- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coming attraction

Jennie Garth is expecting her third child with actor husbandPeter Facinelli, reports Associated Press, citing a story in Us magazine.

“Peter and I feel very blessed with our children,” the 33-year-old actress is quoted as telling the magazine in its latest issue, out yesterday.

The couple have two daughters, Lola Ray, 3, and Luca Bella, 8.

Miss Garth, star of the WB sitcom “What I Like About You,” and Mr. Facinelli, 32, were married in 2001.

War over words

Dan Brown returned to the witness stand yesterday and acknowledged “reworking” passages from an earlier book for his best-selling novel “The Da Vinci Code,” but he firmly rejected charges that he ripped off key ideas for his conspiracy thriller, AP reports.

The author spent a third day defending his work against a copyright infringement suit brought by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of a 1982 nonfiction book, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.”

Both books explore theories dismissed by theologians that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, the couple had a child, and the bloodline survives.

The suit is not against Mr. Brown, but his publisher, Random House, which also published “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail.” Random House denies the claims, and Mr. Brown said the assertion that he copied is “completely fanciful.”

He said “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail” was “one of the books in the mix” when he and his wife, Blythe Brown, were researching the novel. However, they also used 38 other books and hundreds of documents, Mr. Brown said, adding that the British authors’ book was not crucial to their work.

If Mr. Baigent and Mr. Leigh succeed in securing an injunction to bar the use of their material, they could hold up the scheduled May 19 film release of “The Da Vinci Code,” starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou.

“The Da Vinci Code” has sold more than 40 million copies since its release three years ago.

A life uncovered

Germany’s Academy of Arts has taken possession of a trove of letters and other personal effects once owned by Bertolt Brecht that officials hope will shed new light on the playwright’s life.

The material, previously part of the private collection of a deceased Swiss businessman, includes manuscripts, notes, bills and photos. The material also includes 140 letters from Mr. Brecht and 220 received by him, AP reports.

The largely unpublished collection, dating from Mr. Brecht’s years in exile during and after the Nazi era, includes 36 letters and three telegrams that he wrote to his wife, Helene Weigel, between 1944 and 1947.

The prestigious Academy of Arts said it plans to present the collection, which it bought for an undisclosed sum, in April, after cataloging the material. The academy took possession of the materials on Tuesday.

Mr. Brecht, one of Germany’s most popular playwrights, fled the country in 1933, and his citizenship later was revoked by the Nazi regime. He joined other German exiles, including Thomas Mann, in the United States. He left the U.S. after appearing before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which was set up after World War II.

Mr. Brecht then lived in Switzerland before returning to East Germany in 1949. He died in 1956.

Hollywood goes West

Kanye West is digging for big-screen gold.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Grammy-winning rapper has teamed up with Anonymous Content and New Line Cinema to produce a feature film inspired by his music.

Mr. West also will appear in the film, as yet untitled, which will create a multiperspective portrait of the U.S. as seen through the eyes of Mr. West and several filmmakers. George C. Wolfe, who directed HBO’s Emmy-winning “Lackawanna Blues,” will oversee the creative process on the film.

The movie will feature new and old music from the rap star. The film will be produced by Richard Brown and Steve Golin (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”).

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

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