- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The wild ones

In the current issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Jack Nicholson has some choice quotes about his relationship with the recently departed Marlon Brando. The two co-starred in 1976’s “The Missouri Breaks” and were next-door neighbors for a time.

Said Mr. Nicholson:

“The first time I saw Brando at work” — the scene is 1956, when Mr. Nicholson worked in office personnel at MGM Studios — “was during the makeup tests on ‘The Teahouse of the August Moon.’ Nothing could have stopped me from watching him up close.”

And, he says, “Brando’s favorite holiday was April Fools’ Day and, trust me, the guy pulled a couple of real crackerjacks at my expense.”

Cashes for hire

Country roots-rocker Shelby Lynne is set to make her film debut in “Walk the Line,” a biopic of the late Johnny Cash. The movie, which stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black and Reese Witherspoon as the late June Carter Cash, is currently filming in Memphis. Miss Lynne has been tapped to play Mr. Cash’s mother.

Moore’s red scare

A recent broadcast on Cuban television of Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” has raised questions about the Oscar eligibility of one of the year’s most talked-about and critically acclaimed films.

The movie, a blistering critique of President Bush and the war in Iraq, was broadcast last Thursday on state-run TV in Cuba, and also played to packed movie theaters on the communist-ruled island for a week.

Under Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules, films are disqualified from competing in Oscar’s best documentary category if shown on TV or on the Web within nine months of their theatrical release. “Fahrenheit” opened June 25.

Circumstances surrounding its prime-time showing in Cuba were still not clear, but an unauthorized or pirated display of a film would not render the movie ineligible, academy spokesman John Pavlik said yesterday.

A spokesman for one of the film’s U.S. distributors, the Fellowship Adventure Group — formed by Miramax Films co-chairmen Bob and Harvey Weinstein — told Reuters the TV broadcast in Cuba was “not authorized.”

Yet all isn’t lost for a possible Oscar bid for Mr. Moore, a 2002 winner for his documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” which focused on gun violence in America.

Because the academy rule applies only to documentaries, “Fahrenheit 9/11” could still qualify for nomination as best picture, best director or best original screenplay.

Variety speculated that “Fahrenheit’s” backers might regard the movie, which has been popular among Hollywood’s liberal-leaning elite, as having a better chance of clinching a nomination in the best picture race if it were disqualified from the documentary contest.

Its producers must decide by a Sept. 1 deadline for documentary submission; a category that typically receives about 60 films for consideration, Mr. Pavlik said.

Bringing up baby

There was singing and dancing and a new set of strollers for singer-actress Solange Knowles, the baby sister of Beyonce who is having a baby of her own.

Miss Knowles, 18, wed Daniel Smith, a college football player, in a ceremony in the Bahamas in February.

More than 300 family and friends attended the shower last weekend, including big sister Beyonce and her rapper boyfriend Jay-Z; Destiny’s Child alums Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams; and, from the sports side of the Knowles relationship, Cuttino Mobley (of the Orlando Magic) and Vincent Young (quarterback at the University of Texas).

Lucas skywalker

“Star Wars” creator George Lucas is taking his production company to a country far, far away.

Mr. Lucas announced plans yesterday to take his creative empire to Singapore in the first overseas foray by his entertainment group.

The California-based Lucasfilm Ltd. is setting up a venture with Singapore’s government to produce digital animation for films, TV and video games — a sign, according to Reuters News Agency, of the growing popularity of digital animation in Asian films.

Promoting Western-style popular arts is something of a radical move for a country known for strict censorship and tight social controls.

“We look to Lucasfilm as a queen bee of sorts to help develop our industry,” said Teo Ming Kian, chairman of Singapore’s Economic Development Board.

Compiled by Scott Galupo and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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