- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2005

More real than reality

Director Steven Soderbergh, who used a cast of nonprofessionals to make “Bubble,” a murder story set in a bleak Ohio town, says fiction on screen is more real than reality TV.

Mr. Soderbergh — an Oscar winner for “Traffic,” and director of “sex, lies, and videotape” and “Erin Brockovich” — was in Venice, Italy, last weekend for the out-of-competition premiere of “Bubble,” according to Associated Press.

“I tried very hard not to disturb the cast. We designed the story to fit the town,” Mr. Soderbergh says adding that he aimed to “incorporate much of their own lives into the story.”

“The initial idea was three characters who worked in a factory of sorts, doing manual, repetitive labor,” the director says. He decided on a doll factory when he scouted the location, which turned out to be “even more surreal and bizarre than I could have imagined.”

Mr. Soderbergh slammed reality TV for being “as far from reality as you can imagine and more fictionalized than the movies you see.”

Dutch treat

The latest version of the game show “Big Brother,” launched Sunday in the Netherlands, features a woman who is seven months pregnant — raising the possibility she will give birth live on television.

The Dutch Social Affairs Ministry will decide later this week whether to grant a work permit allowing the baby — essentially a child actor — to make an appearance on the show, AP reported.

Ministry spokeswoman Bea Versteeg said as long as no laws were broken the ministry had no objection in principle to having babies on TV. But the amount of time the infant can appear on camera will be brief, she said.

A spokeswoman for Endemol, the creator of the “Big Brother” series, said “we really don’t know yet what we’ll do” when the pregnant woman, identified only by her first name Tanja, goes into labor.

“She may be voted off the program first,” Endemol spokeswoman Cathelijne Nijssen said.

J.Lo prego?

Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the market for baby clothes, prompting speculation that she’s pregnant with third husband Marc Anthony’s child.

According to the British newspaper News of the World, Miss Lopez recently visited the Los Angeles shop Petit Tresor and told its staff the items were for her. A source told the paper: “J.Lo came in to buy some little outfits. We all presumed it was for a niece or a family friend but she said, ‘It’s for me.’”

Britney Spears, incidentally, was seen in the same shop last month buying outfits for a baby boy.

‘Cinderella’ warning

Russell Crowe promoted his Depression-era film “Cinderella Man” at the Venice Film Festival saying America shouldn’t take its wealth for granted.

Mr. Crowe, 41, who plays boxer Jim Braddock and Renee Zellweger, who co-stars as his wife, both attended the movie’s European premiere, the BBC reported.

“A really important part of making this film is to remind America that the current abundance they are experiencing is not an absolute right,” Mr. Crowe said.

Friendly assist

Paul McCartney, who recently said he gets by with a little help from the late George Harrison, said something similar of his late songwriting partner John Lennon.

“When I write, there are times — not always — when I hear John in my head,” Mr. McCartney told Time magazine. “I’ll think, ‘OK, what would we have done here? And I can hear him gripe or approve.’”

The former Beatle’s newest album, “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” is set for release Sept. 13. Three days later, he starts an American tour in Miami.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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