Actress Eva Green and director Tim Burton attend ‘Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children’
Quirky Hollywood director Tim Burton used to live in inter-connecting houses with Helena Bonham Carter, each decorated to their own his ‘n’ hers tastes and personal styles.
Though now separated from the celebrated actress, Burton is apparently planning to imitate the unusual domestic arrangements at his new £11 million mansion (below) in another fashionable corner of North London.
It is thought these alterations could be with a view to entertaining his rumoured new muse, the French actress Eva Green, 39, (right) who played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale.
I can disclose that the 60-year-old director of Edward Scissorhands and Batman has applied to make a series of eye-catching changes to the five-bedroom house he bought from Shirley Valentine star Tom Conti at the end of last year.
Burton, who has already covered the house with scaffolding, wants to demolish a two-storey side extension and replace it with what’s described by the architect as ‘a caretaker’s flat’ in the plans lodged with the local council.
Just like Helena’s property, it will be linked to his own and contain a kitchen, living room and terrace. His architect, Andrew Greig, tells me: ‘We are hoping to start work in September and are optimistic the plans will go through.’
Burton, who has two children with Helena, also wants to knock down the boundary wall and replace it with a higher one, as well as construct a new conservatory at the back of the house and install a Victorian spiral staircase.
Burton is apparently planning to imitate the unusual domestic arrangements at his new £11 million mansion
Former owner Conti will no doubt be delighted that Burton plans to maintain the ground-floor ballroom, where such luminaries as Hollywood star Rod Steiger, rock legend David Bowie and classical conductor Sir Georg Solti have attended parties over the years. He will also keep the minstrels’ gallery.
The house remains so close to the heart of Conti — who bought it for £770,000 in 1985 — that he does not wish to hear about Burton’s ‘improvements’.
Conti tells me: ‘All I can say is that I’m extremely sentimental about the house. Therefore, I want to know nothing about any plans.’
Helena Bonham Carter and then-husband Tim Burton are seen on September 18, 2012
Goss brings Sir Winston to West End
Sir Winston Churchill will break into song in Upstairs, Downstairs: The Musical, a West End retelling of the classic ITV drama, written by former pop idol Matt Goss.
Based on the Seventies series depicting the lives of an aristocratic family and their domestic staff in Belgravia, it’s on course to beat Downton Abbey as the first hit period drama to reach the stage.
Goss, lead singer in Eighties boy band Bros, has written 40 songs for the musical, which has the blessing of Dame Eileen Atkins, co-creator of the original ITV series.
Written with composer Stephen Endelman, it’s set in 1912 and will introduce a young Winston, who had then just been appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.
‘The story is a love affair set against the backdrop of rising nationalism in Germany,’ a producer familiar with the project tells me. ‘Churchill is a key character, reluctantly preparing the country for war.’
- Does BBC star Emily Maitlis regret calling her book — a behind-the-scenes account of her biggest scoops — Airhead: The Imperfect Art Of Making News? The Newsnight presenter’s appearance at the Cliveden Literary Festival next month is billed as an audience with ‘Britain’s Sharpest Airhead’. Flattery, of a sort, I suppose.
Diana: Please keep an eye on my lace straps
When Princess Diana attended the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art gala, she had a very special request for John Barelli, who worked in the security department.
He now reveals that she asked him to keep a close eye on the black lace shoulder straps of her midnight-blue Dior dress — and adjust them if they slipped.
‘I almost told her, ‘Yeah, right, I have to touch your dress.’ That’s all I have to do. I think my wife would be a little upset.’
Barelli tells the story in his forthcoming memoir, Stealing The Show. ‘I wasn’t nervous . . . but the pressure,’ he adds. ‘We couldn’t let her dance.’
Happily, there was no wardrobe malfunction on the night.
When Princess Diana attended the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art gala, she had a very special request for John Barelli, who worked in the security department
Star Bake Off fans cheer Hollywood
Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood is flattered by the show’s famous fans. ‘You get people like Nick Mason, the drummer of Pink Floyd, who bakes all the time,’ he says.
‘Then there’s Taylor Swift, and Keira Knightley … she once tried to bin off a premiere to go and watch the final of the Bake Off.’ The most impressive of all, however, is a late national treasure. ‘I remember getting a call from Ronnie Corbett years ago,’ says Hollywood. ‘He wanted to speak to me — he baked a lot of bread.’ Corbett, as he delighted in relating, was the son of an Edinburgh master baker.
- Despite having a girlfriend 30 years his junior, Jeremy Paxman is already feeling old. ‘There is a certain sort of calamity that afflicts you only once you’re over 50,’ says the 69-year-old former TV inquisitor. ‘I was wading across a salmon pool in Scotland last week. All went well until I trod on a rock covered in some sort of slime. As if in slow motion, my foot slid off — and I fell backwards into three feet of icy water. ‘I was unable to “right” myself and lay in the water as my sympathetic — former! — friends laughed themselves senseless.’