Jolie's performance in 'Heart' justifies Pearl's seeking her for role

The Baltimore Sun

WE HAD something to say that we knew we should say together!" So speaks the widowed Mariane Pearl, asked by Time to comment on how she felt about Angelina Jolie's playing her in the film about the murder of her husband, journalist Daniel Pearl.

Mariane went on to add, "I have heard some criticism about her casting, but it is not about the color of your skin. It is about who you are. I asked her to play the role -- even though she is way more beautiful than I am -- because I felt a real kinship to her. She put her whole heart into it and I think she understood why we should do this movie."

Indeed she did. I saw A Mighty Heart over the weekend, and Jolie has never been better; she's intense, sympathetic and strong. That she is able to submerge herself as well as she does is amazing, given that her mere appearance on screen brings with it a lot of silly tabloid baggage. But, she's a real actress! The documentary style of the movie takes a bit of getting used to, but once you're involved, it's all the way.

And kudos also to Dan Futterman who plays Daniel Pearl. He doesn't have many scenes, but he makes them count. (You remember him as the brother on Judging Amy and he was Oscar-nominated for his Capote screenplay.)

Healthy advice

Her heart belongs to Daddy! Since her split with sexy pop troubadour John Mayer, Jessica Simpson has been spending lots of time at her parents' home in Encino, Calif. She remains especially close to her papa, Joe.

The father-daughter pair is often seen jogging around the three-mile loop near the Balboa Golf Course. Jessica credits her dad for encouraging her to get in better shape for her role in the feature Major Movie Star, which begins shooting in L.A. and New York.

We're sure Joe encourages healthy eating. Jessica was spotted at Gelson's Market loading up on fresh fruits -- pineapples and strawberries.

Helping kids

Hot invite and I'm told no press allowed -- Gen. Colin Powell and wife Alma will chair their America's Promise Alliance dinner at the Four Seasons tomorrow night. Donald and Catie Marron will host. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton will be honored guests for this commitment to the nation's most disadvantaged young people. The guest list is super, and America's Promise Alliance's president, Marguerite Kondracke, is to announce three initiatives to improve the lives of 15 million children in the future. OK, OK, I am going to be there with my friend Jay Kernis of NPR. But I'm not a real journalist; I just play one on TV.

Blair notions

The British press is betting Tina Brown's next book, following on the heels of her big hit, The Diana Chronicles, will be about the departing Prime Minister Tony Blair. But Tina says she hasn't decided anything yet. This week, Blair meets with the pope, and the other guess is he will become a Catholic, like his wife, Cherie. Blair couldn't convert while in office where he had to appoint bishops for the Church of England.

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