Holly to Bolly: Celebs lead refugee poem recital, Beyoncé helps out the single lady, and more


Cate Blanchett and Keira Knightley lead refugee poem recital

A host of celebrities are highlighting the plight of refugees in a video in which they read a poem listing items people have grabbed when fleeing their homes. Cate Blanchett leads the cast – fellow actors Keira Knightley, Peter Capaldi, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jesse Eisenberg and Kit Harrington, and author Neil Gaiman – in performing the poem What They Took With Them, in the film released by UN refugee agency UNHCR on Facebook on Monday to support its #WithRefugees petition. Written by Jenifer Toksvig, the poem was inspired by the stories and testimonies of people fleeing their homes. Among the items listed in the film are a wallet, an army service record, a high-school certificate, a mobile phone, house keys and a national flag. “The rhythm and words of the poem echo the frenzy and chaos and terror of suddenly being forced to leave your home, grabbing what little you can carry with you, and fleeing for safety,” said Blanchett, a UNHCR goodwill ambassador. The UNHCR says the petition ask governments to ensure refugees have safe places to live, learn and work. – Reuters


Alec Baldwin to sue art dealer in Manhattan

Actor Alec Baldwin is suing a Manhattan art dealer, claiming she sold him a version of a painting that was not the original. In court papers filed on Monday, the Daily News reports that the actor is accusing art gallery owner Mary Boone of selling him an alternative version of artist Ross Bleckner’s Sea and Mirror, in 2010. The actor, who paid US$190,000 (Dh698,000) for the artwork, says Boone told him she could get the original painting. Baldwin said he had the painting examined by experts who told him it wasn’t the original that Bleckner did in 1996. He is suing for the difference in value of the paintings and attorney fees. Boone’s attorney, Ted Poretz, denies the charges and says Baldwin was made aware from the start that he was not getting an original. “Ms Boone offered him a full refund and took every step to handle this in a professional manner,” Poretz claims. “Mr Baldwin’s decision to continue this personal attack is not surprising given his history of lashing out against anyone he believes is beneath him.” – AP


Beyoncé helps out the single lady

Pop queen Beyoncé has done her bit to help her fellow women “put a ring on it” by pausing her Formation tour gig in St Louis so that one of her dancers could be surprised with a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. Choreographer John Silver surprised dance captain Ashley Everett when he walked on stage with an engagement ring to ask for her hand in marriage. Silver went down on one knee and said: “What better time than now to [express my love] in front of a thousand, thousand people?” Fortunately, there was no awkwardness and Everett quickly accepted, later saying on Facebook: “Still wrapping my head around the incredible, magical moment that happened last night! It was an absolute dream come true!? Thank you to everyone who helped make it so epic and iconic, and to everyone who supports us and congratulated us!” – The National


George Clooney issues damning South Sudan report

George Clooney has appeared alongside fellow actor and activist Don Cheadle to issue a new report on South Sudan’s civil war. The report accuses leaders on both sides, and their families, of profiting from the conflict, amassing fortunes through links with bankers, arms dealers and oil companies. At a news conference to present the report, the pair called on the international community to cut off the leaders’ financial support through tougher sanctions. The report follows a two-year undercover investigation by The Sentry, a group cofounded by Clooney and fellow activist John Prendergast, to look into the financing of African conflicts, and comes at a time when the United Nations is threatening to impose an arms embargo against South Sudan’s government. The group said a network of international facilitators stretched from arms dealers in Ukraine to construction companies in Turkey, mining firms in Kenya, and Chinese investors involved in joint ventures in gambling and private security sectors in South Sudan. – Reuters


Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan set to return to Sarkar franchise

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, also known as RGV, is all set for the third part of his Sarkar saga featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan as the lead. Varma, who had until recently relocated to Hyderabad and made a number of Telugu films, says he is now ready to storm the box office with the Sarkar franchise. “The point of continuing any franchise is only when the characters create an effect and Mr. Bachchan did that so powerfully in Sarkar,” he says. “Amitji and I were discussing ideas on how we should make Sarkar 3 for a few years and we both were clear that we won’t attempt it unless we are extremely sure we can [give] better [than] what has been already done in Sarkar in 2005 and Sarkar Raj in 2008. So to get the absolutely right content was the reason for the delay.” The filmmaker adds: “The last time I saw Amitji in an angry man’s role was in Sarkar 10 years ago and I designed that character from the angry image he derived from his portrayal in iconic films like Zanjeer, Deewar and Bemisal. In Sarkar, my ambition is to portray him as being angrier than ever and that, of course, for highly valid reasons.” Varma was also dismissive of talk of a crisis in Bollywood cinema following some high-profile box-office flops. “I have been hearing about film industry’s crises ever since I first came into the industry, but the number of films being made kept on going up irrespective of the crises. After all this exaggerated hullabaloo about various corporates shutting down, my prediction is that there will be more number of films made now compared with last year,” he says. – IANS


Scarlett Johansson loves karaoke

At the premiere of her latest film, actress Scarlett Johansson has revealed a previously unexplored love of karaoke. The 31-year-old told www.femalefirst.co.uk that when she wants to unwind and forget about work and her responsibilities, she likes nothing more than singing along to her favourite pop hits. The actress was promoting her new movie, Sing, at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, when she said: “I’m a big karaoke fan. My favourites are Fleetwood Mac or Billy Joel. I just love it.” – IANS

Published: September 13, 2016 04:00 AM


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