Portman Replaces Lopez in ‘Love’

Natalie PortmanFollowing the abrupt departure of Jennifer Lopez from the adaptation of Ayelet Waldman’s “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” Variety reports that producers on the film cast Natalie Portman for the lead.

Other stars include Scott Cohen and Charlie Tahan. The film is written and directed by Don Roos and produced by Marc Platt. Shooting is set to begin Nov. 10.

The film’s budget, Variety suggests, is less than $15 million.

Portman, who at one time was linked to star in the adaptation of Michael Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” will get an executive producer credit under her Handsome Charlie Films banner. David Molner, chairman of Incentive Filmed Entertainment, says Portman’s casting saved the film.

“We were left in the lurch by one actress and rescued by another,” Molner said. “It goes to show that, particularlywith independent features, nothing is more important than the talent. It’s a blessing that Natalie loved the script and now we’ve got a strong film that we can sell at [the American Film Market].”

Chabon Pushes to Fund Berkeley Libraries

Forgive me for not knowing about Berkeley politics. I’m so used to Michael Chabon and his wife writing about Barack Obama that I’d almost gotten used to all politics being national.

Not so, apparently. Today, the Daily Californian carries an op-ed by Chabon pushing for Berkeley voters to vote yes on Measure FF, which would provide $26 million to renovate, expand, and update the city’s branch libraries.

“I know it’s tough to ask people to foot that kind of a bill during hard times,” Chabon write. “But it’s precisely during times like these that the value — a value not measurable solely in terms of dollars-of our public library system is greatest.”

According to Chabon, Berkeley’s libraries are in desperate need for funding. “They are old, outdated, in some cases unsafe,” he writes. “Most of them have not been renovated since the 1970s. Their interiors are overcrowded and tired, and they have suffered the thousand natural shocks that Bay Area structures are heir to.”

Read the entire op-ed here.

Categories: Berkeley , Politics | No Comments

Chabon Names Ideal Picks for Nobel Prize

Reuters reports on the betting and secrecy surrounding the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the report, the news agency asked Michael Chabon who he’d pick for the prize: Ursula K. Leguin, Michael Ondaatje, Cormac McCarthy, J.G. Ballard or Philip Roth.

“Every year, one crosses one’s fingers for Philip Roth,” Chabon said.

Chabon noted that the Nobel Prize, like other prominent awards, “shines a very bright light, often into an undeservedly dark corner.”

Chabon himself, of course, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. “The day I found out that I had won a Pulitzer, I picked up my then three-year-old son from nursery school. ‘Daddy won a prize today,’ I told him. His face lit up. ‘Open it! Open it!’ he said.”