Fri, Jul 13, 2007 - Page 17 News List

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Nicole Kidman is ready for some summer lovin'

PHOTO: AP

Asmall town in the northeastern US state of Vermont is to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie later this month after beating 13 other Springfields - the fictional setting of the long-running cartoon series - from across the US.

The New England town of 9,300 people beat rivals from Oregon to Louisiana and Florida to Michigan to host the July 21 gala in a competition run by the newspaper USA Today and film studio Twentieth Century Fox.

The 14 Springfields were asked to submit a video showing their enthusiasm for the series, which first hit screens in 1989 and is now in its 18th season.

Vermont's offer featured a local Homer - the lovable but unintelligent father of the dysfunctional animated family - chasing after a doughnut through the town and causing general mayhem.

"We're so excited," Patricia Chaffee, from the Vermont Springfield's chamber of commerce told USA Today. "We came in at the last minute, and for us to win, we feel like the underdogs, which makes this so big and so great for us."

The creators of the series have never identified which state it is supposedly based on, although settings from Moe's Tavern to the local nuclear power plant have led several Springfields to claim the title.

A replica of Adolf Hitler's secret wartime HQ as being built near Berlin Wednesday with just a week to go before filming of a controversial Tom Cruise movie begins, a civic official said.

Cruise is to play the chief plotter in the true story about a vain bid to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in 1944.

The film team has been banned from the Berlin building where the plotter, Count Claus von Stauffenberg, was executed by Nazi firing squad.

Officially this is because of fears that filming would lower the dignity of a memorial.

But German politicians had earlier assailed Cruise, 45, over his advocacy of Scientology and demanded such a ban. Scientology is suspected by many Germans of being anti-democratic.

Stauffenberg is revered in Germany as a national hero for his July 20, 1944 bid to kill Hitler, but leading German journalist Frank Schirrmacher has pointed out that the count had anti-democratic beliefs.

Studio Babelsberg, the German movie studio which is co-producing Valkyrie, declined to give details of the script.

The project, reportedly also starring Kenneth Branagh, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Christian Berkel and Tom Wilkinson, is reported to be costing US$110 million.

World War II is also providing the background for the first movie to be co-produced by Poles and Israelis, a story set against the background of the Holocaust. Shooting began Monday.

British actor Joseph Fiennes, who starred in the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love and Enemy at the Gates, leads an international cast in the story of a cellist's return to Poland 30 years after World War II.

The trip forced her to recall the personal and historical turmoil she experienced as a young woman in the spring of 1941 after the Germans invaded Poland and started herding Jews into ghettos, producer Ewa Puszczynska said.

Israel's Uri Barbash directs the tale based on stories by Ida Fink, a Holocaust survivor who moved to Israel from Poland in 1957, but continued to write in Polish.

Poland's Opus Films and Israel's Traxis Films are co-producing the US$2.5 million budget project, Puszczynska said.

Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey will reprise his role as arch-villain Lex Luthor in the next Superman movie, entertainment press reported Wednesday.

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