James Franco

HOLLYWOOD — Big news from England … Monty Python is bringing its “Flying Circus” to London on July 1. The remaining Python members — Eric Idle, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (sixth member Graham Chapman died in 1989) — will perform their comeback “with a modern, topical, Pythonesque twist” to some of their greatest skits. Think anyone cares? Their show sold out 20,000 seats in 43.5 seconds, forcing them to add four more shows through July 5. A sixth show is planned for the Hollywood Bowl, where they last performed live in 1980. Eric Idle’s “Spamalot” took Broadway by storm in 2005, winning three Tony Awards, including best musical.
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James Franco has six movies in the can and currently is shooting two others. Franco directed, co-wrote and stars in two of them: “As I Lay Dying” and “Child of God.” Then there’s “Third Person,” directed by Paul Haggis and starring Mila Kunis (his “Oz the Great and Powerful” co-star) and Oscar-winners Adrien Brody, Kim Basinger and Olivia Wilde; “Homefront” with Jason Statham and Winona Ryder; “Good People” with Kate Hudson; and “Veronica Mars” (the movie version of the TV series), starring Kristen Bell. Franco is before the cameras in “True Story” with Jonah Hill, and “Everything Will Be Fine” with Rachel McAdams, in 3D. Then he’ll star on Broadway in John Steinbeck’s 1937 classic play “Of Mice and Men,” with Chris Dowd, previewing March 19 and opening April 16. What does he do in his spare time?

Dustin Hoffman just completed “Chef,” written, directed and starring Jon Favreau, plus Robert Downey Jr., and a TV film for the BBC of Roald Dahl’s “Esio Trot,” with Judi Dench. He starts shooting “Boychoir” with Alfred Molina and Kathy Bates in February.
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The rarest piece of movie memorabilia, the statue of “The Maltese Falcon,” just sold for $4.85 million. It topped the original Batmobile from the Adam West “Batman” TV series, which sold for $4.6 million, and Sean Connery’s 007 Aston Martin from “Goldfinger,” which sold for a mere $4.1 million. Before that, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz,” sold for $2 million, and the model of the starship Enterprise used in “Star Trek” sold for $576,000.

So why did the statue from “The Maltese Falcon” sell for so much? According to Dr. Catherine Williamson, director of the Entertainment Memorabilia Department of Bonham’s auction house, “The Maltese Falcon is arguably the most important movie prop ever, and is central to the history of cinema.” Talk about an inflated opinion! The original statue sold for $4.85 million while the original film cost less than $300,000 to make. And what do you have in your attic or garage?

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.