- - Sunday, April 8, 2012

Matt Damon is hunting for some “great character faces” for a feature film he is making with director Gus Van Sant said to be critical about fracking for natural gas.

In a notice seen Friday on the website of the Pittsburgh Film Office in Philadelphia, the casting team of “Promised Land” announced an open audition for paid extras on Saturday at a local convention center.

“We are especially searching for great character faces, farmer looks, senior citizens, baseball players, upscale men and women with formal wear, teens and kids,” it said.

“Promised Land” stars Mr. Damon - who Mr. Van Sant directed in “Good Will Hunting” - in a story he co-wrote about a businessman who “experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town,” the IMDb.com website said.

Filming gets under way April 23, according to a Facebook page set up by the casting team in Pennsylvania, where fracking for gas is under way.

Earlier this week, in the home stretch of their fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, the makers of pro-fracking film “Frack Nation” stated that “Promised Land” would be “an anti-fracking Hollywood blockbuster.”

Spokesmen for Mr. Damon and his project could not be reached for comment.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a controversial process by which high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals are used to blast through rock to release oil and gas trapped inside.

Pennsylvania filmmaker Josh Fox raised concerns about fracking’s disputed impact on the environment, particularly underground sources of water, in his Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary “Gasland.”

Potential jurors in Hudson case asked about singer

Jennifer Hudson takes center stage in a questionnaire that potential jurors are being asked to fill out to determine if they will be allowed to decide whether or not a man is guilty in the slayings of the singer’s mother, brother and nephew.

Nine of the 66 questions released to the Associated Press and other media outlets Friday dealt with Miss Hudson’s career in movies, television and as an author.

Prospective jurors were asked if they have ever watched “American Idol,” the television show that brought Miss Hudson to fame, or if they saw “Dreamgirls,” the motion picture for which she won an Academy Award. They also were asked if they’d ever seen her perform or read her book, “I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down.”

Legal experts say the reason is simple: Attorneys need to get a sense of whether Miss Hudson’s fame could sway those who will ultimately be selected to sit on the jury.

All those television and movie appearances could create a familiarity that poses a danger to criminal defendants.

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