HOLLYWOOD Harry and Meghan among Hollywood's 'biggest losers' but Harry...

Harry and Meghan among Hollywood’s ‘biggest losers’ but Harry ‘intriguing’

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The Hollywood Reporter’s list of the town’s “biggest winners and losers” in 2023 could make Meghan Markle’s powerhouse agents worry about their efforts to relaunch her U.S. career — if they haven’t already begun to rethink their association, as surmised by PR and branding experts since she and Prince Harry were caught up in furor surrounding Omid Scobie’s controversial book “Endgame.”

THR, one of Hollywood’s leading trade publications, placed Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, among its list of “losers” for the year — along with Disney, Marvel and DC superhero movies, embattled actors Ezra Miller and Jonathan Majors and Elon Musk and X. The winners, on the other hand, include Taylor Swift, Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie, Christopher Nolan, Netflix, horror movies and “silver fox” actors like Patrick Dempsey.

But it’s not all bad news for Meghan and Harry at the end of what turned out to be a mostly tumultuous 2023. People magazine listed Harry as one of its 25 “most intriguing” celebrities, due to the way he “opened up like never before in his bestselling memoir ‘Spare,’” which was published at the beginning of 2023. Harry revealed what he called “the good, the bad and everything in between” of life behind palace walls, People said.

THR, however, had a different take on “Spare” and its impact on the Sussexes’ reputation. THR called the book “whiny,” while Harry was mocked by Jimmy Kimmel and others online for sharing details about losing his virginity, his kitchen fight with Prince William and his Elizabeth Arden treatment for a frostbitten penis.

In its summary of the couple’s bad year, THR said: “In 2020, the royal duo fled a life of ceremonial public service to cash in their celebrity status in the States. But after a whiny Netflix documentary, a whiny biography (‘Spare’ — even the title is a pouty gripe) and an inert podcast, the Harry and Meghan brand swelled into a sanctimonious bubble just begging to be popped — and ‘South Park’ was the pin. The show’s 20-minute ‘World-Wide Privacy Tour’ takedown in March was savage, and was followed by Spotify dropping (Meghan’s podcast) ‘Archetypes,’ with a top executive labeling the duo ‘grifters.’”

THR’s list doesn’t include what was another of the couple’s big P.R. fails in 2023 — when the New York Police Department and New York Times challenged their account of being involved in a “catastrophic car chase” in Manhattan in June. But THR offered Meghan and Harry a silver lining of sorts: “Still, all the scorn and mockery beats otherwise having to attend 200-plus official royal family engagements a year, which sounds hellish.”

The THR list appears to have been compiled before the Nov. 28 publication of “Endgame. As a scathing critique of the current state of the British monarchy, the book revived allegations that the renegade royal couple are trying to undermine the institution, even as, critics say, they are trying to profit from their Duke and Duchess of Sussex titles and their association with their royal relatives.

“Endgame” moreover, reminded the world about the race scandal Meghan ignited during her 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, when she mentioned “troubling” conversations among Harry’s family about how dark her son Archie’s skin would be.

As much as the Sussexes tried to let it be known they not “affiliated” with Scobie’s book, there’s a perception that the author, long one their fiercest defenders, wrote it on their behalf. Meghan was forced to reveal in court that she had provided information to Scobie for “Finding Freedom,” his sympathetic 2020 book about her and Harry’s exit from royal life.

“Endgame” also has been mired in a publishing controversy, with the book’s Dutch-language version implicating King Charles III and Kate Middleton in those “troubling” conversations. The “Endgame” controversy means more of the “never-ending scandal” surrounding Meghan and Harry, which reportedly has left their powerhouse agents, Ari Emanuel and his William Morris Endeavor (WME) talent agency, “exasperated,” a senior production source told the Daily Express last week. WME made a splashy announcement in April about signing the former “Suits” actor to their prestigious roster of clients.

“There are potential deals on the table for Meghan that could just as quickly vanish if this continues,” the source told The Daily Express. The source said the American public is “growing weary” of the “mean-spirited and downright cruel attacks” in Scobie’s book, especially on the Princess of Wales. “Whether or not Meghan and Harry were the sources of these (attacks), people will simply assume they were because of their past connections with Mr Scobie,” the source said.

U.K.-based P.R. expert Mark Borkowski agreed that Meghan’s career relaunch, since the end of her deal with Spotify, “‘is clearly not going to plan,” the Daily Mail reported.

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