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Quick Takes: VMAs to show 'Hunger Games' clip

August 24, 2011

Fans of the bestselling book series will get their first glimpse of "The Hunger Games" film on Sunday during MTV's Video Music Awards.

MTV announced it will air a clip from the movie, which stars Oscar-nominated actress Jennifer Lawrence of "X-Men: First Class" and "Winter's Bone" fame and is scheduled for release March 23, 2012.

MTV usually reserves this kind of sneak peek for its annual Movie Awards — that was where in June, for instance, stars were on hand and preview clips were shown for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2" and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1."

"The Hunger Games" series follows the grim competition between children and young adults who are forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of television viewers and their cruel government masters in a post-apocalyptic nation called Panem.

The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air Sunday from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and performers include Lady Gaga, Adele, Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars.

—Noelene Clark

'Uncle Frank' of 'Kimmel' dies

Frank Potenza, a retired cop and security guard who found late-life fame on his nephew Jimmy Kimmel's late-night TV show, has died at 77, according to ABC.

"Uncle Frank" was among the first regular characters introduced on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2003.

Kimmel asked Potenza, a former security guard at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, to move to Los Angeles to take part in the show.

Potenza was frequently used in comedy bits or reaction shots, often to provide a dose of common sense or merely a puzzled shrug to the proceedings.

"His kindness and humor will be missed by everyone he touched," the show said in a statement Tuesday.

—Scott Collins

Decca to work with McCartney

Decca has teamed up with Paul McCartney to release his upcoming ballet nearly 50 years after the record label famously rejected taking on the Beatles in what has been called one of the music industry's biggest blunders.

The ballet, "Ocean's Kingdom," is the former Beatle's first foray into the world of dance, and has

its world premiere at the New York City Ballet on Sept. 22. The Decca recording hits shelves in Britain on Oct. 3.

Decca famously snubbed the Fab Four early in 1962, reportedly saying at the time that "guitar groups are on the way out" and "the Beatles have no future in show business."

The quartet from Liverpool went on to sign with EMI label Parlophone and became arguably the most successful and influential pop band in history.


Thatcher biopic angers friends

If controversy equals box office, then "The Iron Lady," Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher biopic, is off to a promising start across the pond.

According to a report in the British newspaper the Daily Mail, friends of Thatcher who attended an early screening of the film Saturday were outraged by its portrayal of their former prime minister as power-hungry leading up to and during her administration in the 1980s and conflicted and confused in her senescence.

"I didn't come here to see a film about granny going mad," one anonymous viewer said of the movie, which is directed by Phyllida Lloyd ("Mamma Mia") and stars Streep as the Conservative leader and Jim Broadbent as her husband, Denis Thatcher.

According to the report, "The Iron Lady" contains scenes of Thatcher suffering nightmares over some of the major victories of her tenure — including the 1984-85 coal miners' strike that lead to a weakened labor movement in Britain and the 1982 Falklands War — and sacrificing family for ambition.

Viewers took particular offense at the depiction of the Thatcher marriage, including a scene in which a pink-turbaned Denis appears in a dream sequence to rail at his wife for her selfishness.

Thatcher is now 85 and in frail health but as potent a symbol as ever to conservatives in both the U.S. and her homeland.

The Weinstein Co. will release "The Iron Lady" in U.S. theaters Dec. 16.

—Rebecca Keegan

Ben Stiller earns BAFTA salute

Ben Stiller is being honored for his comedic contributions by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

The group's Los Angeles branch says Stiller will receive the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy.

Stiller will receive the honor at the Brittania Awards on Nov. 30, when actress Helena Bonham Carter and animator John Lasseter are also being recognized.

The 45-year-old Stiller has earned box-office success and critical acclaim as a writer, director, actor and producer.

—Associated Press

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