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Cranston to play LBJ on TV

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Cranston to play LBJ on HBO

BRYAN Cranston, just part of the ensemble on Malcolm in the Middle, became a superstar with Breaking Bad. So now his next gig is news: Lyndon Johnson on HBO.

Cranston just won a Tony for playing LBJ on Broadway. Now HBO has commissioned a TV adaptation -- with Steven Spielberg, no less, producing. The play, by one Robert Schenkkan, is a drama about Johnson's first year in the Oval Office.

Me, I ate up every word of every volume (so far) of Robert Caro's massive LBJ biography, so the fictionalized version doesn't tempt me much. But obviously HBO will have a winner on its hands here. No air date yet.


Britney briefly bails on bill

BRITNEY Spears -- remember her? -- left a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the other day without paying, reports.

She owed $30 for an appetizer and a salad. She thought her bodyguard had paid, and he thought she had. (Wait. What? If he wasn't watching carefully enough to see she hadn't reached for her wallet, maybe he's not much of guard). She took the remains of the salad in a doggie bag.

Anyway, Brit went back to the restaurant later, paid the bill and gave the waitress a $100 tip by way of apologizing.


A REAL oddity from Bowie

IS the increasingly reclusive David Bowie losing it? Or just messing with us?

It's one or the other, to judge by his latest communication with the outside world. Bowie, 67, doesn't make many appearances anymore -- he dropped his last album without doing any gigs or interviews -- and now this:

An AIDS charity called the Terrence Higgins Trust had a David Bowie Retrospective event, as a fundraiser, at a London saloon. NME, the music mag, reports Bowie didn't attend but sent this message:

"This city is even better than the one you were in last year, so remember to dance, dance, dance. And then sit down for a minute, knit something, then get up and run all over the place. Do it. Love on ya. More music soon. David."


Ex-Gaga aide to tell all

A WOMAN named Jennifer O'Neill worked as a personal aide to Lady Gaga for a couple of years (2009-11), left in a huff, sued the singer over 7,168 hours of alleged unpaid overtime -- and now is writing a book about it all. This could be fun.

Simon & Schuster's Ataria label will pay O'Neill as much as US$1 million for the book, says the New York Post. A sum that big means we can expect some juicy details. The title: Fame Monster.

The overtime case was settled out of court, with terms of the deal kept secret. I wonder if Gaga forgot to include a broader non-disclosure clause.

There's no publication date yet for this epic.


Depardieu ventures into vodka

IT's good to know Gerard Depardieu has found something to do in Russia.

You'll recall the actor became a Russian citizen following his 2012 self-exile from his native France over tax rates. Now, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reports he'll be opening a chain of restaurants called Gerard and will sell his own line of kitchen utensils.

Then, of course, there's his organic vodka. No, I am not making this up.

He owns several vineyards in France, as well as restaurants in France and Belgium, but this is his first venture into spirits. "I know more people like to drink wine than strong liquor, but vodka is a party drink," he said. Sounds like he's fitting in well.


Actress has advice on exes

WHEN Zoe Saldana is done with you, she's done with you.

"I have been in relationships where a man has disrespected me, and I don't need to be friends with that man anymore" she tells Marie Claire magazine. "I don't want to be the one going, 'I'm cool, because I'm friends with all my exes.' There's a reason why you're called an ex. I crossed you off my list."

Her advice: "If you're not happy with a person, leave. And wait until you find that one person who makes you feel good about yourself every single day."

Saldana's exes include rich guy Keith Britton (11 years), actor Bradley Cooper (14 months) and no doubt some Dull Normals. Last year she married artist Marco Perego.

Wiig wants dramatic roles

KRISTEN Wiig is still going around saying she's ready for serious drama.

She doesn't hate the comic roles and sketch comedy that have made her rich and famous, she tells Elle, but, "I've always wanted to do dramatic stuff, to write and direct, do a lot of different things."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 20, 2014 ??65524

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