There is consternation in London's theatreland over Clint Eastwood's latest project, The Human Factor. Set just after the fall of apartheid, the film will explore how new president Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Cup – which was both hosted and won by South Africa – as a way of unifying the country's divided racial population.
Producers have already opted for two big-name Hollywood stars to appear, with Morgan Freeman cast as Mandela and Matt Damon as the stoic South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar. In addition, I'm told Eastwood was seeking a third celebrity – preferably British – to play Pienaar 's father.
Auditions for the role took place over the Christmas holidays, with a variety of esteemed British actors, the urbane Valkyrie star Kenneth Cranham among those considered.
After several months of deliberation, however, auditionees have been notified that their services will not be required. Instead – perhaps due to the Brits' notorious inability to ape an Afrikaans accent – the role will be offered to a relatively unknown South African.
Woman they couldn't gag
Are Kate Moss's days as the silent sphinx of fashion coming to an end?
It was only a few weeks ago that the famously interview-shy model was revealing unlikely intimacies for the benefit of New York magazine ("I've grown breasts! I'm not sure if my boyfriend likes them ...").
Now Ms Moss has granted Vogue Television the honour of an exclusive conversation. Don't get too excited though: posted on their website, it lasts a whopping 16 seconds – just time to down a quick glass of champagne and scamper off.
Art hunter gathers jobs as model
The so-called "female Charles Saatchi", Anita Zabludowicz is one of London's most prolific art collectors. The flame-haired enthusiast is also, it would seem, developing a tidy sideline as an artists' muse.
Not long ago the omnipresent collector popped up in a Boo Ritson portrait, smeared with wet paint and sporting a Stetson. Now I see she has again moved within the "canvas" through another appearance, this time as a rather grimy 19th-century fishwife in a short film by artist Matt Stokes.
Called The Gainsborough Packet, the clip sees her clad in a flannel cap and peasant dress, apparently clambering into a lake.
Keira won't go to the Caribbean again
Keira Knightley has put paid to rumours that she will make a fourth appearance in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series by claiming she "doesn't feel the need to go there again."
Asked about the possibility by Moviefone, the well-spoken actress explained that although "it was a completely fantastic experience, and it was an amazingly large portion of [her] life", she "thinks that it's done".
No doubt the announcement will come as a blow to producers, who have already persuaded Knightley's Hollywood co-star Johnny Depp to return to his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, and are rumoured to be in discussions with outlandish comedian Russell Brand over the possibility of playing his brother.
Still, at least they can count on Knightley to add a little red carpet glamour when the film eventually premiers.
"I'm very excited to see it," she insists. "Johnny is so wonderful in that character. I think it'll be wonderful."
Wits pitted over strike
A delightful exchange of fire at Bookmarks' party for Marching To The Fault Line, an account of the miners' strike by journalists Francis Beckett and David Hencke. Rival historian Mike Simons, who penned the Socialist Workers Party account, confronted the pair with: "Research excellent, writing excellent, analysis rubbish." Ever the gentleman, Beckett responded by complimenting Simons' own work. "That," muttered Simons, "is something I'm just going to have to live with."
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