Oscar Winner Under Fire From Jewish, Catholic Groups
Actress Susan Sarandon called Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi at the Hamptons Film Festival over the weekend, angering both Catholic and Jewish groups.
The movie star, who won an Oscar for her role in the 1995 anti-death penalty film, “Dead Man Walking,” said she had sent a copy of the book on which the movie was based to the pope.
“The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now,” she reportedly told New York newspaper Newsday. She later repeated her remarks at the Ciroc vodka-sponsored discussion panel.
German-born Pope Benedict, formerly Joseph Ratzinger, was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in the early 1940s when membership was enforced, the Vatican said in a statement. He deserted the military during World War II.
Sarandon, 65, known for her support of varying causes including hunger and AIDS, was slammed by religious groups for her comments. The New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called Sarandon’s remark “obscene” and said in a Monday statement that her “ignorance is willful.”
The Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Semitism, asked Sarandon to apologize to the Catholic Community. The ADL said in a statement, “Ms. Sarandon may have her difference with the Catholic Church but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies.”
Two-time Indy 500 Winner Dan Wheldon dies in massive wreck at Las Vegas Indy 300
Dan Wheldon, one of IndyCar racing’s most popular and talented stars, died Sunday after a massive 15-car wreck at the Las Vegas Indy 300. Drivers were only 11 laps into the race.
Wheldon, racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a chance at $5 million, was in the middle of the pack when he drove into a mess of cars careening off each other in every direction. Unable to avoid the massive wreck ahead, Wheldon clipped another car and flew through the air. He crashed into a fence and his car, sponsored by Justin Timberlake’s clothing line William Rast, burst into flames.
Wheldon was airlifted from the track to University Medical Center, where news of his death was announced two hours later. Also injured were J.R. Hildebrand and Pippa Mann. Both stayed in the hospital overnight. With the speed, close to 225 mph during practice and a packed 34-car field, a large concern to officials was aggressive driving early in the 200-lap race.
IndyCar has not had a fatality since Paul Dana was killed at Homestead in 2006, in a crash that occurred during a morning warmup. Wheldon won the race later that day.
Attempts to get pregnant led to discovery of breast cancer for Rancic
E! News host and reality TV star Giuliana Rancic revealed Monday that she has breast cancer.
In an interview with NBC’s “Today Show,” Rancic said that property developer husband, Bill, and her attempts to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization led to upsetting news from her doctor. “Through my attempt to get pregnant for a third time through IVF, we sadly found out that I have early stages of breast cancer. It’s been a shock…A lot of people have been asking, ‘We saw that you went and got IVF, so what happened? Are you pregnant?’ But sadly, we’ve had to put that off,” Rancic said.
Rancic, 36, only went for a mammogram after consulting with her doctor about a third round of in vitro fertilization. The doctor warned that pregnancy can sometimes accelerate the spread of any potential cancer.
“I will be OK, because I found it early,” Ranic said, “Now I truly believe God was looking out for me…So this baby saved my life.”
Rancic is having surgery this week, followed by six and a half weeks of radiation treatment.
Actor and comedian Chris Tucker is facing foreclosure on his multi-million dollar Florida mansion, according to court papers filed earlier this week.
“Rush Hour” trilogy star purchased the 10,000-square-foot lakefront home in 2007 for $6 million. The purchase was made just before the housing market too a nosedive later that year. SunTrust Bank reportedly filed papers against the actor in Circuit Court in Florida’s Lake County. While the bank says that Tucker owes over $4.4 million, the county property appraiser has the home currently assessed at $1.6 million.
According to the “Orlando Sentinel,” Tucker’s home has five bedrooms, three fireplaces, and a personal spa. It features an outdoor swimming pool that looks over a pool and the basement is made to look like a pirate ship.
While Tucker’s last film, 2007’s “Rush Hour 3,” took in over $140 million at the domestic box office, he hasn’t been in a film since. Earlier this year Tucker returned to stand-up comedy, touring theaters across the county.
Gap Inc. plans to close stores in the U.S., while expanding in China.
The retailer announced plans on Thursday to shut down 189 locations, or 21 percent of its namesake Gap store in the U.S. by the end of 2013. The largest U.S. clothing chain, which also runs Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, plans to triple the number of Gap stores in China from about 15 by the end of the year to 45 by the end of next year.
The plan is designed to reach the company’s goal of reducing its overall square footage in the U.S. by 10 percent from by the end of 2013, while doubling revenue outside of the U.S. to 30 percent by the end of the same year.
Like many U.S. companies, Gap has been looking overseas for growth as Americans continue to cut back on spending during a down economy in the U.S. Gap sales have decreased considerably due to growing competition from specialty realtors like Abercrombie & Fitch and cheap merchants like H&M.
On Thursday, the company said that it plans to have closed 34 percent of its Gap stores between 2007 and 2013. After the reduction, the company will have 700 remaining stores, down from 1056 in 2007. Overseas, the company said its first Gap store in Hong Kong will be opening in a few weeks as well as the first Banana Republic in Paris later this year. Gap Inc. also plans to expand Old Navy to Japan within the next 18 months.
Jets trade wide receiver to Houston Texans for low draft pick
The New York Jets have traded wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Houston Texans. Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com confirms that the Jets agreed to trade the veteran to the Houston Texans on Tuesday for an unrevealed but low draft pick.
Mason, 37, was benched for a large portion of New York’s 30-21 loss at New England on Sunday, while rookie Jeremy Kerley mostly assumed his spot as No. 3 receiver. While questions arose as to the reason for Mason’s benching, Jets quarterback Rex Ryan denied claims that Mason was benched because of his critical post game comments the previous week in Baltimore.
The trade ends a short five-game stint in New York for Mason, who spent the last six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Ryan’s former team. He signed a two-year deal with the Jets in early August, choosing them over a return to the Ravens or the Tennessee Titans.
CBS News reports that Ryan was excited by Mason joining the team, and said he expected him to have at least 80 catches as a slot receiver for the Jets. But Mason had a disappointing start with only 13 catches for 115 yards and had only one reception Sunday.
If Mason plays in this Sunday’s game for the Texans, it will be his first game back in Baltimore. With his seven yard catch Sunday, Mason became the 18th player in NFL history to reach 12,000 yards receiving.
Douglas and Matt Damon to star as lovers in HBO Liberace biopic
HBO announced Tuesday that Michael Douglas will take on the role of famous and flamboyant pianist Liberace in the upcoming film, “Behind the Candelabra.” Matt Damon is also set to star in the film, as Scott Thorson, Liberace’s younger, live-in lover.
“Behind the Candelabra” is based on Thorson’s book about his relationship with Liberace. In a press release, HBO Films announced its acquisition of the film. After being in development for years, the biopic to be directed by Steven Soderbergh is finally on the move. Production is set to begin next summer.
Previous HBO Films productions such as “Temple Grandin” and “You Don’t Know Jack” have received plenty of global recognition. Soderbergh says HBO is a great fit for this film because, “From the inception of this project, we’ve had two priorities: getting it right creatively, and getting as many people as possible to see it.”
The project will be the first time the actors will work together, though both have had experience with Soderbergh. The filmmaker directed Douglas in “Traffic,” and has teamed up with Damon on many films including the “Oceans” series, “The Informant!” and “Contagion.”
As the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters rally for a third week at New York’s Zuccotti Park, several unions endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement and plan to join the protesters Wednesday, labor leaders said.
Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless movement made up largely of young adults upset with the economy, the Afghanistan war, the environment and the state of America and the world in general. In less than three weeks, the movement has gained large support from countless disaffected Americans.
As the popularity of Occupy Wall Street spreads, social media sites such as Twitter are spurring similar protests in other cities. A Twitter account called Occupy Boston mentions a citywide college walkout.
According to CNN, the Massachusetts Nurses Association says hundreds of the city’s nurses will rally along with the Occupy Boston protestors Wednesday. The association says the protest will be part of the opening day activities for a national nursing convention in Boston.
Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said in a statement, “It’s really simple. These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years.” The Amalgamated Transit Union has 20,000 members in the New York Area.
The protest campaign began in July with the launch of a campaign website calling for a march and sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange. Besides New York and Boston, protests have been held in Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Adele cancels 10-city U.S. tour due to vocal cord hemorrhage
British singer-songwriter Adele has canceled a 10-city U.S. tour because of a vocal cord hemorrhage.
“i have a hemorrhage again and it is paramount that i rest and therefore wont be able to come and do these already rescheduled U.S. shows which are due to start this friday in atlantic city,” the 23-year-old posted on her blog Tuesday.“i apologise from the bottom of my heart, sincerely i do.”
The “Rolling in the Deep” singer canceled U.S. shows in April because of laryngitis and U.K. shows in September because of a chest infection. Adele said she’s never had the opportunity to fully recover and rest because of her touring commitments.
Adele wrote in her blog, “singing is literally my life, its my hobbie, my love my freedom and now my job. I have absolutely no choice but to recuperate properly and fully, or I risk damaging my voice forever.”
Disney re-releasing more films in 3D after “Lion King” success
Walt Disney Pictures announced Tuesday that it is set to re-release in theaters “Beauty and the Beast,” “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “The Little Mermaid” in 3D.
The decision was made following the success of “The Lion King” 3D re-release in September. Converted to 3D for less than $10 million and released as part of a promotional push for its October Blu-ray release, the studio was shocked when it beat out new releases to become the No. 1 movie two weeks in a row. Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman said in a statement, “Great stories and great characters are timeless, and at Disney we’re fortunate to have a treasure trove of both.”
In the announcement, it stated that the 3D version of “Beauty and the Beast” will open in limited U.S. theaters on January 13, 2012. The movie was originally released in 1991 and grossed $380.4 million worldwide. Like “The Lion King,” the film resulted in a long-running Broadway show as well as regional tours.
“Finding Nemo,” originally released in 2003 and the fourth-highest-grossing animated movie of all time, will follow in 3D in September 2012. “Monsters, Inc.,” a prequel to the original film, and “The Little Mermaid” will be released in 2013.