Jeffrey Donovan

By Tony Rizzo
“Burn Notice” star Jeffrey Donovan is about to make his major breakthrough. He currently is shooting “J. Edgar,” as in Hoover, playing Robert Kennedy. Also starring are Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Judi Dench, Josh Lucas, “Gossip Girl’s” Ed Westwick and “The Social Network” star Armie Hammer. With Clint Eastwood directing, Ron Howard and Brian Grazier producing, and Dustin Lance Black, who wrote the screenplay, this all-star Oscar-winning team will be the ones to watch at next year’s Academy Awards.

Donovan’s successful directing of “Burn Notice” last June prompted executive producer/creator Matt Nix to hire him to direct the “Burn Notice” prequel, airing Sunday, April 17, on USA Network. Nix gave me the lowdown on the two-hour TV film.

“It was the biggest U.S. production to ever shoot in Bogata, Columbia. We used a local crew and many local actors. We discovered a wonderful local actress, Ilsa Rosario, and brought A&E’s “Glades” star Kiele Sanchez, as well as Alex Fernandez from “The Good Guys” pilot and RonReaco Lee from the series “Good Guys” to complete the cast. Because Columbia has very strict laws about explosions and our script called for a lot of those, we had to be very creative! We weren’t allowed to import high explosives, but we found other ways to make it happen.”

Nix thinks fans will especially enjoy a funny featurette on the making of the prequel he plans to add to an upcoming “Burn Notice” DVD.
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Are you ready for Indiana Jones to join forces with James Bond to fight aliens? You’ll find Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in the Arizona desert circa l873, fighting off a spaceship of invading aliens in “Cowboys and Aliens.” Rounding out the cast are “Tron Legacy” and “House” star Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell and Keith Carradine. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is due out July 29. What will they think up next?

The book “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace” by Scott Thorson, his 30-years-younger lover, is the basis for the Liberace bio-pic to star Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as Thorson. I met Liberace and Thorson many times because Liberace, who died in 1987 at the age of 67, was a die-hard fan of “The Young and The Restless” soap and turned up at many of its parties. Director Steven Soderbergh promises this film will be very funny and have Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in romantic scenes, including one in a hot tub. Matt Damon told Jay Leno on his show one night, “I ran into Michael at a party, and all he said to me was … get out your ChapStick, kid!!!”

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.