Hit & Run: Second fiddle is best

When hosting the 2005 Oscars, Chris Rock asked a pertinent question. "Who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years?

Even if he's not acting in it, if you look at the credits he makes the cupcakes or something." Law had indeed been involved in six films released during the previous year, with leading roles in four of them. And Sean Penn chastised Rock, insisting Law was one of Hollywood's finest actors. Which may be true, but in his leading roles (think Alfie, Sleuth, The Holiday) Law has hardly shone. Nor have the films where he received top billing performed as hoped at the box office. Yet when, during his early Hollywood career, he put in a supporting turn (think Road to Perdition, AI, The Talented Mr Ripley) he was uniformly praised – and so, by and large, were the films.

Colin Farrell did great work as a supporting actor in Minority Report, yet his transition to Hollywood hero yielded decidedly mixed results such as SWAT and Alexander. Perhaps in the cases of Farrell and Law, leading man looks belie a supporting actor's talent. And both – fresh from paying tribute to Heath Ledger by taking sections of his part in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus – are looking to rejuvenate their CVs with supporting roles in forthcoming films: Law is playing Watson in Guy Ritchie's version of Sherlock Holmes, while Farrell plays protégé to Jeff Bridges' craggy old country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. Blink at the wrong moment during the trailer and you'll miss him altogether.

Perhaps they're taking leaves out of the books of their forebears. Former heartthrob Alec Baldwin, for instance, got a second shot at wild success when he grew jowls and broke out his brilliant sense of humour. John Travolta, too, has weight gain and Quentin Tarantino to thank for his career's second act. Though I'm not sure anyone would argue that Battlefield Earth is of the same quality as 30 Rock. Tim Walker

A tree is for life, not just for Christmas

Fairy lights, a mile of tinsel and plastic baubles festooned from top to toe: Christmas trees aren't the most ecologically friendly of Yuletide traditions. But a small start-up, the Christmas Tree Man, based in Charminster, Dorset, is trying to change all that. The company rents out firs and spruces for the holiday period, then takes them back and re-plants them. It's a handy way of lowering your carbon footprint – and watching a tree grow along with your children.

"You can give something back without spoiling all the fun by getting a nicer tree than you would otherwise. You can eat your food-mile-rich Christmas dinner and not feel too bad about it," says Jimmy Hayes, managing director of the Christmas Tree Man. Hayes says this year his firm has had record demands – selling 300 trees over the last month (trees cost from £49, and can be delivered to your door). He's even supplied London mayor Boris Johnson and the Archbishop of Canterbury. "People have carved their initials in the bark to make sure they get the same tree back the following year," adds Hayes. Dorset dog-walkers should take care their pets don't cock a leg against a tree with the initials "BJ" carved into it. That's spoken for. Rob Sharp

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?