LONDON (AP) – English soccer star David Beckham will make his movie debut next year in “Goal!” – the first film of a soccer trilogy.

He’ll appear alongside Real Madrid teammates Zinedine Zidane and Raul in the three films, which will tell the story of a young Latino soccer player who joins English team Newcastle United, Beckham’s publicist said Monday.

The first two movies will feature Newcastle United and Real Madrid matches, while the finale will take scenes from the 2006 World Cup.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Burt Reynolds sued a former girlfriend, alleging that she was threatening to falsely accuse him of abuse if he didn’t pay millions of dollars in extortion.

The lawsuit says that Pamela Seals falsely accused Reynolds of yelling at her and stomping on her toes. Seals, who was Reynolds’ girlfriend for 10 years, told the actor she would publicize her allegations if he didn’t agree to a hefty settlement that included support for Seals and her mother, half of Reynolds’ Jupiter home and other compensation.

Reynolds’ lawyer, Bob Montgomery, called Seals’ threats blackmail, saying the actor offered to settle the matter for $1 million but Seals refused. He said because Reynolds and Seals were never married, she is entitled to nothing under Florida law.

“She wanted more and more and her demands were absolutely exorbitant,” Montgomery said.

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages and for a court to stop Seals from suing Reynolds in California, where the couple lived temporarily.

In a statement, Reynolds, 68, called the situation “unfortunate” and said he wouldn’t be “intimidated by false accusations.”

Seals’ lawyer, Mark Maynor, said he hadn’t seen the lawsuit early Monday and had no immediate comment.

Reynolds began acting on television in the 1960s and is known for his work in films such as “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Deliverance,” “The Longest Yard” and “Boogie Nights.”

In 1996, after a messy divorce from Loni Anderson, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy protection, with debts totaling $10 million. Montgomery said the actor had since recovered from his financial problems.

LONDON (AP) – After almost two decades of refusing to rebroadcast the Live Aid famine-relief concert, organizer Bob Geldof said he changed his mind because of the large number of bootleg recordings available.

“I couldn’t believe the number of bootleg copies being sold – they are quite literally taking food from the hungry. This has to be stopped,” said Geldof, who attended a launch party Sunday for the 10-hour, four-disc set.

“I promised all the people on “Live Aid’ that a recording would never come out, but when I rang them all about this, everyone said OK,” he said.

The mammoth concert, staged in London and Philadelphia on July 13, 1985, featured performances by David Bowie, Queen, U2, Elton John, Eric Clapton and dozens of others. Viewed on television by some 1.5 billion people, it raised $140 million for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine.

Later this year, Geldof and co-organizer Midge Ure plan to release a new version of the 1984 Band Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” featuring acts including Travis and Coldplay.

The British government announced Sunday it would refund sales tax collected on the DVD and single, a move it estimated would generate an extra $7.4 million for charity.

“That’s a serious wedge, and shows a political climate change,” said Geldof.

“I had this big fight with Madame X, Mrs. Thatcher, 20 years ago, and now the government understands politically it’s not worth it to go up against it.”

The “Live Aid” DVD was released Monday in Britain.

On the Net:

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) – The National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota has acquired two guitars and a banjo from the estate of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

The guitars are a 1971 Martin D-28 known as the “Bon Aqua” and a 1967 Gibson “Hummingbird.” The banjo is a 1980 Gibson that was given to Cash by bluegrass performer Earl Scruggs.

The museum said the instruments will go on permanent exhibit next summer.

On the Net:

BOSTON (AP) – The attention Renee Zellweger has gotten following her up-and-down weight changes for the “Bridget Jones” movies has left Colin Firth bemused.

“It’s not that unusual for actors to alter their appearance to play a part. But I think if I did it, it wouldn’t get anywhere near the amount of attention,” he told the Boston Herald in Sunday’s editions.

“It’s absolutely fascinating to people that a woman would dare to do that – particularly someone who’s very attractive and has a Hollywood-based career. They must sort of see her as reckless or something,” the 44-year-old actor said.

Zellweger, who stars in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” once again packed on the pounds to play the British heroine she originated in 2001 in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

“The sheer level of fascination on the subject is really a symptom of how this issue affects people, particularly women who are in utter disbelief that anyone would consciously go the other way – to actually try to gain weight,” said Firth, who reprises his role as Mark Darcy.

DENVER (AP) – Barry Manilow is a little freaked out to see tens of thousands of people singing along with him.

“Most of the nights I look up, and there are between 10,000 and 15,000 people out there,” the entertainer told The Denver Post in Sunday’s editions. “They can’t all be fans from the ‘70s.”

“I’m sure many of them are, and I’m very grateful that they’ve stuck with me that long. But between 10,000 and 15,000 people a night? I just have to believe there’s another generation that has either been brainwashed by their parents or have discovered this catalog of music on their own.”

The performer behind easy-listening classics such as “Mandy” and “Looks Like We Made It” is back with his 43rd album, “Scores: Songs From Copacabana and Harmony,” primarily material that Manilow, 58, wrote and arranged in the past but never recorded.

Manilow said he wants to remind today’s listeners that pop music requires great songwriting.

“Now what the singers are given is a good groove, a great-sounding record, some slang, and free rein to try and make it as interesting as possible,” he said. “They do a brilliant job, but I feel that the craft of songwriting has taken a nose dive.”

On the Net:

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – British pop star of the 1970s Leo Sayer says he hopes to move to Australia to restart his career.

The London-based curly headed singer, who had hits with songs such as “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You,” said he is disillusioned with the modern music industry in Britain.

Australian show business is “much more interesting and it’s much more inspiring so, yeah, it would be great to sort of kick things off for me again in Australia,” the 56-year-old told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio in Canberra in a phone interview Monday from London.

In Britain, he said, “they only want really young artists and they only want to have manufactured pop.”

Sayer acknowledged that the music industries in Australia and the United States were similarly focused on youth and manufactured acts.

“You do have that, yeah, but you still respect your heroes,” he said. “All the people that mean a lot to you musically are still kind of very much respected and that’s good and that carries on.”

Sayer said he already had a visa to settle in Australia and would make a brief trip in January to find a home.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – NASA scientists are studying the man who was the basis for Dustin Hoffman’s character in the 1988 film “Rain Man,” hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain will help explain his mental capabilities.

Last week, researchers had autistic savant Kim Peek undergo a series of tests including computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, the results of which will be melded to create a 3-D look at his brain structure.

The researchers want to compare a series of MRI images taken in 1988 by Dr. Dan Christensen, Peek’s neuropsychiatrist at the University of Utah, to see what has since changed within his brain.

Not only are Peek’s brain and his abilities unique, noted Richard D. Boyle, director of the California center performing the scans, but he also seems to be getting smarter in his specialty areas as he ages.

The 53-year-old Peek is called a “mega-savant” because he is a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates. But he also is severely limited in other ways, like not being able to find the silverware drawer at home or dressing himself.

“The goal is to measure what happens in Kim’s brain when he expresses things and when he thinks about them,” said his father, Fran.

Kim Peek was the model author Barrow Morrow used for the original “Rain Man” script and screenplay, but the final product retained only a small part of the original story.

AP-ES-11-08-04 1513EST

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