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Quick Takes: James Franco salutes Stephen Colbert

April 07, 2011

James Franco has yet another new undertaking: employee of "The Colbert Report."

The actor appeared on the Comedy Central program Tuesday and said he wanted to work for host Stephen Colbert.

One of Franco's many interests is performance art, and he said he considers Colbert — who plays the role of the conservative host of the satire news commentary show — a great contemporary artist. Said Franco: "You rule. I want to work with you."

Comedy Central didn't immediately explain how serious Franco's potential involvement with "The Colbert Report" might be.

—Associated Press

'Hangover II' trailer unhitched

Filmgoers who've gone to see the science-fiction film "Source Code" since it opened last weekend may also have seen a trailer for the upcoming "The Hangover Part II," Todd Phillips' follow-up to his 2009 R-rated hit.

But on Wednesday, Warner Bros. acknowledged that it made a mistake, saying that the trailer shouldn't have been played before the PG-13 "Source Code." It has asked theaters to pull the spot.

The Motion Picture Assn. of America vets most trailers and determines the type of films they can be paired with. It had approved the "Hangover" spot only for R-rated movies. The "Hangover" trailer, which is viewable online, contains a minimum of the bawdy humor that characterized the original film, although it closes with a scene in which a monkey simulates a sex act.

The trailer will now appear in front of the R-rated "Scream 4" when the horror comedy opens next weekend. A Warner Bros. spokesman said there would be "slight tweaks" to the trailer, despite the fact that the original had already been approved for R-rated movies, but declined to elaborate further.

—Steven Zeitchik

Stone to peel the Peck stamp

Sharon Stone will host the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the Gregory Peck Commemorative Stamp. The event will be held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Samuel Goldwyn Theater on April 28. The stamp is the 17th in the "Legends of Hollywood" series from the Postal Service. It will feature Peck in his lead actor Oscar-winning performance as attorney Atticus Finch in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird." The ceremony also will feature clips from Peck's long career, along with remarks from family and friends. Admission is free, but tickets must be obtained in advance. For more information, go to http://www.oscars.org.

—Susan King

Kate Bush echoes Joyce

After 22 years, singer Kate Bush finally gets to record James Joyce.

Bush had hoped to use the words of Molly Bloom from Joyce's seminal work "Ulysses" for a track on her 1989 record, "The Sensual World." However, she was not able to get permission from Joyce's estate until recently.

"I am delighted I have had the chance to fulfill the original concept," Bush told the BBC.

Bush has recorded "Flower of the Mountain" — the song formerly known as "The Sensual World" — with Molly Bloom's words from "Ulysses." The song will be on her upcoming album, "Director's Cut," slated for release May 16 in England.

—Carolyn Kellogg

YouTube chorus of 2,052 voices

Orchestral musicians had their date with Internet destiny a few weeks ago with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. On Thursday afternoon, the spotlight will move to choral singers with scheduled release of the Virtual Choir. Los Angeles-based choral composer Eric Whitacre created a choir that allows lone choristers from Lebanon, Kazakhstan and Madagascar to join 2,049 other singers from 50-plus countries in a performance of Whitacre's composition "Sleep."

The logistics of a virtual live performance are unworkable with current technology, but the ubiquity of YouTube made it possible for participants to upload their parts individually. Some mammoth data crunching by the Virtual Choir team produced a single track containing all 2,052 voices and a video montage using submitted footage.

Interest in the project has been intense, with more than twice as many videos submitted than Whitacre dared hope for and many more than the 185 singers in last year's Virtual Choir. "It's just a beautiful, poetic expression of a seemingly fundamental human need to connect," Whitacre said.

—Marcia Adair

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