Mirror Magazine


Stars in the aftermath of September 11
By Peter Bowes in Hollywood
Hollywood stars played a prominent role in helping Americans focus on life after the September 11 attacks.

Celebrities took part in high-profile fundraising events while studio bosses hastily reconsidered their film release schedules for the upcoming autumn season.

But for many in the world of showbusiness, that fateful day was distinctly humbling in its impact.

"It did have an intense impact on my life being the city I grew up in," says Friends star Jennifer Aniston.

The actress believes the first anniversary of the attacks was an important milestone.

"Unfortunately, there are times I feel that the incident is forgotten until the images come back, and thankfully we are reminded," she says.

The major American TV networks suspended their regular programmes to make way for continuous coverage of the anniversary.

For actress Susan Sarandon, it was a hard day to get through.

"I'm having a hard time," she said. "I'm turning off everything. We're just going be with the people that need us and with each other."

Frasier's Kelsey Grammer lost his close friend and the creator of the Emmy-winning comedy, David Angell. The respected producer was with his wife Lynn on one of the planes that ploughed into the World Trade Centre.

"I hope that we don't lose the size of that event," says Grammer. "It's very easy to understand how something like that could be diminished. But it is in no way a smaller event than Pearl Harbour was."

Added Robin Williams: "It seemed at first that it had this amazing effect about really pulling people together. People really did look around and looked at everyone differently, at a really basic level."

Williams, who is currently starring in the dark thriller, One Hour Photo, and Christopher Nolan's Insomnia, has spent much of the past year touring the US on the stand-up comedy circuit.

The Oscar-winner says he attempted to make light of America's heightened sense of security, but he acknowledges that the war on terrorism continues to test the resilience of the nation.

"The one thing I do see is hope. Even something as horrific as that brought out, as it always does, sometimes, the best part along with the worst."

In recent weeks, Mel Gibson has been celebrating the US box office success of Signs, a thriller about crop circles.

Filming on the movie was scheduled to start last year on September 12.

"That brought with it a mood and sort of drew a pall over the shoot," explains Gibson. "The director organised it so that before we started, we lit candles and said a quiet memorial."

A year on, Gibson, who was born in the US but grew up in Australia, says he also has grave concerns about the state of the world.

"We're in dire straits as far as all this aggressive stuff goes," he says.

"I'd like to see it evaporate and go away - I'm sure everyone would. Even the people involved in it would - except they're too full of hatred to let it go."

Samuel L. Jackson says Hollywood's initial jitters about tackling sensitive issues were short-lived.

"We've healed in a very interesting sort of way," he says. "There was a film that I was supposed to do last year, that didn't get done, because of 9/11, because it was about a bomber."

Jackson says he has since learned that the film is back in production, although he is no longer involved.

At a personal level, many celebrities have struggled with their feelings over the past year.

"My mother watched the second plane go into the World Trade Centre from our apartment that I grew up in," says Vin Diesel, Hollywood's latest action star.

"Coming out of that experience, I think we all felt the frustration. We all felt where we are in our lives. No matter what we do, we wished we could do something."

Antonio Banderas, the Spanish actor who stars in the summer hit, Spy Kids 2, says he is depressed by the world's response to the attacks.

"We are all untrusting of each other," he says. "All you have to do is pick up a plane and you see the people looking at each other. We're creating a situation in which it's very difficult to live."

In the weeks following the attacks, much of the boardroom discussion in Hollywood centred on issues of tone and sensitivity. Several films depicting graphic violence and based on stories about terrorism have made it to the big screen over the past year.

American audiences reacted by flocking in large numbers to see movies like The Sum Of All Fears, which stars Ben Affleck.

"Violence on movies and television should be disturbing," explains Affleck. "It shouldn't be done to make a big splash and have people ooh and aah at countless thousands of deaths.

"I think that may be one of the transitions we've made, that we no longer look at that in such a flip way."
(Courtesy: BBC News)

WTC, here I come
By Aditha Dissanayake
"Earth has not anything to show more fair...," wrote Wordsworth standing on Westminster Bridge. Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thero, wrote about the young damsels at Konthaganthota in the Salalihini Sandeshaya and immortalised them. Now, a year after the September 11 disaster, I feel it's my turn to immortalise our own World Trade Centre, (which is still standing, Bin Laden permitting).

Walking on the grey and pink tiled pavement, I feel as if I am in Singapore. It is hard to believe Pettah, with its ten-rupee apple vendors, lottery sellers, and men and women scurrying under the hot sun, with their faces twisted into grimaces as if they have pieces of bitter lemon inside their mouths, is only a few feet away.

I approach the revolving door at the entrance with apprehension. I have seen Charlie Chaplin and Mr. Bean make fools of themselves over such doors. I do not wish to be their successor. I grab the silver pole on the door, push once, push twice, let go and, feel triumphant to find myself inside the building, said to be the tallest in Sri Lanka.

It takes only a minute to realise I am standing out like a sore thumb in an alien milieu. All the men around me are dressed in dark trousers and formal-looking shirts. The women are either wearing short skirts and coats like the newsreaders on CNN or saris with jackets with the shortest of sleeves, resembling the fashions of the 1960s. Of course, everybody carries a square piece of black plastic somewhere on his or her anatomy. But strange as it may seem, not once do I hear one of these devices go teering, teering inside the building.

The colour of the walls, a mixture between strawberry and chocolate ice cream creates a soothing atmosphere. The silver coloured ornaments hanging from the roof in different shapes - globes, stars, cylinders - look like huge cobwebs and remind me of Miss Havisham's room in Great Expectations. But the characters around me are not fictitious. There are no Joes or Pumblechooks here. All the men and women around me seem to be in total control of their lives - they seem to know exactly what they are doing, where they are going, how, when and why. I find I am the solitary wanderer - standing aimlessly on the middle of the ground floor.

I decide to join the race. I try to walk fast and look like everybody else around me - worried as though the sky will fall any minute and that there is not a minute to spare. But having nowhere to go, I decide to pick someone up and follow him to his destination. My choice is dressed in an eye-soothing, apple-green shirt. He walks towards the lifts and disappears into one. Before I can quicken my steps, the door closes. I sigh in disappointment. But a second later, it opens in my face. He pops his head out and asks "coming?"

The door closes on the two of us. I realise he has pressed number 31. I press 32 and keep my eyes on the red digits that keep changing over the door. We stand side by side. I inhale the smell of the cologne he is wearing. Before I can gather enough courage to turn my head and look at him and perhaps, start a conversation, the lift comes to a halt. We are now on the thirty-first floor. He steps out of the lift and out of my life.

I get off at the 32nd floor. Through the glass windows I see the mighty Indian Ocean; spread out like a massive, worn-out carpet, gray and murky.

Nothing could be more depressing. "I am on the 32nd floor of the tallest building in Sri Lanka," I keep reminding myself, but realise there is nothing sensational in being aware of this fact. I might as well be standing on the ground floor. I turn towards the lift once more and bump into a middle-aged man who had been standing behind me, while I had been gazing out of the window. He gapes at me as if he has seen a UFO. I disappear into the lift as fast as I can.

When I descend to the third floor once more, two security officers summon me to their desk. They are polite. "Why did I go to the 32nd floor?" they ask me. I shrug my shoulders and hope they will interpret the gesture in any favourable way they like. (I have a feeling they would not understand me if I tell them I did so because the man I was following, got off at the 31st floor). They ask for my National Identity Card. "Name, date of birth, place of birth...Galle. Galle, that magic word, my good old hometown that breaks the ice even in the coldest of situations. Both officers begin to smile, "We are also from Galle." I give them my Garfield-grin. They wave me off to ramble around as much as I like.

But the encounter quenches my thirst for further explorations. I decide to quit this alien niche and get back to the familiar world outside the glass walls. The hot dusty city - to have the odour of the Beira in my nostrils, the sound of loudspeakers in my ears, to trip over the loose bricks on the pavement.

But I cannot resist peeping into the cafe on the second floor before I leave. Could I afford a cup of tea in there? Could I not? No, I decide. Not now, not today. Some other day in the future... perhaps, when I become a millionaire writer?

Hello out there
To Kapila - Mr. Cool (R. Royal Kandy A/L 2004)
Congrats on getting the highest marks for Chemistry. You have been in my heart from the first day I saw you wearing a blue T shirt (1/06/02 at the Physics class- Sudharshi). You never looked at me but you looked into my eyes ( 8/09/02 - Sudharmarama) And you didn't smile. You will be in my eyes for ever. I'm waiting for your reply.
With much love,
Your secret admirer - D

To my one and only brother Yathes,
Hope your birthday brings you all the happiness you wish for today and always - Happy Birthday
From your sis - Dharshini

Dear sweet M. K. Sanjaya (Astra - 2004 A/L Matha M. C. G.)
Wishing you a very happy birthday for September 11.
Can you recognise us?
From your secret admirers E and R

To M, (the model who appeared in the cover of the Mirror Mag)
Just e-mail me through this page, coz I really need to talk to you - zank_ir@yahoo.com

To dear Seewanthi,
hi, how are you keeping? Is your 21st Birthday round the corner? I would like to keep in touch with you - wish we could break the barriers and be friends. Please contact me through this page. Or you know my cool. XXX 89236
From your dinky toy,

My darling Nanga,
First of all, I wish you a happy birthday for September 16. Nanga U R my life. So darling, always remember that I will love you forever. Thanks for being my darling sister.
I miss you.
From someone who really loves you (A)

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