People talk 10/16/02

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

'Pinocchio' sets box office record in Italy

ROME -- Roberto Benigni's "Pinocchio" has set a new record at the Italian box office for first weekend returns, taking in more than $6.93 million, according to the independent movie survey company Cinetel Srl.

Roberto Chicchiero, Cinetel's director, said Monday the three-day box-office returns put "Pinocchio" ahead of former record holder "The Lord of the Rings," which collected $5.78 million in its first weekend at the box office last year.

Nearly one in three Italian theaters showed the film, adapted from Carlo Collodi's 1880 fable. It was shown on 940 screens throughout the country and seen by more than 1.15 million people.

"Pinocchio" is the costliest Italian production ever, at more than $40 million. It was shot in virtual secrecy at the former chemical-plant-turned-studio that Benigni used when making the Oscar-winning "Life Is Beautiful."

"Pinocchio" is scheduled for release in the United States on Dec. 25.

'XXX' star greeted by thousands of fans

LONDON -- Thousands of screaming fans greeted action star Vin Diesel as the blockbuster "XXX" premiered in London.

Diesel said he was stunned by his reception Monday in London's Leicester Square.

"This film has a lot of action and is a complete adrenaline rush but at the same time it has a character in it that people can identify with," the 35-year-old said.

He compared the spy flick to the James Bond series, but said "XXX" is for a new generation.

"The film embodies our society's characteristics -- the tattoos, the PlayStations and the music," he said.

Diesel also has appeared in "Saving Private Ryan," "Pitch Black" and "The Fast and the Furious."

Actor Richard Harris treated for cancer

LONDON -- Richard Harris, who stars as Professor Albus Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" movies, has been hospitalized following treatment for cancer, his agent said Tuesday.

The veteran Irish actor fell ill in August after shooting the second film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," and went to a hospital with a severe chest infection, said his London-based agent, Sharon Thomas.

She said the 72-year-old has been at the University College Hospital, central London for two months, where he's had a course of chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease.

"He will be out of hospital very soon," Thomas said.

Hodgkin's disease is the most common type of lymphoma -- a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a network of thin tubes that carry disease-fighting white blood cells throughout the body. It occurs when the cells grow abnormally and collect to form tumors, often in the lymph nodes.

Model, publisher announce baby's name

LONDON -- Model Kate Moss and her partner have named their 2-week-old daughter Lila Grace, her agency said.

"Kate Moss and Jefferson Hack are pleased to announce that their beautiful baby daughter is to be called Lila Grace," the agency Storm said Monday.

The 28-year-old model gave birth to 6 1/2-pound Lila on Sept. 29.

Hack, 30, is publisher of the style magazine "Dazed & Confused."

-- From wire reports

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