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Was race an issue in ‘Hitch’ casting?

Casting Will Smith’s love interest in “Hitch” was not a simple black or white decision.
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Casting Will Smith’s love interest in “Hitch” was not a simple black or white decision.

Eva Mendes was given the role opposite Smith because the moviemakers were worried about the public’s reaction if the part was given to a white or an African American actress, according to Smith. The actor is saying that it was feared that a black couple would have put off worldwide audiences whereas a white/African American combo would have offended viewers in the U.S.

“There’s sort of an accepted myth that if you have two black actors, a male and a female, in the lead of a romantic comedy, that people around the world don’t want to see it,” Smith told the British paper, the Birmingham Post while promoting the flick overseas. “We spend $50-something million making this movie and the studio would think that was tough on their investment. So the idea of a black actor and a white actress comes up — that’ll work around the world, but it’s a problem in the U.S.”

Eva Mendes — who is of Cuban descent — was seen as a solution because apparently, the black/Latina combination is not considered taboo.

Sony didn’t return calls for comment.

Alexander II: Electric Boogaloo

Actor Colin Farrell in scene from new film Alexander
Actor Colin Farrell portrays Alexander the Great in a scene from the new action adventure drama film \"Alexander\" directed by Oliver Stone, in this undated handout photo. The film opens November 24, 2004. NO SALES REUTERS/Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros/HandoutWarner Bros. / X80001

Will Alexander the Great rise again?

Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” was a critical and box office flop, but director Dino De Laurentiis is saying that his long-planned production of a $150 million epic film about the Macedonian conqueror is still on track.

“It will be the Alexander that everyone has been waiting for,” De Laurentiis told Italy’s Il Corriere della Sera. “I don’t want to hit out against Oliver Stone, who merits respect. But his picture was certainly flawed, and was missing the spine of a screenplay.”

De Laurentiis’ film was to star Leonardo DiCaprio as Alexander, in the role that Colin Farrell was ridiculed for in the Stone flick. But DiCaprio’s rep says that the actor isn’t signed to star in the film. “The only thing on his schedule right now is Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed’ with Matt Damon,” his spokesman told The Scoop.

Notes from all over

British actress Liz Hurley arrives at the christening of David Beckham's sons in southern England
British actress Liz Hurley arrives at the christening of Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham, the young sons of England soccer captain David Beckham and his wife Victoria, at their home in Sawbridgeworth near Harlow in Hertfordshire, southern England December 23, 2004. REUTERS/Matt DunhamMatt Dunham / X01449

Liz Hurley must have a lot of guests. The “Serving Sara” star has applied for a variance to add some bedrooms to her eight-bedroom English estate.  . . . The Kabbalah Centre is looking to polish its image. The celebrity-studded movement, which has come under scrutiny lately, is expanding its charity efforts in the parts of the world hit by the tsunami.  . . .A source who reached Paris Hilton’s cell phone says that the says simply, “It’s meeeeeee.”

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