Hit & Run: Burnt Sienna gives quite a performance

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The Independent Online

Call it a career move, but Sienna Miller is no longer the starlet with the dubious morals, dirty mouth and distinct reluctance to play the fame game fairly.

Instead, this past few weeks, she's been grinning for photographers, charming interviewers, and even apologising in public for her private indiscretions. Hit & Run, for one, welcomes this rehabilitation.

You'd think the celebrity most despised by the paparazzi would be due some kudos from everyone else. Last year, Miller successfully sued pap agency Big Pictures for harassment, making legal history in the process. But when she was revealed to be in a relationship with a married man, actor and oil heir Balthazar Getty, she was told by some that she risked her entire career.

Not that we'd condone extramarital affairs or anything, but you have to wonder what the reaction would be if the "homewrecker" were some roguish male actor, a Clooney or a Pitt. Meanwhile, Sienna's three serious relationships (Jude, Rhys, Balthazar) in five years is hardly a record for a twentysomething.

With her recent Top Gear appearance, she chose a relatively safe arena in which to launch her charm offensive. Jeremy Clarkson rarely gives his celebrity guests a grilling, especially the attractive female ones. But even Top Gear is a tough crowd when you've only just learned to drive. Sienna came off as throughly likeable, and even hot in a crash helmet, driving a respectable lap on the test track despite having passed her UK driving test just five days previously. In fact she posted a 1.49.8, faster than Michael Gambon – and he has a corner named after him.

Whether or not she's a great actress remains a bit of a mystery, but only because she's so far lacked a high-profile opportunity to prove her acting chops like her contemporary Keira Knightley. She has picked, as her redemptive moment, the promotional tour for GI Joe, a $170m film already considered a critical turkey.

Her big screen debut was Layer Cake, which gave her little to do but prance about in panties. The same was true of the dud Alfie remake, though she was widely described as the best thing in it. Factory Girl (and her prospective breakout performance therein) sank without trace. Sienna supposedly did great work in Interview, with Steve Buscemi, and in Dylan Thomas biopic The Edge of Love. Did you see either of them? Us neither.

According to US blog Defamer, she comes off badly in the upcoming behind-the-scenes documentary about American Vogue, The September Issue. But the clips it claims are damning include one of editor Anna Wintour looking underwhelmed by her cover star's mildly ridiculous outfit, and one of photographer Mario Testino disapproving of her dental work. Surely it's Wintour and Testino who look unpleasant here. And if Sienna's not hot enough for the cover of Vogue, who the heck is?

Tim Walker

Ambassador's shame saved

Picture the scene. You've been invited to a chic dinner party and are keen to wow the hosts with your savoir-faire. A pack of 32 Ferrero Rocher would be just the gift, but at £7.99 it seems a bit well, OTT, indeed almost embarrassingly generous.

So praise be to the gods of ironic confectionary, as Rocher are bringing out a new box of 20 gold-wrapped chocolates for a recession-busting, nicely-rounded £5. A thoughtful budgeter will notice that the price per unit actually offers very marginally worse value, but unless you are off to Alistair Darling's house for dinner, who cares?

Maybe it's a bid to cash in on the recession and the boom in dinner parties, or perhaps its part of the healthy new drive to reduce portion size. Either way that classic dilemma at the newsagents over whether to arrive with wilted carnations, a bottle of Black Tower or Mint Matchmakers just got a whole lot easier – and cheaper.

Carola Long

Is that a budgie in your pocket?

In the unlikely event that Rod Stewart or Ronaldo is planning to visit Alton Towers, they may wish to rethink their favoured swimwear because the Staffordshire attraction is enforcing a crackdown on Speedos at its water park. Last weekend's hot weather apparently led to an increase in cases of "budgie smuggling" as hot chaps swapped dignity for brevity in an effort to keep cool. "To prevent embarrassment ... [we] have taken the extreme measure of banning tight trunks," reads a press release. The "battle of the bulge", as the release is headed, has not, as far as we know, made the news in France but it's likely to be greeted with bemusement in a country where 'maillots de bain sportif' are de rigueur at public pools.

As many Brits have discovered, often to their horror, some arcane law forbids the wearing of modest trunks. Hit&Run is struggling to find a reason for the French rule, with message boards positing variously: the potential for creases in shorts to harbour germs; the Gallic fondness for uniforms; and the desire to keep pool filters free of, er, pubes. But if you're a French tourist in Britain and decide to go to Alton Towers, don't forget to leave your budgie in its cage.

Simon Usborne

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