Fri, Apr 13, 2007 - Page 17 News List

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Leonardo DiCaprio is getting involved with the Bush administration's war on terror.


First there was the furor over their capture. Then the backlash when they were released. But no drama is ever complete without an accompanying movie, and Wednesday Iran beat Hollywood to the mark by pledging to recount the entire 13-day affair of the recently released British naval captives in a film.

A book will also tell the story of the British sailors, accounts that are likely to dwell on the hospitality and fun they had, rather than the imprisonment and isolation.

What the producers will make of UK sailor Arthur Batchelor's claim that he lost his iPod and was traumatized by taunts that he resembled Mr. Bean was unclear yesterday.

Iran's armed forces HQ said the idea was hatched partly as a riposte to the sailors' selling their stories to the British media, greeted with bewilderment in Iran. It is also a response to a UK Ministry of Defense press conference at which six sailors said their admissions of illegally entering Iranian waters, screened on state TV, were extracted under psychological pressure.

The book and film will challenge that view by "documenting" the sailors' arrest, interrogations and alleged confessions.

Iranian officials have accused Britain of forcing the sailors to retract the admissions.

Mexican actress and producer Salma Hayek has announced a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to form a new film company specializing in Latino movies appealing to wider, mainstream audiences.

The company, Ventanazul, will have Hayek as president and chief executive and aims to repeat the success she found in championing projects like the movie Frida, about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and the hit TV series Ugly Betty about a fish-out-of water working at a fashion magazine.

"We have been developing for months a plan to create an identity for the company that specializes in the Latino market without isolating the rest of the audience," Hayak said in a statement. "I'm confident to say that with the help and support of MGM, Ventanazul has a specific vision that sets it apart from some of the stereotypical efforts made in the past."

US pop singer Willa Ford is set to play Anna Nicole Smith in an independent film about the late former Playboy model's life, it was reported on Wednesday.

Ford, who became known as the "Bad Girl of Pop" after the release of her first album in 2001, will begin filming the biopic next week, entertainment daily Variety reported.

The 26-year-old bears a striking physical resemblance to Smith and like the blonde tabloid icon she will play, has also posed for Playboy and taken part in reality television shows.

Leonardo DiCaprio is to star in an adaptation of the new David Ignatius novel, Body of Lies, to be directed by Ridley Scott, Variety reported. The movie will reunite DiCaprio with screenwriter William Monahan, the Oscar-winning writer of The Departed.

In the movie DiCaprio will play an ex-journalist-turned CIA agent who's sent to Amman to work with Jordan's intelligence chief to track an al-Qaeda leader rumored to be planning attacks against the US.

DiCaprio will make the film this fall after first reteaming with Titanic co-star Kate Winslet on Revolutionary Road, the Sam Mendes-directed DreamWorks drama that shoots this month.

A family-film audience was stunned to get an unintended glimpse of a horror movie, which left some parents shaken and the theater chain apologizing for the movie mix-up.

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