Hollywood in the news


PARIS (AP) – Brad Pitt sent an e-mail to the Cannes Film Festival saying he was unable to attend this year’s event because of the “imminent arrival” of his new baby.

Henri Behar, who moderates Cannes’ news conferences, read a message Tuesday from Pitt, who has been in Namibia with his “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” co-star, Angelina Jolie, awaiting the birth of the couple’s first child.

“With the imminent arrival of the newest addition to our family, I am unable to join Alejandro, Cate, Gael and the rest of the cast and crew in introducing” his new film, “Babel,” the 42-year-old actor said in the message.

“I am tremendously proud of “Babel’ and want to congratulate everyone involved for this great achievement,” Pitt said.

In “Babel,” directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Pitt plays a husband and father trying to cope with a crisis on vacation in Morocco. Cate Blanchett plays Pitt’s wife, and the film also stars Gael Garcia Bernal.

Jolie’s children, Maddox and Zahara, have legally had their surname changed to Jolie-Pitt.

LONDON (AP) – Geri Halliwell has named her infant daughter Bluebell Madonna.

The 33-year-old singer, also known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, told Hello! magazine she’d been inspired by seeing the spring flowers during her pregnancy.

The baby was born May 14 at London’s Portland Hospital, weighing 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

“But what really clinched it for me was my mother telling me that the bluebell is increasingly rare – so it’s (a) precious flower, which seems just right for my daughter,” Halliwell was quoted as saying.

Halliwell said she had chosen the middle name in honor of one of her heroines.

“As she came out of my tummy, Bluebell had both arms flung wide in the air as if announcing to the world, “Hi! I’m here!”‘ the magazine quoted the singer as saying.

“She was screaming her head off, as though she was shouting, “Hello, Wembley!’ No one else has that name, apart from the Virgin Madonna and the singer, whom I love.”

Halliwell made no mention of the baby’s father in the interview.

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PARIS (AP) – Two Rolling Stones concerts scheduled in Paris this summer have been indefinitely postponed, French organizers said.

The concerts had been set for June 3 and July 2 at the Stade de France stadium. Organizers said Tuesday they had no immediate information on replacement dates.

An Aug. 8 concert in the French Riviera city of Nice was still on the tour schedule.

The Stones’ “A Bigger Bang European” tour, which was to open in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, was postponed after 62-year-old guitarist Keith Richards suffered a head injury in Fiji on April 27.

News reports variously claimed that Richards fell out of a palm tree or from a jet ski. He later had surgery in Auckland, New Zealand, to relieve pressure in his head.

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SYDNEY, Australia (AP) – Larry Williams, the father of actress Michelle Williams, has been granted bail by a Sydney court following his arrest on international tax evasion.

Australian Federal Police, responding to a request from U.S. authorities, arrested the prominent U.S. stock market trader Saturday after he flew into Sydney to begin a monthlong speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has been seeking the 64-year-old Virgin Islands resident over allegations that he evaded $1.5 million in taxes on royalties from his books on the stock market and proceeds from international seminars between 1990 and 2001.

His daughter, 25-year-old Michelle Williams, was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”

Williams was freed on $753,000 bail, ordered to surrender his passport and report to police three times per day.

He is due back in Central Local Court on Monday.

LONDON (AP) – Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett has been named Britain’s designer of the year for his groundbreaking animation for the virtual band.

Hewlett, who first earned fame for co-creating the comic strip Tank Girl, won the award Monday in a ceremony at the Design Museum, which sponsors the prize.

The annual $47,000 award honors the British or Britain-based designer who has made the biggest contribution to design in the past year.

Hewlett was honored for conceiving the graphics, animation and “live” performances for the band, which is composed of four animated, fictional members.

“Jamie Hewlett has not only created a personal mythology with the virtual band Gorillaz, he has also created designs for the direction in which technology and culture are going – the shape of things to come,” said Christopher Frayling, who chaired the award jury.

Hewlett co-formed the Gorillaz with Blur singer Damon Albarn. The virtual band’s albums include the self-titled, “Gorillaz,” and “Demon Days.”

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Yo-Yo Ma has received the Dan David Prize, recognizing his Silk Road Project for its contribution to international cultural understanding.

In his acceptance speech Sunday, the 50-year-old cellist said he would share the $1 million prize with the Silk Road Project’s musicians, board members and staff.

Ma set up the Silk Road Project in 1998 to explore the common threads of culture and music in various societies. “I believe that when we enlarge our view of the world, we also deepen our understanding of our own lives and culture,” he says in a statement on the organization’s Web site.

The Dan David Prize is awarded each year to individuals “for making unique contributions to humanity,” according to a statement from the foundation. Three prizes are awarded each year.

The foundation is based at Tel Aviv University, and the annual award ceremony alternates between Tel Aviv and Paris.

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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – Julia Ormond has called human trafficking one of the most difficult problems facing the world today.

The 41-year-old actress, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, opened a three-day regional conference Monday on human trafficking, a crime that is particularly widespread in Southeast Asia.

Speaking to social workers, government officials and other experts in the field, Ormond said it was an “honor to work alongside people” who had chosen a calling that is “more vital to humanity than” acting.

Her chosen profession, she said, might even be termed “frivolous” in comparison.

“Trafficking and slavery are the ugly, dark side of globalization,” said Ormond, whose screen credits include roles in “Legends of the Fall” and “Sabrina.”

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