Movie stars are like pork bellies or dog food. They're just another commodity to be bought and sold.
So says James Ulmer, whose annual list of the pecking order of the stars known as the Ulmer Scale has become a Hollywood staple.
"You have to market and package them and measure them," says the author of "James Ulmer's Hollywood Hot List."
"It's not really much different from marketing dog food."
At the top of Ulmer's hot list is Julia Roberts, followed by Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis.
Basically, Ulmer's rankings reflect "the ability of a star's name alone to raise 100 percent of the money for a film before the cameras start shooting." But Ulmer's book includes lots of gossip, too what he calls reliable gossip (based on interviews with such folks as movie crew members and makeup artists) that you can take to the bank. So, without further ado, let's get to the juicy stuff.
Demi Moore may still be a star (she ranks 57 in the Hollywood pork-belly pantheon), but she has "serious diva behavior."
As an example, Ulmer cites a story about the New York premiere of 1992's "A Few Good Men."
To get Demi to attend, Castle Rock sent a plane to Idaho, but Demi rejected it as too small: Her luggage would have to be stacked, rather than laid out side by side. Oh, the horror! So Castle Rock had dispatched a larger plane an expense that "totaled just south of $100,000." By the way, Demi's real name is Demetria Guynes.
Some stars are the source of negative gossip whenever you breathe their name. Sharon Stone seems to inspire "an earful about betrayal, greed, vindictiveness, revenge plenty of ammo for a Jackie Collins masterpiece."
Similar stories circulate about Marlon Brando, Melanie Griffith and Gwyneth Paltrow, he says. But the worst is Val Kilmer. "Godzilla gets better reviews," Ulmer says.
Other tidbits. Billy Bob Thornton and Whoopi Goldberg won't fly. Harrison Ford is this generation's Clark Gable, "not a bad actor, just one of limited scope," according to one of Ulmer's anonymous sources.
Robin Williams has been known to have "horrifically bad body odor." Jeff Goldblum, who wants $3 million a picture, mistakenly believes he was a big draw for the blockbusters "Jurassic Park" and "Independence Day." Tom Cruise is a "geeky band member stuck in a quarterback's body."