IN recent years, particularly during her one-woman stage show Wishful Drinking (2008-2011), Carrie Fisher has fearlessly addressed pretty much everything: love, death, Star Wars (1977), Princess Leia, her divorce, her parents, The Blues Brothers (1980) and bipolar disorder. Is there anything, anything at all, that she won’t discuss publicly? “Yes, but it has nothing to do with me,” the 56-year-old actress-novelistscreenwriter says. “I won’t get into anything that would embarrass someone else. And it doesn’t have to be something serious – someone just asked me, ‘Who’s funnier, Paul Simon or Dan Aykroyd?’ You can’t answer questions like that. Or I can’t.
“Then there are questions that sound simple, but are tough questions,” she continues.
“They’re kind of like trick questions.
“And I’m not a big fan of feminine-hygiene questions.” Fisher is, however, a major fan of Christmas. That’s in large part why she signed on for her latest project, the Hallmark Channel original movie It’s Christmas, Carol!, set to air on November 18. A spin on Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, it stars Emmanuelle Vaugier as Carol Huffman, the cold-hearted boss at a Chicago book publisher. On a memorable Christmas Eve, Carol not only runs into an ex-boyfriend (Tygh Runyan), who reminds her of the life she might have led, but also the ghost of her beloved boss, Eve (Fisher), who promptly takes Carol on a journey of discovery through her past, present and future.
“Christmas is my favourite holiday,” Fisher says, speaking by telephone from the balcony of a Texas hotel. “Certainly I like it better than my birthday, especially at this point. I’m hugely involved in Christmas. This came along, and it was sweet. Plus I’m playing a ghost. Any time there are no boundaries, I’m excited.
“I think I’m actually well suited to play a ghost,” she adds, “and I have no idea why. I guess it’s because it’s eccentric. So anything that’s eccentric, that’s fun. Plus a ghost is like a shadowy version of magic. Yet again, another reason to be interested in this.” Anyone watching It’s Christmas, Carol! will notice that many of Fisher’s lines, and Vaugier’s reactions to them, feel in-themoment and off-the-cuff. Fisher confirms that the filmmakers gave her the green light to adlib as she saw fit.
“That was one of the things they were nice about, letting me do that,” she says. “We were just talking about the boundaries being removed when you play a ghost. If the boundaries are removed, it has to be like that with the dialogue as well. That helped make it a fun shoot.
“And it was fun even though it involved trailers in a weird part of Canada,” Fisher adds.
“We were able to transcend all of that.” Most of Fisher’s scenes in It’s Christmas, Carol! pair her with Vaugier. The older actress speaks highly of Vaugier, a striking brunette best known for the films Saw II (2005) and Saw IV (2007), and for recurring roles on Two and a Half Men (2005-2011) and CSI: NY (2006-2009).
“I loved Emmanuelle, but she’s soooo much taller than I am,” says Fisher, who at 5-foot-1 is eight inches shorter than Vaugier. “She laughs like someone from a 1930s movie. You know the way people laugh when they’re holding a glass of drinks? There’s something very elegant about her. There’s something very ..
other than I am.
“Emmanuelle is elegant,” the actress says.
“She looks like she doesn’t make any effort in dressing, but she comes together so well. We were very opposite in that sense. She’s a great girl.” Fisher is practically shouting now, struggling to overcome both a whipping wind and the yelping of a nearby dog. The wind is easily avoided by stepping back into her hotel room from the balcony. The barking, well, that’s another story.
“That’s my dog, Gary, biting me and barking,” Fisher says apologetically. “The thing is that he was on a plane for three hours. So this is him explaining to me that he wants to order from room service. I’ve never seen him this upset, but he always wants to be the centre of attention.
“I don’t know why, but I’ve gotten more involved with this dog than I have with the many, many dogs I’ve had in my life,” she adds. “He’s a French bulldog.” Fisher soothes Gary as the conversation turns to her other current project, a new onewoman, semi-scripted show entitled Any Questions? In late October she presented it in a limited run at Brea Improv, in Brea, California, and she may tour with it in the months to come.
“It’s a little bit of a free-for-all,” Fisher says.
“Part of Wishful Drinking had a Q&A exchange, and it was always one of the most fun parts of the show to do, because it makes the show – odd word, anyway – more interactive, and you don’t know where it’s going to go.
In terms of it being scripted, it is in the sense that my life is what it is.
“I guess how I reply to people’s questions depends on how the questions are asked.” Does Fisher have her eye on Broadway? After all, in 2009 Wishful Drinking scored a hit there and earned her a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance.
“I haven’t thought about it yet,” she replies.
“I have to see what this show is like. I’m hoping this show will shape itself as it goes along.
As I didWishful Drinking on and on and on, it took on a life of its own. My life would keep happening and different stories would emerge.
So I’d hope that will happen with this one, too, and we’ll see what it evolves into.” Beyond the show, Fisher is adapting her novel The Best Awful There Is (Simon & Schuster, 2004) into a television movie and contemplating ideas for a new book. She also hopes that It’s Christmas, Carol! will remind producers and directors that she’s alive, well and available for more acting jobs.
“I understand that I’m kind of not that easy to cast, in a way, because I remind people too much of myself,” Fisher says, laughing. “So you don’t want to keep doing that over and over again, but, yeah, I like acting.
“I don’t think of myself, really, as an actor in that sense that people really do when they get into character to the extent that it’s almost difficult to get out,” she adds. “But I do enjoy acting, especially if there aren’t as many boundaries.” She’s also comfortable with the fact that, 35 years after Star Wars came out, there are legions of people who will never think of her as anyone but the 21-year-old Princess Leia. She regularly appears at Star Wars-related events, including a recent stint signing autographs at the New York Comic-Con.
“It’s fun and sometimes it’s endless, like life,” Fisher says. “Usually the people are very sweet, but bizarre things will happen.
Somebody will come up and sob and say, ‘I’m where I’m at in my life because of you.’
SHEIKH Hassan bin Jabor al Thani and throttleman Steve Curtis claimed a sensational victory in race three at the 32nd Annual Key West World Championships in Florida on Sunday.
Their win was sufficient for the Spirit of Qatar 96 team to clinch the Key West title and victory in the Superboat Unlimited class on a decider.
In order to finish in front of Norwegian Tor Staubo and American John Tomlinson in Gasse 8, Sheikh Hassan and Steve Curtis saved their best performance to the last and longest of the three offshore races and managed to tie the crew on points with Gasse 8
Sheikh Hassan later confirmed that the Spirit of Qatar team was awarded the World Championship title courtesy of having a higher average race speed.
“This is a fantastic result for the Qatar Team and sets us up nicely for our programme of events in 2013,” said a delighted Sheikh Hassan.
“We tested our boat on Sunday morning in quite rough conditions with some big waves and all went well and then it was a case of running a good race and getting the job done, “ he added.
Spirit of Qatar 96 completed the entire 79-mile race distance and all 13 laps to trounce both Gasse 8 and Miss Geico in Sundayís race.
Gasse only completed three of the race laps at full speed before pulling out with technical issues and Miss Geico was never able to challenge and succumbed on the second lap of the race to ultimately take third in the Superboat Unlimited class.
Instigator took victory in the third of the Superboat Extreme class races, Aqua Mania won the turbine class and Maritimo pipped Stihl to success in the Superboat category.
Shipping partner Peters & May has handled the logistics of transporting the Spirit of Qatar hull and equipment from Doha to Key West.
RESULTS 1. Spirit of Qatar 96 950 pts 2. Gasse 8 950 pts 3. Miss Geico 113 810 pts
SOUTH AFRICA staved off Australia’s push for an unlikely victory to bat out for a draw in the first Gabba Test on Tuesday, though the home team could take heart from having the better of the encounter.
The top-ranked South Africans lost five wickets and effectively were six down with injured JP Duminy unable to bat, but the Australians frustrated by calls going against them could not make further inroads.
At the close after trailing by 115 runs on the first innings, South Africa were 166 for five with AB de Villiers not out 29 and Vernon Philander not out one. The draw ensured that Australia retained their unbeaten record at the Brisbane ground which stretches back to the West Indies’ victory in 1988.
The teams head to Adelaide for next week’s second match of the three-Test series all square, but with Australia shading the opening match and having the world’s best team under pressure on the final day of their showdown.
“At the end of the day there’s no result in this Test match,” Australia skipper Michael Clarke said.
“We have to win this series to get back to being the number one Test team in the world, so we have to do our best to push for a win at every opportunity.” The Aussies have now not lost in their last eight Tests under Clarke, while the Proteas, under Graeme Smith, have not lost an away Test match since India at Calcutta in February, 2010.
“There’s enough time to reflect and to get one or two things right for Adelaide,” Smith said.
“I felt we were ahead of the game going into day four, 40 for three, we just never quite backed up well enough on day four. “All in all, I think a draw was an even reflection on how the surface played for both teams.” Clarke was named man-ofthe- match for his third double- century of the year, his unbeaten 259 which turned the match away from the Proteas over the closing two days.
South Africa lost Alviro Petersen (5), Smith (23) and Hashim Amla (38) before tea, but Jacques Kallis and de Villiers restored stability and held up the Australian assault.
Kallis was out one short of his half-century when Clarke took a splendid one-handed catch at slip off spinner Nathan Lyon in the 49th over.
Jacques Rudolph survived a vociferous lbw appeal off Siddle before he had scored but umpire Billy Bowden was unmoved amid the excited Australian fielders, but he ultimately went lbw to Lyon for 11 heading into the final hour.
Australia earlier declared their first innings at 565 for five with a lead of 115 in the hope of grabbing early wickets to force an improbable victory on a bat-friendly pitch.
Qatar opened its campaign for Brazil 2014 with a 1-0 win over Lebanon in June as Sebastian Soria scored the only goal of the game, but Autuori’s side have subsequently shared a goalless draw in Iran before slumping 4-1 to South Korea and 1-0 to Uzbekistan at home.
With those results, Qatar is tied on 4 points with Lebanon sitting at the bottom in Group A, three behind Korea and Iran who currently occupy the automatic qualification berths.
But a second win against Lebanon, who stunned Iran 1-0 at home in its last competitive outing in September, would put Qatar right back in the mix although Autuori will be without defenders Bilal Mohammed, Meshal Mubarak, midfielders Majdi Siddiq and Abdulla Afifa due to injury.
However, defender Ibrahim Majed will return to action after missing the match against Uzbekistan last month through suspension.
“Our players have big motivation to win and they know what they are supposed to do,” said Autuori, who saw his side beat Iraq 2-1 last Wednesday.
“The players will give 100 percent against a Lebanon side that have some players playing professional football abroad.
“We will be playing to get the three points against Lebanon even though our opponents are better. But defeat will not be the end of the world and we must be realistic and accept defeat which would only come if our opponents are better.” Lebanon arrived in Doha on Sunday after gearing up for the match with a 2-0 win against a team made up of import players from the Lebanese league.
Midfielder Haytham Faour picked up a slight knock in the game but is expected to be back to full fitness for the showdown against Qatar, however, defender Ali Hamam will miss the game with a thigh injury.
“I’m satisfied with the preparations that we had for this match although our preparations for the game against Iran were better,” said Lebanon coach Theo Bucker.
“The match against Qatar will be very important and we have studied the tactics that we will use for the match very well.
“The chances of the two teams are equal. Although there is no comparison between the levels of football in the two countries, I am optimistic that we can get a good result especially after we lost three points against Qatar at home. We must win in order to maintain our chances,” Bucker added.
Doha will host the Iraq-Jordan Group B World Cup qualifier at the Al Arabi on Wednesday, as both side looks to get their qualification campaigns back on track after disappointing defeats last month.
The Jordanians lost 2-1 in Oman, while former Asian Cupwinners Iraq, coached by Brazilian legend Zico, conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes as they lost by the same score to the Socceroos
THE Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and French Olympic Committee (CIO) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Doha on Tuesday. The MoU was signed by QOC Secretary-General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Thani and CIO Secretary- General Jean-Pierre Mougin during the Aspire4Sport congress & exhibition.
They promised exchange of knowledge through resources, managers, coaches and sports medicine experts.
“This MoU is the culmination of several small agreements between Qatari sports federations, including the handball and volleyball federations, and their French counterparts,” said Sheikh Saoud. “French sports is developed in many areas, and we look forward to the great benefit we can draw from them, and also to transferring some of our own knowledge from the Qatari sports sector.” “This agreement will be of mutual benefit, and will also allow us to work together to fight corruption in sports and to champion Olympic values,” said Jean- Pierre Mougin, Secretary General of the French National Olympic Committee.
“We are particularly delighted that this signing comes at a time when 15 French companies are showcasing sports solutions and products at Aspire4Sport through the French pavilion.” About 15 French companies are exhibiting at the pavilion which is held at Aspire4Sport for the first time by UBIFRANCE – the French Agency for International Business Development. The project is part of an ambitious sports policy which France has been conducting for the past decade to pursue the latest technology in infrastructures and sports facilities.
French participation at Aspire4Sport extended out onto the field where Paris-Saint Germain is hosting a coaching clinic – alongside Liverpool FC – for approximately 600 children.
Qatar Shell and the Qatar Football Association facilitated the clinics.
“We are very proud to be at Aspire4Sport for the second year running. PSG is one of the most well-known football clubs and it is important for us to help young footballers develop their talent through our coaching clinics,” said Bertrand Revzeau, PSG Academy Director.
“We are teaching the kids how to handle the ball and trying to develop their football techniques in a fun and energetic environment.
We hope that all our students will love the sport as much as we do and continue to develop as athletes,” he added.
Rashid Abdulaziz, a student of the PSG coaching clinics, commented, “I am having so much fun playing football here with my friends. I have learned how to pass the ball and shoot from my coaches. My goal is to become a Barcelona player especially like Lionel Messi.”