New ‘Star Trek’ movie premieres in Australia
Sydney, Australia — The new cast of “Star Trek” has launched the starship Enterprise on its maiden voyage, with the crew showing a lot of respect for its predecessors.
The 11th big-screen film in the sci-fi series had its world premiere Tuesday at the Sydney Opera House in Australia in advance of its debut in theaters May 8.
Among the stars on hand: Chris Pine, who takes on William Shatner’s old role as James Kirk; Zachary Quinto, who inherits Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock; Karl Urban, filling the shoes of DeForest Kelley’s Dr. McCoy; and Eric Bana, who plays a villainous Romulan.
Out of admiration for the original Kirk, Pine noted that when he was cast, he wrote Shatner a “letter of introduction and said who I was and what I was doing.”
Quinto had a chance to form a personal relationship with Nimoy, who reprises his role as the older Spock. The new Spock said he aims to carve out his own path as the Vulcan scientist with the pointed ears.
“Leonard and I have become very close in this process and his experience has been unique to him and mine will be unique to me,” Quinto said.
Directed by J.J. Abrams, “Star Trek” is a prequel to the 1960s TV series and the subsequent movies, relating how Enterprise Capt. Kirk, best buddy Spock and their Enterprise crew mates first came together.
Actor Kal Penn joins White House team
Washington — The White House has hired actor Kal Penn as a liaison between President Barack Obama’s administration and Asian constituents.
White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Tuesday that the actor who had a recurring role on Fox’s TV show “House” and has starred in several movies would join the staff as an associate director in the Office of Public Liaison. His role will be to connect Obama with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, as well as arts groups.
Penn starred as Kumar in the movie “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.” His “House” character committed suicide in Monday’s episode.
Stars salute Strait as Artist of the Decade
Las Vegas — George Strait couldn’t help feeling a little like he was being led out to pasture when the Academy of Country Music saluted him as their Artist of the Decade with an all-star concert.
“It’s almost like this was a farewell deal, but I ain’t ready to go yet,” the soft-spoken Texan told the audience Monday.
And then, perhaps to prove the point, the 56-year-old superstar closed the show by leading a sing-along of his hit “Troubadour,” with its chorus, “I was a young troubadour when I rode in on a song, and I’ll be an old troubadour when I’m gone.”
With the honor, joins the ACM’s four other artists of the decade: Marty Robbins in the 1960s, Loretta Lynn in the ’70s, Alabama in the ’80s and Garth Brooks in the ’90s.
Redmond O’Neal faces drug charge
Los Angeles — The son of actors Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett has been charged with a felony count of bringing drugs to a Los Angeles-area jail facility.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Redmond O’Neal was scheduled to be arraigned later Tuesday.
Authorities suspect the 24-year-old was carrying heroin when he was arrested Sunday at a jail in Castaic while giving a ride to a friend. O’Neal remains in custody.
His attorney did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday morning.
Arraignment in Smith drug case delayed
Los Angeles — An attorney for Anna Nicole Smith’s lawyer-turned-boyfriend lashed out at prosecutors on Tuesday, calling the prescription drug case involving his client and two doctors misguided and overreaching.
Steve Sadow, a lawyer from Atlanta, said outside court that the charges against Howard K. Stern are baseless and added that his client wouldn’t have done anything to hurt Smith, who died of a drug overdose two years ago.
“Howard loved Anna Nicole with all of his heart and would never have done anything intentional to harm her,” Sadow said without taking questions from reporters.
Stern and Drs. Khristine Eroshevich and Sandeep Kapoor face charges they conspired to provide prescription drugs to the former Playboy model before her accidental overdose death in February 2007 at a Florida hotel.
Stern, 40, and Eroshevich, 61, made their first court appearance Tuesday, but Superior Court Commissioner Kristi Lousteau rescheduled their arraignments to May 13. Kapoor is also scheduled to be arraigned May 13. All three are free on bond.
Sadow criticized the two-year probe by the state attorney general, state medical and insurance officials and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He said California Attorney General Jerry Brown has “maliciously and viciously labeled Anna a drug addict knowing full well that it’s legally unsupportable.”