will be making a “hush-hush” “fact-finding tour” to the world’s most populous country to see if it’s ready for Martha Stewart Living magazine and several spin-off products. The country has a burgeoning middle class that the domestic diva hopes is ready for her…um…Martha-ness.