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December 31, 2012

box office
Nicola Cove/Courtesy Focus Features/MCT

Bill Murray stars as FDR, with Laura Linney as Daisy in “Hyde Park on Hudson.” Murray is nominated for a Golden Globe for lead actor in a comedy or musical.

Murray's FDR right on the money

From news service reports

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Actors are used to pressure, but the task before Bill Murray in "Hyde Park on Hudson" was more than a little stressful.

Director Roger Michell said that if the "Ghostbusters" and "Groundhog Day" veteran didn't want to star as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he wouldn't make the movie at all, and Murray knew he would be playing someone so famous, as the actor put it, that "he's on the dime!"

Although the film has received mixed reviews, Murray, 62, has attracted some critical attention for his performance as FDR, including a Golden Globe nomination for lead actor in a comedy or musical, a category that includes Hugh Jackman from "Les Miserables" and Bradley Cooper for "Silver Linings Playbook."

"Hyde Park" isn't the only Murray movie receiving award consideration. Wes Anderson's comedy "Moonrise Kingdom," in which Murray plays the father of a runaway girl, is a contender for the original screenplay Academy Award and a dark horse for the best picture Oscar shortlist.

Set on the eve of World War II, "Hyde Park on Hudson" focuses on the 32nd president's many romantic entanglements, most prominently his love affair with distant cousin Margaret "Daisy" Suckley (Laura Linney), just as King George VI (Samuel West) and Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) are coming to visit the president at his New York vacation compound.

As written by playwright Richard Nelson, the movie is chiefly concerned with FDR's juggling of women, including his wife, Eleanor (Olivia Williams). In one of the film's most striking scenes, the president's sexual relationship with Daisy commences in the president's convertible.

In a late summer conversation at the Telluride Film Festival, Murray said he was attracted to the movie because it offered an unsentimental look at an unusual couple who, though not lonely, were clearly needy. "It's not necessarily romantic," the actor said. "But it is intimate. These are two people who need each other."

The movie is informed in large part by Suckley's diaries and correspondence with FDR.

Michell said he wanted only Murray because audiences grant him the slack that the role necessitates. "He has a charismatic charm as an actor that lets you forgive his character's mischief," the filmmaker said.

Comedian's troubles no laughing matter

LOS ANGELES - Comedian Katt Williams is out on bail after being arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of a stolen gun.

Police Officer Norma Eisenman said Williams was taken into custody Friday after the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services did a welfare check at his home. Authorities found more than one firearm, one of which had been reported stolen.

Eisenman said the DCFS did not specify how many children lived at the home or whether they were removed.

Williams, 41, was arrested this month on a felony warrant related to a police chase. In November, he was accused of hitting a man on the head with a bottle.

'Hobbit' tops competitors for third week

LOS ANGELES - "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" continues to rule them all at the box office, staying on top for a third straight week and capping a record-setting $10.8 billion year in movie going.

The fantasy epic, based on the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien novel, made nearly $33 million this weekend, according to Sunday studio estimates, despite serious competition. It's now made $686.7 million worldwide and $222.7 million domestically alone.

Two big holiday movies -- and potential Academy Awards contenders -- also had strong openings. Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti Western-blaxploitation mash-up "Django Unchained" came in second place for the weekend with $30.7 million. The revenge comedy starring Jamie Foxx as a slave in the Civil War South has earned $64 million since its Christmas Day opening.

And in third place with $28 million was the sweeping, all-singing "Les Miserables."



Katt Williams

Katt Williams

Ian McKellen portrays Gandalf in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”



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