- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2003

‘Kong’s‘ leading lady

Let’s hope she’s got her scream chops down.

Naomi Watts, star of “The Ring,” “Le Divorce” and the upcoming “21 Grams,” is eyeing a coveted spot in the Peter Jackson remake of “King Kong.”

The Australian actress is being considered by the “Lord of the Rings” director for the lead female role played by Fay Wray in the 1933 classic and by Jessica Lange in a 1976 remake.

“I met with Peter,” Miss Watts said in an interview with The Washington Times in New York. “He’s someone I’ve always admired, before the ‘Lord of the Rings’ even.”

“The ‘King Kong’ story is already so iconic,” she added, but Mr. Jackson “would take it to a whole new level.”

Shooting on the film is expected to begin next year for a 2005 release.

Tango for tots

If you want to hobnob with the most famous consigliere of all time, it will help if you can tango.

Robert Duvall and his Argentine girlfriend, Luciana Pedraza, will hold their fourth annual charity fund-raiser Saturday night at 7 at their 200-acre farm estate in The Plains, Va. There will be lots of tango stepping, including lessons and demonstrations from professional dancers Carlos Umberto Gomez and Jorgelina Guzzi.

Open to the public at $450 per individual ticket and with $50,000 donor packages available, the Tango at Twilight event will raise cash jointly for the Robert Duvall Children’s Foundation and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Money for the Duvall foundation will go toward building schools and hospitals in northern Argentina, near the Bolivian border.

“The money goes directly to Luciana’s sister,” Mr. Duvall told The Washington Times, adding that government corruption has squandered many millions of dollars in institutional loans to the South American country. “You never know who you’re dealing with and where the money will go.”

By confiscating and nationalizing property, Miss Pedraza said, the Argentine government has run vital infrastructure into the ground. “Children pay the price. They really need a lot of help,” she said.

Saturday evening’s event is expected to raise more than $500,000 for both charities, according to the Wolf Trap organization, which aims to boost early childhood learning through the performing arts.

For information, e-mail [email protected] or call 703/255-4030.

‘I’m no home-wrecker’

Internet Movie Database

Ethan Hawke’s new love insists she didn’t wreck his marriage to Uma Thurman because the couple already had separated.

Jennifer Perzow says Mr. Hawke, who has two children with Miss Thurman, told her about his marital problems from the moment they first met on the Montreal set of his new movie, “Taking Lives.”

The 22-year-old says: “I’m no home wrecker. All this stuff that I broke up their marriage is just not true. The truth is, it’s Uma who wanted out of the marriage, not Ethan. He’s very much a family guy, and this hasn’t been an easy thing for him.”

Hawkeye hospitalized

Reuters News Agency

Alan Alda, star of the 1970s and ‘80s television series “M*A*S*H*,” was in the hospital yesterday after emergency surgery in northern Chile, where he is filming a documentary.

Mr. Alda, the host for PBS television’s “Scientific American Frontiers” for the past seven years, was operated on early on Sunday for an intestinal obstruction and was recovering at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in La Serena 290 miles north of the capital.

Hospital Director Julio Rojas told Chile’s Cooperativa radio station that Mr. Alda had asked for no visitors and was expecting his wife to arrive later yesterday.

The veteran stage, screen and television actor, winner of several Emmy awards for his role as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce in “M*A*S*H*,” is working on an astronomy documentary for “Scientific American Frontiers,” part of which is filmed on location at a huge telescope in the Chilean Andes.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff, wire and Web reports.

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