Pakistani-origin woman told she was too dark to play a hobbit

A Pakistani-origin British woman has accused the casting manager of filmmaker Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" movie of racism because he told her she was "too dark" to play one of the diminutive creatures, a media report said Tuesday.

Naz Humphreys attended a casting session in Hamilton, New Zealand, last week and stood in line for three hours only to be told later her skin tone was not suitable.

Video footage from the audition showed the casting manager telling people they were looking for light-skinned people to play Hobbits, the Daily Mail reported citing The Waikato Times.

He tells the would-be Hobbits: "I'm not trying to be... whatever. It's just the brief. You've got to look like a Hobbit."

Humphreys said: "It's 2010 and I still can't believe I'm being discriminated against because I have brown skin. The casting manager basically said they weren't having anybody who wasn't pale-skinned."

The Pakistani-origin woman had hoped for a bit part in "The Hobbit" - a two-part prequel to the Oscar-winning "Lord Of The Rings" series.

She has now set up a Facebook group called "Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to hobbit racism!"

"I would love to be an extra. But it just seemed like a shame because obviously Hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour. They all look kind of homogenised beige and all derived from the Caucasian gene pool," Humphreys said.

A spokesman for Peter Jackson said he was unaware of the casting restriction and described it as an "incredibly unfortunate error".

"It is not something the producers or the director of 'The Hobbit' were aware of. They would never issue instructions of this kind to the casting crew. All people meeting the age and height requirements are welcome to audition," he said.

Kirsten Dunst forgot steamy topless scene she did with Ryan Gosling

It seems shedding clothes is no big deal for 'Spiderman' star Kirsten Dunst as she said she has forgotten doing a topless scene against Ryan Gosling for her new film.

Dunst has done a steamy topless shower scene with Gosling in the upcoming crime drama 'All Good Things.'

"I forgot I even did it. I don't even think about it...We really got to know each other through eight weeks of rehearsal, it was important we felt very comfortable with each other," the New York Post quoted her as telling Fox

The film takes on one of the most notorious missing persons' cases in New York history, that of real estate mogul Robert Durst who was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Kathie in the 1980s.

Dunst plays the role of Kathie in the upcoming flick, and hopes the film may lead to more clues being uncovered to solve the real life murder mystery.

Tight security for Oprah during her Down Under visit

The talk show host will be given personal protection and police escort vehicles as she travels through Sydney, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Senior police sources have confirmed that the Federal Government has awarded Winfrey the honour of being a 'formal guest of government,' allowing her a government security detail and police escort vehicles.

There is also the prospect of road closures on December 14, the day her show is hosted at the Opera House, with the NSW Government indicating the police are in discussions with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority about how her show will be managed.

Winfrey, who is expected to arrive in Australia next week, is likely to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel or the Shangri-La—the two highest-security hotels in Sydney.

A spokeswoman for NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said details of the cost of Winfrey's trip to taxpayers were 'yet to be finalised'.

"The NSW Police Force and NSW government agencies are working closely together to ensure the visit and associated events take place without incident," said a spokeswoman for Police Minister Michael Daley.

But Winfrey appears intent on testing the tight security arrangements.

"She wants to immerse herself in the Aussie culture and she thinks the best way to do that is live with a family and sit down to dinner with them by the barbecue, play a bit of backyard cricket and experience their lifestyle," said a source.

Actress Lara Dutta, who recently launched her video CDs on yoga, was Tuesday appointed the brand ambassador of Kellogg's breakfast cereal brand Special K.

"With Special K, I know I have a low-fat breakfast option to start my day. Plus, it helps keep me full and leaves me with energy to grapple with my long day ahead. And, the best part is that I love the taste," the former Miss Universe said in a press statement.

The 32-year-old, last seen in "Housefull", says she connects well with the product.

"I can relate to the Special K woman - I enjoy the confidence that comes from loving your body, and I also try to keep a positive and simple approach to things, including managing my weight," she added.

Officials at Kellogg India, the Indian subsidiary of Kellogg Company, producer of ready-to-eat cereal and convenience foods, too said Lara is the perfect choice to endorse Special K.

"We are delighted to have Lara on board. We feel she personifies the Special K woman to the T. The Special K woman is feminine, positive, and loves the confidence that comes from the weight that she believes is right for her. She eats and exercises in a simple and balanced manner," Kellogg India managing director Sangeeta Pendurkar said.

Preity Zinta to be brand ambassador of Himachal tourism

Preity Zinta would be Himachal Pradesh's brand ambassador for promoting tourism, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal announced here Tuesday.

"Preity Zinta would motivate world-renowned personalities and entrepreneurs to visit and invest in high-end tourism the state. She has agreed in principle to act as a brand ambassador for tourism," Dhumal told reporters.

Preity has even agreed to work for environment awareness in the state, he said.

A team of government officials, comprising tourism director Arun Sharma, met Preity in Mumbai to get her consent in this regard.

Preity, who belonged to the hill state, did her graduation from Shimla's St. Bede's, India's oldest all-women college.

Kara Tointon slams interview headline

Kara Tointon has hit out at a magazine which carried an interview with her Strictly Come Dancing partner Artem Chigvintsev today.

The former EastEnders actress insisted that a headline used in New magazine was "fictional".

"Gutted at NEW mag!" she wrote on Twitter. "Artem did interview and they have written a head line that he never said 'I'm in love with Kara' total lie"

She continued: "don't get why they speak to u and then make up a fictional head line! What's the point in that. so stupid and he never uttered a word of it."

The pair have been romantically linked since they began working together for the BBC show.

Artem Chigvintsev: 'Kara is gorgeous'
Artem Chigvintsev has admitted that his Strictly Come Dancing partner Kara Tointon gives him "butterflies".

Tointon has previously claimed that she could begin dating Chigvintsev when the current series is over, adding that she finds the Russian dancer "rather fanciable".

Chigvintsev has now confessed that he thinks Tointon is "gorgeous" and would make an "amazing girlfriend".

He told Now magazine: "I absolutely adore her in every way and I think she's gorgeous. Her body's unbelievably beautiful. Does she give me butterflies? I'd say yes, she does."

Chigvintsev - who confirmed that Tointon has been to his house and that he has also spent a night with her at her parents' home - revealed that the pair will go on a date after Strictly ends.

"There's a lot at stake," he said. "I'm afraid of ruining our relationship while we're still doing Strictly.

"There's a lot of speculation that we'll go on a date, so I guess we can't disappoint the public! I think it'll be somewhere away, a weekend away from town."

Arlene wants "more sex" from Kara Tointon
Arlene Phillips has said that she wants to see "more sex" from Kara Tointon on Strictly Come Dancing.

The former judge suggested that Tointon is deliberately downplaying the "passion" in her performances for fear of fuelling speculation that she is an item with professional partner Artem Chigvintsev.

Phillips told The Sun: "Kara is holding back and it could cost her dearly. She's afraid of showing deeper passion with Artem in case people think that's what is happening off the floor.

"She's very sexy and I want to see more sex in her on-screen performance. She shouldn't be afraid of it, she should embrace it. When she's in the ballroom, she needs to show he is the only man for her."

Tointon recently confessed that she finds Chigvintsev "rather fanciable".

IAS urges Pope to support condom use

Following Pope's comments that condom use could, in specific circumstances, be acceptable, the International AIDS Society (IAS) has urged him and the Catholic Church to come out clearly and strongly in support of all evidence-based methods of HIV prevention, including condom use.

By implying that there can only be some exceptional circumstances that could allow for condom usage, such as that of male prostitutes, the Pope is ignoring scientific evidence that shows that both male and female condoms, used correctly and consistently, can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV by 80 to 90 percent.

Although the Pope's concession is a step in the right direction, the IAS remains skeptical especially after the Pope's comments in 2009 when he stated that condoms aggravated the AIDS problem. At that time the IAS reacted saying that his comments were "irresponsible and dangerous" and that there was "not a shred" of evidence suggesting condom use raises the risk of HIV transmission.

The IAS President Elly Katabira expressed his mixed reaction to the Pope's comments, "While I appreciate this is a significant shift in policy by the Pope, there is still a long way to go in convincing the Catholic church that condom usage is key to the elimination of the HIV virus which currently claims two million lives every year".

Spears to remain under conservatorship?

Britney Spears will reportedly remain under the conservatorship of her father for the foreseeable future.
Recently it was claimed the singer could regain control of her financial assets as early as January 2011.

However, according to TMZ, there are currently no plans to end the conservatorship and Spears herself is said to be happy for it to continue at present.

The singer's father, Jamie Spears, assumed control over both the singer's personal care and finances in 2008 following a string of reported personal issues.

Spears's seventh album is expected to be released in Spring 2011.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Is she plain lucky?

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has become quite the epitome of success despite her latest three flicks not doing so well at the box office. This star has more than proved her star status not only in India but also abroad as everyone who is interested in the world of glitz and glamour is well aware by now.

However the actress in her is not yet satiated and she is thus reportedly going in for a signing up on quite a few new projects these days. The most popular star wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has also proved that marriage is a jinx for any actress in B town and has got a lot of important projects in her kitty right after she tied the nuptial knot with Abhishek Bachchan.

These days there is news floating around that director Vishal Bharadwaj is planning to sign Aishwarya and Hrithik Roshan for his project on the Shakespearean play Hamlet.

Now this amazing play by the most coveted playwright like Shakespeare that too with the ace director like Vishal Bharadwaj and two of the most hot and happening stars of Bollywood like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan as the lead pair, actually sounds quite the perfect combination for a super hit flick!

As is known Aishwarya and Hrithik have looked extremely convincing as a couple in Dhoom 2 and Jodha Akbar, not to forget the amazing pair in the just released Guzaarish, it really seems like a dream project is about to begin for this deadly hot duo.

Now with Ash getting such great offers even as she has crossed the 35 plus mark in her birthday count one really wonders –is she plain lucky to get to work with the best of directors in B town?

Dannii: 'I was Kylie's fat, ugly sister'

Dannii Minogue has admitted that she is enjoying not being in her sister Kylie's shadow.

The X Factor judge told Marie Claire that she struggled to achieve success in the UK because of her sister's popularity.

"When I first came over, it was hard because it was Kyliemania," she confessed. "She was this cute little thing and I was the fat, ugly sister.

"Can you imagine for years being asked what it’s like to be Kylie's sister?"

She added: "I guess it's my turn now to enjoy what is going right."

Dannii Minogue 'ignored Kylie comparisons'

Dannii Minogue has said that the success of her sister Kylie's career never made her "jealous".

According to the Daily Mail, the X Factor judge and popstar reveals in her autobiography My Story that press comparisons between the two siblings did not affect the pair's relationship or the "love and support" that they gave each other.

Minogue wrote: "Ever since I arrived in the UK in 1991, the media have pitted us against one another, first favouring my supposed 'cooler, darker' image over Kylie's bubblegum sweetness, then turning on me with a deluge of unflattering comparisons.

"Never mind that Dannii has had ten Top 10 records - Kylie has had 20! Never mind that Dannii's album has gone gold - Kylie's has gone platinum! Less success was no success at all as far as my critics were concerned. As much as it broke my heart at times, it never made me any less proud and supportive of my sister, and I received the same love and support from her."

The 38-year-old also said that she never compared her own career to Kylie's, adding: "The truth is I never felt as if I was competing with my sister. Although I got very tired of the constant comparisons, it wasn't because I was jealous. I think all the Dannii-bashing headlines often hurt Kylie more than they hurt me."

My Story is published on September 30.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host 83rd annual Academy Awards

Actor James Franco and actress Anne Hathaway will host the 83rd Academy Awards in February, the Academy announced on Monday.

Franco, 32, can currently be seen in "127 Hours" but is also known for his roles in movies such as "Eat, Love, Pray," "Date Night," "Milk" and "Pineapple Express." He is also known for his portrayals of Harry Osborn in the "Spider-Man" trilogy.

Hathaway, 28, was recently seen in "Alice in Wonderland" and currently can be seen in "Love and Other Drugs." Other films include "Bride Wars," "Becoming Jane," "The Devil Wears Prada" and "The Princess Diaries." She was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for her lead performance in "Rachel Getting Married."

Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer made the announcement on Monday, saying they 'personify' the next generation of Hollywood icons. "We hope to create an Oscar broadcast that will both showcase their incredible talents and entertain the world on February 27," they said in a statement. "We are completely thrilled that James and Anne will be joining forces with our brilliant creative team to do just that."

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood and will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Jacqueline Fernandez Interacts With The TEEN OF THE YEAR 2010 Participants

Stage all set for Teen of the Year 2010 Pageant. The Teenager magazine in association with Habitat for Humanity India is conducted this event with the theme of 'Building a socially conscious India'.

Now in its 15th year, the event has 18 participants chosen from various zonals held across the country, representing different regions of India.

Noted Bollywood actor and goodwill ambassador of Habitat for Humanity India Jacqueline Fernandez, has lent her support to this event and on the day of the Grand Finale to be held on 20th Nov,2010, she spent time interacting with the finalist at 3.00 pm at St.Paul's centre. JF has been a source of inspiration to the contestants through her article published in the Teenager magazine's, July edition.

Post this the finalist moved to the St.Andrew's auditorium for the awards ceremony, where one of the 18 finalists were selected as the TEEN of the YEAR 2010.Tushar Gandhi ,The great Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was the chief guest for the event.

Prior to the final event, the participants , were put through a range of events that include group dynamics, workshops, personality development exercises, personal interviews, all this with the objective to bring out hidden talents that these youngsters would've never known to them. Besides this, these finalists were engaged in a volunteer build at a Habitat site at Karjat to work side by side with the beneficiaries and help in building their house.

About Habitat for Humanity India:
Habitat For Humanity India is a not for profit organisation working for the provision of safe, decent and affordable home for the less fortunate citizens of India, for the past 27 years. The organisation has built/rehabilitated over 35,000 houses pan India, impacting the lives of over 175,000 people mainly women and children through their housing program.

About Teenager:
Teenager is a magazine launched in 1961 for positively impacting the lives of the teens across the country. During its 49 years it has been a source of information and guidance for thousands of teens dealing with the pains of attaining majority.

Wife: 'Russell Crowe is volatile'

Russell Crowe's wife Danielle Spencer has revealed that he can be "volatile".

The Australian musician, who has sons Charlie and Tennyson with Oscar-winning actor Crowe, said that the media have made him a "caricature" by turning him into a stereotypical "angry man".

Spencer told The Australian Women's Weekly magazine: "He's quite a volatile person, sure, but he also has a very warm and soft and funny side to him, too. He's multi-faceted, as most people are, but the media doesn't allow for shades of grey."

She also revealed that they want their children to have a "really normal life".

Deepika is face of her dad's Olympic Gold Quest

Actress Deepika becomes the face of her father, ace badminton player Prakash Padukone's organisation Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ).

"I am the face of Olympic Gold Quest. I have just come on board. Olympic Gold Quest is training our athletes for the Olympics in 2012," Deepika told IANS in an interview.

Prakash Padukone launched OGQ a few years back with billiards player Geet Sethi. The negligence of the government towards the athletes made them set up the organisation, which is being funded by corporates and individuals to produce some world-class sportsmen.

"Not enough is being done. In the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, we have proved that there is enough talent in our country. Not enough is being done in terms of promoting the talent," said Deepika.

"Government is not taking enough care of our athletes. That's why my father and Geet Sethi have set up Olympic Gold Quest, which is a non-profit organisation and the funds come from corporate houses. All of us can also contribute individually," Deepika stressed.

"The fund is used to train athletes. Whether it is tennis, badminton, their coaching, OGQ will take care of their equipment, uniforms and whatever else is required," she said.

Sportsmen like Leander Paes, Viswanathan Anand are already on board. Hockey Olympian Viren Rasquinha is the chief executive of OGQ.

Performance in sports also marks a country's development, says Deepika.

"I think the laurels that a sportsperson brings to the country are also a kind of development. Today, when we talk about America or Australia - these are the countries which are very, very popular in sports as well. So, it's not only the economic, political or infrastructural development, even sports can put you up there on the world map," said Deepika.

The actress maintains that the organisation would soon felicitate the Commonwealth and Asian games winners.

"We will be felicitating OGQ athletes, who performed well in the Asian Games and in the Commonwealth Games," said Deepika.

Rao: 'My film is a love letter to Mumbai'

Kiran Rao has said that her directorial debut is about her own experiences in Mumbai.

Dhobi Ghat, which stars her husband Aamir Khan, follows the intercrossing lives of four individuals in the Indian city.

The helmer has opted to promote the film through releasing postcards describing what the film means to her.

On one of the cards, she said: "I came to Mumbai 12 years ago, moved house seven times, worked on eight films, found love and am seeing my dreams come true," The Times of India reported.

Rao continued: "I guess it's the magic of Mumbai - my muse, my home, and the reason I made this film called Dhobi Ghat."

Mark Ruffalo on terror advisory list?

Mark Ruffalo has allegedly been placed on the United States terror advisory list.

Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie, was reportedly added to the list after arranging screenings of a documentary about natural gas drilling.

The actor told GQ that his presence on the record was "pretty f**kin' funny".

Ruffalo is an advocate for stopping the practice of natural gas drilling, and organised screenings earlier this year for documentary GasLand, a film that focuses on communities in the United States affected by the practice.

Rihanna 'sick of talking about Brown'

Rihanna has revealed that she is constantly asked about her abusive relationship with Chris Brown but has no interest in discussing it.

Replying to a tweet from a fan who urged the singer to stop talking about her ex-boyfriend, the popstar insisted that she finds journalists' continual questions about him "annoying".

In response to the tweet, she wrote: "AGREED! People won't stop askin abt it! Its f**kin annoying!

"Nobody wants to relive that, but some ppl can't respect that!

She added: "I get it, they wanna raise awareness to young girls! But it ends up just makin me look bitter, pitiful, spiteful and angry!"

Jason London, girlfriend confirm engagement

Jason London has confirmed that he is engaged to longtime girlfriend Sofia Karstens.
E! Online reports that the actor proposed to his fiancée on Saturday night with an engagement ring that had once belonged to Karstens's grandmother.

The couple plan to tie the knot in Vermont next July.

"I love waking up with my best friend every morning," London said.

Karstens explained that she is excited to marry the Dazed And Confused star.

She remarked: "I feel so lucky to have such an amazing man in my life."

The pair have dated for two years.

'Spider-Man' preview suffers tech issues

The first showing of new Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark was plagued by a number of technical problems which resulted in the production having to be stopped on five separate occasions.

The preview performance was attended by an audience of almost 2000, but issues with the show's high-wire stunts caused delays and led to an impromptu intermission having to be called at one point.

"I don't know how everyone else feels, but I feel like a guinea pig today," one audience member shouted, according to THR. "I feel like it's a dress rehearsal!"

The musical has become the most expensive stage production ever, costing around $65 million to make.

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark is scheduled to make its official Broadway premiere at the Foxwoods Theatre on January 11, 2011 .

Shah Rukh Khan 'in political controversy'

Shah Rukh Khan has been forced to cancel his appearance at a gala dinner.

According to the Hindustan Times, the actor's attendance at the event, organised by a Pakistan television channel, came under attack from a right wing political group.

In a front-page article on the pro-Shiv Sena newspaper Saamna, the report said: "It is inappropriate for Khan to be part of the event when India is observing the second anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks."

The central London event scheduled for Sunday evening was cancelled, leaving fans who had paid £100-150 per ticket disappointed.

Prime TV, a Pakistan channel which transmits in the UK and Europe, had been expected to air the show.

The star had faced controversy from another far-right political group in India during promotions for My Name Is Khan.

'Star Wars' director Kershner dies at 87

American film director Irvin Kershner has died at the age of 87.

Kershner was best known as the director of second Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back.

According to Yahoo News, Kershner's goddaughter Adriana Santini confirmed his death earlier today following his long illness.

As well as directing the most popular instalment in the long-running science fiction series, Kershner also helmed Robocop 2 and unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

Despite his advanced years, Kershner was still working on a number of film projects at the time of his death.

Wikileaks: World leaders, as United States see‎

Among hundreds of thousands of documents released on Sunday night by Wikileaks, the whistle-blower website, are US embassy cables detailing private impressions of a host of world leaders written by ambassadors and ministers across the globe.

Here is a round-up of what the documents say about some of the world's most influential figures, as reported by the newspapers given advanced access to the material.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian President
Medvedev is officially the senior partner to Vladimir Putin in the Russian government, but American documents painted the balance of power in Moscow as quite different.

According to one diplomat's cable in late 2008, shortly after Medvedev assumed power, Mr Putin behaves like "Batman" while Medvedev "plays Robin".

Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin was described as "alpha dog", while diplomats suggested his macho and authoritative image had helped him develop a "remarkably close" relationship with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi.

The pair reportedly exchanged "lavish gifts" and US officials were concerned that Berlusconi was becoming "the mouthpiece of Putin" in Europe.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister
Mr Berlusconi was described as "physically and politically weak" at home, and "feckless, vain, and ineffective" European leader. His "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest", one observed.

US diplomats in Rome also raised concerns over contracts between Italy and Russia and a "shadowy" Russian-speaking Italian who acted as a go-between.

Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
A leaked American cable claimed that Merkel "avoids risks and is rarely creative". She was also repeatedly referred to as Angela "Teflon" Merkel because nothing sticks to her. Memos betray the American perception that Merkel approaches international relations with the aim of making as much domestic profit as possible.

Hamid Karzai, Afghan president
Mr Karzai was painted as paranoid and feeble in a dispatch from Kabul. It portrayed Karzai as "an extremely weak man who did not listen to facts but was instead easily swayed by anyone who came to report even the most bizarre stories or plots against him".

Nicholas Sarkozy, French President
The French President was referred to as an "emperor with no clothes" in an American memo.

The diminutive leader was seen as "thin-skinned", and "authoritarian" in his personal style, with a tendency to rebuke his senior team repeatedly for their alleged shortcomings, according to the US embassy in Paris.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President
Concerns over Iran were a major theme in the cables, one of which compared the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Adolf Hitler.

The documents report that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urged America to take military action against Iran so as to destroy its nuclear programme and "cut the head off the snake".

Kim Jong-il, North Korean leader
The ailing dictator of North Korea was portrayed as a "flabby old chap" who had suffered "physical and psychological trauma" as a result of his stroke. Documents also disclose that American and South Korean officials have discussed the potential for a unified Korean nation, in the event the North were to collapse.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean President
The controversial Zimbabwean leader was caricatured as "the crazy old man" by a minister in the South African government, according to a US report from Pretoria. A dispatch from the embassy in Harare entitled "The End is Nigh" describes Mugabe as "ruthless" and "a brilliant tactician", but adds that he is hampered by "his ego and his belief in his own infallibility".

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemeni President
The leader of Yemen was viewed by diplomats as "dismissive, bored and impatient" during a meeting he held with John Brennan, a senior adviser to the US President on national security.

In a meeting with General David Petraeus, the former American commander in the Middle East, Saleh reportedly said: "We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours".

Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan leader
Gaddafi "cannot travel" without what one diplomat described as his "voluptuous blonde" Ukrainian nurse. The report, from the US embassy in Tripoli, disclosed that Colonel Gaddafi appeared to be afraid of staying on upper floors and disliked flying over water.

He enjoyed horse racing and flamenco dancing and was upset when he was refused permission to pitch his Bedouin tent in New York City.

The King's Speech

Among tried-and-true formulas for an effective, Oscar-candidate movie, the most reliable often concern either the activities of an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances or those of an extraordinary person challenged by the ordinary. Like The Queen before it, The King's Speech, a stately, carefully crafted specimen of a satisfying formula movie well positioned for the awards attention being heaped upon it, opts for the second variation and grounds the emotional drama in historical fact. In a performance of nuance and soul that would be more astonishing only if we hadn't become almost spoiled by expecting such quality from him, Colin Firth plays Prince Albert, who suddenly became Great Britain's King George VI when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936. King George was royalty, true. But he was also a private man whom his family called Bertie — and Bertie had a debilitating speech impediment that tormented him for much of his life. Even a king can have a common stutter, this sturdy backstairs-at-the-palace drama assures. Even a king could do with some trusted help. Even a king must find his own voice.

In this monarch's case, unlikely help arrived in the person of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a highly unorthodox, self-taught Australian speech therapist who ended up as much in the role of an informal shrink as that of an unlicensed pathologist. The king's resourceful wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) — the future Queen Mother — found Logue and introduced the two. And at least as dramatized history would have it, the relationship got off to a rocky start. Firth is front and center in this intelligent crowd-pleaser, and he endows Albert-turned-George with a poignant dignity even while exposing his past as a lonely little boy who grew up stammering in the shadow of his imperious father and dashing brother. But Firth's triumph is seamlessly linked to his generous give-and-take with Rush (agile and expressive as ever) and Bonham Carter (a gentle ball of fire). The trio is grounded in turn by the well-written (if sometimes stagy) screenplay of David Seidler, a journeyman TV writer now 73 years old, who was himself a childhood stutterer. And as directed by Tom Hooper (who presided over HBO's Emmy-winning series John Adams), The King's Speech is simultaneously cozy and majestic.

It's also, truth to tell, a little square. The title carries a double meaning: The king's speech itself is trapped inside the stuttering man and needs coaxing by Logue to emerge. And also, the movie climaxes with the fateful speech King George made to his subjects, rallying them on the eve of World War II. Lest the audience miss a cue, Hooper and soundtrack composer Alexandre Desplat count on the ringing grandeur of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony — the famous second movement, no less — to amp the emotions. With instincts like these, Oscar speeches are bound to follow.

Julia Roberts’ $1.5 Million Commercial

She’s always garnered a handsome salary, and Julia Roberts reportedly nabbed $1.5 million for appearing in an Italian coffeehouse commercial.

 The “Pretty Woman” actress didn’t even have to memorize any lines, as she just stands and looks pretty while posing for a portrait during the 45-second spot.

Also included in the ad are Italian entertainers Paolo Bonolis and Luca Laurenti, who offer Julia some A Modo Mio coffee.

And in the end, it’s the delicious coffee that helps Ms. Roberts smile so brightly which pleases the painter who is capturing her likeness.


Sinha: 'Paparazzi caused crowd trouble'

Sonakshi Sinha has blamed the paparazzi for wreaking havoc at a charity event commemorating the lives of those killed in the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

The Dabanng actress was apparently chased by fans who tried to get up close to the actress, before she was led away in tears.

She clarified on Twitter: "It was conveniently omitted that the 'miscreants' happened to be mediapersons and their cameramen!"

Sinha described the paparazzi as "creating a ruckus, completely disrespecting speakers on stage, falling over, whacking each other. It was an unacceptable behaviour".

The 23-year old recently made her acting debut in the blockbuster, which co-stars her old family friend Salman Khan.

Original James Bond gun sells for £227,250

A fan has paid £227,250 ($439,000) in an auction for the original gun held by Sean Connery in the publicity shots for From Russia With Love.

The auction, which took place at Christie's auction house in the UK, featured a variety of classic character-related film items. In addition to the gun in question, the auction also put up a Darth Vader costume from the film The Empire Strikes Back.

The Darth Vader costume failed to sell, but the gun fetched over ten times what it was expected to earn. It was believed that the gun would sell for between £15,000 and £20,000.

The gun, which is actually only an air pistol, was used in all of Connery's publicity shots for the Bond movie.

A spokeswoman for Christie's said of the sale: "The Bond franchise has stood the test of time."

Susan Boyle 'to star in musical of her own life'

Susan Boyle is to star in a stage musical of her own life, it has been reported.

The 'Perfect Day' singer said that she is excited to be appearing in the project, which tells the entire story of Boyle's life from her early years growing up in Blackburn, West Lothian to her breakthrough performance on Britain's Got Talent and beyond.

The 49-year-old said: "I'm definitely going to be on stage. I'd rather that than having to sit watching people up there looking like me.

"I want to be doing the music parts, so I'll be coming in and out of the show. I'm looking forward to doing some live work. It'll be really nice to see so many of the people who have supported me in person."

An insider also told The Sun: "Susan has incredibly loyal fans. People will be travelling from all over the world to see her perform in her own musical. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them book tickets to watch it five nights in a row."

The production is expected to go on a UK nationwide tour next year.

Leslie Nielsen dies, aged 84

Leslie Nielsen has died at the age of 84.

The comic actor, best known for his roles in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, passed away at a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he was being treated for pneumonia.

Nielsen's nephew Doug announced the news on Canadian radio station CJOB, saying: "Just in this last 48 hours, the infection has gotten too much and today at 5.30am, with his friends and his wife by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away."

Nielsen's agent John S. Kelly later confirmed the news.

The actor, born in Saskatchewan, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force before making his debut on US television in the late '50s, and eventually appearing in a string of hit comedy films in the '80s and '90s.

Lara Bingle makes waves in see-through outfit for boat cruise

Australian model Lara Bingle turned up with friends for a boat cruise on Sydney Harbour the other day in a see-through outfit that left little to the imagination.

Dressed in a sheer black corset, she bared plenty of cleavage in full view of the public, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The former girlfriend of cricketer Michael Clarke basked on the bow of the boat while celebrating a friend's birthday.

Bingle and her cruise buddies sailed Sydney Harbour for most of the day, stopping off near Taronga Zoo and Manly.

She finally alighted at Rose Bay, before the wind whipped up and ruined a spectacular spring day.

Excited To Record Live After A Gap Of 30 Years

Veteran singer Asha Bhosle went through an age-old experience after about 30 years and she was visibly very excited about it. Yes, she got to record live for an album, which is something not executed at all in recent times. She has recorded an album titled "Naina Lagai Ke" with singer-sitarist Shujaat Khan, where all the songs are traditional and classical-based.

Speaking on her new album, she said that if a song is genuinely melodious it does not need the help of an orchestra. She also commented on the present song recording system. According to her, today's artists do not have to sing the songs at one go instead they can record it in parts. But earlier in case of live recordings singers had to sing the entire song together and Asha loves it that way.

She further added that she had a fantastic time recording it as "there was no interruption". She also said that she felt nice recording with traditional instruments as "all tunes and rhythms were in sync" and improvisations could be done later. No rehearsals were done before recording.

77-year-old Asha went out the memory lane when she was asked about her previous live recording. It was with Ghulam Ali, she said.

"Naina Lagai Ke" is being produced by SaReGaMaPa where she is working with a classical musician after a long time of 14 years.

Depp bans phones at home

'Pirates of the Caribbean' star Johnny Depp has banned phones in his French home to ensure that private time with his family is uninterrupted.

The 47-year-old star shares a luxury home in the country with his partner Vanessa Paradis and their two children.

He makes makes sure they can relax during their stays there by cutting contact with the outside world.

"When I'm at our house in France I totally cut myself off from the rest of the world. I never have to listen to phones ringing and that's because - and Vanessa would confirm this - phones are banned from the house," Contactmusic quoted him as telling the Sun.

"We have a beautiful life and I feel that spending time in France has just calmed me down and made me stop worrying about things which aren't really important," he added.

Lily Allen plans for New Year wedding

Singer Lily Allen who suffered a miscarriage earlier this month is planning to tie the knot with boyfriend Sam Cooper in the New Year.

"Lily and Sam had loose plans to marry after the baby was born but nothing concrete was in motion," quoted a friend of the pair as saying.

"Now they have decided they want to be man and wife as soon as possible. They realised through their grief that they absolutely adore one another and cannot live without each other," the friend added.

Allen wants the ceremony and the reception to be held at her actor father Keith Allen's luxury home in the Cotswolds market town of Minchinhampton.

"Lily is very close to her dad and she took him up on his offer of holding the wedding at his (home)," said a source.

"She loves his country pad and she and Sam feel it is absolutely right for them to marry there. They want to be together after what they've gone through and see becoming man and wife as the light at the end of the tunnel," the source added.

Kimberley Walsh 'ready' to have kids

Kimberley Walsh is reportedly getting ready to start a family with boyfriend Justin Scott.
Walsh has been prompted to consider her plans by sister Sally, who recently became pregnant - leading the Girls Aloud star to become "seriously broody" in her own situation.

A friend told Heat: "Kimberly and Justin are following every step of Sally's pregnancy and are absolutely loving stocking up on little outfits for when he or she arrives."

With Girls Aloud on an indefinite hiatus, the friend told the magazine that now would be "the perfect time" for the singer to have children.

On Walsh's existing life plans, her pal said: "She turns 30 next year and she always planned on being married and having kids by then."

Madhuri Dixit 'to judge dance show'

Madhuri Dixit has been confirmed as a celebrity judge on a television dance show.
According to Mid Day, the star has agreed to appear on the Indian version of Dancing With The Stars, retitled Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

The actress revealed: "Since dance is my passion and this show is associated with that, I thought of taking it up. It took me some time to say yes."

The 43-year old actress, who earned a reputation as one of the most prolific dancers in the film industry, has been largely absent from the screen in recent years.

Dixit was last seen in the Yash Raj Films production Aaja Nachle, which under-performed at the box office.

This season of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa will air from December 13.

Kylie responds to miming controversy

Kylie Minogue has responded to complaints about a mimed performance of her song 'Get Outta My Way' at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last Thursday.

The Australian pop icon performed alongside Jessica Simpson and Kanye West, the latter of whom was booed during his moment in the spotlight.

After fans began complaining about Minogue's mimed vocals on social networking sites, the popstar addressed her followers, saying: "Relax peeps, EVERYONE has to mime at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!!

Katie Waissel's gran halts porn career

Katie Waissel's grandmother Sheila Vogel-Coupe has said she does not think of herself as a prostitute, as has been claimed, and vowed that she would not make another porn film.

The 81-year old pensioner spoke to the London Evening Standard after allegations arose that she had been advertising her services on an escort website, and had starred in the porn film Freddie's Great British Granny Bang.

She said: "When my second husband died I was lonely and I answered a few advertisements because I enjoy the company of a man. I had the company of a few men which I thoroughly enjoyed then found an agency on the internet looking for nice ladies like me to do this sort of work."

Describing how she viewed herself, Vogel-Coupe said: "I never thought thought of myself as being a prostitute. I think of myself as a high-class escort. I am attractive and well-spoken and have travelled around the world and the gentlemen that come to me liked that."

Ms. Vogel-Coupe also stated that she contacted Waissel, leaving the aspiring singer a voice message apologising for stirring up controversy within the family and the press.

The pensioner has taken on the services of PR guru Max Clifford, and is allegedly considering an offer from a film-maker who wants to tell the story of her life.

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