Film: Rushes

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The Independent Culture
"TIRESOME, DISTURBING and deeply distasteful," said Anthony Hopkins. The traumatic sight of the 60-year-old actor bursting out of his cummerbund in The Mask of Zorro has indeed been too much for many cinema audiences, but the actor wasn't referring to his appearance in his latest UK release. Showbiz, in fact, was the butt of his ire as Hopkins announced his retirement from acting at a press conference in Rome last weekend. In a remarkably frank farewell to his profession, Hopkins declared: "I've got to get out because I think acting is very bad for one's mental health," adding, "I can't take it any more. This has got to stop. I have wasted my life."

He wasn't joking. He called showbiz "this futile wasteful life", before dismissing practically every film he'd been in as "a complete waste of time". "After 35 years I look back and cringe with embarrassment and say to myself, `How the hell could you have done that?'" His disillusionment set in about five years ago, he said, since when he's "been in a deep depression over acting". Hopkins said that the conclusion early next year of his contribution to the big-screen version of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, will formally mark the end of his acting career. Fortunately, "tiresome" showbiz has left him with plenty of cash to indulge in his plans for the future: "I'm interested in music, I write and I'm just going to drop out."

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EDWARD NORTON, by far the best thing about the recent Rounders, is set to direct his first film, says Variety. Keeping the Faith is a romantic comedy, with a budget of around $30m, in which Norton will also star alongside Ben Stiller. The former will play a Catholic priest and the latter a rabbi, both of whom fall in love with the same woman. That role, expected to be hotly contested, has yet to be cast.

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VARIETY ALSO reports that Kenneth Branagh has cast Alicia Silverstone in his forthcoming film adaptation of Love's Labours Lost. Branagh himself will star and direct, and is expected to transform Shakespeare's comedy into a 1930s musical comedy.

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