"He's very pretentious, one of those...who shoots all his films in black and white."
- Joe Gardella (Joe Mantegna) to Robin (Judy Davis), referring to John Papadakis (Andre Gregory)
"He's in New York shooting an adaptation of a sequel of a remake."
- Joe to Robin
"I don't usually drool in my date's salad."
- Lee Simon (Kenneth Branagh) to the Supermodel (Charlize Theron)
"You can learn a lot about a society by who it chooses to celebrate."
- Robin to the Psychic (Aida Turturro)
Rolling Stone - 11/26/1998
"...[A] keenly observant spoof of the fame game..."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/04/1998
"...Allen's surest instincts about the title subject are at work in the high-profile cast....[DiCaprio ends up] juicing the movie with a welcome power surge..."
Film Comment - 11/01/1998
"...[Allen] wields a double-edged satirical scalpel when it comes to the pretensions of the beautiful and famous..."
New York Times - 11/20/1998
"...Mr. Allen shows a keenly acerbic eye for the scene he sets..."
Woody Allen's star-studded CELEBRITY skewers America's fascination with fame and glamour. Kenneth Branagh stars as Lee Simon, a travel writer who also interviews celebrities when he's not working on his novel and screenplay--or at least talking about writing them. As he hangs out more and more with supermodels and actresses, living the so-called good life, he ends his 16-year marriage to Robin (the marvelous Judy Davis). The split nearly sends Robin off the deep end until she meets Joe Gardella (Joe Mantegna), a television producer who introduces her to a whole new world.
Allen shoots the film in black-and-white as if to take some of the gleam off the lives of these celebrities, many of whom are famous for just being famous. When Robin starts working for Joe, she is responsible for overseeing the talent--the kind of people who regularly appear on such shows as JERRY SPRINGER, looking for their moment in the spotlight. Even a television preacher has religious groupies who yearn for autographs. It is interesting to note that Allen wrote and directed CELEBRITY at a time when his own fame was reaching a crescendo because of his own personal problems, which became so much tabloid fodder; that is perhaps why he does not appear in the film, instead having Branagh speak the offbeat, cynical, funny lines that the Woodman himself usually delivers.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.:
With an incredible all-star cast, this critically acclaimed comedy takes a hysterical look at the pleasures and pitfalls of fortune and fame! Following their divorce, the lives of a restless writer and his inhibited ex-wife take off in outrageously unpredictable directions! While Lee (Kenneth Branagh -- HAMLET, OTHELLO) explores the wilder side of his newfound freedom, Robin (Judy Davis -- DECONSTRUCTING HARRY) begins an improbable transformaiton from neurotic schoolteacher to high-profile T.V. talk show host! Whether it's partying with supermodels, sexy encounters with movie stars, or interviews with the cream of high society, CELEBRITY offers you a riotous excuse to rub shoulders with the kind of people we all love to celebrate!
Lee Simon is a journalist roaming from one celebrity encounter to the next, all the while trying to pitch his screenplay and come to terms with his recent divorce from his wife, Robin. Director Woody Allen's dissection of modern celebrity culture features supporting parts by stars Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Melanie Griffith, as well as cameos by Donald Trump and Isaac Mizrahi.
Theatrical release: November 20, 1998.
Filmed on location in New York City.
The film opened the 1998 New York Film Festival on September 25, 1998.
The film played the Venice Film Festival on September 10, 1998.
Talking about the film, Woody Allen said, "The celebrity aspect--being recognized, autographs--remains for me discomforting and a little embarrassing. I'm not graceful with it."
The film features cameos by Donald Trump, Karen Duffy, Allison Janney, Patti D'Arbanville, Donna Hanover, Frederique, J.K. Simmons, Debra Messing, Dayle Haddon, Bruce Jay Friedman, Erica Jong, Roshumba Williams, Marian Seldes, Sam Rockwell, and Julie Halston, among others.
Douglas McGrath, who cowrote BULLETS OVER BROADWAY with Allen, makes a cameo appearance as well.
The soundtrack includes music by Jackie Gleason and His Orchestra, Erroll Garner, Liberace, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
The high school reunion band played Don McLean's "American Pie" and the Grateful Dead's "Truckin'."
The film includes references to CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, DUEL IN THE SUN, GUYS AND DOLLS, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN, and THE BIRTH OF A NATION.
In the scene in which Brandon (Leonardo DiCaprio) fights with his girlfriend in the hotel room, on the television is an episode of GERALDO! that featured Joe and Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
The name of the show Robin does is MANHATTAN MOODS.
Anthony Mason, a former member of Woody Allen's beloved Knicks, plays himself in the film.
Aida Turturro and Tony Sirico each play small roles in the film; they were later to star together in THE SOPRANOS.
The name of the film Nicole Oliver (Melanie Griffith) is starring in is THE LIQUIDATOR; the opening of the film takes place at the Ziegfeld Theater.
When Leo admits to Bonnie (Famke Janssen) that he has met someone else, he is wearing a Yale sweatshirt, perhaps a reference to the character Yale played by Michael Murphy in MANHATTAN, who was cheating on his wife.