Taking Names: Edward Norton and friends to play Words With Friends for charity

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Look out, Alec Baldwin.

Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg and several other stars are slated to play in a celebrity tournament of the popular online game Words With Friends for charity. The celebs will begin facing off against each other in matches of Zynga’s Scrabble-like word-building game on Thursday.

Mr. Norton, who is playing for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Fund, is confident he will dominate the tournament, which also includes celebrity players such as Eva Longoria, Kristen Bell and John Legend — but not Mr. Baldwin — vying for $500,000 in prize money for their charities from American Express.

“I have to give myself timeouts on Words With Friends,” Mr. Norton said in an Associated Press telephone interview Monday. “I’ve gone through phases where I’m like, ‘What am I doing? This is much too much of my day.’ “

Words With Friends players will be able to join their favorite stars’ teams during the Words With Friends Celebrity Challenge as well as watch the celebrity matchups online and donate to their charities through Mr. Norton’s fundraising site, CrowdRise.com.

“We had the idea to do a celebrity tournament some time ago when it became apparent that the game was a hit among celebrities,” said Travis Boatman, senior vice president of mobile at Zynga Inc. “It seems like everyone from Katie Couric to Snoop Lion is into the game. It’s really inspirational for the team to see how Words With Friends has become part of the cultural mainstream, and I think it has struck a chord because it’s not just a game, it’s a way for people to connect and keep in touch with each other.”

In the first round, Mr. Norton said he’ll face Boston Celtics captain Paul “The Truth” Pierce, who is playing for his foundation, the Truth Fund.

“I think it’s going to be a tough first round for him,” Mr. Norton teased. “I think it’s great that he has a cause he supports, and I hope the amount he gets from just the first round is going to make him happy because I don’t think it’s going to go past there.”

The brainy “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Bourne Legacy” actor, who graduated from Yale University with a history degree, said his stiffest competition might come from Snoop Dogg, who recently has been going by the name Snoop Lion, because of the rapper’s experience with wordplay.

And what about Mr. Baldwin? Why isn’t the “30 Rock” actor, who was infamously booted from a flight last year for refusing to stop playing Words With Friends on his phone, among the contenders?

“Next year, for sure, if I have any say in it,” Mr. Norton said. “I’m going to win this year, so adding him to the mix next year will make it interesting for me.”

Carrie Underwood gives young fan first kiss

Everyone remembers their first kiss, but one 12-year-old boy will need no reminding: He went lip to lip with country singer Carrie Underwood on stage before a thousand camera phones.

The Grammy-winning blonde complied with his request after he held up a sign asking “Will you be my first kiss?” at a concert in Louisville, Ky., over the weekend, Agence France-Presse reports.

She led him on stage by the hand and revealed that she was 14 when she tasted her first kiss. “And just so you know, my husband is somewhere in this building, backstage, so he might be looking for you later,” she said.

“So how are we going to do this?” the 29-year-old asked. The schoolboy, wearing blue shorts and still holding her hand, replied boldly: “Lip to lip,” eliciting a shocked look from Miss Underwood and screams from the crowd.

She declared him “the smartest kid ever” — before telling him to close his eyes, and briefly puckering up. The crowd erupted, the boy mouthed “wow” and held his arm aloft with the singer.

Later that night, she tweeted: “Thanks, Chase, for the kiss and thanks Louisville for rocking so hard tonight! We had fun!” and posted a picture of the boy’s first public smacker.

Rowling may revisit Potter’s world in new book

J.K. Rowling plans to return to writing for young people — and the author says she doesn’t rule out another book set in Harry Potter’s magical world.

Miss Rowling became the world’s most successful living writer with her seven novels about a boy who discovers he is a wizard and is pitched into battle against the forces of evil.

Miss Rowling’s first book for adults, “The Casual Vacancy,” is being published Thursday, five years after the release of the last volume in the Potter saga.

According to the Associated Press, the 47-year-old author told the BBC that her next book would be “for slightly younger children than the Potter books.”

And she said that while “where Harry’s story is concerned, I’m done,” she was considering a new story set in the same universe.

“I don’t want to go mechanically back into that world and pick up a load of odds and ends and glue them together and say, ‘Here we go, we can sell this,’ ” Miss Rowling said in an interview broadcast Wednesday. “It would make a mockery of what those books were to me.

“But … if I did have a great idea for something else, I probably would do it. I am very averse to the prequel-sequel idea. A sidestep could maybe … well, we’ll see.”

Miss Rowling also acknowledged that she wished she had had more time to work on a couple of the Potter novels — she did not name them — which had been written “on the run.”

“And I read them, and I think ‘Oh God, maybe I’ll go back and do a director’s cut,’ ” Miss Rowling said. “I don’t know.”

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