Originally created 06/16/04

People in the News



NEW YORK -- Rounder Records has signed Oscar-nominated actress Minnie Driver to her first U.S. recording contract.

"Everything I've Got in My Pocket" will be released on the label's rock/pop imprint, Zoe Records, in September, the Cambridge, Mass.- based company said Monday.

She will be backed by a group that includes members of the Wallflowers and Pete Yorn's band. The album is described as "sparse, atmospheric pop and a hint of contemporary folk."

Driver had been signed to Island Records in London when she was offered her breakthrough role in the 1995 film "Circle of Friends."

She was nominated for a best-supporting actress Oscar for 1997's "Good Will Hunting." Her new movie, "The Phantom of the Opera," is scheduled for release in December.

On the Net:

http://www.rounder.com/

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Moore says he had footage of prisoner abuse in Iraq but decided to stay quiet until his new movie came out.

"I had it months before the story broke on '60 Minutes (II),' and I really struggled with what to do with it," Moore told the San Francisco Chronicle in Sunday's editions.

"I wanted to come out with it sooner, but I thought I'd be accused of just putting this out for publicity for my movie. That prevented me from making maybe the right decision," the filmmaker said.

Moore's documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The film, scheduled to open in theaters nationwide on June 25, is critical of President Bush's response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"The stuff with the detainees in my movie is even more shocking than what we saw in that (Abu Ghraib) prison because it happens outdoors and is more commonplace," said Moore.

On the Net:

http://www.michaelmoore.com

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SHANGHAI, China -- You know Yao Ming the basketball star. Now meet Yao Ming the chef. And the musician. And the gardener.

The Houston Rockets center plays those roles and others in a promotional film for his hometown, Shanghai, due for release next month.

Yao will be shown working at a variety of jobs "honoring the spirit of Shanghai residents from all walks of life and highlighting the city's role as an international metropolis," the film's producers, the Shanghai Media Group, said in a recent statement.

Last week, Yao was chosen as a global ambassador for the Special Olympics and topped a Chinese survey of favorite athletes.

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LONDON -- Prince Harry hopes to join the British Army, and plans to take the entrance exam at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, royal officials announced Monday.

Harry is third in line to the throne behind his older brother, Prince William, and his father, Prince Charles.

The 19-year-old prince is spending the summer as a coach in the Rugby Football and then working on his father's farms.

Clarence House, Prince Charles' official residence, said Harry would face the Regular Commissions Board exams to gain entrance to Sandhurst, which consist of a three-day course of written, oral and physical tests.

Prince Charles started his military career in 1969 as colonel-in-chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales. In 1971, he trained with the Royal Air Force, learning to fly jet aircraft. Later that year he joined the Royal Navy, and commanded the coastal mine hunter HMS Bronington in 1976, his last year of service.

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HAVANA -- "The Motorcycle Diaries," a portrait of Ernesto "Che" Guevara as a young romantic, was being shown in Cuba beginning Monday as the director and several of the film's actors marked what would have been the late revolutionary's 76th birthday.

"There is no other place I want to be than here," Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, who played the role of Guevara, told a Havana news conference Monday.

The movie's first general screenings in Cuba were starting Monday night in the central city of Santa Clara, where Guevara's remains were brought in 1997 - 30 years after he was killed in Bolivia.

Guevara and his troops seized control of Santa Clara during the Cuban revolution that pushed former dictator Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959.

The film, produced by Robert Redford and directed by Walter Salles, traces Guevara's early adventures when he and his friend Alberto Granados traversed South America on a motorcycle in 1952.

Relatives of Guevara and Granados attended Monday's news conference.

"The presentation of the film pays homage to the life of a man who taught us a lot about tenderness," said Aleida Guevara March, Guevara's daughter.

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SHREVEPORT, La. -- A movie crew is documenting every stop of guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd's tour of the South and Midwest.

Filming started in New Orleans with a segment with Gatemouth Brown, then moved to Shepherd's hometown of Shreveport for a stop at the grave of bluesman Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly.

"I searched out some guys that I think are like the hidden treasures of the blues today," Shepherd said. "The majority of the artists are people who I feel are like very talented musicians who have contributed a lot to the music business but maybe haven't gotten all the recognition they deserve."

After visits to Alabama, North Carolina and Missouri, the trip will end with a concert June 18 in Salina, Kan., where Shepherd will play with blues veterans including musicians who played with Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.

Noble Jones, who has directed music videos for singer Mary J. Bilge and others, is directing the movie, which is expected to be released on DVD with a companion compact disc in 2005.

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HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau is launching a new campaign, Aloha Live, hoping to lure visitors with the sounds of the islands.

Willie K., Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, Robi Kahakalau and Sean Naauao will take their signature Hawaiian songs to the mainland on a 20-city concert tour.

Aloha Live will run July 29-Aug. 25. Stops will include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago and New York.

"Hawaiian music embodies the uniqueness of Hawaii's culture and is one of the key factors in differentiating our destination," John Monahan, president and chief executive officer of the visitors bureau, said recently. "It speaks of the romance and beauty of our island lifestyle in a way that connects emotionally with people."