On the town with Shinan: Riley Keough's husband does double duty

By Shinan Govani

You know you’re still in the honeymoon phase, I suppose, when your husband blows your hair dry at home while you sit back and fiddle around on your phone.

Elvis’ dishy granddaughter, Riley Keough, was only so lucky the other night in Toronto, when her spouse of a month, Australian stuntman Ben Smith-Petersen, got to work on her ‘do at their place. He was shirtless, muscles bulging. She was damp, and a bit distracted. Knowing a good Instagram when she sees one, she snapped and posted a pic of the scene.

When she isn’t being attended to by her hairdryer-wielding husband, the darling is, these days, filming the lead in The Girlfriend Experience, a Starz series based on Steven Soderbergh’s flick about a high-end call girl. It’s what brings her to Canada, where the shoot is happening, and about which Riley is giddy. Lisa Marie Presley’s daughter joked recently of the gig, “Just prostitution nine-to-five and the weekends off.”

I imagine that nothing’s too weird, or all that surreal, for the young heiress. Not only was she born into the family of The King (he died 12 years before she came into the world), but she even lived at Neverland for a spell, when her mom was briefly married to Michael Jackson.

Despite it all, “I think I’m under the radar enough,” Riley tells Town & Country magazine, whose cover she just graced. “No one cares about me in general.” And, indeed, she’s been mainly left alone while camped out in Toronto, only really photographed when she and Ben were pap’ed coming out of Sassafraz restaurant in Yorkville one night.

One thing’s for sure, this is one “very determined young woman”, as Town & Country put it, in that despite her ample advantages she "needed to make her own money," as Riley told the magazine. She wandered into modelling, quickly picking up gigs with brands like Tommy Hilfiger and David Yurman. By the age of 14 she had landed a three-year contract as the face of Miss Dior Chérie perfume. Film roles followed, with her landing her first movie role at 19 (in The Runaways, alongside her good pal Kristen Stewart), and also a part in Magic Mike.

I saw Riley at an event a few months back, and was really taken by how strong those Presley genes are. She looks a lot like her mom who, of course, has always looked a lot like Elvis! I also noticed that she had really smashing hair.


Quite a bit of buzz this week about a new adapation of Little Women – one that Toronto’s Sarah Polley has been tapped to write. It would be the fourth such adaptation of the classic book, all of which combine to gold-dust it with some major pedigree: the first film, in 1933, starred Katharine Hepburn, while a 1949 version featured Elizabeth Taylor. A beloved 1994 adaptation boasted a cast with Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale!

Although Sarah typically writes and directs her own work – including films like Away From Her and Take This Waltz – she is not yet attached to direct, we understand, though it seems a no-brainer to me. And what immediately struck me when I heard the news is that Little Women takes Sarah back to her Road to Avonlea roots – the Canadian TV series she starred in as a wee thing. Both are creations spurred by strong female writers – Louisa May Alcott in the first case, Lucy Maud Montgomery in the second – and both are period pieces helmed by plucky young heroines.

Of course, the “dream casting” began in earnest, too, when the news broke about the Sony-helmed feature, with names like Saoirse Ronan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Carey Mulligan and Maisie Williams in the mix. Personally, I have but one demand: cast Kiernan Shipka somewhere in this thing! Having watched her grow up before our eyes over the many seasons of Mad Men, which wraps up soon, she’s an incredibly prepossessing presence poised for the big screen!

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