- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2008

Bigger, better

Film director Guillermo del Toro confirmed yesterday that “The Lord of the Rings” stars Ian McKellen (Gandfalf) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) will return in two movies based on “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Both films will be shot entirely in New Zealand, executive producer Peter Jackson said, adding that Hobbiton would be rebuilt “bigger and even better than it was” in “The Lord of the Rings.”

New Zealand “has always been the perfect Middle Earth,” Mr. Jackson said, according to an Agence France Presse article that cited an hour-long Internet chat Mr. del Toro and Mr. Jackson conducted with fans of the trilogy. “There is nothing yet that Tolkien has described that we haven’t managed to find in this amazing little country, and I expect ‘The Hobbit’ to be no different,” Mr. Jackson said.

Actors for new characters have not been selected yet, Mr. del Toro said.

The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy won 17 Academy Awards and brought in nearly $3 billion in global box-office takings, not counting DVD sales.

Helmet plus

The Rosemary Clooney House Museum is happy to be getting more than it requested.

According to Associated Press, the Augusta, Ky., museum dedicated to the late singer wanted the helmet her nephew George Clooney wore in the movie “Leatherheads” for an exhibit opening next month.

It turns out the museum will get the leather headgear — and the rest of the football uniform Mr. Clooney wore in the romantic comedy set in the world of 1920s professional football.

“This will be a nice addition,” said curator Steve Henry. “In the future, we are hoping to accumulate at least one costume from each of his new movies.” Mr. Clooney’s uniform will be placed among his aunt’s memorabilia.

“We were at the premiere of ‘Leatherheads’ in March and were told the entire football costume, from the cleats and socks to the helmet we had originally asked for, was ours to have for the museum,” Mr. Henry told the Ledger Independent of Maysville.

Mr. Henry, a former Kentucky lieutenant governor, and his wife, who as Heather French was a Miss America, bought and converted Rosemary Clooney’s house into a museum after she died.

Che in photos

In Austria yesterday, Camilo Guevara, a son of Latin American revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, said he hopes Cuba will one day be able to make a movie about his father’s life. (Later yesterday in Cannes, France, Benicio del Toro won the top-actor award for his starring role in Stephen Soderbergh’s film “Che.”)

Mr. Guevara, 46, was speaking at Vienna’s Westlicht Gallery, which has opened a photographic exhibition tracing the life of his father, Agence France-Presse reported.

Mr. Guevara said he sees hope for South America because of a new wave of leftist leaders in Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. “I think there is a feeling of happiness and hope,” he said. “It’s the only part of the world where you find regimes changing at the moment.”

In style

Conductor Claudio Abbado was not pleased with having to consolidate three sold-out performances of Hector Berlioz’s “Te Deum” and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto into one outdoor concert following the roof fire last week at the Berlin Philharmonic’s concert hall, the orchestra’s general manager said.

Pianist Maurizio Pollini was quoted by the Berliner Morgenpost as saying he and Mr. Abbado felt it was important not to cancel the performance. “That would not be my style, the newspaper reported. “In an emergency situation like this, we all have to stick together and make the best out of it.”

The concert moves to Berlin’s Waldbuhne, which seats 12,000, and is used every year for outdoor concerts.

Officials still do not know the cause of the fire, Associated Press reports.

Compiled from wire and Web reports.

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