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The real Hillary

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The press has begun for Carl Bernstein’s new book “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.” Drawn in part from the papers of her old friend, the late University of Arkansas political scientist Diane Blair, the book, according to the Times of London, will be a “hard-hitting and intimate portrait” and reveal a number of “discrepancies” in Clinton’s official story.

Hot stuff? Betsey Wright, the former chief of staff to Gov. Bill Clinton, was among many, including The Insider, that Bernstein talked with in research for the project. She dropped him a note about the London Times’ report and suggested it was a hit job (which is expected, by the way, in an “investigative biography” on Clinton coming for former New York Timesmen Jeff Gerth of Whitewater and Wen Ho Lee infamy and Donald Van Natta.)

Bernstein’s response to Wright: “Don’t believe what you are reading in the Murdoch press. … This is simply not the case.” (Since this item was originally published, Bernstein's publisher has also disputed the Times' report that he had acess to Blair's papers at the University of Arkansas.)

Movie star

It looks like a new Arkansas film star has been born. “Shotgun Stories,” Little Rock native Jeff Nichols’ debut feature film, celebrated its national premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York this past weekend.

The independent feature, shot largely in Scott and Keo in the fall of 2005, follows a steadily escalating feud between two sets of half-brothers, one abandoned by their ne’er do-well father, the other raised by the same man, one town over, after he’d sobered up and found the Lord.

Already it’s racking up accolades. New York magazine included it in an article on the Top 10 films to watch at Tribeca. David Edelstein, the magazine’s chief film critic (and one of the film world’s most respected) called it a “sobering exploration of primal injuries” with “brilliant, barbed dialogue.” And “Variety,” with typically purple prose, hailed it as a “point-blank buckshot blast of inarticulate American rage.”

The film stars Michael Shannon, who’s been featured in dozens of films, including “8 Mile,” “World Trade Center” and “Bug.” Natalie Canerday, a name familiar to a lot folks around here for her local stage work and role in “Sling Blade,” also stars, along with Alan Wilkins, the lead singer of local garage-rock act Smoke Up Johnny.

Nichols’ brother Ben, the lead singer of popular Memphis band Lucero, did the score, and independent film hero David Gordon Green (“George Washington” and “All the Real Girls”), who was born in Little Rock but raised in Texas, served as a producer.

The film premiered internationally in February at the highly respected Berlin Film Festival. Nichols said Monday, between meetings with Warner Independent and Sony Classic, that he hopes to bring the film to Arkansas in July or August once he has a distribution deal.

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