- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Getting Downey

Robert Downey Jr. is moving from the big screen to the music scene. The oft-troubled actor has signed an exclusive recording contract with Sony Classical, according to Associated Press.

“Robert is a brilliantly gifted songwriter who writes lyrics that are wise and moving,” Sony Classical President Peter Gelb said yesterday. “His burnished, smoky voice is an expressive and touching medium for the songs that he has written.”

Mr. Downey’s debut CD, not yet titled, will include two covers — “Smile,” by Charlie Chaplin (whom Mr. Downey played in a 1992 biopic), and “Your Move,” by Yes — and eight pop ballads written, sung and played on the piano by the actor himself.

Ashes to ashes

The ashes of legendary actor Marlon Brando were spread in Tahiti and Death Valley, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

A memorial service for Mr. Brando, who died of lung failure at age 80 on July 1, was held at the home of Hollywood producer Mike Medavoy and was attended by Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn.

In the last months before his death, family members revealed that Mr. Brando had dropped 85 pounds and needed a portable oxygen tank to aid his breathing. The reclusive actor, however, chose to keep his condition private.

Mystery vows

Did she or didn’t she?

Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have not officially married yet, according to Us Weekly.

The magazine claims a four-page legal document signed by the couple states that they “intend to participate in a ‘faux’ wedding on September 18, 2004; however, they do not intend to and shall not validly marry one another on said date.”

According to the magazine, Miss Spears and Mr. Federline, a dancer, failed to agree on the terms of a prenuptial agreement, which snagged their efforts to secure a marriage license.

“This is all ludicrous,” a spokesperson for Miss Spears told Us. “They are happily married, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.”

Meanwhile, the British Web site Ananova.com is reporting that the couple did, in fact, reach a prenuptial agreement — three days after the Sept. 18 ceremony in question.

Professional Curtis-y

Actress and best-selling children’s author Jamie Lee Curtis was recently asked why she never appears in hubby Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (“Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind,” etc.).

She told AP: “I don’t work with Chris because, officially, I don’t do what he does. He’s a very successful director of improvisational comedy.

“The only words I ever made up in my entire life as an actor was ‘Make good choices’ in ‘Freaky Friday,’ which turned out to be in the trailer of the movie, so I felt very buoyed by my improvisational skills… but I’m not funny; I’m a smart aleck.”

Beam me home

Capt. James T. Kirk came home to Riverside, Iowa, this week.

William Shatner, who played the commander of the starship USS Enterprise in the ‘60s “Star Trek” series, arrived Tuesday to hold auditions for four small parts in a low-budget sci-fi movie he wrote with co-star Leonard Nimoy, AP reports.

The working title of the movie is “Invasion Iowa.”

Mr. Shatner called the film his “baby” and said he’s dreamed of putting the story on the big screen for 30 years.

The 73-year-old actor and more than 100 crew members will be in Riverside for several days to film scenes for the movie.

Although Kirk’s hometown was never mentioned in the TV series, Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator and executive producer, wrote in “The Making of Star Trek” that Kirk was “born in a small town in the state of Iowa.”

The Riverside City Council picked up on the idea in March 1985, declaring a site behind what used to be the town’s barbershop the “future birthplace” of Kirk.

A busy man, Mr. Shatner also has a musical project in the offing — “Has Been,” a collaboration with singer-pianist Ben Folds. It’s due in stores Oct. 5.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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