- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

Bully for Sandra

Actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help relief efforts in countries affected by the tsunamis in southern Asia and eastern Africa.

Miss Bullock contacted the American Red Cross last week, according to Associated Press. (She also donated $1 million after the September 11 attacks, incidentally.)

“At this critical time, I am grateful to Sandra Bullock for once again demonstrating her leadership, compassion and belief in our global humanitarian mission,” Red Cross chief Marsha Evans said.

Rock the relief

More celebrity charity: L.A. rock band Linkin Park donated $100,000 to the relief effort, Reuters News Agency reports.

“We are fortunate to be in a position to help, but this needs to be a broader effort,” guitarist Brad Delson said.

“If one of our fans can donate $10, then that’s going to help,” he added. “We are also going to appeal to our musical peers by asking them to donate as well.”

To make it easy for those peers, the band has set up an organization called Music for Relief (www.musicforrelief.org).

In the United Kingdom, Millennium Stadium manager Paul Sergeant is working on the previously touted Live Aid-style benefit concert at the Cardiff, Wales, venue, but he’s still not prepared to name names.

According to the rumor mill U2, Coldplay, the Darkness and Franz Ferdinand are among likely performers.

Labor Party leader Rhodri Morgan welcomed the plan, according to the BBC, and said he hoped a “Welsh Bob Geldof” would emerge to take the reins.

Finally, it was leaked late yesterday to the Drudge Report that NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker is planning a celebrity-driven telethon to air Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. on the network as well as multiple cable outlets including USA, Bravo, Trio and Sci-Fi.

Mr. personality

Bill Murray has a reputation for being “difficult,” which is OK by him.

“If it keeps obnoxious people away, that’s fine,” he told Time magazine. “It makes me think of that line, ‘You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’ People say this to you with a straight face, and I always say, ‘Who. Wants. Flies?’”

The enigmatic “Life Aquatic” star suggested his outbursts come from an empathy for the underdog.

On the set of Jim Jarmusch’s new, not-yet-titled film, Mr. Murray verbally sparred with a location manager when he arrived at a rented house for a scene with child actors and was scolded for starting a fire in the fireplace.

“‘Who are you?’” Mr. Murray said he asked her, angry that the house wasn’t heated. “She said, ‘I’m locations.’ I said, ‘Well, if locations had done their job and made sure it was warm enough for these people, we wouldn’t be lighting a fire in the fireplace.’”

The dyspeptic Mr. Murray later made nice with “locations.” “I said, ‘You know, we had our moment, and I don’t apologize for that for a second.’” However, she had improved after that — and Mr. Murray told her so.

“I wanted to let her know I could see it both ways.”

Crow flying twice

After sitting out much of last year, Sheryl Crow says she has not one, but two albums ready to go for 2005.

“I want to put out an artist record first and then a pop record in the fall,” she told Billboard magazine. “I’m going to hand both my records in [to Interscope Records] probably in the last bit of January.”

So what makes an “artist” record different from a “pop” record?

Miss Crow laughed: “Probably the art record will never get any airplay.”

Ollie’s mea culpa

Oliver Stone is shouldering some, but not all, the blame for the criticism of his $150 million stinker “Alexander.”

Speaking in Sydney, Australia, where the film opens Jan. 20, Mr. Stone allowed: “I still think it’s a beautiful movie, but Alexander deserves better than I gave him.”

“The movie was too long, didn’t tell the story of Alexander the Great very well and was too focused on outing the ancient Greek hero,” the director reportedly told the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

However, Mr. Stone heaped some criticism of his own — on the insensitive young dunderheads of the “Bible Belt.”

“There was clear resistance to his homosexuality. It became the headline to the movie,” he bemoaned. “They called him Alexander the Gay. That’s horribly discriminatory, but the film simply didn’t open in the Bible Belt. Kids weren’t comfortable with men who hugged or a king who cried and expressed tenderness.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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