Hot Topics: Will Brad Pitt Quit Acting At 50?
We were all diverted from Occupy Wall Street protests, the Penn State sex abuse scandal, verbal miscues by various presidential hopefuls and other tumultuous events this week by even more shocking news: Brad Pitt, the 47-year-old preternaturally youthful-looking leading man of Moneyball and scores of other films, expects to be through as a movie star by the time he's 50.
Pitt told an Australian TV program that he envisions giving up acting in three years and transitioning into becoming a movie producer. While Pitt is best known for appearing in 65 films, he's also had an off-camera producing role on 20 films, including some in which he didn't appear. "I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together," he explains. "And getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher time otherwise." Here's a transcript and video of the interview.
After the predictable frenzy in the celebrity media, Pitt qualified his remarks a bit, reassuring fans in a Hollywood Reporter interview that he "wasn't putting an exact deadline on my expiration date" as a movie star. But he also told Australia's News.com.au that unlike George Clooney, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood, he has no interest in having a second act in the director's chair. While being a producer would allow him to be involved in multiple projects, shepherding a single film project as a director requires several years of grueling, single-minded effort, and he doesn't want to take that much time away from Angelina Jolie and their six children. "It wouldn't be healthy for me," he explains.
Pitt already has at least one film in post-production, the upcoming World War Z, which he describes as "a big zombie movie."
In other news:
Build Your Own Classic Mustang: If you once lusted after a 1965 Mustang convertible, there's still a way for you to own an almost-new one, as USA Today explains. A California-based company, Dynacorn International, has licensed the rights to make a reproduction of the original Mustang's body, which can be mounted on a chassis with a smoother, more powerful and cleaner engine than the Mustang's original 260- or 289-cubic-inch V-8. Building an updated replica of the classic pony car isn't cheap -- expect to spend $65,000 to $70,000.
Novelist Ann Patchett Opens A Bookstore: The New York Times reports that the acclaimed author of Bel Canto and Truth and Beauty will open Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore, in her hometown of Nashville. Patchett, like other book lovers in the city once known as the Athens of the South, was dismayed by the closing of the beloved local Davis-Kidd Booksellers last year, and liquidation of the local Borders when that bookstore chain went bankrupt. "I have no interest in retail," Patchett tells The Times. "...But I have no interest in living in a city without a bookstore." Patchett's quest to keep Nashville literary isn't necessarily a quixotic one. The Times reports that Brooklyn's 2-year-old Greenlight Bookstore reported sales of more than $1 million last year, and that Milwaukee's new Boswell Book Company also is turning a profit.
How To Keep Your Brain Young? Learn to Tango: If you're worried about memory loss as you age, this CNN story offers some great advice from a top neurology researcher. "When people say 'What's the one thing I can do?' I say 'Dance,'" explains Dr. Jajid Fotuhi, chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness and a neurology professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Fotuhi, an expert on Alzheimer's disease and author of the 2004 book The Memory Cure: How to Protect Your Brain Against Memory Loss and Aging, took up ballroom dancing when he was a student at Harvard Medical School in the mid-1990s. He and his wife, Bita, continue to dance regularly, and even have mastered the tango, one of the most difficult steps. Fotuhi says ballroom dancing is an effective tool for brain fitness because it combines physical activity, social interaction and the mental challenge of remembering intricate moves. Also, it's great fun, so you're more likely to stick with it.
Kate Bush at 53: The Washington Post's Allison Stewart offers this rare interview with the ethereal British songbird. Bush scored a string of hits in the late '70s and early '80s -- including Running Up That Hill, which seemed to be on MTV every 20 minutes or so in 1985 -- and presaged Lady Gaga with her outlandish stage get-ups and edgy, expressionistic dance routines. Though she's been living a quiet life in the English countryside with her husband and teenage son, Bush reemerged in 2011 with not one but two new albums: Director's Cut, which featured reinvented versions of her classic songs, and the wholly original music of 50 Words for Snow, which also features her friend Elton John.
Middle-aged Knuckleballer Wants One More Season: Tim Wakefield, 45, who's spent 17 of his 19 seasons in the majors with the Boston Red Sox, got his 200th win in September, putting him just six wins behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young on the team's all-time list. But he wants to go for the record, NBCsports.com's Hardball Talk reports. Wakefield's agent, Barry Meister, recently tweeted that Wakefield would like to finish his MLB career with the Red Sox, but that he's also open to playing for several other clubs if Boston isn't interested in re-signing him.
Steve Jobs' Biographer Speaks: The New York Times' "Bits" technology section has an intriguing interview with Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, the biography of the recently deceased Apple co-founder that's on all our nightstands (or in our Kindles and iPads). One particularly interesting take-away: When asked how the visionary behind the Mac, iPad and iPhone compares to one of his other biographical subjects, Albert Einstein, Isaacson instead chose to compare Jobs to Walt Disney and Pablo Picasso. "Disney was probably the closest to Steve," he explains. "The real genius of these men was that they were able to create an emotional connection with their products."
The Last Word: "Surfin is the only life, the only way for me." -- the Beach Boys' "Surfin," written by Mike Love and Brian Wilson, the single that started the surf-rock craze 50 years ago this month. The Wall Street Journal's Jim Fusilli offers this fascinating essay on the song's genesis.
Bonus Video: Here's a great clip of the Beach Boys performing another of their early hits, "Surfin' USA," on the Red Skelton Show in 1963. Be careful trying those hopping dance steps on the living room rug.
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