- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Dressed to impress

Internet Movie Database

Actor Ashton Kutcher drew gasps and muffled laughter at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday — when he arrived dressed as a cowboy. The 25-year-old star, boyfriend of 42-year-old actress Demi Moore, turned up for the world premiere of his new movie, “The Butterfly Effect,” wearing a white cowboy hat, a neckerchief hanging outside an ivory shearling jacket, and jeans. The film opens Friday in area theaters.

“Somebody lied to me,” Mr. Kutcher said. “They told me it was Sundance, and I had to dress up like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Now I’m standing here like [a jerk].”

Reversal of fortune?

Associated Press

Pope John Paul II never endorsed Mel Gibson’s controversial Biblical epic “The Passion of the Christ,” the pontiff’s longtime secretary told a Catholic news service.

Published reports over the past month said John Paul gave his approval of the film after a screening in his apartment in early December by saying, “It is as it was.” The film’s producers said the quote was given to them by the papal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

In its report Monday, the Catholic News Service quoted the archbishop as saying, “That is not true.”

The news service, which is affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the archbishop told the agency that the pope “does not make judgments on art of this kind; he leaves that to others, to experts.”

The film, on the last hours of Jesus’ life, is scheduled to open Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday on the Roman Catholic calendar. After a series of screenings in Rome, several top Vatican officials praised the film and rejected complaints by some Jewish leaders who say the film suggests the Jews were responsible for the crucifixion.

Church officials said two screenings were held for John Paul so that the ailing 83-year-old pontiff would not have to sit through the entire production. The film’s producers said the pope’s opinion was relayed by Archbishop Dziwisz, who watched with John Paul. Archbishop Dziwisz rarely speaks to the media, and he did not immediately respond to a request by Associated Press for clarification.

The Vatican press office, which usually states the official positions of the pope, has repeatedly declined to confirm or deny the suspected papal endorsement.

Call him Casanova

San Francisco Chronicle

Charismatic actor Woody Harrelson will never remain loyal to one woman because his sexual urges are too strong.

The star, who wed Laura Louie in 1998, refuses to quit sharing intimacy with other women, believing, he says, no two people should limit their sexual options for the rest of their lives by marrying each other.

“I’ve never contended that I’ll be totally committed to one person,” the San Francisco Chronicle quotes the former “Cheers” star as saying.

“Sexually, I don’t think we were meant to be with one person for life.”

Sausage king dethroned

Associated Press

Legendary country crooner Jimmy Dean says the Sara Lee Corp. has dropped him as spokesman for the sausage company he founded more than three decades ago.

In a statement released Monday, the 75-year-old multimillionaire says the Chicago-based maker of food, apparel and household products told him last year that he no longer met the company’s marketing needs.

“The company told me that they were trying to attract the younger housewife, and they didn’t think I was the one to do that,” Mr. Dean said in an interview. “I think it’s the dumbest thing. But you know, what do I know?”

Julie Ketay, a spokeswoman for Sara Lee, said the company chose not to renew Mr. Dean’s contract in May because the “brand was going in a new direction” that demanded a shift in marketing.

Sara Lee, Mr. Dean said, pays him an undisclosed amount for the use of his name, his likeness and his marketing participation in the Jimmy Dean product line. The company will still retain rights to his name and image, but it has reduced its payments to reflect its dismissal of Mr. Dean as the line’s spokesman, he said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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