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Quick Takes

March 04, 2011

Hail to the 4 ex-chiefs

For the first time since President Obama took office, all four living former presidents are gathering for a public celebration.

On Thursday, NBC announced that Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush will join an array of musicians and entertainers for the special "All Together Now: A Celebration of Service," which pays tribute to the importance of American service and volunteerism.

The program also will salute former President George H.W. Bush for his part in promoting the voluntary service.

Set to be filmed on March 21 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, the special will air March 28. Obama, who will be in South America at the time of the event, will appear in a short film.

—Melissa Maerz

'Blade Runner' rights sold

As Ridley Scott shoots "Prometheus," the don't-call-it-an-"Alien"-prequel, another Scott classic could be making its way to the big screen. The producers behind "The Book of Eli" and "Insomnia" are acquiring the rights to "Blade Runner."

Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove of Alcon Entertainment say the deal will allow them to make a movie with elements from both Scott's 1982 film and the Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" on which it's based.

The company isn't buying remake rights — "we never would want to remake it," Johnson said — but they do think there's a rich vein of material for a prequel or sequel.

—Steven Zeitchik

King book on JFK's last day

Stephen King's next novel takes on a real-life horror story: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Scribner said that the 1,000-page book – titled "11/22/63," for the day of Kennedy's murder – will come out on Nov. 8. It's the story of a contemporary high school teacher who finds a portal back to 1958 and endeavors to prevent the tragedy.

—Associated Press

DreamWorks options 2 books

The DreamWorks studio has optioned movie rights to a pair of books about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his controversial website that is bent on revealing government secrets, company officials said Thursday.

The books were optioned by Holly Bario and Mark Sourian, co-presidents of production at DreamWorks Studios, said a spokesman for the company. Steven Spielberg is not working on the project.

No director or producer has been attached to make a movie, and filming may not start for years, if at all.

Assange, a 39-year-old Australian who infuriated U.S. government officials in late 2010 by publishing classified diplomatic cables, faces extradition from Britain to Sweden in connection with alleged sex crimes.

—Reuters

New Salonen music not ready

Esa-Pekka Salonen's new piece for piano, "Humoreske," was scheduled to have its world premiere at a Yefim Bronfman recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall on March 9. But the composer has had to withdraw the piece from the performance as well as from Bronfman's March 18 recital at Carnegie Hall.

The L.A. Philharmonic explained in a statement Thursday that the reason was simple: The work by the orchestra's former music director will not be completed in time.

Bronfman's concerts will feature works by Haydn, Schumann and Chopin.

—David Ng

Unreleased Love album coming

A previously unreleased 1973 album by influential Los Angeles psychedelic soul band Arthur Lee and Love will surface belatedly on June 7 as the initial release from a new boutique reissue label, High Moon Records.

Lee had planned to release "Black Beauty" on his Buffalo Records label, but the company folded before it came out and the tracks were shelved.

High Moon will release the 10 tracks originally planned to be on the album along with bonus tracks, new liner notes and previously unpublished photos from the period.

—Randy Lewis

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