x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Today's entertainment news: Britney Spears nears deal to judge X Factor

Plus: Iranian-Americans get reality TV focus; A Separation director filming abroad; Imran Khan to star in Mumbaai 2 and comic book giant Moebius dies.

Britney Spears looks set to be a judge in the second season of The X Factor USA.
Britney Spears looks set to be a judge in the second season of The X Factor USA.

Britney Spears is close to becoming a judge on The X Factor USA, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Spears's fiancé and agent Jason Trawick is reportedly finalising contract negotiations, which could be signed in less than a week.

It was reported last month that the show's producer and head judge Simon Cowell was very interested in signing up Spears, after the Fox show fired Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger after the first season.

"There are going to be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks and a lot of things we're going to announce," Cowell said last month in a statement.

Iranian-Americans get reality TV focus

Shahs of Sunset, featuring glossy high-living members of the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, is the latest contribution to the reality TV genre.

The series, which debuted on Sunday on the US cable television channel Bravo, has the requisite fixation on materialism, personality clashes and people whose mantra is "more".

Featured in the show are Reza Farahan, 38, a "flamboyant estate agent"; Mercedes Javid, described as a 30-something "known party girl"; Sammy Younai, 35, a man-about-town who builds lavish homes for fellow Iranians; and Golnesa Gharachedaghi, 29, who is supported by her father and claims a hatred of ants and "ugly people".

Other than touching on the friends' shared roots, the show is "absolutely apolitical", said the Bravo executive Frances Berwick.

The show's executive producer, Ryan Seacrest, says the series is intended to amuse, not educate.

A Separation director filming abroad

Asghar Farhadi, the director who won Iran's first-ever Oscar for his movie A Separation, declared on Saturday he would never leave his homeland despite his new-found global fame – but his next film was being made abroad.

"I love my country and I will not change it for anywhere in the world," the 40-year-old filmmaker was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

"I will never emigrate from Iran."

Farhadi added, however: "I am at the point of filming a movie outside of the country." The director picked up the golden statuette for best foreign language film at the Oscars last month. His triumph resonated even more strongly because he made the movie under the restrictions imposed by Iranian authorities, who briefly placed a ban on A Separation as it was being filmed.

His next movie is being made in France, according to the trade publication Screen Daily. It is said to centre on a love story between a young Iranian woman and a North African man, and will begin filming within weeks.

Imran Khan to star in Mumbaai 2

Bollywood's Imran Khan has signed up for the sequel to the 2010 period crime thriller and box office hit Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai. He will star alongside the actor Akshay Kumar, reported Zee News.

Shahid Kapoor was originally attached to the lead role, but Khan was later favoured by the film's producers.

"Talks were on with Shahid but we have decided on Imran now. Imran loved the script and we are very gung-ho about this project. The audience will get to see a different Imran," the producer Girish Johar told the Indo Asian News Service.

Khan and Kumar will play rival mafia leaders.

Comic book giant Moebius dies

Moebius, the French comic-book artist whose spectacular science fantasy-based work wrought its magic on Hollywood classics such as Alien and Tron, died on Saturday after a long illness. He was 73.

Such was the appeal of Moebius – or Jean Henri Gaston Giraud – that he won a devoted following as far afield as Japan and the US, countries working in radically different comic-book traditions.

"The whole profession is in shock, totally devastated, even if we knew that he was seriously ill," Gilles Ratier, the head of France's Association of Comic-Book Critics, said.

Colleagues paid tribute to the artist generally acknowledged as having been one of the most innovative in his field.

Benoît Mouchart, the artistic director at France's Angouleme International Comics Festival, compared him to artistic giants such as Germany's Albrecht Durer and France's Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.

"France has lost one of its best-known artists in the world," Mouchart said.