Plus: Cruise, Jolie rehearse for Oscars; Serbs shun Jolie's directorial debut; The Artist shines at Cesars; Boman Irani's son to star in Karan Johar's next film and screenwriters lab finalists to be chosen in March.
Today's entertainment news: Lourdes to be Madonna's backup dancer
Madonna has reportedly recruited her 15-year-old daughter Lourdes to join her forthcoming world tour a s a backup dancer.
The Daily Mail quoted a source from the singer's camp saying: "It is the first time Lourdes will have appeared on stage with her mum. Madonna is really excited about her making an appearance."
The 50-country concert tour's second stop is at Yas Arena in Abu Dhabi on June 3. Tickets to the concert go on sale at midday tomorrow at www.thinkflash.ae, with general admission tickets priced at Dh250 and Dh495, grandstand at Dh695 and golden circle tickets at Dh1,095.
Cruise, Jolie rehearse for Oscars
Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie lit up the Hollywood and Highland Center with their star power when they rehearsed for tomorrow's Oscars. They each practised walking on stage and presenting their categories on Friday, handing out prop Oscars to stand-ins.
Jolie said she was jet-lagged after travelling with her family from Sarajevo to Berlin to Paris to Los Angeles, but she still looked stunning in black jeans, heels and a blazer.
"You just blew the minds of two of our stand-ins who got a hug from you," the stage manager Dency Nelson told the actress, who replied through a shy smile, saying, "Oh, you're so sweet."
Cruise probably made the days of the fake winners he presented prop Oscars to as well, saying "congratulations" to them with a beaming smile.
* Associated Press
Serbs shun Jolie's directorial debut
The Serbian premiere of Angelina Jolie's Balkan war drama, In the Land of Blood and Honey, was met with derision on Friday, as Serbs angry over what they consider an unfair depiction stayed away in droves.
Jolie's directorial debut - a love story in which a Serb soldier finds his ex-lover, a Muslim woman, among sex slaves in a camp - has triggered mixed emotions in the postwar Balkans, a region that is still grappling with historic ethnic tension. Serbs have blasted the movie as propaganda designed to portray them as the villains of the bloody 1992-95 Balkan wars.
The right-leaning Nationalist Press daily wrote that "the film is so bad that it warrants no reaction". It added that only five people have turned up for a "ghostly empty" screening in one cinema - "more than the movie deserves".
The Artist shines at Cesars
The silent movie The Artist shone at home on Friday, netting best film and a string of other awards at France's annual Cesars.
Michel Hazanavicius won both best film and best director, while his partner, Bérénice Bejo, was visibly moved to accept the best actress Cesar. The Artist also picked up best score, best set design and best cinematography trophies.
The film's lead, Jean Dujardin, left the Cesars empty-handed but heads to Hollywood tomorrow with a chance to become the first Frenchman to win a best actor at the Oscars, where The Artist is contending for a whopping 10 nods.
* Agence France-Presse
Boman Irani's son to star in Karan Johar's next film
Kayoze Irani, the younger of actor Boman Irani's two sons, will make his acting debut in Karan Johar's next production, Student of the Year (SOTY).
Posting a picture of Kayoze, Johar, who produced back-to-back releases Agneepath and Ekk Tu Aur Ek Main, tweeted: "OK ... that's Kayoze Irani!!! @kayoze. Boman Irani's super talented son who we are introducing in SOTY".
Kayoze worked as an assistant director in Ekk Tu Aur Ek Main, which was released this month. Along with Kayoze, Student of the Year will also introduce Mahesh Bhatt's daughter Alia Bhatt, director David Dhawan's son Varun and newcomer Siddarth Malhotra. The choreographer Farah Khan is currently shooting a song sequence for the film.
* Anjali A
Screenwriters lab finalists to be chosen in March
The Anand Mahindra-led Mahindra Group will collaborate with Robert Redford's Sundance Insitute to host the Mumbai Mantra-Sundance Institute Screen Writing Lab 2012, which will give selected Indian screenwriters a chance to interact closely with eminent screenwriters and filmmakers to develop their own projects.
Inspired by the Sundance Institute's Screenwriters Lab held every year in Park City, Utah, the Indian Screenwriters Lab will be a five-day writers' workshop that will give independent screenwriters an opportunity to work in a focused manner on their own feature film scripts. A panel of established writers and directors chosen from across the world will hold one-on-one story sessions with eight selected screen writers to develop their scripts.
The lab had opened submissions in April 2011 and received more than 500 applications from independent writers. Ninety-four applications were shortlisted and they were asked to submit complete drafts of their screenplays. A selection advisory committee then shortlisted 35 screenplays and will announce the final eight screenwriters selected for the lab in next month.
* Anjali A