Despatches
 
 
Sinatra Tributes Pour In
Frank Sinatra had not been seen in public since a heart attack had finally ended his career in January 1997 but that absence does not alter the fact that Sinatra was one of the world's most revered artists and commanded total respect from fellow entertainers. The legendary entertainer died the night of May 15, 1998 of a heart attack in the emergency room of Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. He was 82. His death sparked an outpouring of emotion from the millions of fans who love his music and his movies.

Sinatra, rightfully, is globally more recognized for his singing career than his acting career but, such was the man's ability, he easily moved to acting with his main feature début beginning early in his career back in 1943 with an inauspicious feature film début in Higher and Higher in a role written purposefully for him - although the star had appeared in cameos with the Tommy Dorsey Band in a handful of early '40s films. In total, Sinatra added his famous name to a staggering 66 movies.
Tributes from around the world have poured in. President Clinton said he was moved by the entertainer's death. Speaking at the G8 talks in Birmingham, England, he added, "I think every American would have to smile and say he really did do it his way." Martin Scorsese, in Cannes for the film festival, was quoted as saying that Sinatra was "an idol of mine and millions… A great American, and a great actor. You know, he was the idol. There will never be another one like him. He was the original. I am very, very upset." Sophia Loren, who shared a simlar rags-to-riches destiny with Sinatra, said told Italian television that even death would never silence 'The Voice'. "The last time we saw each other was at a cocktail party in honour of someone, and he said to me, 'You are the mostest'."
"He was one of the most romantic figures ever," Harvey Weinstein, co-chief of Miramax Film, said, "Part of America died today."
Actor Johnny Depp, also visiting the Riviera town, called Sinatra "a great, uncompromising hero." He added, "It's a huge loss." (By Terry Richards)

Lounge Lizard
You'll soon see Eddie Izzard in two of this year's most eagerly-awaited movies - Velvet Goldmine and The Avengers. But what are his future plans? Well, it seems the eccentric comic wants to follow the current trend for highwayman adventures such as Plunkett and MacLean and Jonathan Wilde. He exclusively told Film Review "I'm in the middle of co-writing a movie about Dick Turpin with comedian Peter Richardson [of The Comic Strip fame] because I quite like the idea of flouncing around in pantomime-style frilly costumes! We're writing it like a European Western."

Memoirs of a Geisha
Steven Spielberg's next movie will definitely be Memoirs of a Geisha based on the novel by Arthur Golden. The movie is set in 1929 Japan and it is the epic Cinderella-style story of Nitta Sayuri who is sold into slavery but battles against all the odds to become one of the most renowned geisha girls in the East. Not since The Color Purple will Spielberg have directed a movie with such strong female characters.

Star Wars 4 Secrets
Ewan McGregor, the hero of George Lucas's new Star Wars trilogy, has been confiding in a friend about the tight-as-a-drum closed set conditions at Leavesden Studios in Watford. The pal said, "Ewan is confused as everyone else because most of what he does is 'blue screen' - he acts against a blank backdrop, and the background and other characters are superimposed later. But he thinks the technology is jaw-dropping. It's years ahead of NASA. The thing that impressed him most was sitting in a chair and being scanned by a computer. Before he knew what was going on there was a realistic walking, talking copy of him up on the monitors."

007 in Heist Drama
What's Pierce Brosnan up to while he waits to tackle the next James Bond adventure (rumoured to be an adaptation of Casino Royale, by the way)? Well, his production company - Irish Dreamtime - recently bought the rights to The Thomas Crown Affair, the 1968 heist drama starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. Brosnan told Film Review, "I've always loved the film and it has a dangerous quality to it. Crown is this urbane man who's bored with life, and has so much money, he just wants to pull intricate robberies for the thrill of it. It dovetails neatly with my Bond image too. It would be different if I was planning to remake Bullitt! That would be pushing my audience too far."

 
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