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Quick Takes: Dick Cheney, HBO style

March 22, 2011

HBO is taking a walk on "The Dark Side."

A spokesman for the company confirmed Monday that a miniseries about former Vice President Dick Cheney is in the works.

The project will be based on the "Frontline" documentary about Cheney, "The Dark Side," as well as the book "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency" by Barton Gellman.

The miniseries will trace Cheney's career from being Donald Rumsfeld's protégé in the Nixon administration to his time as chief of staff for President Gerald Ford, which led to posts serving as secretary of Defense in George H.W. Bush's administration and later vice president under President George W. Bush.

—CNN

'Boonmee' will recall this fondly

The Thai film "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" was named best picture at the fifth Asian Film Awards on Monday in a ceremony overshadowed by the absence of Japanese filmmakers who stayed home in the wake of a deadly earthquake and tsunami.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's mystical drama follows a dying man from Thailand's rural northeast who explores his past and the idea of reincarnation in his final days.

Apichatpong said it was especially sweet to win in his home region, a year after he took the Palme d'Or at France's Cannes Film Festival.

The director, whose earlier credits include "Tropical Malady" and "Syndromes and a Century," said the critical acclaim his contemplative work received signaled displeasure with the growing influence of western commercial cinema.

"When you see many Asian films, sometimes the vocabulary of filmmaking is totally American, which is not bad but somehow we need something different, some variety for more fresh air," he said.

—Associated Press

Poland honors Andrzej Wajda

Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda was awarded the nation's highest distinction Monday for having shaped the country's culture and particularly the generation of the Solidarity freedom movement through his art.

Wajda received the Order of the White Eagle with a blue sash from President Bronislaw Komorowski in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Warsaw. Other Polish filmmakers were also awarded various lower medals.

The 85-year-old Wajda, leaning on a cane, said that the main goal of Poland's cinema has always been to be close to the public and to show it its roots and its past.

In 2000 Wajda was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.

—Associated Press

Filming starts on 'The Hobbit'

Cameras started rolling in New Zealand Monday on director Peter Jackson's production of "The Hobbit," following months of delays on the prequel to his Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Hollywood studio funding problems, a threatened actors' boycott and ulcer surgery for Jackson had plagued pre-production on the $500-million, two-movie project.

British actor Martin Freeman stars as hobbit Bilbo Baggins alongside Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom in twin movies of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novel about a short, hairy-footed hero.

The films are expected to take up to two years to make, with the first timed for release in late 2012.

—Associated Press

Conductor cuts back schedule

Ongoing health problems recently forced conductor James Levine to announce his resignation as music director of the Boston Symphony, and now his main gig as music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York is suffering too.

The Met said Monday that Levine will reduce his conducting dates for the rest of the season while he continues to deal with pain in his back. Levine has withdrawn from planned performances of "Das Rheingold" on March 30 and April 2, and "Il Trovatore" on April 20, 23, 27 and 30. He will be replaced by Fabio Luisi and Marco Armiliato, respectively.

Levine, 67, is still scheduled to conduct upcoming performances of "Wozzeck" in April, as well as the company's new production of "Die Walküre" in April and May. He also is set to lead two concerts at Carnegie Hall on April 10 and May 15.

—David Ng

Eddie Murphy will get award

Eddie Murphy will be the inaugural recipient of the Comedy Icon Award at the first Comedy Awards, which will be presented April 10 on multiple MTV Networks outlets, including Comedy Central, Spike, CMT, TV Land, Logo and Nick at Nite.

Murphy, who got his start on "Saturday Night Live" and made his film debut in 1982's "48 HRS," will be honored for his work in stand-up, sketches, film and TV.

—Susan King

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