Names in the news, May 1

Posted April 30, 2012, at 7:37 p.m.

Jenna Fischer’s girl-next-door accessibility has charmed viewers of “The Office” for eight seasons. And she takes that approachability into real life, posting honest descriptions on social media of what it’s like to do a photo shoot or break into acting. Perhaps that’s why in her latest project, a romantic comedy called “The Giant Mechanical Man,” you want to see her win. Fischer’s character Janice is a down-on-her-luck single woman who can’t seem to get her life together and falls for a street performer played by Chris Messina. The film premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It also stars Topher Grace and Malin Akerman and is written and directed by Fischer’s real life husband, Lee Kirk. “In the time it took for him to write the script, develop the movie and get financing we did end up falling in love and getting married and we just had a baby,” she says. “So, I guess the on screen love story was paralleled by our real life love story.” … A federal judge on Monday dismissed a civil lawsuit against author Greg Mortenson, calling claims “flimsy and speculative” that the humanitarian and his publisher lied in his best-selling “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones Into Schools” to boost book sales. The lawsuit by four people who bought Mortenson’s books claimed that they were cheated out of about $15 each because the books were labeled as nonfiction accounts of how Mortenson came to build schools in central Asia. They had asked U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon to order Mortenson and publisher Penguin Group (USA) to refund all the money collected from Mortenson’s book sales. The readers from Montana, California and Illinois filed the lawsuit after “60 Minutes” and author Jon Krakauer reported last year that Mortenson fabricated parts of those books.

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