Fri, Nov 23, 2007 - Page 18 News List

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Spanish actress Penelope Cruz is one of several actors whose films are being affected by the writers' strike.

PHOTO AFP

Elizabeth Taylor persuaded the Writers Guild of America not to picket the Paramount Pictures lot on Dec. 1, when the actress and AIDS activist is slated to give a benefit performance of Love Letters with James Earl Jones.

Taylor said she would not cross picket lines but asked the union for a "one night dispensation" so she and her guests could enter the studio with a clear conscience.

"The Writers Guild of America has shown great humanity, empathy and courage by allowing our little evening to move forward," Taylor said.

She also expressed support for the striking writers.

"I beseech those in power to treat members of the Writers Guild of America with fairness and decency," she said

Because no agreement has been reached in the 15-day strike, movie studios are postponing high-profile feature productions Shantaram, with Johnny Depp and Nine, which was to star Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren.

That makes at least four feature films derailed by the strike.

Writers and studios are scheduled to resume contract talks on Monday, but for now, the union's 12,000 members remain on picket lines.

On Wednesday, New York judge Helen Freedman ordered a theater owner to reopen Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical despite the stagehands' strike, saying, "I think that one Grinch in this city is enough."

James Sanna, the producer of The Grinch is not a member of the league, and a union spokesman said the stagehands wanted the show to go on so he could avoid financial ruin.

Children who are part of the cast filled the front row of the courtroom and shrieked with joy as she announced her ruling.

"We got our miracle on 44th Street," the producer said.

Fernando Fernan Gomez, a prolific Spanish actor, director and writer, died of cardio-respiratory failure Wednesday, a Madrid hospital said. He was 86.

Fernan Gomez appeared in more than 200 films, directed another 20 and wrote novels, plays and poetry. He was also a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, the official watchdog of the Spanish language.

His first play to obtain major critical success was Las Bicicletas Son Para el Verano (Bicycles Are for the Summer). He won international acclaim for his role in Belle Epoque in which he played father to four pretty daughters. The movie won nine Spanish Goya Awards and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

Jackie Chan (成龍) says he's in talks with Brett Ratner, the director of the Rush Hour series, to set up a movie company that specializes in Hollywood productions shot on-location in China.

"The whole idea of this company is for China and America to cooperate so I can make American films in China and Brett can act as my consultant, giving me advice and deciding whether or not the film would be suitable for the American market," he wrote in his blog.

Solon So, (蘇志游) senior vice president of Chan's company, JC Group, said the two partners haven't agreed on any specific projects.

Chan recently finished shooting The Forbidden Kingdom in China, his first on-screen collaboration with Jet Li (李連杰).

Almost 70 years after The Wizard of Oz premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a few of the film's Munchkins made a grand entrance there to receive the Hollywood Walk of Fame's 2,352nd star earlier this week.

Seven of the surviving little people who played the inhabitants of Munchkinland in the classic 1939 movie arrived for the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage and trailed by a marching band. A yellow carpet led them to the stage.

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