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Quick Takes: Film remembers Ed Koch

February 02, 2013

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch died the same day a new documentary about his life and legacy opened in New York.

"Koch," which will open in Southern California theaters beginning March 1, offers evidence that the combative mayor had mellowed little in his later years. Filmmaker Neil Barsky conducted extensive interviews with Koch in his Manhattan apartment in 2010 and early 2011, where the former mayor, who ruled New York from 1978 to 1989, spoke of his controversial time in office, offering no restrictions on subject matter or time.

"He was living the life that any 86-year-old would envy," Barsky says of Koch, who was 88 when he died Friday. "He was out on the street, campaigning for obscure Democratic Assembly candidates, going up to Albany, having spirited political debates with his family over the dinner table. He remained a very funny, in-your-face kind of guy who loved to battle."

"Koch" was the latest and, now, last of the former mayor's extensive media appearances. Koch found his way into more than 60 movies and television shows, including "The Muppets Take Manhattan," "Sex and the City," "Saturday Night Live" and "Spin City." He served as a judge on "The People's Court" from 1997-99. His passion for film manifested itself in a different way when, in the summer of 2009, Koch began shooting movie review segments for a weekly Web video show called "Mayor at the Movies."

— Glenn Whipp

NBC News leader resigns

NBC News President Steve Capus announced Friday that he would be resigning from his position after nearly eight years on the job and 20 years at the network.

"It has been a privilege to have spent two decades here, but it is now time to head in a new direction," he wrote in an internal memo. "Side by side, we have documented the historic, the unforgettable, and the exquisitely ordinary."

Capus, who served as a longtime producer for news anchor Brian Williams before being appointed president by Jeff Zucker in 2005, did not cite a specific reason for his departure. A replacement has not yet been named.

Capus has been increasingly marginalized at NBC News over the last year, a rough period that began with the ratings slide at "Today."

— Meredith Blake and Meg James

Jessica Chastain as 'Miss Julie'

Jessica Chastain is currently on Broadway in "The Heiress," playing Catherine Sloper, a rich girl with boyfriend and daddy problems.

Now she's been tapped to play another classic stage rich girl with those problems — the title role in a film adaptation of August Strindberg's "Miss Julie," to be directed by Liv Ullmann, the Wrap reported.

"The Heiress," Ruth and Augustus Goetz's 1947 play drawn from "Washington Square," Henry James' novel about the upper crust in mid-1800s Manhattan, is scheduled to end its limited run Feb. 9.

"Miss Julie" might keep Chastain in the 19th century — if Ullmann decides to maintain the original time frame. Strindberg wrote the play in 1888, setting it in a manor house on his Swedish home turf.

Colin Farrell has been cast as Chastain's love and Samantha Morton will complete the rancid sexual triangle.

The Geffen Playhouse will tackle "Miss Julie" this spring in a new adaptation by Neil LaBute with Jo Bonney directing. It's scheduled to begin previews April 23 and open May 1 in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. LaBute is transplanting the drama to turf that recalls F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" — Long Island before the stock market crash of 1929.

— Mike Boehm

Cruz, Bardem to have second kid

Penélope Cruz is pregnant again, expecting her second baby with hubbyJavier Bardem, according

to a couple of reports out Friday.

The "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" actress is about three months along, a source confirmed to E! News after the New York Post first reported the news.

The new tyke will be a younger sibling to 38-year-old Cruz and 43-year-old Bardem's firstborn, Leo Encinas Bardem, who arrived in January 2011. "Skyfall" villain Bardem tied the knot with Cruz in July 2010.

This isn't the only pregnancy in the family, however. Cruz's actress-dancer sister Monica, 35, recently announced she was expecting as well, as a single mom, courtesy of an anonymous sperm donor.

— Christie D'Zurilla

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