Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 17 News List

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Billionaire eccentric Howard Hughes as he was in 1947.


Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes famously broke his silence in the 1970s to denounce a fake autobiography, a yarn he considered more wild and imaginative than any script he had ever seen in Hollywood.

"I only wish I were still in the movie business," he said at the time.

Thirty-five years later comes The Hoax, the film the late Hughes never made about the roguish author Clifford Irving and the great literary fib he perpetrated. It opens in the US today.

Directed by Swedish Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom and starring Richard Gere as Irving, The Hoax traces the amazing string of lies that duped the cosmopolitan New York publishing world and made Irving the talk of the town, both before and after his bust by the real Howard Hughes.

"I remember it quite clearly," said Gere. "It was on the cover of Time magazine and it was news constantly. It was a big deal, bigger than anything else."

Based on Irving's book of the same name, the film begins with the struggling writer convincing his editor that he has met Hughes and the recluse has asked him to pen his memoirs.

With the help of a sidekick writer played by Alfred Molina and a sacrificing Swedish wife portrayed by Oscar-winning Marcia Gay Harden, Irving travels the country to dredge up exclusive information from people who had worked for Hughes.

Every time his publishers begin to have doubts about the veracity of Hughes' participation, Irving ups the ante and delivers more, like fake recordings and handwriting that experts say are bona fide.

Oscar-winner Halle Berry became the latest celebrity to be immortalized on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame" Tuesday, and admitted she had struggled to hold back tears during the ceremony.

Berry, who famously sobbed on stage after winning her best actress Oscar in 2002 for Monster's Ball, told a crowd of well-wishers on Hollywood Boulevard she had succumbed to another bout of the waterworks.

"I want to officially state that I am an emotional retard," the 40-year-old said. "I am so emotional ... as soon as I saw the crowds of people and friends here, I started to cry."

Berry's star is the 2,333rd to be laid on the "Walk of Fame" and comes ahead of the release of her latest film, crime drama Perfect Stranger alongside Bruce Willis.

The actress was initially due to receive her star in 2003 but conflicting schedules prevented her from receiving it until now, officials said.

US filmmaker Joel Silver, who produced all of The Matrix films, said Tuesday he is planning a remake of the 1976 Oscar-winning science fiction classic Logan's Run.

"I love the original material but I think that version is a bit silly," he told reporters in Barcelona where he was promoting his latest film The Reaping starring Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank.

Based on a 1967 novel by the same name, Logan's Run chronicles a future society that imposes a mandatory death sentence for all those turning 30 in order to avoid overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources.

The film won an Academy Award for its visual effects and was nominated for two other Oscars.

The Matrix trilogy featured pioneering visuals such as characters dodging bullets in slow-motion and levitation fighting which were imitated by other films.

The first film in the series won four Academy Awards for technical achievement.

Oscar-winning British actress Helen Mirren is to play Nicolas Cage's mom in the sequel to his 2004 box office hit National Treasure, the industry press said Thursday.

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