- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

Liv on Benji

Actress and rock-star daughter Liv Tyler didn’t know quite what to make of the clamor on the set of “Jersey Girl.” Hundreds of fans and paparazzi were there every morning for the phenomenon that was Ben Affleck.

“I was like, ‘Benji, you’re like the Beatles. This is crazy. I didn’t know you were so famous,’” she told Associated Press. “He just went out in this sea of people and shook hands. He’s like a politician almost.”

Miss Tyler wants little to do with that beast of celebrity.

“You just have to ride that and not let it get too deeply into your soul because the important things are your family,” she said. “The things I do have control over are the kind of wife I am, the kind of family member I am, the kind of person I am.”

French ‘Passion’

“The Passion of the Christ” just cleared a hurdle on its way to the French public.

A Paris court rejected a request by three Jewish brothers to ban the movie on the grounds it would foment anti-Semitism in France.

Ruling against the Benlolo brothers — Patrick, Gerard and Jean-Marc — the court said the movie would not threaten public order.

“To make the death of Jesus into the major motivation of anti-Semitism that leads to secular persecutions against Jews would stem from a narrow view of Mel Gibson’s film,” Judge Florence Lagemi wrote in his decision.

“The Passion” opens in France tomorrow.

Fess up

If you see an older man in a coonskin cap walking around the District today, it could be Fess Parker.

The legendary TV actor, who was the face of Davy Crockett for baby boomers, is in town for an interview with cultural historian Dwight Blocker Bowers about his life and career.

Mr. Parker also will present to the Smithsonian his original coonskin cap from the “Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier” TV series, along with his costume from the “Daniel Boone” series.

After the interview, Mr. Parker will host a reception featuring wines from his Santa Barbara, Calif., family winery.

The program, titled “Fess Parker — Celebrating an American Idol,” starts at 7 tonight at the Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium, at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Tickets are $21 and are available by phone at 202/357-3030 or at www.Smithsonian Associates.org.

Svelte Swank

New York Post

Boys don’t cry — and girls don’t punch?

Hilary Swank, who just shot the new ad campaign for Calvin Klein Sensual Support lingerie, is keeping her womanly curves fit by boxing at the gritty Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, the New York Post reports.

Miss Swank used Ace bandages to flatten herself and win an Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry.” The photos taken by Steven Meisel show the actress, 29, is more Raquel Welch than Twiggy.

“She thought it would be fun to learn how to box. She’s always been athletic,” a spokesman says.

Updike redux

The PEN/Faulkner Award literary judges — Ron Carlson, Chitra Divakaruni and Elizabeth Strout, themselves writers — considered more than 350 novels and short-story collections published last year from more than 75 publishing houses.

A literary giant came out on top: John Updike, for his collection of short stories “The Early Stories.”

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation yesterday announced that the celebrated poet-novelist won its coveted award for fiction writing.

Mr. Updike will be honored along with four finalists at the 24th annual PEN/Faulkner Award ceremony in May at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Post-‘Friends’

With “Friends” nearing its end, Jennifer Aniston is looking for work.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, one project to which she has committed is a remake of “Gambit,” a 1966 British caper that stars Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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