PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Names in the news, Sept. 6

Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 9:07 p.m.

Al Pacino’s movie “Wilde Salome” is a complicated examination of Oscar Wilde’s once-forbidden play about illicit love and revenge. But his inspiration was simple: Jessica Chastain (photo). “As soon as I met her, and saw her, I thought: ‘This is the person to play ‘Salome’ and I must get her to play it before the world picks up on her — which it has done — and turns her into the next big star,’” Pacino said Sunday ahead of the film’s long-awaited world premier in a side event at the Venice Film Festival. “Wilde Salome” has been so long in the making that the role was Chastain’s first on film. She is, of course, by now a familiar face to moviegoers, having appeared in Terrence Malick’s recent sprawling drama “The Tree of Life” and now in theaters with “The Debt” and “The Help.” “Wilde Salome” is a tour-de-force tribute to Oscar Wilde and “Salome,” the 1891 play that he originally wrote in French to tell the story of Herod’s obsession for his wife’s daughter, culminating with Salome’s vengeful demand for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter. … Best Actor Oscar winner Colin Firth says he was all too happy to to take a supporting actor role for his “meaty” new part in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Firth — who won the Oscar for “The King’s Speech” and was nominated for the same award for “A Single Man” — plays the calm, collected intelligence agent Bill Haydon, a counterpoint character to the film’s lead Gary Oldman, playing the main character, retired spy George Smiley. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” directed by Tomas Alfredson is among entries vying for the top “Golden Lion” prize at the festival’s conclusion this Saturday.

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