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Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

People in the news

August 2, 2006

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Gibson apologizes again

Los Angeles - Mel Gibson acknowledged making anti-Semitic slurs during a drunken driving arrest and begged Jewish community leaders Tuesday to meet with him to find "the appropriate path for healing." A sheriff's watchdog, meanwhile, said deputies appeared to have handled Gibson's arrest properly.

It was the actor's second apology since sheriff's deputies stopped him for speeding early Friday on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, where officials said he was doing 87 in a 45 mph zone. He was arrested for investigation of drunken driving after a hostile, offensive confrontation with deputies.

The latest apology went far beyond the first - which spoke primarily to deputies - by addressing Jewish groups directly.

"I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words," Gibson said in a statement issued by his publicist Tuesday. "Please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith. ... There will be many in that (Jewish) community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed."

Jewish groups generally said they wanted to see proof of Gibson's repentance before meeting with him.

Hurley to wed soon

Rome - Elizabeth Hurley says she plans to marry her boyfriend, Indian businessman Arun Nayer, very soon.

"I can't tell you the exact date, but it is very close," the 41-year-old actress-model is quoted as saying in the Italian edition of Vanity Fair magazine. The couple have been dating since 2003.

Hurley, who has a 4-year-old son, Damian, with film producer Steve Bing, added: "We are also thinking of having a child."

She has appeared in "Bedazzled" and the "Austin Powers" movies. For several years she was the international face of Estee Lauder cosmetics.

When asked about how she'd feel as a married woman, Hurley said, "I'll tell you once I am married.

"But I've lived with Hugh Grant for 13 years; we were like husband and wife. I don't think there will be much difference."

A 'fearless' Joker

Burbank, Calif. - Heath Ledger will play the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the sequel to last year's "Batman Begins."

Christian Bale will again star as Batman, and Christopher Nolan will return as director, Warner Bros. studio announced.

"The Dark Knight" is set to begin production next year.

Ledger, 27, was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his role in 2005's "Brokeback Mountain."

"Our challenge in casting the Joker was to find an actor who is not just extraordinarily talented but fearless," Nolan said in a statement issued by Warner Bros. "Watching Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic character taking on Christian Bale's Batman is going to be incredible."

Jack Nicholson played the Joker in 1989's "Batman," starring Michael Keaton as Batman and directed by Tim Burton.

Setting boundaries

Phoenix - For all the envelope-pushing Alice Cooper has done as a shock rocker, he also knows the value of boundaries, especially for children.

"Kids love boundaries. We used to fight against them. But in all reality, what we really did want was to know where we could go. Of course, you always step over the line just a little bit to see what's going to happen," said the 58-year-old rocker, known for his ghoulish makeup and hits such as 1975's "Welcome to My Nightmare."

Cooper said his Christian, nonprofit Solid Rock Foundation has begun fundraising efforts for a 20,000-square-foot teen activity center to be called The Rock, which will be built at Grand Canyon University.

The $3 million center will feature a recording studio, indoor basketball courts, rock-climbing walls, coffeehouse, game room and concert hall. Construction is expected to begin next year.

"People don't lay in the sun in southwest Phoenix. There's lots of shootings going, there's lots of meth going on, there's lots of gangs," Cooper said. "In the middle of all that is a bunch of 12-, 13-, 14-year-old kids that can go one way or the other."

Officials for Grand Canyon University, a private college with a Christian focus, came to Cooper with the offer to build the youth center on the campus. Cooper has given scholarships to the school for more than five years.

"We're not going to beat them over the head with a Bible," Cooper said. "But we're certainly going to be available to tell them that that's available to them."

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