- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2005

Red-carpet politics

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal says she learned the hard way not to talk about politics on the red carpet.

The 27-year-old actress, who stars in “The Great New Wonderful,” a film about the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, said in an interview in April that the United States was “responsible in some way” for the deadly strikes on September 11, 2001.

She later issued a statement through her publicist saying that September 11 was “an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America’s role in the world.”

“I was so surprised by the way it was misunderstood, and the disdain that came back at me was a real shock,” Miss Gyllenhaal told the Daily News. “I regret what I said, but I think my intentions were good.”

Miss Gyllenhaal added that the backlash taught her “that neither the red carpet nor an interview about a movie is the right place to talk about my politics. I realize I have to be careful, because it’s very easy to misunderstand a complicated thought in a complicated world.”

Charitable act

Actress Jennifer Garner’s hometown of Charleston, W.Va., threw a massive baby shower for the mom-to-be and husband Ben Affleck — but the gifts went to charity.

Hundreds of gift-bearing fans came to a West Virginia Power minor-league baseball game Saturday for Jen and Ben Baby Shower Night.

Some 4,248 fans turned out, although Miss Garner and Mr. Affleck were not in attendance, according to Associated Press.

The promotion benefited the baby pantry for Starting Points, a nonprofit group that serves children and the families of children younger than 8.

Among the 410 donations were a car seat, diapers and baby food, Power account executive Matt Thompson said.

Stayin’ alive

Since the 2003 death of Maurice Gibb, the late singer’s brothers have sworn off performing under the name of the Bee Gees.

However, Robin Gibb’s co-manager, John Campbell, told Billboard magazine that a slate of Bee Gees events will begin rolling out next year. In the works are a Maurice Gibb tribute album, a free summer concert in Central Park, a prime-time special, a Broadway musical, a film and a book. The timing is perfect, Mr. Campbell said, because the rights to the Bee Gees’ entire catalog will revert back to them from Universal in 2006. “It is one of the most successful catalogs of all time,” he added.

‘Vengeance’ is his

An Israeli actress cast in Steven Spielberg’s controversial new film about her country’s counterterrorism tactics said yesterday that the Hollywood director intended to improve the image of the Jewish state.

Reuters News Agency reports Gila Almagor, the grande dame of Israeli drama, confirmed reports that the thriller is based on “Vengeance,” a book about the Mossad intelligence service’s assassination of Palestinian guerrilla chiefs in the 1970s that has been widely discredited.

That mission was mounted to avenge 11 Israeli athletes seized by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics and killed during a botched rescue effort. Several Mossad veterans have come out of the cold to question Mr. Spielberg’s research.

However, Miss Almagor, who has been cast as the mother of a Mossad hit man, called such quibbles “inappropriate, simply weird.”

“It is so important for [Mr. Spielberg] that the film do what it should do for Israel,” she said in a radio interview.

Asked if this meant the thriller would help Israel’s image, Miss Almagor said: “I believe that is the intention.”

At least one of Miss Almagor’s fellow cast members has disagreed with her take on the screenplay for the film.

“It’s about how vengeance doesn’t … work — blood breeds blood,” actor Daniel Craig told the entertainment magazine Empire.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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