- The Washington Times - Monday, October 31, 2005

‘Jarhead’ jury’s out

Those hoping for a Michael Moore-style polemic from the Gulf War movie “Jarhead” (opening Friday in area theaters) will come away disappointed, says director Sam Mendes.

“People will come to this movie thinking, ‘Please, give me a way of treating this conflict,’ and I think it would be wrong of me to pretend the movie gave them an answer,” the “American Beauty” director told Reuters news agency.

“What it does is make them understand the questions a bit better. What movies can do is humanize it,” he says.

“Jarhead” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx and Peter Sarsgaard as American Marines in Kuwait during the first Iraq war and is based on a book by Anthony Swofford.

Potter’ and puberty

What’s it like growing up as the magical Harry Potter?

“I’ve got quite a surreal mind anyway, so I don’t think it’s made much difference to how I see everything,” Daniel Radcliffe, the 16-year-old actor who is set to play author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard for the third time in the upcoming “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” told Time magazine.

“That’s what’s weird: I don’t think of it as being that bizarre.”

Daniel was first cast as Potter when he was 11. A lot has changed since then, including his height, voice timbre and complexion.

For director Mike Newell, that has caused problems.

“I’ve just been working on a scene which we shot in our first week, and Dan still looks like the little kid that he was in ‘Sorcerer’s Stone,’” he told Time. “Now, 11 months later, he doesn’t look like that at all.”

KenCen country

Clear out the opera buffs and make way for the boot-scooters: The Kennedy Center yesterday announced a powerhouse roster for its Country: A Celebration of America’s Music festival, scheduled for March 20 through April 9.

The festival, a partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, will be co-chaired by Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris.

Slated to perform are Mr. Gill, Naomi Judd, Wynonna Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Ray Price and Earl Scruggs and his Family and Friends Band.

Also, says Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman, the “Grand Ole Opry, celebrating its 80th birthday this year, will perform in our concert hall for one night only.”

Far-out faiths

Madonna defended her devotion to the Jewish mystical teachings of Kabbalah, telling the New York Daily News it “would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party.”

The Material Mom also said the media should lay off Tom Cruise — despite the famous Scientologist’s penchant for exhorting the rest of us in matters of depression and child-rearing.

“If it makes Tom Cruise happy, I don’t care if he prays to turtles,” she says. “And I don’t think anybody else should.”

The King and the Bard

Elvis Presley is still the king of money-earning dead celebrities, according to Forbes magazine — but William Shakespeare could have given him a run for his money.

Forbes’ annual list pegged the late Mr. Presley as the top earner among deceased celebrities for the fifth straight year. The long-departed star, who died in 1977, generated $45 million for his estate, placing him ahead of John Lennon ($22 million) and Andy Warhol ($16 million).

Were he still under copyright, the Bard wouldn’t be far behind, Forbes calculated. The magazine said that with more than 5,000 performances of his plays and hundreds of thousands of books sold in the past year, Shakespeare’s heirs would have seen a windfall of $15 million.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff, Web and wire reports.

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