- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Strange appeal

For the life of her, Reese Witherspoon can’t figure out why supermarket-mag readers are so fascinated by such unglamorous pictures.

“I can’t believe someone is so interested particularly in all the pictures of me in the grocery store or at the preschool,” the actress told The Washington Times in an interview in New York.

“I’m wearing the same sweat suit, and is this really interesting? And to who?”

As best they can, Miss Witherspoon and actor-husband Ryan Phillippe, laugh off tabloid stories. “It just doesn’t matter to me,” she said. “It’s amazing the kind of things that people make up in their minds.”

Miss Witherspoon stars in “Vanity Fair,” which opened yesterday in area theaters.

The ‘Hamburg’ sell

“The Hamburg Cell,” the first feature film about September 11, will be broadcast on the British network Channel 4 tonight.

According to the BBC, the movie, which debuted at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last week, dramatizes the journey of United Airlines Flight 93 hijacker Ziad Jarrah as a student in Hamburg, Germany, through his embrace of jihad.

Actor Karim Saleh plays Jarrah and, by the sound of things, the movie is nonjudgmental.

“I am still as shocked [about the attacks] as I was in the beginning, but now I have more information about who those people were,” Mr. Saleh told the BBC.

“I learned about how those people are looked at and how those events affected people emotionally and psychologically.”

Antonia Bird, the director, said she’ll be “really intrigued” to see how audiences react to the movie.

So will we.

Georgia peaches

Georgia has Ray Charles on its mind.

The late soul singer, along with music publisher-entrepreneur Bill Lowery, will be honored Sept. 18 during a Georgia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The hall pays tribute to artists and music-industry professionals who are Georgia natives or live in the state. Both Mr. Charles and Mr. Lowery were among the first group to be inducted into the hall of fame in 1979.

“Georgia has a rich music heritage, and an event like this brings that history and our great talent into the spotlight,” Greg Torre, a Georgia culture official, told AP.

New inductees include radio pioneer Hugh Jarrett; Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell; jazz pianist-composer Mary Lou Williams and opera singer Mattiwilda Dobbs.

They’ll each receive the Georgy Award for contributions to the state’s music heritage.

Monumental gesture

Bosnian Serbs, Croats and Muslims may be riven by ethnic and sectarian rivalries, but Veselin Gatalo believes he knows someone who can help — Bruce Lee.

Mr. Gatalo, a writer, is behind a plan to build a monument to the late kung-fu legend in his hometown of Mostar.

How, exactly, will a monument to a B-movie actor unite Bosnia’s various factions?

The statue, Mr. Gatalo told AP, is intended to remind people of Mr. Lee’s lesser-known values: “loyalty, friendship, skill and justice.”

He added, “Lee is a true international hero and is a hero to all ethnicities in Bosnia, and that’s why we picked him.”

Breaking the ‘Code’

Visitors to the Louvre Museum in Paris, home of the “Mona Lisa” and a key locale of “The Da Vinci Code,” have begun quizzing tour guides about Dan Brown’s smash-hit novel.

According to Reuters News Agency, tour guides have been quick to catch on: They’re offering tours exploring the book’s locations and the theories surrounding Leonardo Da Vinci’s works of art.

“By the time the 30th person asked me, ‘Is this where the curator was murdered?’ or ‘Is this true about Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks?’ I figured, wow, this is really how people are beginning to approach the Louvre, so why not take advantage of that?” said tour guide Ellen McBreen.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff and wire reports.

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