- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Superstars bond

There was no power struggle between Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe on the set of their new crime drama, “American Gangster.” Instead, they worked as a team when filming their scenes together, Associated Press reports.

“It’s not about a heavyweight fight,” Mr. Crowe said. “What it is, is much more like two [guitarists] playing together, two people singing together.”

“American Gangster” is based on the life of Frank Lucas (played by Mr. Washington), who became filthy rich in the 1960s by smuggling heroin into New York. Mr. Crowe portrays a police officer who investigates Mr. Lucas and his dirty dealings. The film, directed by Ridley Scott, opens on Friday.

“. . . If you can blend, if you can harmonize and you can sing together still from two completely separate points of view, now you are talking,” said Mr. Crowe, 43, an Oscar winner in 2001 for “Gladiator.” He also received Oscar nominations for his roles in “The Insider” and “A Beautiful Mind.”

Mr. Washington, 52, — a two-time Oscar winner for his roles in “Glory” and “Training Day” — said he felt less pressure to perfect his role in “American Gangster” than he did for 1992’s “Malcolm X” because the real-life Frank Lucas put him at ease.

“In ‘Malcolm X,’ we were under a lot of pressure,” says Mr. Washington, who also received Oscar bids for that film, “The Hurricane” and “Cry Freedom.” “There were a lot of folks showing up, like, ‘You better get this right or it could cost you.’ … One might have expected it to be the case in this film. That wasn’t the case with Frank. He was real cool.”

So unsexy

The folks over at Maxim magazine think it’s too easy picking Charlize Theron as the Sexiest Woman Alive. They’d rather weigh in on who’s unsexy.

The unfortunate recipient of the mag’s Unsexiest title is “Sex & the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker, whose character Carrie Bradshaw is not only in high demand with the opposite sex, but is also a fashion diva among the fair sex, Zap2it.com notes.

In the runner-up position is the beehived one herself, “Rehab” singer Amy Winehouse, who has “openly hemorrhaging translucent skin, rat’s nest mane and lashes that look more like surgically attached bats,” Maxim notes. Meanwhile, on the small screen, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Sandra Oh took third place for playing “Dr. McSkinny, with her cold bedside manner and boyish figure.”

Rounding out the Unsexy 5 is Madonna, followed by Britney Spears — the heir apparent to the Material Girl’s pop princess throne. “Less than five years ago, Britney had a python wrapped around her well-toned torso onstage at the VMAs. Since then, she’s lost the ability to perform, but gained two kids, two useless ex-husbands, and about 23 pounds of Funyun pudge,” says Maxim.

Dictator had OCD

Saddam Hussein was a germiphobe with a fondness for baby wipes and a compulsion to wash his hands, according to George Piro, the Arabic-speaking FBI agent who gained the dictator’s trust and secretly debriefed him for seven months before his trial and execution. In his book, “The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack” (due Nov. 13), Ronald Kessler reports that Mr. Piro spent five to seven hours a day with the Iraqi tyrant. “If Saddam had enough baby wipes, he would use them to clean food like apples before he ate them,” Mr. Kessler told the New York Post’s Page Six column.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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