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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Stars reflect on attacks anniversary
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas: Hard situation

Hollywood stars played a prominent role in helping Americans focus on life after the 11 September attacks.

Celebrities took part in high-profile fund raising 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.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston: Milestone
"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 is an important milestone.

"Unfortunately there are times I feel like it's maybe forgotten too much until the images come back, and thankfully we get reminded," she says.

Hard day

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

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

"I'm having a hard time," she explains. "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 Center.

"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."

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon: Has written play about New York firemen
Robin Williams adds: "It seemed at first that it had this amazing effect about really pulling people together. People really did look around and look 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.

Grave concerns

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, which opens in the UK on Friday. Filming on the movie was scheduled to start last year on 12 September.

Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson: Dire straights
"That brought with it a mood and sort of drew a pall over the shoot," explains Gibson. "The director organised 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."

XXX star, 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.

Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson: US has healed after jitters
"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 its very difficult to live."


In the weeks following the attacks, much of the boardroom discussion in Hollywood centred on issues of tone and sensitivity.

But 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."

New York despatches





See also:

11 Sep 02 | Entertainment
10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
10 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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