Hollywood in the news


CANNES, France (AP) – Tom Hanks and other stars of “The Da Vinci Code” arrived at the Cannes Film Festival on board a train that broke the world record for the longest nonstop international rail trip.

The high-speed Eurostar train, named “The Da Vinci Code” for the trip, was part of a promotional blitz leading up to the movie’s world premiere Wednesday in Cannes. The London-Cannes train went 883 miles in 7 hours, 25 minutes, passing through the tunnel under the English Channel on Tuesday.

Eurostar said an official from Guinness World Records was on board and certified the record.

Before starting the trip, Hanks posed for pictures at Waterloo station in London with co-stars Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Jean Reno and Alfred Molina, director Ron Howard and author Dan Brown.

In Cannes, the stars were whisked into a black Mercedes driven by men in black suits and sunglasses, and a crowd cheered their names.

LONDON (AP) – Bono was a guest editor of The Independent newspaper, filling its pages with stories on HIV/AIDS in Africa, poverty and global warming.

The 46-year-old Irish rocker, who has long complained that Africa’s problems get little attention in the news, was invited to sit in the editor’s chair to highlight his latest venture, Project RED, which enlists corporations to donate the proceeds of products made under the “RED” brand to humanitarian efforts in Africa.

On Tuesday, the newspaper’s front page featured a headline saying, “No News Today,” with the footnote: “Just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease (HIV/AIDS).” The message was illustrated with several images symbolizing life and death by artist Damien Hirst.

Half the revenue from the sale of Tuesday’s Independent will go to aid groups in Africa, the newspaper said.

“Our readers have already shown, by their contribution to our annual charity appeals, their interest and concern in Africa,” said Independent Editor in Chief Simon Kelner in a statement.

In an editorial, Bono, the frontman for U2, asked readers to support his Project RED initiative, which includes corporate sponsors such as American Express, the Gap and Converse footwear.

The newspaper also included an editorial by Bob Geldof, an interview with Giorgio Armani by Stella McCartney, observations by U2 guitarist The Edge on rebuilding efforts by New Orleans musicians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the top 10 favorite musical works of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Sean “Diddy” Combs has reached a settlement with a North Carolina man who said the bodyguards hired by the rap mogul beat him after a concert in 1995.

Details of the confidential settlement reached Monday were not released.

“We amicably settled, and that’s all we can say,” said Herman Stephens, an attorney for Cedrick Bobby Lemon, who filed the lawsuit in May 2002.

According to the lawsuit, Lemon worked as a limousine driver and wore an identification badge that permitted him to stand backstage during a concert by Mary J. Blige in June 1995. Combs was Blige’s manager at the time.

As two bodyguards tried to clear the backstage area to escort Blige from the Joel Coliseum following the concert, they punched Lemon in the head, kicked him in the back and broke his right ankle, according to the lawsuit.

Combs was negligent because he failed to properly train the bodyguards, the lawsuit said.

Combs’ attorneys Jack Strauch and Jonathan Davis had planned to start a hearing Monday on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. But after a lunch recess, Davis told Superior Court Judge Ron Spivey the two parties had reached a settlement.

In 2002, Judge William Z. Wood Jr. entered a default judgment against Combs for $2.45 million because he failed to answer the allegations outlined in Lemon’s lawsuit within the time allowed. The judge later reduced the settlement to $450,000.

In June 2004, the North Carolina Court of Appeals voided Wood’s judgment and sent the case back to Forsyth County Superior Court.

MIAMI (AP) – Weapons charged have been dropped against Young Jeezy because of insufficient evidence regarding his involvement in a March shootout in Miami Beach.

Prosecutor Audrey Frank told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Young at a brief hearing Tuesday the state would not pursue two counts of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit against the 28-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jay Jenkins.

His Miami attorney, Donald Bierman, said Jenkins was “simply at the wrong place at the wrong time” when a fight broke out between two groups of men outside the Mansion nightclub in South Beach. The shooting started when a passer-by who was videotaping the fight refused to hand over his camera. No one was injured.

Miami Beach police stopped vehicles containing the groups of men and found a semiautomatic handgun under Jenkins’ seat. Jenkins said the weapon wasn’t his and that he had fired no shots.

“As we told everyone that day, no weapons in the car belonged to Young Jeezy,” said Jenkins’ New York lawyer, Scott Leemon. “We are glad that he is able to put this behind him and refocus on what he does best – making hit records.”

Young Jeezy’s most recent album, “Let’s Get It,” was released last July.

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BERLIN (AP) – Uma Thurman, along with two German producers, has secured the film rights to German author Frank Schaetzing’s best-seller “The Swarm,” his publisher said.

The ecological thriller dominated Germany’s best-seller lists for nearly a year and was translated into 18 languages.

Thurman, along with Ica and Michael Souvignier, plans to shoot the movie at several international locations, Kiepenheuer & Witsch publishers said in Cologne.

“Several big-name studios and producers have pitched for the stuff in the past few years,” Schaetzing said Tuesday. “For me, Uma, Ica and Michael are the ideal constellation for an international film success. We have the same vision.”

Thurman, 36, was nominated for an Oscar for 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.” Her screen credits also include roles in “The Producers” and the “Kill Bill” movies.

CANNES, France (AP) – Ian McKellen’s visit to this year’s Cannes Film Festival is a little more high-profile than his past trips.

McKellen has done Cannes before in unofficial capacities, trying to raise funds for his Shakespeare adaptation “Richard III,” publicizing his little-seen movie “Emile,” and doing interviews for the premiere of footage from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

This time, McKellen gets his first trip up the grand Cannes red carpet – and he gets to do it twice, as a co-star of “The Da Vinci Code,” which was to open the festival Wednesday, and “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which premieres at Cannes on Monday.

For all the glamour of Cannes, the festival is an exhausting experience for anyone in the film world, whether they’re promoting an upcoming release, trying to land financing for a project or finding distributors for a finished movie, McKellen said.

“I think people who probably enjoy Cannes the most are people who are not in the business at all and who just like movies and come to see them,” the 66-year-old actor said. “They may not see many stars, but they get to see lots of movies.”

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam has postponed the appeals trial of former British glam rocker Gary Glitter until next month.

The trial, which was scheduled for Friday, has been postponed until after June 5, said Bui Ngoc Hoa, head of the People’s Supreme Court of Appeals in Ho Chi Minh City.

“There are things we need to prepare more thoroughly,” he said Tuesday.

Glitter, 62, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison by a Vietnamese court in March for committing obscene acts with 10- and 11-year-old girls at his rented seaside villa and at a hotel.

He was arrested in November while trying to leave the country on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, Thailand.

Glitter has maintained his innocence and says he is a victim of a British tabloid conspiracy.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Paris Hilton’s mother can only imagine what her celebrity daughter got her for Mother’s Day.

That’s because thieves stole the gifts before Kathy Hilton received them.

A gift bag containing nearly $10,000 worth of Christian Dior shoes, sunglasses, handbags and perfume was taken from outside the Hilton home, spokesman Elliot Mintz said Monday.

The younger Hilton “spent three or four hours shopping to put together this wonderful collection of things for her mom,” Mintz said.

A delivery person set the package down outside the home’s gate to ring the intercom when a passenger in a passing car snatched the gifts.

“A fellow just whizzed by and grabbed the package,” Mintz said.

The Hilton family celebrated Mother’s Day by going out to dinner, he said.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Besides the job he won with Donald Trump, “Apprentice” winner Randal Pinkett will now be doing some work for the mayor-elect of New Jersey’s largest city.

Pinkett was among 12 people named by Mayor-elect Cory Booker as leaders of his transition team. Pinkett, 35, will co-chair the economic development section, Booker spokeswoman Sakina Cole said.

Pinkett, CEO of a management consulting firm in Newark, was the latest winner on “The Apprentice,” Trump’s NBC reality show. He chose a job working on casino expansions in Atlantic City. Like Booker, he is a Rhodes scholar.

Booker, 37, who takes office in July, also named former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and James H. Coleman Jr., a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, as honorary chairs of the transition team.

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