The production studio Lionsgate is reportedly down to three actors being eyed for the lead role of Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire: Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) and Taylor Kitsch (John Carter). E! Online reported that a decision from the studio may be announced as early as this week. Filming is scheduled to begin in September, in time for its November 22, 2013, release.
Folk legend Doc Watson dies at 89
The Grammy-winning US folk legend Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson died in North Carolina on Tuesday, following abdominal surgery last week. He was 89. Watson gave his first solo performance at Gerde's Folk City in New York in 1962. So began a busy professional career that included appearances at the Newport Folk Festival and Carnegie Hall. As recently as 2002, Watson - who recorded dozens of albums - took home one of his eight Grammys, when he joined forces with the banjo player David Holt. * AFP
Obama bestows Bob Dylan with presidential medal
The US president Barack Obama invested the legendary musician Bob Dylan with America's highest civilian honour on Tuesday. Dylan joined other Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees including the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, and the novelist Toni Morrison. "There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he's still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth, and I have to say that I am a really big fan," Obama said. * AFP
CNN taps Bourdain for weekend show
The celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain will begin hosting a new show next year on - of all places - CNN, a departure for the news network in both content and procedure. CNN usually does its programming in-house, but in this case an outside production company tied to Bourdain will make the series. Bourdain's show will feature cultures around the world through the prism of dining traditions. "We have license to love a wide variety of news, not just war and politics, but other things that reflect all aspects of our lives," said CNN's vice president Mark Whitaker. * AP
Michelle Obama wants to be Beyoncé
On her website last month, Beyoncé posted an open letter to the US first lady Michelle Obama, saying: "I am proud to have my daughter grow up in a world where she has people like you to look up to." Obama replied the next day on Twitter: "@Beyoncé Thank you for the beautiful letter and for being a role model. -mo" In the latest issue of People, a reporter asked Obama: "If you could be someone else, who would you be?" She replied: "Gosh. I'd be Beyoncé. I'd be some great singer." Obama and her daughters attended Beyonce's comeback concert in Atlantic City last week.