Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez Participate in Paparazzi Doc

3:00 AM PST 07/15/2011 by Shirley Halperin, Merle Ginsberg
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

In "$ellebrity," rock and roll photographer and WireImage co-founder Kevin Mazur chronicles the rise of tabloid journalism told through the prism of the lens.

Longtime rock and roll photographer, red carpet fixture and WireImage co-founder Kevin Mazur is turning the lens on his own industry, chronicling the rise of the modern-day paparazzi in his first documentary, $ellebrity. The topic is a perfect fit. After all, WireImage (acquired in 2007 by Getty Images) is famous for shooting the stars at awards shows, onstage and on the street.

Mazur started the project two years ago with encouragement from Marc Anthony. “We’re friends,” Mazur tells The Hollywood Reporter, and he said, ‘Nobody Knows this business better than you.’ ” So Anthony, wife Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, Kid Rock and more were interviewed and wound up narrating the doc, which is in its final editing phase.

“People have always expected me to do music videos, but I’ve wanted to do films for a long time,” says Mazur, echoing the ambition of fellow shutterbugs-turned-directors like Spike Jonze, David Lachapelle and Danny Clinch. “Our goal in making the film was to have an intelligent conversation between all the parties -- the paparazzi, celebrities and people in the industry.”

Rolling Stone contributor David Wild conducted the interviews, which are both candid and, in some cases, surprisingly laid back -- a testament to the stars’ trust in Mazur and their faith in the film. “It’s fun to watch the Jennifer and Marc segments because they’re so relaxed and joking with each other,” says Mazur. “It’s like just hanging out in their house.”

At the same time, some of the conversations are incredibly intense, such as one scene when Parker describes being hounded by paparazzi while pregnant and another when Aniston explains the many methods she’s used to try and reason with the photographers who follow her every move.

But in chronicling the evolution of tabloid journalism from Hollywood’s earliest scandals to the recent issues of Us Weekly, Mazur emphasizes that his team didn’t just focus on the stars. “We talked to people on the street, newsstand owners and some photographers,” he says. “But most of those guys turn out to be hypocrites: they will take pictures of celebrities, but they won’t be photographed themselves.” 

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