Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International  |  Oct. 30, 2001 at 4:45 AM
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So far, only a select handful of people have seen the upcoming Warner Bros. movie adaptation of the first Harry Potter book -- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" -- as the studio has kept the project under relatively tight wraps prior to its Nov. 16 release.

The studio did allow Time magazine entertainment editor Jess Cagle to see the picture and Cagle is raving -- declaring it is "a film of ... eye-popping grandeur, dazzling special effects and sumptuous production values."

Cagle also spills a few beans, letting on that the movie does not feature all the characters from the book -- including Peeves, the ill-tempered poltergeist, and Piers a troublemaking lad.

Director Chris Columbus ("Home Alone," "Mrs. Doubtfire") told Time he tried to use as much of the book as he could, and that helps account for the movie's 143-minute running time.

"Fans would have been crushed if we had left out much out," said Columbus. "My mantra has been, Kids are reading a 700-page book. They can sit through a 2 1/2-hour movie."

For the record, the fourth Potter book -- "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" -- runs 734 pages. "The Sorcerer's Stone" runs a more manageable 309 pages.


According to a report in the New York Post, a new surgical procedure provides a glimmer of hope that paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve may walk again.

Surgeons report that they've successfully transplanted fetal stem cells from pigs into the spines of six paraplegic patients in an attempt to help them move their limbs.

Reeve -- who was paralyzed from the neck down in a horseback riding accident -- is keeping a close eye on the experiment, said the newspaper, because his condition makes him a suitable candidate for the same therapy.

The therapy involves a new approach to regenerating activity in the spinal cord by getting stem cells to trigger the regrowth of myelin -- a sheath that enables the transmission of impulses along nerve fibers in the spinal cord. Myelin either does not grow, or it grows incorrectly, among people who have suffered paralysis.

According to the Post, the cells transplanted into the test patients have already started to grow, and doctors hope they will soon begin to promote the regrowth of myelin in the spines of the subjects.

(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


The American Film Institute says it'll honor already much-honored actor Tom Hanks with its life achievement award.

Hanks is only 45 and is the youngest filmmaker to be honored by the group. Previous honorees include Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Bette Davis and Orson Welles.

The ceremonies honoring Hanks will be held next June at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

From "Forrest Gump" to "Philadelphia" to "Saving Private Ryan," Hanks has been involved in some of the most important movies in recent years.

(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)

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