People talk 8/26/03

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Comedian-actor Lopez to host Latin Grammys

MIAMI -- Comedian-actor George Lopez will be the host for the fourth-annual Latin Grammy awards show Sept. 3.

Lopez, a longtime stand-up comedian, is co-creator, writer, producer and star of the ABC sitcom "George Lopez." He'll introduce presenters and performers at the show to be held at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami and broadcast at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Among the acts scheduled to perform are Ricky Martin, Alexandre Pires with Kelly Clarkson, Thalia, Bacilos and Molotov. Presenters will include television actors Jessica Alba of "Dark Angel" and Adam Rodriguez of "CSI: Miami," and model-actors Tyrese and Sofia Vergara.

Lopez, 42, has received several honors for his contributions to the Hispanic community, including the Latino Spirit Award for Excellence in Television and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Award.

'Greenlight' filmmakers disappointed by series

PORTLAND, Maine -- The filmmakers at the center of HBO's "Project Greenlight" say they didn't even finish watching the television series, which they thought portrayed them negatively.

Instead, Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle began focusing on the theatrical release of the film the series chronicled them creating, "The Battle of Shaker Heights," which opened Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

If the film earns critical praise or box office success, or helps land them other major movie jobs, then looking silly on national television will have been a small price to pay, they say.

"The movie will be our redemption," Rankin said from Los Angeles. "We wished the show showed more of the fun we did have making (the film). But I think through this we've learned to have thicker skin."

Rankin and Potelle, both 30, appeared in the HBO documentary series as a condition of winning the "Project Greenlight" contest, which Matt Damon and Ben Affleck established to help aspiring filmmakers.

They were filmed 12 to 13 hours a day, and they knew there was a good chance they'd look like novices. Cameras caught the infighting, name-calling and backstabbing that sometimes takes place on film sets but is rarely seen in great detail in American living rooms.

But the pair, who previously made independent films in Portland, got to direct a $2 million film. The story, set in the upscale Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, focuses on a teenage boy (Shia LaBeouf) who's obsessed with battle scene re-enactments.

Boston Pops conductor new pop of baby boy

BOSTON -- Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart is a new father.

Lockhart and his wife, violinist Lucia Lin, became parents early Sunday morning when Lin gave birth to a baby boy.

"Luci and I are happy to announce the birth of our son, Aaron Lin Lockhart, who was born this morning at 6:30 a.m. weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces," Lockhart, 43, said in a statement. "Thankfully, both Luci and the baby are well and resting comfortably."

Lockhart was on tour with the Boston Pops in Chillicothe, Ohio, when he received news that his wife had given birth. He caught the next flight to Boston, the statement said.

He and Lin were married in September 1996.

Simpson thankful for 'dream team' of lawyers

LOS ANGELES -- O.J. Simpson says that without the money to pay for a "dream team" of lawyers, he wouldn't have been acquitted of murder charges.

In an interview with Playboy magazine nine years after his trial, Simpson repeatedly vowed he was innocent of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.

"I didn't commit the crime. That is why I got off," he said. "I feel in my heart that I got off because I was innocent. But I don't know if I could have proven my innocence if I didn't have the money. And that's a shame. Yes, it is a shame that in this country it costs so much to get good representation."

In the wide-ranging interview published in the current issue of the magazine, Simpson also disclosed that after his acquittal he smoked marijuana in order to get to sleep.

"My drug of choice now is Vioxx," said Simpson, who suffers from arthritis. "When I got out of jail, I kind of appreciated pot more than I ever had in my life."

-- From wire reports

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