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Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Pacino was nearly 'Sonny Scott'
Al Pacino acted in and directed his new film, Chinese Coffee
Al Pacino acted in and directed his new film, Chinese Coffee
Hollywood actor Al Pacino has revealed that he nearly changed his name early in his career.

Speaking at the Toronto Film Festival, Pacino, 60, said he considered changing his screen name to Sonny Scott.

"When I was a young kid, and you were going into acting, you weren't supposed to have a vowel at the end of your name," he said.

Pacino, who won an Oscar for his role in Scent of a Woman, said he was "grateful" he decided to use his real name.

Speaking at the premiere of his new film, Chinese Coffee - his second as director - Pacino also said he feels an actor more than a director.

"I look at material and I just think about how I can act it, not how I can direct it. I don't feel that I'm comfortable in a position as director," he explained.

Pacino takes the leading role in the film - as a down-and-out New York writer craving his first success.

Prince backs Polish Globe theatre

The Prince of Wales has attended a performance of Hamlet at the Globe theatre in London to help boost a campaign to build a 17th century theatre in Poland.

The prince is patron of a theatre foundation in the Polish city of Gdansk, where the theatre will be built.

"The Gdansk theatre will be a wonderful asset to Poland and the world," he said.

"This is not just about building a theatre," he added, "but a means of reconnecting ourselves with tradition."

Own your own Jackie Chan

Hollywood star Jackie Chan, who is currently appearing in the comedy Shanghai Noon, is to be turned into an action figure.

Playmates Toys is to become the first official toy licensee for Jackie Chan Adventures, based on a new Saturday morning cartoon series on US TV.

Initial merchandise will include action figures, playsets and cuddly toys, all based on Chan's character in the series.

The new line of merchandise will go on sale in the US from January 2001.

New hotel gets some Backstreet interest

Boy-band sensation the Backstreet Boys are considering investing some of their millions into a new hotel, according to newspaper reports in the US.

Backstreet member Kevin Richardson had a private meeting on Monday with a hotel development group in Alabama about investing in a convention hotel.

"We do more than just sing and dance," he said. "We've got a brain, too."

It was a preliminary meeting and the band are also looking at other cities.

Disney restricts R-rated film adverts

Walt Disney has pledged to keep adverts for R-rated movies off its ABC television network during prime time.

Children under the age of 17 are not allowed into R-rated films unless they are accompanied by an adult.

Disney's announcement comes a day after a US government study criticised Hollywood for marketing violent films to children.

The company said it was "committed to the responsible marketing" of its films.

Bridges inspired by father not president

Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges has told how his late father was on his mind while preparing to play the US President.

Bridges studied Presidents Clinton, Johnson and Kennedy for the film The Contender.

But his father, Lloyd Bridges, who died in 1998, provided the inspiration.

"My dad was a very gregarious guy and had a lot of joy he brought to his work," he said.

Bridges was speaking at a Statehouse ceremony in Boston to present a screenwriting award.

Altman slams media obsession with celebrity

Oscar-winning director Robert Altman has blamed the media for fuelling the cult of celebrity at the launch of his new film.

Unveiling Dr T and the Women at the Toronto Film Festival, Altman said the media often took the easy way out by promoting someone who was already famous instead of tackling more difficult subjects.

Altman, known for his large ensemble casts of famous Hollywood actors, said: "The obsession is not created by the person who is the object, it's created by the press and the photographers and the television and the need to fill all that empty space."

Also at the premiere were actors Richard Gere, Farah Fawcett, Laura Dern, Shelley Long and Andy Richter.

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