- - Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jolie to play Gertrude Bell, ‘female Lawrence of Arabia’

Angelina Jolie is set to play a British woman who helped map out the modern Middle East in the early 20th century, the Hollywood Reporter said Friday.

According to Agence France-Presse, the Oscar-winning actress is slated to play the title character in “Gertrude Bell,” who has been described as the female Lawrence of Arabia for her pioneering work in establishing the framework for what would become Jordan and Iraq.

The project is still in development by British director Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions, said THR, noting that Miss Jolie has a history of playing strong female characters.

Bell was passionate about archaeology and languages, spoke several languages including Arabic and Persian, and wrote about her extensive travels in a number of books, including “Persian Pictures,” and “Syria: The Desert and the Sown.”

During World War I, Bell, who won widespread admiration among Arabs, worked as a British spy and helped to dismantle the Ottoman Empire and to found Iraq.

The project’s screenplay is being written by Jeffrey Caine, who wrote the script for 2005’s “The Constant Gardner.”

Schwarzenegger injured on set of ‘The Last Stand’

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been banged around and bloodied while filming a contemporary Western movie in Albuquerque.

The New York Post reports the former California governor posted on Twitter that he got a little banged up Thursday on the set of “The Last Stand,” in which he portrays a small-town sheriff who takes on a drug kingpin.

Mr. Schwarzenegger thanked the medical staff who returned him to action an hour later.

A photo shows what appears to be a bloody cut in the middle of the actor’s forehead.

Mr. Schwarzenegger has been tweeting and posting pictures about his offset activities, which have included sightseeing and shopping for warm clothing for cast members.

Helen Mirren to co-host Nobel Peace Prize concert

Organizers say British actress Helen Mirren will co-host this year’s Nobel Peace Prize concert, featuring performances by Benin’s Angelique Kidjo and other world artists.

The concert will be held Dec. 11, the day after the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, which this year honors President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and women’s rights activist Leymah Gbowee - both of Liberia - and democracy activist Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

The lineup of artists includes Ahmed Fathi of Yemen and Liberian-born singer Miatta Fahnbulleh, as well as David Gray, Jill Scott, country duo Sugarland and World Youth Choir. Organizers said Friday that Ms. Mirren’s co-host will be announced later.

Liam Neeson to narrate ‘War of the Worlds’ musical

Liam Neeson is to have an out-of-body experience in an out-of-this world tale.

According to the Associated Press, the actor is slated to narrate a touring musical version of “War of the Worlds,” appearing onstage as a hologram.

The musical is adapted from composer Jeff Wayne’s 1978 album, which featured the late Richard Burton narrating the tale of a Martian invasion based on H.G. Wells’ novel.

Mr. Wayne plans to release a new version with updated music next year, followed by a British arena tour starting in December 2012.

Mr. Neeson said Friday he was flattered to be offered the role, because “I loved Richard Burton and I loved his voice” - but said he wouldn’t be imitating the Welsh star’s tones.

He said, “I had to put that aside and focus on the text.”

‘Twilight’s‘ Nikki Reed ready for next challenge

“The Twilight Saga” might be paying Nikki Reed’s bills now, but the actress said she’s ready to “hustle” for her next gig.

“These movies, as great as they are and as huge as they are, they don’t just spoon-feed you careers. It’s like you still have to go and bust your butt and work just like everybody else,” the 23-year-old actress said in an Associated Press interview Wednesday in New York.

Miss Reed, who plays Rosalie Hale, the standoffish vampire sister to Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen, said she won’t be resting on the laurels of the franchise’s success.

“Now that ‘Twilight’s‘ over, what I think is really important is going back to the hustle, you know, and working really hard,” she said.

Miss Reed’s post-“Twilight” plans include pursuing more comedic roles, though she worries fans are used to seeing her as the serious, standoffish vampire she’s played since the saga debuted in 2008.

“You know, I play very bold, very confident women, and I’m so different from the characters that I play. But it’s true that people can’t separate you,” she said, noting that many people are surprised by her sense of humor.

Miss Reed first entered the Hollywood scene in 2003 as a screenwriter for the film “Thirteen,” loosely based on her own experiences with drugs, sex and self-harming in junior high. It starred Evan Rachel Wood, and Miss Reed played a supporting role.

Miss Reed also has dabbled in music with her husband of one month, “American Idol” alumnus Paul McDonald. The newlyweds recently released a duet, “Now That I Found You,” which Miss Reed wrote.

The final chapter, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2,” is slated for release in November 2012.

Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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