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Hobbit producers deny animal deaths

Plus 50 Cent takes on boxing challenge, Mr Bean's days are numbered and Modern Family star Ariel Winter's real-life drama.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Courtesy Warner Bros Pictures
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Courtesy Warner Bros Pictures

The makers of The Hobbit movies have rejected allegations that animals died on set during the making of the director Peter Jackson's JRR Tolkien trilogy in New Zealand. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) was planning protests at screenings of the film after claiming that 27 animals had been killed. Jackson and producers said in a statement that the American Humane Association monitored the shoot and "no animals died or were harmed on set during filming". The statement added: "Extraordinary measures were taken to make sure that animals were not used during action sequences or any other sequence that might create undue stress for the animals involved." The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey premieres next month. - AFP

50 Cent takes on boxing challenge

The rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent is taking a swing at promoting boxing bouts. The Nevada Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer said the entertainer won approval last week for a promoter's licence. His company, SMS Promotions, is handling a December bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas between the Cuban-American Yuriorkis Gamboa and an opponent yet to be named. Kizer said 50 Cent and the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr had been talking about forming a promotions company called TMT Promotions but the rapper told the commission those plans fell through and the fledgling business was being absorbed by SMS Promotions. - AP

Mr Bean's days are numbered

The comedian Rowan Atkinson says he has grown weary of playing the hapless comedy character Mr Bean. The 57-year-old British actor admits that although the show, which was first broadcast in 1990, has been his most commercially successful role, the mute character has become tiring. It's "basically quite physical, quite childish. I increasingly feel I'm going to do a lot less of [it]", he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "Apart from the fact that your physical ability starts to decline, I also think someone in their 50s being childlike becomes a little sad. You've got to be careful." Atkinson last played Bean in the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. - IANS

Modern Family star's real-life drama

The father of the Modern Family star Ariel Winter said he is willing to care for his daughter and does not believe she should be placed in guardianship after allegations that her mother has been physically and emotionally abusive. One day before a hearing in the case was scheduled to convene, Glenn Workman filed an objection to a petition that would strip his estranged wife, Chrisoula, of custody of their 14-year-old, who plays Alex Dunphy on the ABC series. "I want to provide for her a calm, loving home environment that is a retreat from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood; a place where she can think and relax without any distractions," the filing says. Winter's adult sister, Shanelle Gray, was awarded temporary guardianship while the case is decided. - AP