Entertainment wRap: ‘Amelie’ on Broadway, New York Met

And man found dead in Olivia Newton-John's home, plus controversy over film inspired by cricket star

MANILA, Philippines – Here are some entertainment stories from August 19 to 25.

Man found dead in ‘Grease’ star’s home

MYSTERY. Newton-John and Easterling were away when the body of a hired repairman was found at their home

A man was found shot dead Monday, August 19, in the Florida home of Olivia Newton-John, police said.

The singer-actress and her husband, John Easterling, were staying out of town when the man’s body was found, said police in Jupiter Inlet Colony, north of Palm Beach.

The man was part of a group of contractors that had been in Newton-John’s home for some time to do repairs.

A local newspaper described the incident as a suicide but police have not confirmed this.

The nearly 7,500-square-foot house, located on 35 acres by the coast, was built in 1975. The couple bought this property in 2009 at $4.1 million.

Newton-John, a 4-time Grammy winner, is famous for her pop hits “I Honestly Love You” and “I Can’t Help It” (sung with Andy Gibb), and most especially for her lead role in the 1978 film of the Broadway musical, “Grease.”

Over the years, the film has acquired a cult status, being referenced among pop-culture enthusiasts like Quentin Tarantino.

New York Met expands live opera broadcast

LIVE BROADCAST. The Met keeps up with the high demand for live HD

New York’s Metropolitan Opera said Wednesday, August 21, it has expanded its program of live broadcasts for the 2013-2014 season, with 10 operas to be shown in 1,900 movie theaters in dozens of countries.

The season kicks off on October 5 with a new production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” and wraps up on May 10 with Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.”

This is the 8th season that the Met has offered live broadcasts subtitled in 9 languages, including Swedish for the first time this year. 64 countries take part in the program.

More than 85 theaters have been added across Britain, Germany, and Sweden, in response to the high demand for the “Live in HD” series. Productions are shown in nearly 750 theaters in the United States.

Audiences will be “watching live from Vancouver to Moscow, and on a delayed basis in Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand,” said Met general manager Peter Gelb.

‘Amélie’ director ‘disgusted’ by plans for musical

French film director Jean-Pierre Jeunet said he is “disgusted” by plans to turn his 2001 film, “Amélie,” into a Broadway musical.

Jeunet, however, had agreed to sell the rights to support a charity, Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiac (Heart Surgery Patronage), promoting medical treatment for children.

“I hate Broadway. I think it is the very incarnation of tackiness,” the acclaimed filmmaker said in a radio interview.

“For a long time I resisted, I turned down every offer. But 10 years later, there’s a bit of a crisis. It costs 10,000 euros to save a child. I have already helped to save a good dozen children, and then I thought this could be an opportunity to save more.

“I can tell you that I will not go to see it, I don’t even want to hear about it, I won’t listen to what they do, but if it brings in some money, well maybe I can save a few lives, and that’s the only reason I accepted.”

“Amélie” was nominated for 5 Oscars, including best foreign film, and took US$152 million at the box office.

The film stars Audrey Tautou, whose other film credits include “The Da Vinci Code,” “Coco Before Chanel,” and Jeunet’s “A Very Long Engagement.”

“Amélie” will be adapted for Broadway by the American composer Dan Messe.

‘Obscene’ Pakistani cricket film hits cinemas

A Pakistani film inspired by Shahid Afridi opened Friday, August 23, despite the cricket star’s objections to what he described as “obscene” scenes, which he said could damage his image.

The $1-million film, “Main Houn Afridi” (“I am Afridi”), tells the story of a young man who dreams of becoming as great a player as Afridi, and the trials he faces as he tries to follow in his hero’s footsteps.

“I had given permission for the film with an aim to give kids some positive healthy entertainment, to divert their minds towards cricket and it should not have obscene things,” said Afridi.

Afridi reacted angrily to a lovemaking scene with a girl in a nightclub, as also shown in the film’s trailer.

He also protested an “item song” in the picture, or a musical performance featuring Pakistani actress Mathira Khan.

Dance numbers with scantily clad women usually have little to do with a film’s story, but remain a popular feature in South Asian cinema.

The filmmakers went ahead with the release without removing the scenes.

The film elicited mixed reactions from viewers, some seeing no harm in the film, others worrying for their children.

Afridi became an instant hero in 1996 when he made the world record of hitting a 37-ball century in only his second one-day against Sri Lanka.

He also holds the record for hitting the most sixes in one-day international cricket, with 308 in 354 matches. – With reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Olivia Newton-John and John Easterling photo, Metropolitan Opera photo from Shutterstock

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