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Taking Names: Spike Lee preps footage for Jackson documentary
Question of the Day
Spike Lee worked with Michael Jackson and considered him a friend, but the director said even he learned a lot combing through footage of the icon for a planned documentary about the singer's "Bad" album.
Mr. Lee calls it a "treasure chest of findings."
"We have footage in this documentary that no one's ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff," he said in an interview Monday. "We had complete access to the vaults of Michael Jackson. … He wrote 60 demos for the 'Bad' record. Only 11 made it. So we got to hear a lot of that stuff, too, so it was just a great experience."
He added: "You don't have to be a Michael Jackson-head to enjoy this."
Mr. Lee's documentary, which does not yet have an official title, will be part of a flood of material to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the "Bad" album, Jackson's follow-up to "Thriller," which contained hits including the title track, "Smooth Criminal," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and more. The album will be rereleased Sept. 18 with additional tracks, a DVD and other bonus material. Mr. Lee's film is due to come out later this year, but no date has been set.
Besides Jackson's artistry, Mr. Lee said the documentary will show a more personal side of the late legend.
"He had a great sense of humor, and he was funny — so you'll see a lot of that stuff," he said.
Mr. Lee interviewed people ranging from Kanye West to Mariah Carey to L.A. Reid to Sheryl Crow, who was Jackson's background singer on the "Bad" tour.
"We really divided it into two things: Artists today who were influenced by Michael, and then people who worked side by side — musicians, songwriters, technicians, engineers, people at the label, who were all committed to Michael, to the follow-up to the biggest record of all time, which still is 'Thriller.'"
Besides the documentary, Mr. Lee also plans to hold his now annual birthday tribute to Jackson in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Aug. 25. Jackson would have turned 54 this year.
"This year we're going to focus on the 'Bad' album, we're going to focus on the 25th anniversary, but at the same time, we're going to play his full catalog, including the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons," he said. "It's going to be even bigger and better this year."
Philip Seymour Hoffman set for 'Hunger Games' sequel
"The Hunger Games" has bagged an Academy Award winner.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, who earned the best-actor Oscar for 2005's "Capote," has joined the cast for part two in the futuristic adventure series, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the Associated Press reports.
Lionsgate Films announced Monday that Mr. Hoffman will play Plutarch Heavensbee, the new head gamemaker overseeing an annual televised fight to the death staged by a repressive government in postapocalyptic North America.
"Catching Fire" takes place a year after the blockbuster "The Hunger Games," with game survivors Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, hurled into the government's machinations over the 75th annual games.
Based on the middle book of Suzanne Collins' best-selling trilogy, "Catching Fire" hits theaters Nov. 22, 2013.
'Social Network' team to produce 'Fifty Shades' film
The producers of "The Social Network" are producing the film adaption of the best-selling erotic trilogy "Fifty Shades of Grey."
Universal Pictures and Focus Features said in a joint statement Monday that Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti will team up again for the adaptation of the best-selling novels by E.L. James, the Associated Press reports.
The multimillion-selling books tell the story of an unworldly college student engaging in an unusual romantic relationship with a wealthy young businessman.
They have been called "mommy porn" for their sexual content and large female following.
Run-DMC to perform for first time in a decade
They haven't performed together in more than a decade, but the surviving members of Run-DMC are set to reunite this fall at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas.
Joseph Simmons, now known as Rev. Run, and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels retired the group after their DJ, Jam Master Jay, was killed in 2002. It was announced Tuesday, however, that the band will be among the performers for the Nov. 2-4 event. According to the Associated Press, festival organizers said they plan to donate some of the proceeds to the JMJ Foundation for Music, which works to give young people access to the arts.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group is best known for hits including "Walk This Way," "It's Like That" and "My Adidas."
Teenage 'Hugo' star an Aeropostale ambassador
At age 15, actress Chloe Grace Moretz is already an ambassador.
It's for Aeropostale, the youthful fashion brand, and it's a job that's likely to come with some clout and influence — especially with teenage shoppers.
Chloe will be featured in advertisements through next spring, largely wearing clothing she has selected and styled herself. She also will curate collections in-store and online.
"I get my own section, I got to pull my own clothes. Girls can go and see what I love and what I wear in the shoots. It's a way for me to be in touch with girls," Chloe said in a recent Associated Press phone interview.
Chloe starred in "Hugo" and "The Amityville Horror" and has the title role in the upcoming remake of the horror classic "Carrie."
She described her own style as fun, flirty and colorful, and she lives in skinny jeans cuffed at the ankle when she's not working. Most of her style cues come from her mother, but she said she greatly admires the look cultivated by Michelle Pfeiffer, her co-star in "Dark Shadows."
Choosing Chloe for the brand was ultimately an easy decision, but not one that company officials took lightly, said Scott Birnbaum, senior vice president of Aeropostale marketing and e-commerce. The brand did its homework, seeking input from magazine editors, photographers and other industry insiders.
"When we met Chloe, it was really an instant love affair," he said. "She has such great style, she can mix it up. She wears great high-end designers and everyday stuff."
"We think she's a role model," he added. "She's quirky and actually really funny, and those are things our brand stands for."
• Compiled from Web and wire reports
By Matt Kibbe
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