- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Merchant’ in London

Screen legend Al Pacino rubbed elbows with royalty this week in London at a charity premiere of the forthcoming movie adaptation of “The Merchant of Venice.”

“The British do Shakespeare great because they’ve had a history of doing it,” said Mr. Pacino, who praised host Prince Charles as an “ardent Shakespearean devotee.”

“The British have encouraged us Americans, but I don’t think anybody will ever have the elocution and the taste of words the way some of your actors have,” said Mr. Pacino, who plays moneylender Shylock in the Michael Radford-directed movie, according to AP.

“I can’t wait to see this film,” Prince Charles said.

Greek to them

First it tanks at the box office. Now this.

A group of 25 Greek lawyers threatened to sue the producers of Oliver Stone’s “Alexander the Great” over what they consider false history — the film’s portrayal of the Macedonian warrior as bisexual.

“I want to stress we have nothing against gays or lesbians. We respect their rights as everybody else’s,” Yiannis Varnakos, head of the lawyers’ group, told Associated Press.

“We would have reacted the same way if the issue didn’t involve homosexuality,” he said. “We just don’t want a distortion of historical facts.”

The lawyers are calling on Warner Bros. to carry a disclaimer that the movie is a fictional portrayal of Alexander’s life.

Homosexual activists contend the campaign is based in homophobia, not a quest for historical truth.

“When it comes to these sorts of matters, Greece is stuck in the Middle Ages,” said Athanasios Vessis, the manager of a homosexual bookstore.

Daddy’s little girl

The antiwar rallies, the drugs, the nude photo shoot: “I regret all of it,” reflects presidential daughter Patti Davis, who just published “The Long Goodbye,” a memoir about watching her late father, Ronald Reagan, fight a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

Well, almost all of it — everything except posing for Playboy, she admitted to AP.

“If you stripped it right down, I didn’t do things that much differently than many, many other people did,” Miss Davis said. “I mean, I was never arrested or something. I wasn’t that bad.”

Adviser to the stars

Elton John told a British magazine that Victoria Beckham should have moved with soccer-star husband David Beckham when he relocated to Madrid.

Instead, she decided to stay in Britain to pursue her ailing singing career, a move Mr. John blames for Mr. Beckham’s rumored relationship with personal assistant Rebecca Loos and the subsequent “pretty awful” time the couple went through.

“I think he missed her and the boys terribly,” Mr. John told Heat magazine. “If you live six months in a hotel room in Madrid — or anywhere — it’s going to drive you crazy. I think they should have gone together as a family.”

Lying liars

Director Mike Nichols calls his latest movie, “Closer,” which opens Friday in area theaters, a study of “the importance of lying.”

The film stars Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman as two pairs of lovers who betray each other.

“I think that ‘Closer’ is about the dangers of closeness,” Mr. Nichols (“The Graduate,” “Angels in America”) told Reuters News Agency. “Do you have a right to know what is in the other person’s head? In my experience, happiness comes from being together but always maintaining enough separateness.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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