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Friday, February 19, 1999 Published at 12:33 GMT


Life Is Beautiful for Italian film

Nicoletta Braschi and Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful

Italian Holocaust film Life Is Beautiful has become North America's highest-grossing foreign language film after receiving seven Oscar nominations last week.

[ image: Roberto Benigni: Acted, directed and co-wrote the film]
Roberto Benigni: Acted, directed and co-wrote the film
The film, which is directed and co-written by Roberto Benigini - who also stars in the movie - was shown on 664 screens across the US and Canada after the nominations were announced.

The nominations include best picture, best actor, best director and best foreign language film, and it has so far grossed over $100m world-wide.

Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, who praised the film's "universal appeal", said: "The success of Life Is Beautiful is unprecedented, and it's still going strong."

Clapton leaves his manager

[ image: Eric Clapton: Will manage his own affairs]
Eric Clapton: Will manage his own affairs
Veteran guitarist Eric Clapton has parted company with his long-time manager Roger Forrester, his record company has announced.

"After more than 30 years as one of the most successful relationships in the music industry, they have decided to end their partnership," WEA said.

No reason was given for the mutually agreed break, although the pair will still work together until April.

Clapton, 53, will continue his career, managing his own business affairs. He is worth an estimated £75m.

Spielberg planning HG Wells film

[ image: Stephen Spielberg: Going back in time]
Stephen Spielberg: Going back in time
Film-maker Steven Spielberg is planning a new version of HG Wells's classic novel The Time Machine.

Set in Victorian England, it was originally filmed in 1960 with Rod Taylor as the intrepid time traveller.

No cast has yet been hired but the script has been written by John Logan.

Logan also wrote the screenplays for Ridley Scott's Gladiators and the football-themed On Any Given Sunday, which Oliver Stone is currently filming.

Rap and rock stars in trouble

[ image: ODB: Caught in bullet-proof vest, say police]
ODB: Caught in bullet-proof vest, say police
Wu Tang Clan star ODB faces up to three years in jail after being arrested and put on bail for allegedly wearing a bullet-proof vest.

The rapper - real name Russell Jones - was pulled over while driving, but was arrested for wearing a bullet-proof vest illegal because of his previous arrests, said a Los Angeles officer.

Previous allegations against the 30-year-old - ODB stands for Ol' Dirty Bastard - include firing at police, threatening to kill an ex-girlfriend, not paying child support, and shop-lifting.

Meanwhile, Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose has been fined $500 in a Phoenix, Arizona, court after pleading guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace.

The singer faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine but was given just one-fifth of the fine and one day in jail, which he had already served.

The misdemeanour charge stemmed from an incident last year at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport when Rose was in an altercation with airport security.

Sir Peter bringing the Bard to LA

[ image: Sir Peter Hall: Taking Shakespeare to the US]
Sir Peter Hall: Taking Shakespeare to the US
Stage director Sir Peter Hall is taking Britain's bard to Los Angeles in a bid to develop some Shakespeare tradition.

Hall has chosen Kelly McGillis to star as Titania in his production of A Midsummer Night's Dream this summer.

Richard Thomas, who was a mainstay of the long-running TV series The Waltons, will play Angelo in Measure for Measure.

Christopher Plummer and Kevin Kline may star in a subsequent season, according to US entertainment paper Daily Variety.

For more mash get Smash

Classic UK advertising characters the Smash Martians have been resurrected again for radio and poster promotions.

The metal aliens first appeared in their spaceship in 1974 to plug Smash instant mash in the UK - chortling as they heard how the "Earthlings" peeled their own potatoes, waited for them to boil and then mashed them themselves.

The giggling extra-terrestrials are being brought back by HL Foods, which owns the Smash brand.

Advertiser Trevor Beattie is sure the new ads are not an attempt to cash in on 1970s fads. He said: "It doesn't matter if the ad was made in the 60s, 70s or 80s. Great ideas never die."

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