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May 25, 2004

Stars turn out for new Potter movie

The third Harry Potter film has been unleashed in a world premiere in New York that drew thousands of fans to see the stars of the fantasy book series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is set to debut around the world on June 4. But 6,000 lucky fans got an early viewing together with stars Daniel Radcliffe, the 14-year-old actor who plays Harry, and his co-stars, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

Other stars included Robbie Coltrane, who plays good-natured giant Hagrid.

Critics have identified the third Harry Potter movie as breaking with its predecessors by focusing on edgier themes that reflect the growing maturity of the characters.

Directed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, the movie plays follows the attempt of an evil wizard to hunt down Harry Potter and is said to be scarier than the previous two instalments.

P. Diddy gets political

New York - Rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is getting busy. He recently made his acting debut on Broadway, and is now heading back to MTV where he plans to headline a political show called Project Change.

According to the New York Post, Combs hopes to confront President George W. Bush and likely Democratic nominee John Kerry with questions from "real people" that he finds on the streets of Harlem, Brooklyn and Detroit.

"The people who usually ask the candidates questions are screened, and I'm going to use real people off the streets to get their questions out there," Combs told the paper. "I'm going to make Kerry and Bush squirm."

Banderas to revive Zorro

Los Angeles - Antonio Banderas is to revive the role of the masked swashbuckler that made him famous.

The Latin movie star will take the lead role in a sequel to The Mask of Zorro which starts shooting in Mexico on July 26, according to movie website Zap2it.com.

According to the report, Catherine Zeta Jones will also revive her role for the sequel, which like the 1998 original will be directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Steven Spielberg.

"This one is a little bit more mature. It still keeps the adventure feeling and it keeps us with a hero, which is I think fundamental for Zorro," Banderas was quoted as saying. "It's more based in jealousy and concepts that are more for us than for kids."

No Hazardous role for Britney Spears

Los Angeles - Pop star Britney Spears has lost out in her bid for a role in the movie version of the TV show The Dukes of Hazard.

According to U.S. press reports the role of sexy Daisy Duke has instead been handed to singer Jessica Simpson who is already a star on American reality TV.

The film, about three redneck cousins, two corrupt public officials and a souped-up muscle car, begins production this summer, but Simpson can hardly wait to fit into her character's hot pants. "I wanna wear those shorts so bad," she told Star magazine.

Del Toro and Washington to get Tru Blu

Los Angeles - Benicio Del Toro is set to star alongside Denzel Washington in the movie Tru Blu based on the real life struggle between a determined detective and a major drug dealer.

The movie will be directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Brian Grazer. According to Daily Variety Monday, Del Toro will play Detective Richie Roberts, who was matched against Frank Lucas, the mastermind of a major heroin scheme in which the drug was smuggled into the U.S. in the caskets of soldiers killed in Vietnam.

Prosecutors fear Michael Jackson may flee

Los Angeles - Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson case fear the troubled pop singer will flee the country to avoid trial on child molestation charges.

According to court papers released Sunday, District Attorney Tom Sneddon's office said Jackson's immense wealth requires at least 3 million dollars bail to ensure he will appear for trial on child molestation charges and, if convicted, serve a lengthy prison sentence.

"The temptation to flee must surely be strong for an individual in defendant's circumstances," said the motion. "To suppose otherwise would be to blink reality."

Prosecutors filed the motion because the potential maximum bail for the charges against Jackson is 435,000 dollars.

"The people mean no disrespect by the following, but Michael Joe Jackson's situation is truly unique," he said, citing Jackson's extensive property holdings and unusual circumstances.

"The defendant here is 'Michael Jackson, international celebrity,' a man whose life style to date would not have prepared him to adapt readily to a prison environment and routine, and whose physical stature will present its own problems for him in making the necessary adjustments."

The motion speculated that if he chose to flee, Jackson would be welcomed in many countries in Europe, the Near East and Africa that do not have extradition treaties with the United States.

Kirk Douglas marries wife again

Los Angeles - Veteran actor Kirk Douglas has remarried his wife Anne, 50 years after the couple first wed in a Las Vegas wedding chapel.

This time the loving couple did it with a little more style.

They wed in a traditional Jewish ceremony at a luxurious hilltop mansion in Beverly Hills watched by 300 guests including former first lady Nancy Reagan, and celebrities Merv Griffin, Dan Aykroyd, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis, Vidal Sassoon and Anjelica Huston.


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Entertainment briefs [19/05/2004]




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