Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Celebrities support Darfur protests

from press association website

Celebrities including Matt Damon and Thandie Newton are backing protests against the war in Darfur.

The actors are pictured destroying children's toys as a symbol of youngsters' suffering in the area.

The images are being released as part of a global day of protest on Sunday April 13, including a gathering outside the Sudanese embassy in London. Events have been planned in 30 countries to mark five years of war in Darfur.

One million children have been caught up in the unrest, according to human rights groups.

Africa director at Human Rights Watch Georgette Gagnon said: "Five years on the killings in Darfur continue because world leaders have let Sudan - and some rebels - get away with murder.

"Millions of Darfuris are struggling to survive on aid handouts under the daily threat of being raped, beaten or killed. Sudanese leaders need to know they will pay a heavy price for continuing to defy the UN Security Council."

As part of the campaign, authors JK Rowling and Judy Blume have released a letter asking the world to bring childhood back to Darfur.

Damon and Newton, along with Joely Richardson, Laura Bailey and Jemima Khan, are pictured destroying toys and drawings.

George Clooney, who is also backing the campaign, said: "Days like this matter because they keep what is happening in the eyes of the international community.

"If we all raise our voices the international community will have to listen and respond. We need sustained international engagement if we're to see real progress on the ground."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Not Just Anybody: Thandie Newton

The actress talks about diet, plastic surgery and Bikram yoga

Laura Deeley From The Times April 11, 2008
You trained in contemporary dance. Why didn't you make a career of it?

I tore some ligaments in my lower spine preparing for an end-of-year show when I was 16. I couldn't practise or audition for dance schools, such as the Rambert in London, where I really wanted to go. Instead, I auditioned for a film. Then acting took over.

How do you stay so svelte?

I used to do Bikram yoga.

So you're part of the bendy brigade. How does Bikram yoga differ from yoga?

The room is heated to a really high temperature so you sweat a huge amount. Your muscles stretch farther in the heat so you get rid of more toxins. I gave it up when I became pregnant with my second child, Nico, now 3, and I didn't start again.

Would you describe yourself as a couch potato now?

Not entirely. I love horseriding and walking, but I don't want to exercise for the sake of it. I want it to be part of my life.

Do you ever diet?

No. I eat healthily. I drink wine and have pastries, but I tend to buy organic produce. When I was pregnant with my first daughter Ripley, now 7, I was eating whatever I liked.

Tendency to yo-yo when it comes to body shape?

It comes and goes. I've had every shaped ass there is, skinny ass, scrawny ass, big ass. It doesn't change who I am.

You were a bit on the Twiggy side a few years ago. Were you ill?

I lost a lot of weight after Nico's birth. I was grieving and stress really affects my weight. I lost a lot.

Who were you grieving for?

It's not something I want to talk about. I went through a hard time but, as Buddhists say, challenge is a gift.

Every wrinkle tells a story?

Yes. I remember when I was really distressed my frown lines were deep from crying. A make-up artist who was working on me said: “You can remove these; they are just not you.” A part of me thought you're right, this isn't me. But now I see that it was. The hard times marked my face and are marks of my experience.

Ever consider a nip'n'tuck?

No. Once you start where do you stop? Plus, after having children I feel really happy with my body.

And peaceful of mind?

I'm tangle-free.

Bit of an academic?

I like learning and I did well at school. I won a scholarship to go to a performing arts boarding school in Tring, Herfordshire, when I was 11 and then I went off to Cambridge University to study anthropology.

Was boarding difficult?

Yes, for the first two years. We weren't allowed to call home until we were 13. I think that's why I articulate myself better, more sincerely, in a letter.

Do you feel the need to hide your true self in person?

It's not that, but I think we are taught to hide our true selves.

When we're children?

Yes. Children have honesty and frankness drilled out of them. Children are born free and outspoken. When they say things like, “Oh, that woman's really ugly”, we shouldn't shush them. I'd rather deal with the fall-out of a kid being brutally honest than stop them expressing themselves.

So honesty's the best policy?

I think so. Dishonesty is a route to confusion and negativity. Even if it reveals things you're ashamed off, you'll get past it if you're honest about it. I'm comfortable when I'm being honest with myself and everyone else.

You're the face of a new campaign to provide clean drinking water to Africa; what's the plan?

The basic premise is that each time you buy one litre of bottled water, Volvic provides ten litres of clean water for countries in Africa.

Not in bottles, surely?

No, of course not. The project Volvic is supporting is run by the charity World Vision. Volvic has already committed the money to install 22 water pumps in Africa.

When you're supporting a charity, do you ever worry about its motives?

It's easy to see the project as a money-spinner for Volvic, but who cares what Volvic's motivations are? The money is going to be used by World Vision to do an enormous amount of good. Buying the water shows a company that it's worth investing in charities; that's what's important.

And you can use your fame to do that?

It does give some influence. I went on a TV show the other day and after I'd made my appeal World Vision received loads of donations. It feels good to make a difference.

Thandie Newton is supporting Volvic's 1L-for-10L programme. For more details visit,

Volvic 1 for 10 website

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Thandie Newton, Ioan Gruffudd cast in 'W'

By Steven Zeitchik

The Bush administration is coming together -- and adding a key ally for good measure.
Oliver Stone has found the actress to play Condoleezza Rice in his upcoming "W," with Thandie Newton in final negotiations to star as the National Security Advisor-turned-Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, Ioan Gruffudd is in final talks to play former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Rice and Blair are the first non-Bush roles to be cast; Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks and Ellen Burstyn had previously been cast as George W., George Sr., Laura and Barbara Bush, respectively.
Also notable is the fact that Newton, who was born in Zambia and raised in England, is a Brit, making her the first non-American to be cast for a role in the U.S. administration. Gruffudd is also a Brit and is of course playing a Brit.
Newton has previously had roles in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Mission Impossible: II." She's currently in Picturehouse's "Run Fatboy Run" and stars in Guy Ritchie's upcoming mob pic "RocknRolla."
Gruffudd, known for turns in "Titanic" and several movies in the "Fantastic Four" franchise, stars in the upcoming period fantasy "The Secret of Moonacre."
Stone's "W" is expected to start shooting shortly, with QED and Stone's own Ixtlan banner producing and QED financing. Bill Block, Moritz Borman and Jon Kilik are producers.
The movie will look at Bush's formative years and path to the president as well as his life inside the White House.
As one of the few cabinet members to serve during both Bush terms, Rice's role in the Bush White House is seen as pivotal. According to those who've read the "W" script, Rice is said to be in a key first scene as well as a number of scenes connected to the Iraq war. Blair also appears in Iraq-related scenes.
Stone has said he wants to draw a fair-minded portrait of the polarizing figure. Sources familiar with the script say Bush is depicted as an easily distracted figure predisposed to personal agendas, though they say the script occasionally shows a more sympathetic side.
Among the key "W" roles yet to be cast are those of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Thandie Newton Campaigns for Clean Water

Thandie Newton is supporting a new campaign that aims to provide clean water to people in Africa.

For every litre of Volvic Plain or Volvic Touch of Fruit purchased in the UK, Volvic and World Vision will provide ten litres of clean, safe drinking water through their well creation programme in six countries across Africa, helping to improve the quality of life for entire communities.

Backing this programme is leading British actress and BAFTA award winner, Thandie Newton. In February 2008 Thandie visited Mali, where she personally witnessed the difference a well can make in a community and met with people who are directly benefiting from the Volvic 1L-for-10L programme.

"My trip to Mali was a humbling experience, and one that I will never forget. Having seen first hand the vital difference, clean, safe water makes to the lives of children, women and the wider community; I hope that people in the UK will get behind the '1L-for-10L' campaign and help generate the much needed supply of water, something we take for granted everyday."

As a result of the 1L-for-10L project, wells are being dug in Ghana, Malawi, Zambia and Mali in 2008, generating over 1.7 billion litres of water in the first year alone. Not only do the wells provide access to safe, clean drinking water but they also lead to improved sanitation, a reduction of waterborne diseases, better hygiene and improved crop irrigation.

Individuals will no longer need to walk for miles to collect water and families and communities will be able to devote more time to education and income-generating activities.

In 2009 and 2010 Volvic and World Vision will build further wells in Africa, in Ethiopia and Niger, with the aim of generating more than 6 billion litres of clean drinking water over the duration of the three year programme. The wells have a lifespan of at least 20 years and World Vision provides training for the local communities so that they can manage the wells ensuring that they remain a sustainable resource. Volvic and World Vision estimate the 1L-for-10L programme will have a life-changing impact on hundreds of thousands of people.

Patrick Kalotis, Marketing Director at Volvic, comments: "At Volvic we are passionate about water and feel very strongly about the fact that millions of people around the world do not have access to the daily water they need.

“Volvic 1L-for-10L is an exciting initiative and we want to work together with World Vision to deliver a long-term sustainable development programme that will make a real difference to communities across Africa. We hope that the whole of the UK will get behind Volvic and World Vision and support 1L-for-10L."

Philip Spencer, Marketing Director at World Vision comments: "The Volvic 1L-for-10L programme in association with World Vision will help further generate awareness in the UK of the issues surrounding the lack of clean drinking water in developing countries. This programme will have a dramatic effect on the quality of life for communities across the six identified countries, as access to clean water impacts everything from health and sanitation to education and food production.

“World Vision works alongside these communities to ensure that development really does meet their needs and is also sustainable in the long-term. Both World Vision and Volvic are passionate about using water to improve the quality of people's lives and we look forward to helping achieve this with the 1L-for-10L programme."

Turning on the Waterworks

FASHION muse and Hollywood star Thandie Newton is lending her face - and voice - to a new initiative to provide safe, clean drinking water to Africa.

Launching this month, Volvic's 1L-for-10L campaign does exactly what the name suggests - for every litre of Volvic water purchased in the UK, the company will provide ten litres of water to Africa, in partnership with international relief and development charity World Vision.

Having visited Africa recently, Newton was only too happy to get involved with the campaign.

"My trip to Mali was a humbling experience, and one that I will never forget," she explains. "Having seen first hand the vital difference, clean, safe water makes to the lives of children, women and the wider community, I hope that people in the UK will get behind the 1L-for-10L campaign and help generate the much-needed supply of water - something we take for granted everyday." (April 2 2008, AM)