- - Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stevie Nicks prefers writing a song over meeting a handsome prince. Ne-Yo claimed songwriting saved his life. And Bob Seger said writing a song is the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing he does.

Converging opinions thrived at the 43rd annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction ceremony Thursday in New York where Mr. Seger, along with Canadian folk rocker Gordon Lightfoot, “Gambler” songwriter Don Schlitz, and Jim Steinman of “Bat Out of Hell” fame became the latest members of the prestigious club. The writers of the long-running musical “The Fantasticks” also were inducted.

Mr. Seger opened the show with a spirited version of his 1973 classic, “Turn the Page.” He then was inducted by Valerie Simpson, who performed “We’ve Got Tonight” in his honor.

Ne-Yo was honored with this year’s Hal David Starlight Award. It’s given to young artists who are making a significant impact with their original music.

“To have a person who has written a song that I look up to or that I grew up listening to tell me that I am good at it too — that means the world to me,” Ne-Yo said of Hal David, a frequent songwriting partner to Burt Bacharach.

Then he explained how writing songs saved him.

“I was a pretty riled up little kid, and if not for my mom giving me the pad and the pen and telling me to take my emotions and put them there, then there was no telling, then I might I have been sticking you up or something,” Ne-Yo joked.

While Miss Nicks was not inducted, she did honor Bette Midler with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, and performed “The Rose,” the song made famous by Miss Midler in the 1979 movie of the same name.

Mr. Lightfoot, known for hits such as “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and “Sundown,” performed his haunting 1970 ode to his failed marriage, “If You Could Read My Mind.”

The Songwriters Hall of Fame was created in 1969 by a group of established songwriters, including the legendary Johnny Mercer.

‘The Artist’s‘ Jean Dujardin in talks for role in Scorsese film

French actor Jean Dujardin, this year’s best-actor Oscar winner for “The Artist,” is in talks to co-star in Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, Mr. Dujardin’s Hollywood agent said Thursday.

Mr. Dujardin may join Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill in Mr. Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The movie is based on a book by disgraced former stock broker Jordan Belfort about his rise and fall on Wall Street, along with his hard-partying lifestyle and stormy personal life, Variety said.

The 39-year-old would play Jean-Jacques Handali, a smooth-talking Swiss banker engaged in money laundering for Mr. Belfort, played by Mr. DiCaprio. Mr. Handali was jailed for money laundering in the 1990s.

Filming on the movie will begin this summer in New York.

Mr. Dujardin has been a huge star in his homeland for years but was virtually unknown elsewhere before the Oscars triumph for “The Artist,” which made him the first French actor to win an Academy Award.

Daniel Radcliffe, Jude Law join London theater troupe

Jude Law, Judi Dench and Daniel Radcliffe are among the A-list actors signed up for a new London theater troupe, which hopes to attract new theatergoers by offering hundreds of $16 tickets for each performance.

Simon Russell Beale, Sheridan Smith, David Walliams and Ben Whishaw also are part of the company formed by director Michael Grandage, who led the award-winning Donmar Warehouse troupe for a decade until earlier this year.

On Friday, Mr. Grandage announced a five-play, 15-month season beginning in December with a production of the musical “Privates on Parade.”

Future productions include the new play “Peter and Alice” by John Logan; Shakespeare’s “Henry V” with Mr. Law in the title role; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; and a production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” starring Mr. Radcliffe.

Jury sides with Costner in suit over BP contract

Kevin Costner said his reputation was at stake as he defended himself against accusations that he cheated fellow actor Stephen Baldwin out of millions of dollars in a lucrative BP contract for oil-cleaning machines after the 2010 spill.

Mr. Baldwin and a friend were seeking $17 million in damages, saying they could have made at least that much in the deal. A federal jury sided with Mr. Costner on Thursday and gave them nothing.

Mr. Costner smiled and shook his attorney’s hand as a grim-faced Mr. Baldwin left the courtroom.

“My name means more to me than money and that’s why we didn’t settle,” Mr. Costner said.

After a two-week trial, eight jurors deliberated for less than two hours before giving their decision in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, against Mr. Costner and his business partner, Patrick Smith.

Mr. Baldwin referred questions about the verdict to his attorney, James Cobb.

“We’re disappointed. We thought we proved rather convincingly that these two guys, Mr. Costner and Mr. Smith, defrauded us,” Mr. Cobb said. “The jury saw it a different way, but we respect the jury’s verdict.”

Mr. Contogouris and Mr. Baldwin sold their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions for $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively. The company was marketing the oil-separating centrifuges.

Mr. Baldwin testified he would have held out for much more if he had known BP had committed to ordering 32 of the machines. Soon after they sold their shares, the oil giant made an $18 million deposit on a $52 million order.

Attorneys for Mr. Costner and Mr. Smith said Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Contogouris knew BP was preparing to order the machines when they walked away from the company rather than gamble for a more lucrative payout if BP signed a binding contract. At the time they sold their shares, BP only had signed a nonbinding letter of intent, the defendants’ attorneys said.

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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