News Column

SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

August 24, 2013

YellowBrix

"I'm insanely happy for everyone, but I'm not thrilled. ... I just don't want to lose all these amazing actors on our show."

"Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder says he's worried his series will suffer from losing cast to spinoff "The Originals.",Is Ben batty to don the cowl?,It wasn't long after Warner Bros.'s Aug. 22 announcement that Ben Affleck will play Batman opposite Henry Cavill in the "Man of Steel" sequel, that the Internet erupted with boos, bad jokes and a smattering of applause.

Director Zack Snyder expressed his excitement about the casting of Ben, noting, "Ben ... has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can't wait to work with him."

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reports within the first 12 hours of the announcements, 30 different petitions were launched on Change.org demanding Warner Bros. dump Ben.

"I wish I could say I was surprised by the vitriol of the reaction, history has shown that the Internet is a largely a negative place," Lucas Siegel, site editor of the genre news site Newsarama.com, said in an op-ed piece quoted in the Daily News. "There's no one in the world that is universally loved enough to be Batman, especially when you're putting them up against so many levels of expectations.

"You have the shadow of Christian Bale; you have the rough start to Affleck's career, you have the fact that this is a character with 75 years of expectations."

Christian wore the cowl in the past three Bat-films, including "The Dark Knight Rises," which was filmed partially in Pittsburgh. Christopher Nolan, who directed the Dark Knight trilogy, is reportedly signed on as an executive producer for the new film.

Ben isn't new to acting in a mask, having starred in 2003 as the blind Marvel hero Daredevil. That film, unfortunately, was loved by neither critics nor comics fans. And while Ben has Academy Awards to his credit for "Argo" and "Good Will Hunting," he's also been in his share of flops.

In fact, former "Star Trek: The Next Generation" actor Wil Wheaton tweeted "Really looking forward to seeing Affleck bring the depth and gravitas to Batman that he brought to Daredevil and Gigli."

"Entertainment Tonight" film critic and movie historian Leonard Maltin is among the group supporting Ben. Leonard told the Daily News:

"Remember, long before the 'net was up and running, fans made their hostality when (Pittsburgh native) Michael Keaton was cast in Tim Burton's "Batman" -- until they saw him, and then suddenly they shut up."

"I think Ben Affleck has a new confidence with his recent successes, and I think it's an interesting casting choice."

-- Wire reports,I just saw Hugh Laurie on Stephen Colbert's show promoting his new album. He's such a good actor -- will he be in anything else soon? -- N.G.

The star of the long-running show "House" stars in the upcoming war drama "Mr. Pip" and is set to shoot "Tomorrowland," with George Clooney, voice a role in the animated film "The Canterville Ghost" and voice the starring role in "Paddington Bear."

-- Robin Adams Sloan, King Features Syndicate,Attention, "Idol" producers: Didn't you know that three's a crowd?

Us Weekly reports that hip-hop star Kanye West was offered the third and final spot on "American Idol's" judging panel for the upcoming 13th season. After thinking it over, the mag's source says, Kanye decided to pass, in part because he worried it would hurt his reputation.

"He didn't want to go that mainstream," the source tells Us of the "Black Skinhead" rapper, 36, who has a 2-month-old daughter, North, with reality-TV star Kim Kardashian, 32. "He didn't want to lose any street cred. So he turned it down."

Meanwhile, Sean "Diddy" Combs also turned down the third chair. The 43-year-old hip-hop mogul had his eyes on the third spot until singer-actress Jennifer Lopez stepped in to reclaim her judgeship, a source told Us Weekly.

"(He) felt it was a 'her' or 'me' situation," the insider stated.

JLo and Diddy dated from 1999 to 2001.

If the awkwardness of them being in the same vicinity weren't enough, Diddy also reportedly had issues with the involvement of JLo's manager, Benny Medina.

Diddy was managed by Benny, who aided in the launch of his clothing apparel and fragrance brand Sean John, several years ago.

Despite the claims of underlying tensions, Diddy's rep told Us it's "not true" that the rapper's decision to turn down "Idol" had anything to do with JLo or Benny.

The New York Daily News noted that JLo and Diddy seemingly had moved on from their past when they ran into each other earlier this year. The "Last Night" rapper ran into JLo, 44, and boyfriend Casper Smart, 25, at a Golden Globe Awards after-party in January. JLo, according to The Daily Mail, was overheard greeting Diddy by saying "Hello, baby" before kissing him on the cheek. Diddy and JLo's new man then proceeded to chat.

For now, the Fox music-competition show will welcome back JLo and country singer Keith Urban to the judging panel as the search continues for a third.

The Us Weekly insider notes that "Idol" producers also met with singer Will.i.am and music producer Rodney Jerkins. In the end, though, their top choice might be songwriter and record producer Dr. Luke.

Us Weekly reported Aug. 19, that Dr. Luke -- whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald and who has worked with the likes of Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears-- is in talks to become the third judge.

-- Wire reports,Kanye, Diddy dis 'Idol',Soap stars pull off secret wedding,If it wasn't real, you'd swear it was a soap opera.

People magazine first reported the news that two "General Hospital" stars secretly got married in June.

And -- during a week in which her soap character was in labor with her daughter -- Kirsten Storms announced she is pregnant with her first child, due in January, and says it's a girl.

Kirsten, 29, who plays Maxie, married Brandon Barash, 33, who played Johnny Zacchara on the ABC sudser but left the show in April.

The pair told People they did not believe they'd be able to have children. Kirsten has battled endometriosis, a medical condition that can cause infertility. However, both were pleasantly surprised when she learned that she was pregnant.

"It was pretty bleak as far as the probability of her being able to get pregnant," Brandon told the magazine, adding that Kirsten was in and out of the hospital during her first trimester of pregnancy.

The couple thinks they conceived the baby on a trip to Amsterdam, while staying in co-star Tony Geary's guest room. Tony plays longtime character Luke Spencer on the show.

Before taking over the role of Maxie in 2005, Kirsten played Belle Black for five years on "Days of Our Lives."

"General Hospital" is now in its 50th year on the air. -- Wire reports

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