- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lee making J.B. film

Filmmaker Spike Lee has signed a deal to make a film charting the life of “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, who died earlier this week, Agence France-Presse reported yesterday.

According to Variety, Mr. Lee, famed for his racially themed movies such as “Malcolm X”, “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever,” will team with Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind”) for the biopic.

Mr. Brown, who died Monday at age 73, had been actively involved in the project, cooperating with screenwriters as they prepared a draft script for the movie, the daily trade publication reported.

Mr. Grazer told Variety he had been stunned by Mr. Brown’s death — but was not surprised that the entertainer passed away on Christmas Day.

“Like everybody, I was surprised and saddened that James Brown died,” Mr. Grazer said. “Having known him well, and after spending lots of time with him and researching his life, it’s somehow not surprising that he died on Christmas Day. He was the ultimate showman, all the way to the end.”

Kidman, Urban reunite

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have reunited in the actress’s hometown of Sydney after the Australian-reared country singer completed treatment for alcohol abuse, media reports said yesterday.

Mr. Urban checked himself into a rehabilitation treatment center in the United States in October, with Miss Kidman by his side. He flew to Sydney on Tuesday, Associated Press reports.

Miss Kidman, who won a best-actress Oscar for 2002’s “The Hours,” has been in Sydney since before Christmas and is working on a movie in Australia. Mr. Urban hasn’t visited Australia since he married the actress in a lavish Sydney wedding in June. The couple then moved to Nashville, Tenn., where Mr. Urban records.

‘Casino’ tops Bond list

The latest James Bond movie, “Casino Royale,” has become the highest-earning 007 thriller of all time, AFP reports.

The critically acclaimed film, with Daniel Craig playing the British superspy for the first time, has passed the previous box-office record held by a Bond movie, the $431 million earned by 2002’s “Die Another Day.”

To date, “Casino Royale” has raked in $448 million worldwide since its Nov. 17 opening, Variety reports.

Die-hard fans had been appalled by the decision to hand the role of their hero to the blue-eyed, fair-haired Mr. Craig, but the actor has won over the skeptics with a gritty performance that has earned him comparisons with Sean Connery, often regarded as the quintessential Bond.

Compiled by Christian Toto and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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