Ecollywood: Our weekly celeb roundup
Sam Neill, Sonya Walger, and an Earth Day event that brought out the stars.
Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 09:05 AM
HIDDEN TALENT: You may know Sam Neill from "Jurassic Park", but did you know he can cook? (Photo: Bob D'Amico)
“I’m as green as I can be for a frequent flier,” says New Zealander Sam Neill, who most recently traveled to China for a role in the family adventure "The Last Dragon" and to Toronto for "Happy Town", the ABC mystery series premiering on April 28. Neill plays a movie memorabilia store owner “with a mysterious past and an even more murky future” who lives at a boarding house with seven widows who lovingly dote on him. "I felt that I could and can take that character to a lot of different places," says Neill. Off the set, he bonded with the cast by cooking dinners for them. “We had a big cast and I had the biggest apartment,” he explains. “Most of us were away from home, so it’s good to have a homemade meal and everybody gets to have a few laughs.”
“I always have my [reusable] grocery bags in the trunk of the car. I recycle and I use the backs of envelopes and the backs of paper,” like old scripts, says Sonya Walger (pictured right) of "FlashForward," though she realized that using those for her shopping lists was a bad idea. “I can’t leave a script lying around in the supermarket. I’m really diligent about what bits of old paper I use,” she notes.
Mountain climber and surfer Jeff Johnson travels to remote Patagonia in search of adventure and comes away with some valuable lessons about man’s effect on nature in the documentary "180o South: Conquerors of the Useless", now in theaters in limited release. “If you love a place, you have a duty to protect it,” he says. “When open country is gone, we will be gone with it.”
Celebrating Earth Day in eco-friendly style, celebs gathered at a Lexus showroom in Santa Monica, Calif., for the Green Lounge Eco Luxury Experience Earth Day Celebration and Awards, where environment-minded vendors like REUSE jeans, Marley organic coffee, Ecowrist sustainable wood watches, LivGrn organic cotton T-shirts and Yes to Carrots skin care products showed off their wares.
“Anything to support the green people, and this is fun and stylish,” said organic cosmetics mogul and Green Business/Wellness Award recipient Josie Maran of the event. Having spent the afternoon showing her daughter planting techniques in the garden, the model/actress is passing on the environmental awareness she grew up with. “My mom is my role model for being green,” noted Maran, who shared a great use for empty wine bottles: use them as water pitchers at your dinner parties.
Just back from a series of East Coast speaking engagements, Mayim Bialik (famous for her role in "Blossom") said she wouldn’t have missed the party. “There are a lot of ways to celebrate Earth Day, but this is really special,” said the busy Bialik, who begins her recurring role as Amy Farrah Fowler, a love interest for the brilliant but socially challenged Sheldon (Jim Parsons) in the May 24 season finale of the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory". “We don’t know much about her, but I’m assuming she’s smart. There’s a very interesting exchange, enough to get him interested,” she teased.
Actor David Faustino ("Married with Children") and his girlfriend Christiana Leucas celebrated Earth Day by buying biodegradable dog waste bags at Petco for their chocolate Lab Sophie. “We’re not the greenest people on the planet. We’re definitely a light shade of green, but we’re working our way to get greener and greener,” said the star and creator of the “disgusting but cool” Web series "Star-ving" and budding rap producer. He recycles, has low-flow showerheads, “and I turn off lights like crazy,” added Faustino, who’s considering trading in his Cadillac for something more economical. “I haven’t stepped into the hybrid yet. My next car I’m hoping to get one. Maybe in a year when I’m ready to buy, there will be an electric car that I like.”
"So You Think You Can Dance" judge Mary Murphy (pictured left) already traded her gas guzzler for a less consumptive Lexus IS 250. “Still not electric, but I’m working on it. I’m looking into making my dance studio solar and getting solar at home too,” she said before accepting the Effecting Change Award. She recycles more, donating her clothing to a women’s shelter or to charity auctions. Just in from the “emotionally exhausting” Las Vegas Week auditions for the dance show, she believes that the changes on the show, which involve fewer contestants and past season alumni partnering with them, will “elevate the dance. I think it’s going to be a very good season.”
Aptly attired in a green T-shirt sporting the recycle symbol, "Top Chef" runnerup Stefan Richter told us he keeps his two Santa Monica restaurants, Stefan’s at L.A. Farm and Stefan’s on Montana, as green as possible by serving local produce, using china and cloth napkins, and installing energy-saving light bulbs. ”My electric bill went from $6,000 to $2,000,” says Richter, who’s planning to open a third eatery in Hollywood in a few months.
“True environmentalists are vegans,” said Rory Freedman, co-author of the "Skinny B*itch" book series, who celebrated Earth Day with a hike with her dogs and friends “and an amazing meal at the Veggie Grill in West Hollywood.” A vegetarian for 16 years and vegan for the last six, Freedman noted the deleterious effect of animal agriculture on the environment. “Meat is not green,” explained the best-selling writer, a “recycling junkie” who totes her own refillable water canteen. She’s in discussions for a TV show and will issue a "Skinny B*itch" desk calendar in June.
Additional photo credits: Sonya Walger by Bob D'Amico/ABC; Mary Murphy courtesy Picture Group; MNN homepage photo: WENN.com