Daily dose of celebrity


MADRID, Spain (AP) – Pedro Almodovar has been awarded one of Spain’s highest honors – the Prince of Asturias prize – for his contribution to Spanish film, and the director said he was overwhelmed by the honor.

“It’s one of the most important prizes I’ve ever received,” said Almodovar at Madrid’s international airport Wednesday, just before boarding a flight to Cannes, France, for the annual film festival. “I feel overwhelmed.”

Almodovar was chosen “both for his expertise and the honesty of his work, and for the joy and vitality of his scripts, and above all for implanting his roots, which are ours, too, into the society of a planet on the verge of a nervous breakdown and which straddles two centuries,” said the jury that awards the arts prize.

His films include “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down,” “All About My Mother,” which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 2000, and “Talk to Her,” which won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 2003.

Almodovar’s latest movie, “Volver,” starring Penelope Cruz as a feisty young woman whose mother comes back from the dead to tie up loose ends, will compete at Cannes for the coveted Palme d’Or.

The Prince of Asturias awards are also given in the fields of writing, social sciences, scientific research, communications and humanities, international cooperation, public service and sports.

Named after Crown Prince Felipe, they are presented each fall in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region. The awards carry a cash prize of about $62,000.

NEW DELHI (AP) – Aishwarya Rai has become a regular at the Cannes Film Festival in recent years.

The Bollywood beauty has attended the annual festival in France since 2002, when her movie “Devdas,” a remake of an Indian classic, was shown. She has also been a jury member.

“Coming to Cannes is a great high. … It’s a beautiful city with great people and films,” The Times of India newspaper quoted Rai as saying in Wednesday’s editions.

“I don’t get to visit many (film) festivals, but Cannes is truly one event I do try to attend each year,” she said.

Her new movie “Provoked,” directed by Jagmohan Mundra, was to screen at the festival Thursday. Mundra said the film is a departure from Rai’s usual boy-meets-girl movies.

In “Provoked,” Rai plays the role of Kiranjit, a woman who kills her husband after suffering torture at his hands for 10 years.

“I was immediately taken with the story and Kiranjit’s character. … I realized the importance of the film, especially for women and the issue of domestic violence,” the actress said.

A former Miss World, Rai is a big star in India and has appeared in more than 30 movies. She starred in Gurinder Chadha’s “Bride & Prejudice” in 2004.

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. (AP) – Donald Trump has hit a rough spot in his quest to change the name of Ocean Trails Drive, which leads to his $250 million ocean bluff golf course.

He wants it renamed Trump National Drive.

But some residents are already teed off about the billionaire’s impact since The Donald moved in and named his luxury golf retreat Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles.

Some have suggested other names for Ocean Trails Drive, such as “Ego Aisle” or “Narcissism Lane.”

“I think Trump is trying to take over everything,” Marcos Dela Cruz said. “Ocean Trails is an actual spot. We were hiking there the other day. The name Ocean Trails said it all.”

Although Trump’s bid would violate city street-naming guidelines, city officials said they were willing to grant the street change if Trump renames his golf course – substituting Rancho Palos Verdes for Los Angeles.

The 261-acre oceanfront links should be called Trump National Golf Club Rancho Palos Verdes because it’s within the city’s boundaries, some 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, city officials said.

“As soon as I see a business card that says Trump National Golf Club Palos Verdes, I’ll vote for naming it Trump Drive,” Councilman Peter Gardiner said.

Trump said Monday that his representatives are still in negotiations with the city over the street name change, and indicated he doesn’t plan on being strong-armed by city officials.

“I’m very hard to extort, if they’re looking to do that,” Trump said.

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Halle Berry wants to hang up her superhero costume.

After playing Storm in three “X-Men” movies and the title role in 2004’s “Catwoman,” the 39-year-old actress says: “I think I’m done. I’m fresh out of superheroes at this point.”

Berry was in Mexico City Monday for a screening of her new film, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which opens May 26.

The movie is the third in a series based on the X-Men comic books about mutant superheroes and villains whose special abilities make them feared by the world’s human majority.

Berry said she wanted to depict a strong woman in her portrayal of Storm, who has the ability to control the weather.

The actress said she fought to keep faithful to the comic book version of Storm, which she felt was stronger and more interesting than in the original screenplay.

“If I’m only on camera for five minutes, that’s fine, but let it be five meaningful minutes,” said Berry, who won an Oscar for 2001’s “Monster’s Ball.”

“It’s not fun to play a woman that does nothing.”

HONG KONG (AP) – Jackie Chan and Jet Li – two of the biggest names in action films – plan to co-star in a new movie, a news report said.

A formal announcement will be made at the Cannes Film Festival in France, the Chinese news Web site Sina.com said Tuesday. The festival, which opened Wednesday, runs through May 28.

Chan and Li are still brainstorming about the plot for their first collaboration, which will begin shooting next year, the Web site said.

Publicists for the actors didn’t immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

The actors made their names as action stars in Hong Kong before moving on to Hollywood. Trained in Peking Opera, Chan pioneered his own comedic fighting style. Li is a former martial arts national champion in China.

Chan’s Hollywood credits include the “Rush Hour” series and “The Tuxedo.” Li starred in “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Romeo Must Die” and “Cradle 2 the Grave.”

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