- - Sunday, October 7, 2012

The man widely known as “Big” gets even bigger: He’s playing J.P. Morgan, one of history’s towering business magnates.

It was one of Morgan’s businesses that funded the Titanic, and Chris Noth appears in a supporting role in “Titanic: Blood and Steel,” an epic 12-part miniseries about the building of the great ship. It premieres on six consecutive nights, with two episodes airing back to back, on the Encore cable network beginning Monday at 8 p.m. EDT.

Mr. Noth says the idea of playing Morgan intrigued him.

“He’s sort of maligned today,” Mr. Noth says. “But two times in our history, he saved our banking system from falling apart and saved the country from bankruptcy and depression. He was a patriotic man. But he liked to make money, too.

“It was fun to come into this film and remind people whose wallet it was that was building the Titanic,” says Mr. Noth. “Morgan wanted the ship done right, and he wanted it safe. But the bureaucracy below him equivocated a lot.”

Everyone knows the resulting tragedy. But that familiar outcome looms just beyond the final fade-out of “Titanic: Blood and Steel,” itself the largely untold story of how the ship came to be.

Also appearing is Derek Jacobi (“The King’s Speech, “The Borgias”) as Lord William Pirrie, chairman of the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where the ship was built.

Kevin Zegers (“Gossip Girl”) stars as a young scientist who raises questions about the safety of the ship. Neve Campbell (“Party of Five”) plays an American journalist reporting on the ship’s maiden voyage. And Alessandra Mastronardi (“To Rome With Love”) stars as a copyist who, thanks to her skill and perseverance, prospers even in this patriarchal age.

“The film celebrates the complex nature of the project, and all the people who wanted it to happen,” Mr. Noth says. “This was an industrial age at the advent of new technology. There was a flowering of unions. Meanwhile, there were social issues, including the Catholic-Protestant conflict.”

Bin Laden movie to premiere in U.S. ahead of election

A big-name Hollywood fundraiser for Barack Obama is releasing the first feature film about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden two days before the U.S. presidential election.

“SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” is distributed by Harvey Weinstein, the respected movie mogul who hosted the president at a celebrity-studded fundraising event in New England last month.

In a press release, the National Geographic Channel said it would premiere “SEAL Team Six” on Nov. 4 after its president Howard Owens and Mr. Weinstein discussed “the insight the film is sure to evoke in all Americans.”

The film — directed by John Stockwell and produced for theatrical release by Nicholas Chartier, who produced the Oscar-winning war film “The Hurt Locker” — will then go onto the Netflix movie screening website.

In a trailer posted online Friday, characters are heard saying “We’re going to be the team that takes out Osama” and “the president of the United States is going to be staking his presidency on this call.”

Mr. Obama personally gave the green light for Navy SEAL commandos to target bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, in a daring nighttime raid that killed the al Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

“This portrayal of the events that took place that night is moving, to say the very least,” said Mr. Weinstein in the National Geographic Channel press release.

“I anticipate audiences will be as captivated as I was from the beginning to the end,” he added.

“And I’m extremely proud as an American citizen to play a role in making sure this stunning portrayal over very recent American history is available in as many homes as possible.”

Opinion polls had put Mr. Obama, gunning for a second White House term, ahead of Mitt Romney prior to a televised debate Wednesday in which Mr. Romney came out the victor in the eyes of most political analysts.

Mr. Weinstein, executive producer of films as diverse as “The English Patient,” “The Artist” and the most recent “Rambo” movie in a filmmaking career dating back to the 1970s, is a well-known supporter of the Democratic Party.

His exclusive Obama fundraiser in August at his seaside compound in Westport, Conn., was attended by about 50 people, the Hollywood Reporter trade journal reported. Tickets cost $38,5000 each.

Boston man named 1st ‘Price Is Right’ male model

A Boston man has won an online competition to become the first male model in “The Price Is Right” history.

The long-running CBS game show said Friday that viewers had chosen Rob Wilson from among a trio of finalists who also included Clint Brink and Nick Denbeigh.

Mr. Wilson begins his weeklong stint alongside the ladies on Oct. 15.

The contest was announced in August. Hundreds of he-man hopefuls showed up at the open call in Los Angeles, where they had a chance to strut their stuff for the show’s producers and the female models the show is well known for.

The show has been on the air since September 1972.

“The Price Is Right” is hosted by Drew Carey. It airs weekdays at 11 a.m.

Compiled from wire reports.

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