Peter Facinelli (below) was in Hong Kong last week for a charity premiere of his new film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1. The actor's career had been going kind of OK - he was, for example, one of the stars of vaguely culty television series Fastlane - until he was offered the role of Dr Carlisle Cullen in the romantic teen vampire series, adapted from the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer ...
Meyer has copped a fair bit of flak for the books, not least from feminists for the central relationship, between Edward and Bella, which charmingly meets all 15 criteria for an abusive relationship as defined by the United States National Domestic Violence Hotline. Nonetheless, her books sell by the truckload - she was the second biggest selling author of the past decade, beaten only by a writer whose work is aimed at a younger audience, J.K. Rowling ...
As well as writing books about a boy wizard, Rowling is also a philanthropist, with single-parent families, children's rights and multiple sclerosis research among her favourite causes. She also, possibly because of her friendship with Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon Brown, wrote an introduction to perhaps one of the least appealing charity fund-raisers ever, a collection of the former British prime minister's speeches. Among the others contributing an introductory article to the no-doubt rip-roaring read was Nelson Mandela ...
You'd think, after spending 27 years in jail, leading the liberation of your country and then becoming its president that you'd want to rest - especially if you were approaching your 90s. Not so the South African statesman: in 2007, Mandela decided to create The Elders. The group's aims include coming up with solutions to Aids, climate change, poverty and war. Roughly half of them have won the Nobel Peace Prize, including Mandela, Kofi Annan, Aung San Suu Kyi and Jimmy Carter ...
The former US president is often thought of as having been more successful after his presidency (conflict resolution, human rights work, election monitoring) than during it (energy crisis, Three Mile Island nuclear accident, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan). But not everyone agrees: Carter has been described, for example - in words that might be seen as a touch harsh on, say, Abraham Lincoln - as 'the first guy who really brought a sense of morality into the presidency' by actor William H. Macy ...
The star of Fargo, Magnolia and, ahem, Jurassic Park III, Macy is also a ukulele player and avid woodturner. In 1985, he founded the off-Broadway, non-profit, artsy Atlantic Theatre Company along with playwright David Mamet. Macy, who serves as director-in-residence, has taught numerous aspiring young actors there - including Peter Facinelli.