LONDON (AP) -Perhaps it was his derring-do in pursuing the “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Or his dashing Paris in “Troy.”

Orlando Bloom is well ahead of rivals in an Internet vote to find Britain’s sexiest actor.

The 27-year-old actor, who shot to fame as Legolas in “The Lord of the Rings” films, won 35 percent of the votes, beating other popular actors including Sean Bean, Hugh Grant, Ewan McGregor and Jude Law, according to the Sky Movies Web site on Tuesday.

Bloom, who grew up in Canterbury, southern England, has said he was “chubby” as a child and joked that he acts in films because it allows him to kiss beautiful women.

McDonald’s fighting back

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -McDonald’s took its beef with a U.S. documentary film to Australia’s TV screens in an ad campaign to bite back at suggestions that its food is unhealthy.

In “Super Size Me,” filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats only McDonald’s fare for 30 days, and in the end piles on 25 pounds and gets sick.

The movie grossed the highest-ever opening weekend for a documentary in Australia, taking in $242,600 in four days. The previous record holder was Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.”

“We did some research with our customers, and because of the fact that we were silent in regards to the film, they took it that our silence basically meant guilt,” Guy Russo, McDonald’s chief executive in Australia, told Sky News television Tuesday.

McDonald’s campaign attacks the film as being “about someone who decides to overeat.

“Russo said he eats at McDonald’s about three times a week but wouldn’t overdo it, like he insists Spurlock did.”I’m of Italian descent,” Russo says, “and I couldn’t eat spaghetti Bolognese every day.”

Author takes home the cash

LONDON (AP) – American author Bill Bryson won an $18,000 award for “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” his first science book.

Bryson, best known for his travel books, won the general prize for the Aventis Prizes for Science Books 2004, which chooses good works in popular science writing.

“This ambitious book will communicate science to the widest possible audience in an intelligent and highly accessible way,” said professor Robert Winston, one of six judges who selected the winning title.

Bryson received the prize during a ceremony Monday at the Royal Society in London, Britain’s national academy of science, which manages the Aventis Prizes.

They are funded by the Aventis Foundation, a German charitable trust established by Aventis, a world leader in pharmaceuticals.

Bryson, who lives in England, is the author of a wide variety of travel books and memoirs, including “A Walk in the Woods,” “Made in America,” “Down Under” and “African Diary,” a charity book for CARE International.

‘Extreme’ lawsuit over show’s profits

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A lawsuit claims the creators of “Extreme Makeover” stole the idea for the hit reality show.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Diana Locke seeks more than $40 million in damages and all profits from the show.Endeavor Agency, which packaged “Extreme Makeover,” and Lighthearted Entertainment, the company that produces the series, are named in the lawsuit.

ABC, which airs “Extreme Makeover,” wasn’t named as a defendant.

Endeavor Agency, which packaged “Extreme Makeover,” and Lighthearted Entertainment, the company that produces the series, are named in the lawsuit, which also names Endeavor agent Sean Perry and producer Howard Schultz.

ABC, which airs “Extreme Makeover,” wasn’t named as a defendant.

Locke claims she pitched the idea for a show about patients going through plastic surgery to a producer in 2001. He informed his agent, Perry, and they took it to a cable TV network, the lawsuit alleges.

The network wasn’t interested but Perry then took the idea to Schultz, who was able to turn it into a program, the lawsuit contends.

Perry declined comment Monday night. He referred calls to Michael Donkis, a spokesman for Endeavor, who also declined comment.

A message left with Schultz’s office after business hours wasn’t immediately returned.

“Extreme Makeover” first aired in 2003 and has been renewed on ABC this fall. It has launched a spinoff, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and is credited with launching other plastic-surgery programs such as “The Swan.”

Woman deemed unfit to stand trial

NEW YORK (AP) – A Detroit woman who was arrested after saying she came to New York to marry opera great Beverly Sills was declared mentally unfit to stand trial.

Victoria Glover, 39, was declared unfit Tuesday by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson after she received a report on the defendant’s psychiatric examination and was told the prosecution would not try to dispute the finding.

Jackson, as required by law, dismissed charges of second-degree aggravated harassment, second-degree harassment and stalking that were filed against Glover and turned her over to the custody of the state Department of Health and Hygiene.

Glover, who could have gotten up to a year in jail if convicted, will remain in the custody of state mental health officials until they decide she can be safely released.

Glover began trying to contact Sills on Nov. 18, calling at least twice a week, a court complaint said, declaring, “I am coming to New York to marry Beverly Sills. I would like to speak with Beverly.”

She was seized May 18 after she showed up at the Met in Lincoln Center, where Sills is chairman of the board of directors.

Sills was chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts from 1994 to mid-2002 after helping to revitalize the New York City Opera, the company for which the soprano sang for decades.



SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – 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, set 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



NEW YORK (AP) – Rounder Records has signed Oscar-nominated actress Minnie Driver to a recording contract.

Her album, “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/



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

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 Monday that 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.



HAVANA (AP) – “The Motorcycle Diaries,” a portrait of Ernesto “Che” Guevara as a young romantic, was shown in Cuba 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 started 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.



SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) – 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,” the 27-year-old 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 Friday 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.



On the Net:

http://www.kwsband.com/



SHANGHAI, China (AP) – 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.



HONOLULU (AP) – 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.”

AP-ES-06-15-04 1419EDT


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