Originally created 04/28/04

People in the News

PARIS -- Roman Polanski has found the young lead for his next film, "Oliver Twist," based on Charles Dickens' classic novel.

Polanski launched a search of London's drama schools to find the right actor - one with a cockney accent typical of London's East End. The search resulted in 30 possible candidates.

After a screen test in Prague, where "Oliver Twist" will be shot, 10-year-old Barney Clarke won the role. Ben Kingsley will play Fagin. Shooting begins July 12.

Polanski, who lives in Paris with his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and their two children, told a press conference Monday that it was time for "Oliver Twist" to make a comeback.

"It is destined for children, particularly my own children," said Polanski, who saw and loved David Lean's 1948 version as a child. "It has been two generations since anyone touched it."

Polanski won a best-director Oscar last year for "The Pianist," which starred Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish-Jewish pianist who hid from the Nazis inside a Warsaw ghetto.

The director, who didn't attend the ceremony in Los Angeles, said Harrison Ford has been keeping the Oscar for him. Polanski faces arrest if he returns to the United States, resulting from 1977 charges of allegedly having unlawful sex with a minor.

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LONDON -- Fans used to seeing soccer star David Beckham in motion on the field can now study him at rest in bed.

An hour-long "video portrait" of Beckham asleep after training in Madrid, where he plays for Real Madrid, was to go on display Tuesday at the National Portrait Gallery.

The gallery, which houses portraits of famous Britons in every field, said Monday that the Beckham piece, titled "David," was "intriguing and intimate." It was shot in a single, long take and runs in a continuous loop on a plasma screen.

"It is very immediate and I think rather powerful," gallery director Sandy Nairne told Channel 4 TV.

Artist Sam Taylor-Wood said it was a challenge to make an original portrait of Beckham because people see his image so frequently.

"I wanted to create a direct, closely observed study," she said in a statement. "Filming while he was asleep produces a different view from the many familiar, public images."

Her piece focuses on the star's face as he lies on his side, his head resting on one hand while the other curls beneath his chin.

"I liked the idea that he was eternally asleep in the National Portrait Gallery, so he was kind of a Sleeping Beauty," Taylor-Wood told Channel 4.

Tabloid stories about Beckham's alleged affairs with two women have made headlines for several weeks. Beckham, who is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, has dismissed the allegations as "ludicrous."

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ATLANTA -- CNN reporter Rym Brahimi resigned from her job following her engagement to King Abdullah II's half brother, Prince Ali, the network said.

Brahimi, daughter of the U.N. envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, resigned Friday, the same day her engagement was announced by Jordan's royal family, a CNN spokeswoman said.

The wedding will take place Sept. 7, the official Petra news agency reported. The engagement ceremony took place in Paris in the presence of Abdullah, Petra said.

Ali, 29, heads a special force that protects the monarch. He is the son of the late King Hussein from his marriage to Queen Alia, who died in a helicopter crash in 1977.

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LOS ANGELES -- The city of Los Angeles is honoring Ray Charles for his edifice complex.

The Grammy winner's recording studios, built 40 years ago in central Los Angeles, will get official city historic landmark designation during dedication ceremonies Friday at the Washington Boulevard building also housing his offices and RPM International Inc.

Actor Clint Eastwood will unveil the plaque.

"I love this place," the 73-year-old Charles said. "It's the only home I've truly had for most of my professional career and I would never leave it."

Charles has recorded at Ray Charles Studios for four decades. His upcoming "Ray Charles Duets" was the latest album produced at the facility.

Designed and built by Charles and his longtime manager Joe Adams, RPM and its creators have remained loyal to the neighborhood throughout the area's evolution over the years.

During the early days of construction, the pair would often visit the site, with Adams gently guiding Charles through the skeletal maze of steel and concrete that would become their longtime professional home.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center has acquired the complete archive of Stella Adler, founder of the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, the center announced Monday.

Adler's students included Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Martin Sheen, Harvey Keitel, Melanie Griffith and Warren Beatty. The archive includes correspondence, manuscripts, video and audio tapes, photographs and other materials.

"The Adler archive is a deep and rich source for the study of 20th-century American theater," said Thomas F. Staley, director of the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. "This archive is a significant acquisition."

In 1949, Adler founded the Stella Adler Theater Studio, later the Stella Adler Conservatory, which is now the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She taught acting for more than 40 years. Adler died in 1992.

Of specific importance to actors, directors and scholars is the collection of Adler's teaching notes and more than 700 hours of audio and visual materials, Ransom Center officials said. Her lectures include script analyses, character classes and discussions of individual playwrights.

The 20 boxes of materials for the Adler archive should be processed and made available to the public and scholars in about a year.

The Ransom Center already holds the papers of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams.

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