The Diary

Rachel Glucina looks at the top events and newsmakers of the day.

The Diary: Actress attempts to belittle PM

Chelsie Preston Crayford with the prime minister John Key. Photo / Supplied
Chelsie Preston Crayford with the prime minister John Key. Photo / Supplied

A former Shortland Street actress who attempted to belittle the PM by posing with him - while purportedly holding an "I'm with stupid" sign - is enjoying the notoriety she's gaining on social media from left-leaning corners.

Chelsie Preston Crayford told The Diary she took the opportunity to have her photo with John Key and espouse her political motives.

What's not clear - and she didn't respond to further messages - was whether the words and/or the sign were added in later. A Herald Photoshop expert had his suspicions.

Chelsie said: "I saw an opportunity and asked him for a photo. In fact, I had to ask him for it twice because the first time mum had her finger over the lens. I believe this man repeatedly does, says and stands for stupid and ultimately destructive things."

Evidently not, however, when it comes to funding personal projects.

The actress' mother - and taker of the photo - is well-known Wellington director Gaylene Preston, who was awarded nearly $5 million taxpayer dollars from government agency New Zealand on Air's Platinum Fund for a six-part TV series on the Christchurch earthquakes.

Hope and Wire will screen on TV3.

The irony is not lost on Key, who told The Diary: "From what I can see she has the sign pointing in the wrong direction."

Robyn Malcolm reminded of Bolshevik killings

She may be starring in Midnight in Moscow - a play about New Zealand's Moscow embassy in 1947 - but actress Robyn Malcolm needs to brush up on her Russian history, according to the social media onslaught she received this week.

The 48-year-old took to Twitter on Sunday to wish Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin a "happy birthday". But that prompted a flurry of backlash with people questioning why the Green activist was honouring the Bolshevik autocrat.

"Celebrate the birth of a genocidal tyrant?" SystemD tweeted. "Do you wish Stalin, Mao, Kim Il-Sung and Pol Pot happy birthday too?" Taran Baker asked.

But the actress lashed back: "They are very, very, very different human beings. Read your history."

That prompted a history lesson from blogger Peter Cresswell who said Lenin's Bolshevik Revolution brought murder, starvation and impoverishment to the Russian people and "set up the state apparatus which killed millions more".

"Is [Malcolm] trying to drum up controversy to help publicise the new play in which she stars on a somewhat related subject?" he asked.

"I'm hardly surprised that Robyn Malcolm wished the mass murderer Lenin a happy birthday," blogged Liberty Scott.

Liberty Scott said Malcolm was buying into a revisionist version of Lenin as a popular revolutionist that transformed Russia, but the reality is different.

"Lenin was a monster and airbrushing his history is a grotesque injustice to the millions killed or starved under his misrule."

But Malcolm told The Diary: "I have read my history and I don't need to justify myself.

"I posted that tweet in the interval of the play that I'm performing in at the moment, Midnight in Moscow, which is in Stalin's era.

"No one is disputing what a nasty piece of work Stalin is. Lenin and Stalin came from the same place, but are very different individuals. I know Lenin is a controversial figure, but the tweet came from the context of the play I'm in."

Which incidentally runs until May 4.

Kiwi 'more focused'

Karl Urban was in Sydney this week plugging his role in the latest multi-million-dollar Trekkie instalment - Star Trek Into Darkness.

But the 40-year-old, who posed alongside co-stars Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto and director JJ Abrams, said Kiwis and Aussies have an edge over their American counterparts in Hollywood.

"I think the Americans can sometimes get caught up a bit too much. You know, in the diets and the stylists and the trainers. It can get a bit consuming and some of those guys are a bit too top-heavy.

"I think Aussies and Kiwis ... it's not such a focus for us, which I think allows us to just be actors. It allows us to really focus on what's important. And that's the craft," the Daily Telegraph reported.

However, the craft was put aside as the publicity blitz went into action. On Tuesday, Urban hit the red carpet for the Australian premiere; the day before, he hit the beach. Star Trek-branded surfboards and the sand of Bondi were the scene for the movie's Downunder photo call.

The Hollywood actors later lunched at Chiswick in Woollahra.

Dallow as Dallow

Check out Simon Dallow's acting chops on May 7 on TV2's Go Girls when the newsreader plays the master of ceremonies at an awards ceremony for real estate agents.

The 48-year-old said it was "great to be a part of an exciting new chapter of this fantastic NZ show". Let's face it, with a new cast, a cameo by a recognisable somebody will help draw the punters.

Rose picked for Monte Carlo

The future of TV show The Blue Rose and whether it will return has been debated in TV circles lately, following its drop in ratings on TV3, but good news overseas this week may see it back on our screens next year.

The drama, which stars Antonia Prebble and Siobhan Marshall in the dual lead roles, has been nominated in the prestigious Festival de Television de Monte-Carlo next month alongside Homeland, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who and series three of Danish cult hits Borgen and Forbrydelsen (The Killing).

The Blue Rose season finale airs April 29, but there could be big celebrations for producers South Pacific Pictures in the French Riviera come June.

- NZ Herald

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