Sunday, July 27, 2008







There's no crying in football — or in the Army, for that matter. But after being issued a helmet and gearing up for his first NFL practice with the Detroit Lions, Caleb Campbell admitted that he shed a few tears Wednesday when he learned he would be joining his fellow West Point graduates in either Afghanistan or Iraq instead of taking the field.

When Campbell was drafted in the seventh round by the Lions in April, it opened up a debate about whether it was fair that he'd be lacing up his cleats come fall, when his comrades would be lacing up their combat boots, thanks to a new rule that allowed military-academy grads to go straight to the NFL and delay their service.

According to ESPN, it also might have ruffled feathers at the Navy and Air Force, because their graduates were playing under different rules put down under a Department of Defense directive, which required them to serve two years of active duty before applying for a release to pursue their sports dreams.

Thanks to the Army's alternative-service-option policy created in 2005, Campbell would have been allowed to play football while completing his military service as a recruiter and then in the reserves. But the Army revised its interpretation of the policy on July 8, though word didn't reach Campbell and the Lions until just before training camp was to begin.

"When I got drafted, I told people that I was going to have the best of both worlds," Campbell told ESPN. "I was going to be in the United States Army and I was going to have a chance to play professional football. Now I have the best of one world, and I'm very positive about that. It's all going to work out. ... I'm in great shape, and I'm going to stay in great shape. I'm going to fulfill my duty to the United States Army and do what I've got to do. One day, hopefully, I'll get another opportunity to play in the NFL."

Campbell admitted that he was upset at first and cried when he learned of the change in the Army's policy, but an Army spokesperson told The Associated Press that the defensive back known for stuffing the run could still get a chance to shine.

"It's unfortunate, but it doesn't mean Caleb Campbell's dream is dead. It just means it will be delayed," Army spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Anne Edgecomb said. "We want to take care of soldiers, and dashing their hopes is not what we intend. But it is what it is."

While Campbell had agreed to contract terms with the Lions, he had not yet signed a deal with the team, which will retain his rights until next year's draft, though he won't be eligible to play until 2010.

Campbell, a second lieutenant who trained as an air defense artilleryman at West Point, isn't the first soldier/athlete to be impacted by the military's rules. Last month, according to ESPN, Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter ruled that 22-year-old pitcher and St. Louis Cardinals draftee Mitch Harris has to serve a five-year active-duty commitment before joining the team. Harris had said he was surprised by Winter's ruling considering that, at the time, Campbell was going to be allowed to play football.

But now, every former West Point athlete currently playing pro sports will have to serve two years of active duty, after which they can apply for their release.

"It's unfortunate that the timing of the new policy is happening at the same time that he was about to begin trying out, but that's not something we planned," Edgecomb told ESPN. "But he's been at West Point for four years, and he went there to be an officer. What he's accomplished on a football field has been outstanding, but what he'll accomplish as a soldier will be even greater."

It's not totally the end of the line for Campbell in terms of football. After attending summer and spring mini-camps with the Lions and moving from strong safety to linebacker, he will serve as a graduate assistant with the Army or at the Academy's prep school in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, according to New York's Times Herald-Record. After that year of service, he will report for officer training.

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It seems like just yesterday that Miranda Cosgrove was the sharp, witty 8-year-old manager of Jack Black's "School of Rock" band. Now, the actress is almost all grown up, and with the hit Nickelodeon show "iCarly," and a solo album in the works, she's on our list of girls who may just be hot on the heels of Miley Cyrus.

You've already heard her voice on the" iCarly" theme song and soundtrack, but this 15-year-old (who was discovered singing at the ripe age of 3) is eager to show some creativity with her upcoming album, which may include a collaboration with Boys Like Girls.

"Actually, with the 'iCarly' soundtrack, I didn't get to write any of the songs. I just picked songs that meant a lot to me that I really liked," Cosgrove told MTV News. "Now, for my own CD, I've been co-writing and getting really into it. It's still pop-rock fun music like the 'iCarly' soundtrack, but I think it's a little more mature. They're love songs and just fun songs about hanging out with your girlfriends."

"iCarly," a show about a girl with her own Web show, has struck a chord with the tween crowd — it's #3 in the demographic, behind just "American Idol" and "Zoey 101" — and has proven to be more than just a TV series. Through iCarly, viewers can become a part of the pseudo-reality show by uploading their own videos demonstrating their talents (one such contribution featured a guy squirting milk out of his eye).

"[The user videos are] a really a big part of it," Cosgrove said. "It's the first reality-type show where kids can send in videos and really be a part of it. People can do pretty much anything, like the milk thing, or playing guitar and singing, or inventing something and cooking."

While juggling her work on the screen and in the studio, Cosgrove attempts to keep up with life as usual: She has afternoon get-togethers with friends and still plans to attend college. And rather than get overwhelmed with comparisons to Miley Cyrus, the multitalented Cosgrove says she'd like to focus on her acting — and take everything one day at a time.

"I really think it's cool when I go to the mall, and kids come up to me and say the episodes they like and talk to me about how much they enjoy the show," she said. "It's just such a good feeling to know people are actually watching."

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Coming off his song "Game's Pain," it's clear the Game's mood isn't getting any brighter. "My Life," another track from his L.A.X. LP was leaked Wednesday night. It features Lil Wayne and showcases more of Game's wordplay and his very vocal torment.

"All the pictures of me and Em, I burned them," he raps, referencing Slim Shady. "So there ain't no proof I walked through 8 Mile/ And so since it ain't no Proof, I'll never walk through 8 Mile/ Sometimes I think about my life with my face down/ Then I see my sons and put on my Kanye smile."

Later, he references Notorious B.I.G. "Biggie, Brooklyn's Jesus, shot for no f---in' reason/ And you wonder why Kanye West wears his Jesus pieces."

Game also talks about his own troubles, rhyming over the slow, melancholy track. "Hated on so much, 'Passion of the Christ' needs a sequel/ Yeah, like Roc-A-Fella needs a [Beanie] Sigel."

"You ain't grindin' till you die," Wayne sings on the hook, with some help from the Auto-Tune. "So I'm grindin' with my eyes wide looking to find a way through the day/ ... Dear Lord, you have taken so many of my people/ I'm just wondering why you haven't taken my life."

Game's next video, however, is more upbeat. It's called "Dope Boys" and features Travis Barker. The two recently shot the clip in California. You'll see heavy performances as well as some explicit images of hustling. Game's L.A.X. is slated for release later this summer.

(What do you think Game is rapping about? Let us know on the Newsroom blog.)

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Timbaland still can't find the right category to classify his smash album Shock Value. He better figure something out quick — the producer is planning to go into the lab and make another one.

"It be hot for the world," he boasted of the 2007 album. "I really do focus groups. I get reports, readouts. I'm not gonna talk about it. If you ask for documentation, I got it. I'm a businessman and at the same time a CEO. But I looked at the charts: I went platinum in 16 different countries. Africa? Double platinum. Ireland? Double platinum. New Zealand? Triple platinum. London? Platinum. London is the hardest place to go platinum. France? Platinum. They don't like nobody unless you French, but they like me."

The LP's follow-up, Shock Value 2, already has a few tracks in the can but no release date yet. Tim said he wants to stay away from working with some of the same folks he included last time, just to keep everyone guessing.

"Shock Value is really like the Now [That's What I Call Music!] compilation," he said. "That's my goal for this — not [to showcase] me as an artist. Of course I'll do my little part, introduce some people. It gives me room to go tour across the world. People request me. I put on a show. I put on a musical show.

"Right now, I have a song with Madonna that I didn't put on her album. I saved [it] in case I wanna do one for me," he revealed. "Of course I'mma do one with Beyonc├ę. Of course I'mma do one with Jordin Sparks, Rihanna. It's a lot of people. I'mma do one with Jonas Brothers. I'mma try to have 10 major ones."

On the hip-hop side, Timbo said he's looking at T.I., already has T-Pain and expects Jay-Z. "Jay was really on the last one, but he wanted to change [the song]," he said. "I said, 'Look, man, I gotta put out an album. You're killing me.' "

Aside from Shock Value, Tim said he might be producing one of Jay-Z's next LPs in its entirety. Next up for the super-producer are LPs from Missy Elliott and Chris Cornell.

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If you pay close attention while watching the new film "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," you'll probably catch a few familiar names and faces buried in the heightened action — but only if you're super-familiar with the TV show.

It's a gift that "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, who directed and co-wrote "I Want to Believe," presents to the true fans: the X-Philes. It's for the ones who have been waiting eagerly to see what has become of their favorite FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson), in the six years since the TV show ended.

Carter said he can't help himself: "I try to throw as much into a story as possible. If I have a chance to put a number in there, if I have a chance to put a face in there, if I have a chance to put a reference in there, I just put it in there. And oftentimes these are not perfectly well thought out. ... They're just inspiration."

But those who are new to "The X-Files" needn't worry — no prior knowledge is actually needed to enjoy "I Want to Believe." Unlike the first "X-Files" movie, 1998's "Fight the Future," this film has a self-contained story, unconnected to the larger alien/ government-conspiracy "mythology" of the nine-season-long TV series. It's more like a straight-up horror thriller than a sci-fi adventure.

"I think the movie does a really good job of weaving in certain things for the fans," said Duchovny, but he stressed that the standalone nature of the plot was the only way to go. "To re-establish the name and the franchise six years after the show's off the air and 10 years after the first movie, I don't think you could build that next movie on any specialized knowledge. You want to reach as broad an audience as possible with as little foreknowledge as they can have."

Anderson agreed: "For this one, coming back after such a long stretch of time, it actually does make more sense that we're not dealing with all the complicated aspects of [the mythology]."

Back when "Fight the Future" was released, the TV show was still going strong. The movie served as a sort of bridge between the fifth and sixth seasons, and those unfamiliar with the show probably had a hard time understanding it all. "When we went out to publicize the first movie," Duchovny remembered, "our marching orders were, 'Tell people that they don't have to know anything about the show,' but that was a lie. We're actually not lying this time."

So if you're not an X-Phile (yet), go to the theater, relax and enjoy. And if you are, you'll be rewarded for your loyalty — but don't think that you can catch every one of the hidden in-jokes and references. "There are things in there that no one will ever know that I've put in," Carter said.

Check out everything we've got on "The X-Files: I Want to Believe."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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The latest round in the ongoing fight between Nas and Fox News hit the airwaves Wednesday night (July 23). Shortly after Bill O'Reilly said on his show that protesters who called his network racist were "zombie followers," Nas appeared on "The Colbert Report" and performed his track "Sly Fox."

On the very day his Untitled topped the Billboard album chart, Nas joined members of the organization ColorofChange.org and others in front of Fox News' New York headquarters with a petition signed by over 620,000 people expressing concern over what they felt have been racist portrayals of Barack and Michelle Obama.

On Wednesday's episode of "The O'Reilly Factor," the host called MoveOn.org, which partnered with Color of Change for the march, "the new Klan" during his "Talking Points" segment.

"The Move On organization espouses a radical left agenda and attacks those who oppose that nonsense," O'Reilly said. "The latest smear from Move On is telling their Kool-Aid-drinking zombie followers that Fox News is smearing Barack Obama and is a racist concern. Of course, that's a lie. This broadcast and FNC in general have been exceedingly fair to Senator Obama. ... But in order to intimidate anyone from criticizing Obama in any way, Move On is playing the race card."

As a guest on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," the show that makes its name parodying O'Reilly, Nas sat on boxes of the signed petitions, which he claimed Fox News would not accept.

"They refuse to see the petitions," he told MTV News earlier. "They don't want to deal with it. They want to try to act like they want to get away from it. I been getting a little word that people from Fox have been trying to call and talk to me and stuff like that, but right now it's about getting as many as people as we can [to sign]."

Nas also reaffirmed to Stephen Colbert that he is ready to engage in a debate with O'Reilly on neutral ground.

"Things he's saying are worse than the worst rap lyrics I've ever heard," he said.

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It's not unusual for newlyweds to hole up together during their first year of marriage. But when you're Mrs. Nick Cannon and you also have an album to promote, that means tour, tour, tour — or at least perform at a lot of awards shows and then tour.

"We're looking at November right now," Mariah Carey said when asked when her next tour, in support of E=MC2, would kick off. "Please don't hold me accountable if it turns out to be December 5 or December 7 or January 18!"

What does Mariah want to do this time around? After all, her Adventures of Mimi: The Voice, the Hits, the Tour was quite elaborate with nine costume changes.

"I'm thinking elaborate," she said. "I like elaborate. We only do substantial. That's what my jeweler says. I haven't gotten the looks in mind just yet, but we're going to figure it out soon enough."

So far, Carey's only slated performances are at the Teen Choice Awards on August 4 and Fashion Rocks on September 5 (airing September 9). No word yet on the VMAs, but Carey is hoping to at least attend — and to win, for once. "I don't own a Moonman [from] this country," she said. "Isn't that an abusive situation?"

Carey has two Moonmen from MTV Japan, for the International Video Icon Award in 2005 and for the Video Vanguard Award in 2008. But in America, she's Susan Lucci — a perpetual nominee, but never a winner. She's hoping this year will be different, as her fans are currently waging a campaign to get her clip for "Touch My Body" nominated for Best Female Video.

"I have faith in my fans," she said. "I believe they will come through for me, because they always have. My house is not complete without an American Moonman, and I would say 'Touch My Body' deserves one. Brett Ratner directed it, I have a unicorn in there, I have ['Guitar Hero'] in there — who else has that?"

(Speaking of fans, head here to read about how Mariah changed one MTV staffer's life, and how Mariah reached out to her during this interview.)

Even if she doesn't win, she'd be happy just to attend. "I haven't really gone, I've only performed," Carey pointed out, noting that she appeared in 1998 with Whitney Houston and again in 2005 to perform via satellite from Miami. And despite Carey's commitment to perform just two days earlier in New York at Fashion Rocks, "I will make it this year" to the Los Angeles ceremony on September 7, she promised.

Still, no offense to MTV, a Moonman wouldn't mean quite the same thing as her Teen Choice surfboard. That's because when she won Choice Love Song for "We Belong Together" in 2005, she first met Cannon, who presented the award to her with a kiss. Though they would later talk of their whirlwind romance as being love at first sight, the truth is, the couple have known each other for several years.

"I still have the award to prove it," Carey said. "I keep it in my mermaid room, which is inspired by the ocean. And every time I look over there, it's like, 'There's the first time we had the moment.' "

Carey debunked rumors that their relationship is on the rocks. "It's good," she gushed. "Life is beautiful, and things are going well."

When she hears talk that "things are rocky and hazy and messed up," she stops to wonder why. "I'm like, 'Why would we have gotten married to do that?' " she said. "People are going to say what they say, but what would be the purpose? I guess other people do those things for a purpose, but I don't know. I'm ecstatic, so be ecstatic with me! Be happy with me. Can we celebrate?"

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"Step Brothers" is a movie so stupid, so primordially mindless, you can feel a lifetime's worth of higher ed and hard-won refinement leaking out of your ears as you watch it. I couldn't stop laughing at the damn thing.

The concept would fit handily on a Post-it note: Two pathetic middle-aged slackers, one still living with his single mom, the other with his single dad, suddenly become stepbrothers when their parents marry, and find themselves forced to share a bedroom. That's it.

Dale (John C. Reilly), the one vegetating at home with his father (Richard Jenkins), is 40 going on 14 — he still owns (and wears) a big Chewbacca head, and he likes to be called "Dragon." Brennan (Will Ferrell), the one living with his mother (Mary Steenburgen), is 39, and partial to Pablo Cruise T-shirts, velociraptors (the coolest dinosaur) and, when angered, teabagging. Brennan also suffers regular humiliation at the hands of his obnoxious brother Derek (Adam Scott), the white sheep of the family, a hotshot entrepreneur with a love-starved wife (Kathryn Hahn, fearlessly funny) who longs to see him smacked into line.

The movie is a delivery system for sight gags and wisecracks of a breathtaking raunchiness. They're so beyond-the-pale that I can't really quote the best of them, but Dale's remark while showing Brennan his collection of vintage skin mags ("It's like masturbating in a time machine") is perhaps suggestive of the comedic delights that lie in wait here. There's a dog-poo bit I won't go into, and a scene involving a bathroom rug and a sink for which everyone involved will be going to Hell. I curse the depraved nature that leads me to find such things funny, but what're you gonna do?

It is now law in the land of comical abomination that Judd Apatow's name be affixed to any seriously scurrilous project, and here we find it nestled among the picture's producers. "Step Brothers" is the sixth movie in just the last 12 months in which Apatow is credited as a producer and/or co-writer. What exactly he contributes as a producer isn't always clear, and it's not always a guarantee of commercial success. (It didn't salvage "Drillbit Taylor," the limp Owen Wilson comedy of a few months back). But re-teamed with Ferrell, Reilly and director Adam McKay, with all of whom he worked on the 2006 "Talladega Nights," he's in his foul element. (Ferrell and McKay wrote the script, and Reilly weighed in on the story.) True, the trademark Apatow setup — men are infantile swine — is getting frayed. It worked in "Superbad" because the developmentally arrested characters in that picture were only high school students — regressing them wasn't much of a stretch. Turning a pair of grown-ups into squalling baby-men is something else — few narrative maneuvers would seem more unpromising. And yet, for all its overbearing clamor and occasional unpleasantness, the movie is — and it shames me to say this, really it does — hilarious.

Not everything works, of course. When the 'rents order Brennan and Dale to find jobs, they set out in search of same with predictably uproarious results. But a psychotherapy subplot goes nowhere, a burial scene comes out of nowhere and a sleepwalking story thread shrivels on the screen. I'd mention that the whole tale bears no resemblance to any observable reality, but that's a given.

A lot of people would be appalled by "Step Brothers," and one feels their horror. There's no point in debating the movie's social utility — it's non-existent, and who wants to get into a pissing match?

Although ... wait a minute (spoiler): Dale and Brennan do.

Don't miss Kurt Loder's review of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," also new in theaters this week.

Check out everything we've got on "Step Brothers."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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The jock, the princess, the rebel, the geek and the heartthrob — sound familiar?

While it may be reminiscent of the 1980s classic "The Breakfast Club," for five Indiana teens, this was much more than one Saturday detention. For 10 months during their final year in high school, filmmaker Nanette Burstein and her crew followed Colin Clemens, Megan Krizmanich, Hannah Bailey, Jake Tusing and Mitch Reinholt, documenting every moment of their senior year and all the drama that came along with it for the movie "American Teen."

"They sent out questionnaires to every single senior," Clemens recalled, describing the selection process. "You filled it out, you turned it in, and if they thought you were interesting, they gave you a call." From there, Burstein followed 10 to 15 people, including the five who made the final cut.

"We actually didn't know who all was being filmed at the time," Reinholt said. "But she filmed us through graduation, and we didn't hear from her until right before Sundance in January when she invited us to go out to the festival. Paramount Vantage picked up the film, and we are spending a summer promoting the movie, so it's been pretty cool."

Their sudden rise to fame certainly wasn't anticipated, but don't mistake them for your typical Hollywood actors. These stories are real and show aspects of teen life that adolescents across America face on a regular basis.

Krizmanich, the daughter of a prominent local surgeon, finds herself in some tough situations in the film. "I get in trouble my senior year a lot, and it's all captured on film," said the popular student council vice president, recalling her vandalizing incident. "I think everybody makes mistakes, but I made mine in front of a camera that's now being shared with thousands of people, so that's my one regret."

However, her delinquent behavior doesn't come without a sympathetic backstory. "In the movie, I'm the princess [and] a little bit of a mean girl," she admitted. "But you realize that there's a lot of pressure on me, and I'm not just a mean girl for fun." In addition to the building tension as she awaits an acceptance letter from the family alma mater, Notre Dame, she must also cope with her sister's tragic suicide. "It had happened two years beforehand, and Nanette had asked me to talk about it. About halfway through the interview, I asked to turn off the camera. I couldn't talk about it anymore."

Reinholt, labeled the heartthrob, also has difficulty within his stereotyped role. "Obviously, my negative moment would be breaking up with Hannah in a text message, which is definitely something I'm not proud of," he responded when asked about ending his relationship with the film's artsy rebel. "My most common question after screenings is 'Why did you break up with Hannah?' I admit to making a mistake, [but] I think at the time, it seemed like an easy escape."

Though they may have sometimes been immature in their actions, they've all done some growing up in the two years since the documentary was filmed. Krizmanich and Reinholt now spend lots of time in the library as pre-med students (Megan at Notre Dame and Mitch at Indiana University), while Clemens, the designated jock, is continuing his basketball career. "I ended up getting my scholarship," revealed the athlete, who spent his first two years at Indiana Tech and is now transferring to Indiana's Manchester College. "I'm going to have a marketing degree. But after college is done, I'm going to go overseas to play some basketball and just pursue that as long as I can."

Tusing, however, isn't being the bookworm his geeky stereotype in the film would imply. He's actually taking some time off from college. "I think they call it a 'radical sabbatical,' " he laughed. "I really wanted to use that term, so there it goes."

Though they are grateful for the experience, the unlikely stars still find it hard to believe that their lives will be unfolding in theaters nationwide starting Friday (July 25). "I think if you told us that the movie would be as successful as it is right now, we probably would have laughed at you two years ago when the movie was being filmed," Krizmanich said.

Regardless of initial expectations, "American Teen" will certainly leave its mark as a real-life look into the world of teenagers, and the featured five seem to be quite pleased with the final product. "I think we're a perfect example [of overcoming stereotypes] now. The five of us are best friends," Krizmanich said with a smile. "The princess, the jock, the geek, the rebel and the heartthrob are all best friends."

Check out everything we've got on "American Teen."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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SAN DIEGO — "Twilight" just rocked Hall H at Comic-Con, and MTV News was backstage as the film's cast and crew nervously prepared to meet the crowd of 6,500 fans who could only be described as thundering.

After cheering for the logo, the crowd began chanting "Twilight! Twilight!" as Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and the others told us moments before going onstage that they had never heard anything like it. (Read our pre-panel interview with Pattinson here.) And they came with some big bombshells to drop.

Lautner came out to huge applause, followed by Cam Gigandet, Kristen Stewart and an eardrum-shattering roar for Pattinson. Author Stephenie Meyer and director Catherine Hardwicke were next, and if there was any doubt a phenomenon was in full effect, it had been erased.

"All of these screaming people want to see the right movie," Meyer explained over the roars of the Twilighters. "We got the right company, the right script and the right cast."

"I don't know if I was living under a big boulder rock," a noticeably darker-haired Stewart said, nibbling on her fingernails as she looked over the crowd. "But I hadn't heard of the book until Catherine came to me."

Most of what Pattinson had to say was overwhelmed by screams of "We love you, Robert!"

"This is the first time I've seen them," Spunk Ransom grinned, looking out at the massive crowd. "It hurts me to think about myself. I love the fact that [Edward is] the hero of the book, but he denies it."

A huge line of fans yielded questions such as: "I want to know what it's like to portray super-hot vampires," "How does it feel to know that the fate of your character has already been decided?" and "I just needed a reason to come up and talk to you, Robert."

Asked about the soundtrack, Catherine revealed big news: "We just got a Muse song." She then teased, "And we have another great song. I bet you know what it is."

As the crowd erupted over the obvious reference to "Bella's Lullaby," Hardwicke fell short of confirming what MTV News has already reported: "Rob is a great musician," she beamed. "That's all I can say." (After the panel, Hardwicke and Meyer confirmed to MTV News that Pattinson did indeed compose "Bella's Lullaby" — as well as two other songs for the movie!)

"The lullaby thing, I just made [it] up on the spot during the scene," Pattinson laughed. "During the scene, I drifted into the piano playing. I guess it just comes from somewhere."

"We got to terrorize Edward and Bella," Rachelle Lefevre said of her favorite part of shooting. "And we had a really good time doing it."

As Meyer and Hardwicke giggled, the crowd cheered outrageously the first time the words "Bella", "Twilight Moms," "Dazzled" and "Catherine's bed" were mentioned. (This was an excitable bunch, after all. Moments after the panel, one particularly overzealous fan tried to storm into a secure area to get to Pattinson before being led away in handcuffs.)

The stars also unveiled an extended scene from the ballet-school battle, featuring much more footage of James terrorizing Bella. It shows her being tortured with the video camera, her leg getting banged up and Edward coming to the rescue. As the battle hit its stride, the crowd went absolutely bonkers. The clip ends with Bella being bitten.

"The character of James posed an interesting challenge," Gigandet said. "What it was, for me, was that heartbreaking misunderstanding — seeing something you'll never have."

"As you can see, I'm a little nervous," Stewart said to the crowd, as a fan was heard screaming: "Don't be nervous, Kristen. We love you!"

"Is it boxers, briefs or nothing?" one particularly sassy fan asked Pattinson as the cast stayed quiet. "Kristen, do you know?"

Another fan asked: "Why did you put so many hot guys in the movie?"

"Because that's how I write them," Meyer responded.

One of the best moments, however, may have been when a Twilighter screamed: "I love you, Robert!" and he coolly responded, "Good."

Giving the crowd exactly what it wanted to hear, Gigandet added: "We're looking forward to bringing your book to life!"

Every Tuesday is "Twilight" Tuesday here at MTV News! Check back here each and every week for the hottest scoop on the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's beloved vampire series, and we'll still bring you breaking "Twilight" news throughout the rest of the week. And make sure you check out the MTV Movies Blog for our ongoing "Twilight" discussions each and every day.

Check out everything we've got on "Twilight."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

[This story was originally published at 6:56 p.m. ET on 07.24.08]

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DMX (born Earl Simmons) burst out into an inspirational freestyle about the tough times he's been facing after pleading not guilty to two felony theft charges in a Phoenix courtroom on Thursday.

X was indicted earlier this week on a felony count of theft and another felony count of identity theft. "If and when you ever fall down/ Get back up," he rapped outside the courtroom, when asked for a comment following the hearing, according to a Reuters report. "Drop something/ Stop fretting/ Pick that ... back up/ Stand for something or fall for everything/ Wait for the right pitch or miss with every swing."

(Do you think DMX's freestyle did him any good in court? Let us know in the Newsroom blog.)

The Associated Press reported that X's attorney, Charles Kozelka, pulled the rapper aside after the freestyle, as the 37-year-old MC told reporters to keep an eye out for his upcoming album, Walk With Me Now, which is due out on October 14, to be followed by his long-promised gospel CD, You'll Fly With Me Later.

The president of his new label, Bodog Music, Peter Karroll, stood up for the rapper. "We wouldn't work with DMX, period, if we didn't believe he was just a victim of circumstance," Karroll said, according to the AP. "The sheriff in Phoenix is definitely targeting him. It's unbelievable."

The charges in the case are related to an April visit by DMX to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, during which he allegedly told doctors his name was "Troy Jones" and gave a false address and contact information to avoid paying the $7,500 bill.

The court appearance was the latest in the rapper's long string of legal entanglements. He was arrested in May on suspicion of drug possession and animal cruelty after a search of his Phoenix-area home turned up weapons, drugs, dog carcasses and abused pit bulls. He was then arrested at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport on July 2 on outstanding warrants, a week after his arrest in Miami on charges of attempting to buy cocaine and marijuana. He's due back in court in Phoenix on August 12.

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Publisher Simon & Schuster filed separate lawsuits in the New York State Supreme Court Thursday against rappers Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim for not delivering books for which they'd accepted advances.

According to The Associated Press, Brown (born Inga Marchand) was paid $75,000 in 2005 for an autobiography tentatively titled "Broken Silence," and which was due by February 2006. Kim (born Kimberly Jones) signed up in 2003 to write her debut novel by June 2004 and was paid $40,000.

The suit seeks the return of the advances from the two women, each of whom has done prison time since signing her respective deal — Kim in 2005 for lying in a trial about a shooting and Brown in 2007 for violating probation from an earlier altercation with a manicurist.

"Both accepted the money and both books never were delivered," Simon & Schuster spokesperson Adam Rothberg told Bloomberg News on Thursday.

Simon & Schuster has published a number of titles by other rappers, including 50 Cent's autobiography, a series of books by 50, based on his rhymes, and others by members of G-Unit.

"We are disappointed that Simon & Schuster has made the decision to file this lawsuit," said Lil' Kim's lawyer, Bernard H. Jackson III, in a statement to MTV News. "Kim has had every intention to fulfill her obligations under the agreement from day one but there were certain resources that are standard for any book publisher to provide that we felt were not available in order for her to complete the project. Many attempts have been made to resolve this matter privately by Kim and she still looks forward to doing so."

Brown's lawyer, Laura Dilimetin, released this statement to MTV News: "In 2005, after Foxy Brown's delivery of her uniquely personally written synopsis, both Simon & Schuster and Inga Marchand were excited to join together to publish her autobiography, 'Broken Silence,' one of the most highly anticipated books in rap history. Then tragedy struck, and Foxy Brown was diagnosed with sudden severe hearing loss, and her health became a priority. With Simon & Schuster's blessings, Foxy Brown underwent extensive surgical procedures and a lengthy recovery time, fighting to restore her hearing. After returning, we were told that Simon & Schuster decided not to go forward with the project. Many attempts were made by Foxy Brown's agents to resurrect the deal, to no avail. Now that Foxy Brown is being courted by many publishers to negotiate a new book deal, I find it suspect that after all of these years of silence, Simon & Schuster picks now to bring this meritless action when they were the ones to halt the project. Foxy Brown would love to continue with Simon & Schuster and welcomes talks to solidify a deal."

What do you think the books should have been called? Tell us in the Newsroom blog!

[This story was originally published at 12:07 pm E.T. on 7.25.2008]

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Add Lil Wayne to the long list of rappers who have been sued for allegedly sampling songs without permission or proper credit. Only on Thursday, Abkco Music Inc., a musical publishing company that owns the rights to the Rolling Stones' classic "Play With Fire," filed suit against Weezy not for using an unauthorized sample, but for what it said was an unauthorized release of an altered version of the song.

According to a Reuters report, the lawsuit, filed in federal court in New York, charges copyright infringement and unfair competition and is seeking unspecified damages.

The issue is over a profanity-laced bonus track from Weezy's smash album Tha Carter III, called "Playing With Fire," which does not list any samples in its credits.

In the song's chorus, blues belter Betty Wright growls the line, "But you can't blame me if I set this stage on fire," which has similar wording to the Stones tune's chorus: "But don't play with me/ 'Cause you're playing with fire." Wright sings the line with a different cadence and emphasis than Stones singer Mick Jagger.

Wayne's song begins with Wright singing, "So you've got so many diamonds/ You wear all the finest clothes/ And you grill is shining/ As you're driving down the streets of gold/ But you can't blame me if I set this thing on fire." The Stones version begins with the lines: "Well, you've got your diamonds and you've got your pretty clothes/ And the chauffeur drives your car/ You let everybody know/ But don't play with me/ 'Cause you're playing with fire."

Abkco's suit claims that the Wayne track is a clear derivative of the Stones song with the original music and lyrics altered in a recognizable way. The company also says in the suit that Wayne's version uses "explicit, sexist and offensive language" and might lead the public to believe the company and the Stones approved of and authorized the new version.

A spokesperson for Wayne could not be reached for comment at press time.

Do you think the Stones (or the owners of this song, anyway) are being too sensitive? Sound off in the Newsroom blog.

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She's one of the most kick-ass comic heroines ever created: a sword-wielding, horse-riding, bow-carrying (not to mention bikini-wearing) female warrior of epic proportions.

So when talk turned to "Red Sonja," the new Robert Rodriguez joint starring Rose McGowan, everybody just had to talk about her wardrobe. Her fighting styles. Her striking red hair. Her ... vulnerability?

"Yes, it goes to the action, fighting for your life, fighting for freedom, blah, blah, blah," McGowan said at Comic-Con in San Diego. "But the fact that it's somebody who is vulnerable who tries to stuff that down - I think she's like many people in life, somebody who's kind of gotten hammered, not doing so well and has to kind of rise up."

"To me, she stands for a victim that rises from the ashes and becomes a hero," writer David White added. "She represents a true hero, someone who faces adversity, struggles with that and ultimately is assisted by other means as well. I love the vulnerability, the courage that she has to ultimately become the hero."

Created by Roy Thomas for the "Conan" comic series, Red Sonja quickly became nearly as famous as her more tenured male counterpart, with a varied history rich in detail and mythology. Expect much of that history to find its way into the movie, director Douglas Aarniokoski revealed, hinting that it would follow a similar path as the origins revealed in Dynamite issues 8 through 12.

"It's a really great origin tale," said Rodriguez, who is acting as producer. "Rose responded to it; I was surprised. She brought this home. I thought, 'I used to read these when I was 12 or 13.' I read it, and I could see why she wanted to do it. I got to show her all my old comic books. This is some great mythology, and that's everlasting."

Mysterious as it may be, Aarniokoski stressed that the movie was designed for people who may have never heard of the character - which makes most of us, frankly.

"We're trying to do what Chris Nolan did with Batman, and that's [to] take an established story and an established character and reinvent it," he said. "You didn't have to see the other 'Batman' [movies] to appreciate it. You didn't have to read the comics to appreciate it."

Of course, it won't be just like the "Batman" films - not with Aarniokoski and Rodriguez behind the production.

"I like to go for different new looks. Certainly we'll have something people haven't seen before, blending the painterly world and the art of some fantasy artists to create this other age," Rodriguez said, pointing to the "Red Sonja" poster, which he said was indicative of the film's overall style.

"The way that the reds pop," Aarniokoski added, before looking at the giant pile of skulls on which Red Sonja sits. "It's going to be very gritty, very violent. It's going to be a hard R. This is not your mother's Red Sonja."

Depending on how "Red Sonja" is received, McGowan, Rodriguez and Aarniokoski are all looking forward to a sequel, they said. The movie is expected to be released near the end of 2009.

Check out everything we've got on "Red Sonja."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more - updated around the clock - visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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Is Miley Cyrus feeling a little pressure to hang on to her pop-princess crown?

As Disney continues to churn out young stars with Miley-size aspirations, the adolescent landscape is dotted with hopefuls eager to be the answer to the question: "Who will be the next Miley?"

Two of Disney's newest stars and front-runners for the tween-queen crown — 15-year-old "Camp Rock" star Demi Lovato and her 16-year-old best friend, Selena Gomez — have reached out to their fans via a YouTube channel, creating a video featuring the pair chatting about typical teen fodder, ranging from makeup and cosmetic dentistry to Selena's "Power Rangers" T-shirt.

And while Demi and Selena's video is a big hit on the Internet, garnering more than 3 million views to date, it seems as if Miley isn't much of a fan. She's taken the battle for teen-pop supremacy into her own hands, creating a YouTube response video. The video, featuring Cyrus and her 22-year-old friend Mandy Jiroux, mocks Miley's fellow Disney stars.

The response includes scenes of Miley and Mandy interspersed throughout Demi and Selena's video, resulting in close to five minutes of the "Hannah Montana" star and her sidekick mimicking Demi and Selena nearly word for word on everything from the (now-removed) gap in Demi's teeth to her choice of all-black attire.

But the blows aren't limited to verbal punches; Miley goes so far as to wear a "Ninja Turtles" tee, an obvious jab at the "Power Rangers" shirt Selena dons in her video. The outcome is a not-so-subtle spoof of the Miley wannabes. The video closes with a graphic that reads: "Parody of: Demi Lovato & Selena Gomez! Check out our friends' YouTube!!!!! XOXOXO M & M," clearing up any questions as to who the video's targets are.

Miley isn't the only celeb to take her feud viral: Ice-T and Soulja Boy Tell'em recently exchanged harsh words via YouTube as well.

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As the Facebook phenomenon continues to tighten its grip on the social-networking universe, new applications are popping up more quickly than cheesy videos on your FunWall. So far, movie quotes, popular board games, even excerpts from books have all danced around potential copyright infringement, but after a year of heavy usage, one application has finally been challenged.

Scrabulous — one of the most highly used Facebook applications, boasting an average of more than a half-million daily users — is under legal fire from Hasbro and Mattel, both of whom hold copyrights to the popular board game Scrabble.

The possibility of a lawsuit has loomed since January, when Hasbro threatened to sue creators Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla. On Thursday, Hasbro moved forward with its threat, arguing in its suit that the application is an infringement upon Scrabble intellectual property.

Supporters of the wildly popular game argue that Scrabulous helps, not hurts, the Scrabble franchise by exposing more people to the game itself and have even gone so far as to create a Save Scrabulous application.

Vidya Wang, a supporter of Scrabulous, said, "I have bought tons of Hasbro original products, for myself and my students, friends and relatives, because of the free marketing done by people like the brothers who built Scrabulous."

The Save Scrabulous application lets users sign a petition stating they will not buy Scrabble if the suit follows through and that they will encourage their friends to do the same. So far, the app has more than 600 users.

Now that Facebook's popularity has become common knowledge, is this just the first of many applications that may be shut down due to legal issues? Let us know in the comment section.

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For more than 100 years, Sherlock Holmes has been the world's foremost detective mind; a profound genius capable of unlocking even the most intricate mysteries. So how would he unravel this minor puzzle: A man known for his brain is about to showcase his brawn?

How do we know? Elementary: It's a Guy Ritchie movie. Guy Ritchie is known for his gritty crime dramas. Guy Ritchie cast action star of the day Robert Downey Jr. in the titular role. It's a simple deduction, really.

Well, actually, we just asked him.

"They never seem to manifest that [element] in some of the earlier productions they've done of 'Sherlock Holmes,' " Ritchie said of what would separate his upcoming reinterpretation of the character from earlier versions. "We're trying to bring a completely contemporary and entertaining perspective on an intellectual action hero true to his origins where he was more of an action guy originally."

"It's like James Bond in 1891," producer Joel Silver added. "Nobody ever did the 'Sherlock Holmes' story as an action movie, and he really was an action guy. [Ours] is a big, wild action movie."

To be fair, Holmes was a proficient (although only occasional) fighter in the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And it's true that he was known to carry a pistol from time to time — and to use it to whip people when he thought it was called for. Ritchie's movie will go above and beyond that, though, he said, with chases and fights punctuating the story at regular points. Actually, to understand what Ritchie wants to do with the character, the best reference isn't earlier film versions but ... "Iron Man"?

"He's an intellectual superhero," Ritchie said of Holmes. "I'm inspired by that."

Any superhero, of course, needs a super villain. Ritchie confirmed to MTV News that Professor Moriarty, Holmes' arch-nemesis in several stories, will appear in his film. The character, along with Holmes' friend Watson, has not been cast.

Ritchie's "Holmes" story will not be based on any one story or novel, he said, but on an "amalgamation" of Doyle's vast library. "It's true to the period," he said. "And authentic from where it derives its influence."

According to Silver, filming for the movie begins in October.


For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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Chris Rock, Jack Black, Jamie Foxx and Russell Brand ... yeah, Russell Brand!

The British comedian will take the reigns as host when the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards air live from Los Angeles on September 7.

Brand's big Stateside break came earlier this year, in his scene-stealing role as Brit rocker Aldous Snow in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." He recently did some standup work in Los Angeles, and next up he'll star alongside Adam Sandler in "Bedtime Stories."

"I am proud to be hosting the MTV VMAs," Brand said. "I'm going to celebrate by doing lesbian kisses with both Britney and Madonna, and I'll be giving Michael Jackson a special award to celebrate his birthday — which, coincidentally, is also a lesbian kiss."

He may be new to U.S. audiences, but Brand's a major comedy star in his native England, building a following with his stand-up and parlaying that success to various hosting and acting gigs. He's also found success as an author, columnist and radio host.

The VMA stint won't be Brand's first MTV paycheck — he's hosted various shows on MTV UK over the years. He's also played big stages before, hosting the Brit Awards in 2007 and the NME Awards in 2006, and appearing at the UK leg of the Live Earth concerts at London's Wembley Stadium.

Brand now joins a list of VMA hosts that includes acclaimed comedians (Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy), music moguls (Sean "Diddy" Combs), Oscar winners (Jamie Foxx) and, well, Christian Slater.

(Head here for an opinionated take on Brand's career.)

The VMAs air live from the Paramount Pictures Studios at 9 p.m. ET on September 7. The night begins with MTV News' live red carpet preshow at 8 p.m.

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No more speculation necessary: The Game says he wasn't taking a shot at Eminem in a recently leaked track.

After a version of the L.A.X. song "My Life" hit the Web on Wednesday night, fans were confused by some lyrics that seemed to be aimed at Slim Shady: "All the pictures of me and Em, I burned them/ So there ain't no proof I walked through 8 Mile/ And so since it ain't no Proof, I'll never walk through 8 Mile."

The Compton rapper explained himself with a statement on Thursday afternoon (July 24). "When I originally wrote the song 'My Life,' I was trying to think back on events that affected my life and how they changed me," Game said. "When I first got signed to Aftermath and G-Unit, I was exposed to so many different people — from Dre to Em to 50 to Proof. I always identified with Proof. We were always cool, and he would reach out to me whenever I was going through something. I remember when Proof died vividly, and now every time I think about going to Detroit, I get depressed. That is what I was trying to say in that verse. And the more I looked at it, I realized that people would take it the wrong way."

Game went on in his statement to say that the references to Em and Proof have been taken out of the song. True to his word, a new version of "My Life" surfaced Thursday with new lyrics: "I ain't no preacher, but here's my Erick Sermon/ So eat this black music and tell me how it taste now/ And f--- Jesse Jackson because it ain't about race now."

"I decided to change it so that this bullsh-- wouldn't happen, and now it's happened anyway," Game continued in his statement. "For the record, this is not the version on my album, this is not the version that radio will get, and this is not the version that I just shot the video to. Furthermore, I apologize to anyone who took this the wrong way as that was never my intention."

Game and Lil Wayne have indeed finished the video for "My Life." Game and Travis Barker also have a video for "Dope Boys" that should be hitting soon. L.A.X. is due August 26.

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SAN DIEGO — Thus far, the toast of Comic-Con has been "Twilight," Stephenie Meyer's fast-growing franchise, which exploded into a true Hollywood phenomenon yesterday in Hall H, in front of the assembled media of the world and thousands of crazy fans who looked straight out of "Hard Day's Night."

But if the film's young stars are the new Beatles of the vampire world, Robert Pattinson is Lennon and McCartney rolled into one. Mere moments before he took the stage to shrieks of "We love you!" and questions like, "Boxers, briefs or nothing?" the 22-year-old hearththrob spoke exclusively to MTV News. He revealed his self-deprecating charm, his love of spandex and the fears that he would soon be whisked away by the audience's warm reception.

MTV: Welcome to Comic-Con, Rob. Have you had time yet to look out at all the people?

Robert Pattinson: No, I haven't. I'm terrified that they're all the hate-mail people [laughs], and I'm going to get killed.

MTV: Oh, but they love you now.

Pattinson: Hopefully. I guess I'll find out. This is the first time, really, that I'll be confronted with a bunch of Twilighters. I guess I can see for myself. But I'm kind of nervous about it.

MTV: I don't know if you've seen them yet, but the crowd stretches three-quarters of a mile, just to get into the "Twilight" panel.

Pattinson: Oh. [Laughs uneasily.] Thanks for letting me know.

MTV: We interviewed some girls in the line, and they said all they wanted to do is get a glimpse of you.

Pattinson: Wow. When I was entering the building, I saw a girl, and she was so baffled [by me]; she just looked so underwhelmed. I'm like, "Don't worry. I get that all the time."

MTV: There's a certain name many of the people here at Comic-Con are often called. Do you consider yourself a geek?

Pattinson: Yes, sort of. I kinda like all this stuff. I went to a few of these things in England, like "Dr. Who" ones, and I always found them really interesting. I guess I was a geek. But I was more of a computer-game geek; I wasn't really a comic book geek.

MTV: They have a "Dr. Who" booth on the convention floor. You'll have to check it out.

Pattinson: Really? I might have to do that, actually.

MTV: There are also people here dressed up as Batman, Superman, you name it. Would you ever want to play a superhero on screen?

Pattinson: Yeah. Who have I always wanted to play? Batman would be really cool, but Batman is a boring guy; like, Bruce Wayne is kind of boring. I haven't seen the ["Dark Knight"] yet, but in the comics he was always straight-laced. Spider-Man was quite cool, but he had to be a geek. And then there was Superman. But I always liked Gambit from "X-Men." Gambit would be cool. Has he ever been in an "X-Men" movie?

MTV: He hasn't, but supposedly he's going to be in the "Wolverine" spin-off film.

Pattinson: I might have to get my foot in that door.

MTV: There are a lot of big movies down here, from "Watchmen" to "The Day the Earth Stood Still." But what's the one thing "Twilight" has that none of the others do?

Pattinson: Well, I'm in it. [Laughs.] That is one thing the others don't have.

MTV: Well, surely, Stephenie's writing skills are a big advantage.

Pattinson: Yeah, yeah. I think it's very different; it's very intimate. With all that other stuff, there's something much bigger going on. It's the end of the world, or there are a million superheroes. But at the core of "Twilight," it's a love story. It's a very intense love story, which differentiates it. Everything else just goes away.

MTV: You're about to head downstairs, where you'll appear in front of 6,500 screaming Twilighters. What's your game plan?

Pattinson: Umm ... try not to wet my pants? Try to be the tiniest bit as articulate as I can? Try not to look like I'm crazy? I don't know if I'm even capable of doing any of those things.

MTV: Are there any questions you fear? Like the super-geeky ones?

Pattinson: No, I'm fine with those ones. Specific questions I'm fine with, about any topic in the world. But things like, "What's the movie about?" and "What character do you play?" I always stumble. I crumble when I get those; I just can't explain it.

MTV: By now, we've all seen these clips of you fighting Cam Gigandet, who is such a bad-ass in "Never Back Down." Did he try all those mixed martial-arts moves against you?

Pattinson: I kicked his ass, because I don't hold back. I fight like a little bitch. I'd bite and pull his pants down and stuff.

MTV: Last question: If you ever came to Comic-Con as a normal fan, who would you dress up as?

Pattinson: Charlie Chaplin? That's not really a Comic-Con thing, actually, is it? What am I talking about? Maybe I just want to dress up as Charlie Chaplin.

MTV: Any heroes, perhaps?

Pattinson: Spider-Man. I like the outfit; I like a little bit of spandex.

Every Tuesday is "Twilight" Tuesday here at MTV News! Check back here each and every week for the hottest scoop on the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's beloved vampire series, and we'll still bring you breaking "Twilight" news throughout the rest of the week. And make sure you check out the MTV Movies Blog for our ongoing "Twilight" discussions each and every day.

Check out everything we've got on "Twilight."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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A lot of young veterans feel lost when they return home from a war zone. They've often been trained for very specific combat jobs, which don't always translate well to civilian life.

But one 25-year-old former Marine, who was trained to cover fierce firefights in Iraq as a combat correspondent, has found an equally compelling calling as a civilian: He's telling war-related stories that are happening right here at home while the combat continues to rage in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The parallels between this job and what I did as a combat correspondent are pretty strong," said Jan Bender in the Culver City, California, studio where he hosts "In Their Boots." The live, interactive Web show combines documentary-style stories about veterans who have returned home, families left behind by loved ones who are deployed and an interactive Web chat with the people featured, as well as experts on the issues and questions from the Internet audience.

"I'm still dealing with service members and their families, but also vets that have already stepped out of uniform," Bender said. "We're just kind of a little different angle. Whereas before I was talking about everything that it took to build up to prepare to go to war, now I'm dealing with those who have gone to war, come home and maybe have issues because of that or dealing with struggles."

If Jan looks familiar, that's because we first met him on "MTV News Presents: Iraq Uploaded" when he spoke to us about the footage he shot of the battle of Fallujah back in 2004. (If you've seen any footage of that grueling fight, chances are Jan filmed some of it.) But he said he considers his work here to be just as vital.

"When you watch the news you hear '13 dead in Baghdad' or 'Seven injured in Fallujah,' but that's where people lose track of the story," Bender said. "So what happened to those seven injured? What happened to those families? How does that translate in America, to populace here? We're just trying to raise those stories up — and not just stories about death and the people who are injured, but people that are just changed, maybe even in positive ways."

With the help a team of talented editors and producers, Bender has done three live episodes of the show and is planning on continuing the weekly broadcasts until at least the end of the year. The show aims to be non-partisan, and it largely achieves that goal. The project was, however, organized by the Brave New Foundation, a political organization that has released so-called "attack videos" against Republican politicians and members of President Bush's cabinet. Bender remains adamant that the show is about people and not politics.

"We're not here to debate about the war," he said. "I think everyone else is doing a fine job at tearing the argument at the seams and trying to figure out who is wrong and who is right. We're looking at the challenges and the hardships and the struggles and the triumphs they experience from having served, or loving someone who served, or supporting someone who served in these conflicts."

And who better to tell those stories than a young man who was there? In fact, the show didn't recruit Bender — who looks the part of a rugged former-Marine-turned-television-host — he found it ... by applying to be an intern!

"I was a junior at Ball State University looking for a summer internship and I ran into the producers," Bender said. "One thing led to another, and then they decided I'd be the best man for the job!"

"He was perfect," said producer Amanda Spain. "We couldn't have asked for anyone better. I had a whole list of people to call, and then we met him. And since he's a veteran, other vets really open up to him in ways they won't with me."

For his part, Bender is still getting used to being the face of the show. "I've never had that much desire to be on this side of the camera," he said. "I just love telling stories."

And so far, he seems to be adjusting to the bright lights and hi-def cameras pretty well. His Marine Corps buddies? Well ...

"The Marines that I served with are gonna bust my b---s about this pretty hard," he said. "They always thought it was funny that I was a camera guy in the Marines to begin with, but I'm prepared to take the bashings."

"In Their Boots" broadcasts live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET. You can also watch previous episodes on the Web site.

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Who didn't love "The X-Files," especially in the excitement of its early seasons? Each show was put together like a little movie, with witchy scripts, brooding photography, Scully and Mulder rootling around in the foggy woods. For a while in the mid-'90s, it was one of the best things on TV.

I was thinking about this while watching the new "X-Files" movie, which, I'm afraid, offers little else of its own to think about. Die-hard fans of the old series may be puzzled to find that the film (subtitled "I Want to Believe") is very light in the "X" department. There are no new mutations of the show's esoteric "mythology," and no monster-of-the-week cheap thrills, either. There's a modest dollop of paranormal activity — a psychic, big deal — and even that is presented as rather iffy. The truth may still be out there; the question is whether anyone apart from Fox Mulder still cares.

The movie opens in snowy West Virginia (snowy British Columbia, actually — why didn't they just set the story in Seattle or something?). A woman is attacked in her home by two scary men and dragged off into the night. Come daylight, we see a long line of FBI agents trudging across a field of ice behind a shambling gray-haired man who appears to be looking for something. When he drops to his knees, the agents gather round and begin digging. They soon unearth a human arm, minus the rest of its human. Aliens? People-eating ice creatures? Don't get your hopes up.

The gray-haired man is Father Joe (Billy Connolly). Joe is a complicated man: a defrocked priest, a convicted pedophile, a freelance psychic and an Irishman to boot. He's also a prominent cog in the movie's narrative design. This is a story about belief — "Belief," I mean. Joe still believes in a heavenly beneficence, despite his altar-boy-raping proclivities. Soon he's thrown together with ex-FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who believes in very little, and exiled FBI agent Mulder (David Duchovny), who'll believe pretty much anything. Scully left the Bureau in disgust and has gone back to doctoring at a Catholic hospital. When a blustery FBI agent named Drummy (rapper Xzibit, saddled with a name I find hard to believe myself) approaches her in search of her old partner Mulder, she reluctantly agrees to seek him out in the remote cabin where he now lives, alone with his beard and his flying-saucer poster. Soon the chase is on. Keep those hopes curbed, though.

There follows a series of killer-snowplow encounters and a creepy maniac who loiters underwater in a public swimming pool (very odd). Bereft of any interesting extraterrestrial overtones, the movie is basically a murder mystery of a rather gruesome sort. In fact, with its sadistic foreigners and grisly surgical shenanigans, it resembles nothing so much as one of the "Hostel" pictures. Longtime "X" fans are unlikely to rejoice at this; "Hostel" kids, on the other hand, would surely be bored by the movie's lack of pure, bare-fanged bloodlust. In any case, the actors are too good for simple slaughter porn. The leads seem not to have aged much at all — Duchovny retains his tousled charm, Anderson is still a redhead. And the invaluable Billy Connolly brings notes of weary self-loathing to his performance that probably weren't all present in the script. "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, here directing his first feature, wobbles occasionally (he goes out of his way to score the lamest Bush joke in the short but populous history of that genre), but his excesses are finessed by cinematographer Bill Roe, a veteran of the TV series, who brings a chilly snap to the outdoor scenes and an infernal glow to the hideous lab sequences.

There are a few old-school "X-Files" touches. Bureau buddy Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) puts in a late-inning appearance. Scully and Mulder natter a bit about their doomed love child ("I think our son left both of us with an emptiness that can't be filled," says Mulder, possibly against his will). And there's a passing reference to Mulder's long-lost, alien-abducted sister, Samantha, who's still long-lost. These are just sops to "X-Files" fans, though. The movie has no real idea what it wants to be, and its confusion is illuminated by one of the most hilarious lines of the year. Attempting to assess what they've learned from this lackadaisical adventure, Mulder says to Scully, "If Father Joe were the Devil, why would he say the opposite of what the Devil would say? Maybe that's the answer."

What was the question again?

Don't miss Kurt Loder's review of "Step Brothers," also new in theaters this week.

Check out everything we've got on "X-Files: I Want to Believe."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's custody settlement is final, according to TMZ.

Under the settlement, which was filed Friday (July 25) in L.A. County Superior Court, Spears must pay $250,000 in Federline's legal fees. Also, Federline will get $20,000 a month for child support, up from his previous $15,000. The agreement doesn't mention visitation, TMZ reported.

On July 17, Spears agreed to give Federline sole legal and physical custody of their two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James, while she would retain visitation rights. Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, told E! News last week that the agreement had been signed by all parties but still needed to be approved by the court.

TMZ says Spears will have three days and one night a week with her sons, with more visitation possible in the future. The singer has only been allowed monitored visits with her children since late February, following her multiple hospitalizations. She was recently granted the right to have one overnight visit a week as well.

According to E!, the Federline camp credited Spears' father, Jamie — who was appointed the co-conservator of his daughter's estate in February — for helping to get the troubled 26-year-old singer back on the right path. The conservatorship is up for review at the end of July, at which point a court commissioner will decide whether to make the arrangement permanent. Kaplan said that there is language in the custody agreement that anticipates a possible end to the conservatorship, but he couldn't discuss what those terms are. "Nobody can predict what the future will bring, but ... to the extent possible, I think we have really anticipated how to proceed," he said.

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For comic book fans, this summer at the multiplex has been like Christmas in July, with adaptations of "Hellboy," "Batman," "Iron Man" and "The Incredible Hulk." But Marvel Comics is making sure to leave at least one more present under the tree for fans to unwrap on December 5: "Punisher: War Zone."

It's the third big-screen interpretation for Frank Castle, but none have ever been as violent or sadistic as "War Zone," star Ray Stevenson told MTV News. In an exclusive chat, Stevenson talked about why Jigsaw is a classic comic villain, what lines from the film fans will geek out over, which comics influenced the film and why you're in trouble if you see a skull and crossbones. (Read about where Stevenson thinks the Punisher could go in sequels, and whether he expects he'll ever cross over into other Marvel films, in the Splash Page blog.)

MTV: What is the essential Frank Castle? Why does he continue to resonate with audiences?

Ray Stevenson: I think the thing about Frank, one thing we were very concerned about bringing out in the script, which is in the Max series, [is that] he doesn't pull his punches. He's in a world of pain. He's not a superhero; he's an antihero. There is no light at the end. When you commit to that, there's something heroically tragic about this lone warrior. You don't want to be him, but you're glad he's there. He stands out because of that.

MTV: You mentioned the Marvel Max series. Are there other comic books that fans should consider essential reading in preparation for your vision of Frank?

Stevenson: When I was doing the research, I didn't just read the Max series — I went [all the way] back. The character's been around for a long, long time, and there've been these metamorphoses and changes, but there are elements that have always kept the line through. So everything was relevant, everything had validity because you could see how it formed this lone vigilante nighttime predator. So my experience is based on that.

MTV: Is there a moment or a scene in the movie that you can point to as something real hard-core fans are going to geek out over?

Stevenson: They're gonna get the lines. There are terrific lines in there, lines we've taken from the novels themselves, classic Frank lines. There's one of them, there's a guy bleeding out, and the guy says, "I'll see you in hell." And because Frank actually likes the guy, he's been teaming up with him, he says, "I see you anywhere near hell and I'll kick your ass out." Frank knows exactly where he's going, and he says, you're not gonna be in hell. It's got that split of being touching and moving, and yet you know he knows where he's going.

MTV: Obviously, that's a huge part of this interpretation, the ultraviolence —

Stevenson: The movie is ├╝berviolence; it's about violent people. But it does show cause and effect. It doesn't pull back from showing you that there's a price to pay for this. The biggest price is being paid by Frank. I was always very concerned about people taking from this and wanting to walk out there to take out the bullies and the bad guys. Nobody wants another Columbine. So I was very, very keen on saying that we've got to make sure to get this side out that nobody wants to be him.

MTV: In what way is Jigsaw a great Punisher villain? How does he stack up as a comic book foe?

Stevenson: He's a great foe because he relishes what he does. He has a delight in what he does. He has a kind of theatricality as well. You're going to enjoy him. His relationship with his brother, LBJ, Looney Bin Jim, is ferocious and phenomenal, and it's actually quite touching.

MTV: In what way?

Stevenson: Well, his brother has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital for years, and he frees him up to wreak havoc. And he's just animalistic and feral. It's beyond.

MTV: Do we get a Jigsaw origin story?

Stevenson: Yeah, again, it's coming from our source material. Frank goes out to take out this Mafioso crew who are all meeting for this great don's birthday. They're on the list that night; that's his job in hand. Billy [Russo, a.k.a. the Jigsaw, is] there, [but] manages to escape. Frank continues from that place to hunt him down, winds up in a glass factory. And he ends up putting Billy inside a glass crusher, and it carves his face off. Frank leaves him for dead. He survives and gets it all patched up again, and that's the Jigsaw. And yet he comes smiling through, so that's darkly disturbing. And then he sets on a [course of] vengeance: "I'm gonna get the Punisher." That's his M.O. So you've got these two foes contriving to come against each other.

MTV: Does Frank stand for anything beyond pure vengeance? What is the symbolism of the skull and crossbones?

Stevenson: It's a very potent symbol. In some way, he wants [that to be] the last thing people will see. He'll stand in front of you and take you out. The symbol itself is uncompromising. It's black and white, there it is. Boom! He doesn't really stand for anything other than that there will be a price. You can buy the best lawyers available and get off trials and work [your] way around the justice system, but there's somebody else there that [you] can't buy off.

[It's like] another line from the books: "You work for the devil, you better be prepared to die for him."

Check out everything we've got on " Punisher: War Zone."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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SAN DIEGO — If day one of Comic-Con belonged to "Twilight," then the second afternoon was the realm of "Watchmen." A comic book holy grail for three decades, the Alan Moore/ Dave Gibbons masterpiece is the only graphic novel ever to win science fiction's prestigious Hugo Award and the only comic to appear in Time magazine's list of the greatest novels of the 20th century. This supposedly unfilmable mix of philosophy, theology and heroism has caused such names as Gilliam, Aronofsky and Greengrass to throw their hands up in frustration.

But on Friday — one year after unveiling a "Watchmen" poster and promising he'd get the movie made — Comic-Con king Zack Snyder returned triumphant. Addressing a room full of people dressed like Rorschach, Nite Owl and Silk Spectre, he showed off new footage so amazing, the crowd insisted upon seeing it twice.

Snyder, Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (the Comedian), Carla Gugino (Silk Spectre I), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach), Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Patrick Wilson (Nite Owl II) and Matthew Goode (Ozymandias) were all in Hall H, but the fans went particularly nuts upon the revelation of a surprise guest: Gibbons himself.

Earlier, the "Watchmen" illustrator had revealed an eye-popping collaboration with Snyder: Comic-Con-exclusive posters featuring each of the major characters in their most iconic settings (Ozymandias in front of a wall of TVs, Rorschach roaming the dirty streets, the Comedian looking out the window of his apartment), along with quotes that demonstrated their unique outlooks on life. Snyder explained that the posters were based on old ads Gibbons had made to promote the graphic novel, and that he had the actors posing exactly as the artist had imagined.

But the big draw of the afternoon was when Snyder dimmed the lights and showed the extreme footage that he had cut out of the recently released MPAA-approved trailer.

Scored with an operatic track, the footage struck an intense, reverential tone. Fans saw extended moments from Dr. Manhattan's one-man war in Vietnam (the flesh of his enemies flies off their bones), the Comedian's murder (a great slow-motion shot has Morgan flying out his window, following him down to the city street while his smiley-face pin flies at the camera) and Manhattan's transformation (rather than merely raising the hair on his arms, Snyder shows Jon Osterman being torn apart). Brand-new standout stuff included a '70s-era shot of Wilson, Laurie and Nite Owl kissing in front of a mushroom cloud and a quick peek at a gray-haired, angry Richard Nixon.

Judging by the thunderous response, the crowd liked what they saw from the film, which hits theaters on March 6, 2009.

The cast then took questions from the crowd, providing several hilarious moments between earnest statements about the motivations of their iconic characters. At one point, two identical twins approached the mic and asked a question, with one creepily finishing the other's sentence. Another man, dressed in a homemade Rorschach costume, asked whether superhero movies were becoming more grown up. Laughing lovingly, Snyder pointed out the irony in receiving such a question from a grown man in a superhero costume.

After two rounds of red-carpet press interviews, the affable "Watchmen" cast jetted away like Nite Owl aboard Archie. For a series so defiantly unwilling to yield to the whims of Hollywood, it sure does seem like they're writing an inappropriately happy ending.

Check out everything we've got on "Watchmen."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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Rick Ross says he's laughing at the bloggers. Well, some bloggers certainly are taking liberties with the Miami MC's recent corrections-officer scandal .

Since TheSmokingGun reported earlier this week that the rapper was once a prison guard, some people have been posting Photoshopped pictures of Ross on various police-movie posters. There's Ross' head on RoboCop's body, Ross' head replacing Martin Lawrence on a fake "Big Momma's House" poster, Ross' face replacing Sylvester Stallone's on a faux "Cop Land" poster — you get the picture (no pun intended). Meanwhile, the message boards have been heating up with talk of rap's Biggest Boss. Some people are confused, while some have vilified him.

This is the same guy whose music they were pumping just two weeks ago. His music is still just as banging as it was prior to this scandal, and from the two freestyles he just dropped, his skills have not diminished. So the question is: With so many people having bought into Ross' 'hood-legend persona, has this dance in the rumor mill created a rift between Ross and his fans that can't be patched up?

"I think real n---as won't think so," the Clipse's Malice said a couple of days ago in New York when asked if this episode will hurt Ross' credibility. "That don't mean what he's talking about [in his rhymes] ain't true. The thing I wish is he came clean, if in fact that is him [in the photos]. 'Cause you ain't gotta make no excuses for whatever you did. You might have thought differently at one point in time. I don't think that should discredit that man."

"I'm not even going to go that far into it," said Mal's brother, Pusha T. "I don't know what it's gonna do to him, what it can or what it should do to him. I know the hip-hop community has given passes for much [worse]."

Fabolous suggested that his Def Jam labelmate keep making hits and not to let the banter get to him.

"I don't know if it will really hurt him," Fab said on the set of Ryan Leslie's "Addicted" video. "As an artist, I think Rick Ross makes great music. He's always shown me love and respect whenever I met him. Everybody has a past. I don't know if [being a prison guard] is his past or not. That's not my place to say. I think if he continues to do what he does, sweep all that garbage under the rug — you know what? That's success. That's success taking a shot back at him. All of a sudden past pictures come up. He should just keep doing what he do."

Maino, on the other hand, wasn't as forgiving. During a recent listening session for his album, he gave his opinion on Ross. (The footage was posted on Blogxilla.)

"I'm disappointed," the Brooklyn MC said when asked about Ross. "I'm really disappointed. I pride myself on being 100 percent who I am. If I went to college and had a job before, I would just say that. ... Him, in my opinion, I just think he should have just addressed it. ... 'Look, man. I was 19. It was a part of my life. ... I got to the coke later.'

"I don't have a problem with what he was doing before the rap game," Maino added. "That ain't my beef with him. The thing is, he was denying he was doing it. He said [the pictures] was Photoshopped and wasn't real."

Fat Joe didn't speculate on the authenticity of the pictures, but he did give a little insight into Ross the person. "He's a great dude. He's my friend," Joe said. "We'll just wait to see what [else] he has to say about it."

In n videotaped interview that recently hit the Web, Rick Ross denied ever being a prison guard.

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SAN DIEGO — There are two types of movie stars who make the pilgrimage to Comic-Con: Those who arrive with hopes of acquiring geek credibility, and those who bring it themselves.

"I walked the floor today! Oh, it was so much fun," enthused Bryce Dallas Howard, who toured several booths at her second Con before duty pulled her away for "Terminator Salvation" interviews. "I was actually really disappointed when I was here for 'Spider-Man [3]' that we didn't have time in the schedule to walk the floor. I think Topher [Grace] came several hours earlier with his friends so he could do it. What's so great about Comic-Con is it's the fans — it's people who have spent a significant amount of time invested in admiring the stories, admiring the heroism, the sci-fi aspects of these stories."

What fans have known for years — and Hollywood has only recently begun to realize as it has minted stars like Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen and Guillermo del Toro — is that fans can sniff a phony a mile away. Which is why Howard and the other talents daring to try and resuscitate the "Terminator" film franchise feel confident that they are among friends this week.

"I've been an enormous fan of 'Terminator' [movies] since I was a little kid, because they were huge," insisted 19-year-old Anton Yelchin, who got a big cheer at the preview this week. "When I was at my most impressionable, they were at their biggest."

"I love the franchise," Howard echoed. "I'm a total dork about it."

(Er, speaking of which, DC Unlimited has confirmed that it will be producing a line of products for the film.)

But as much as Day Three of Comic-Con had the "Salvation" stars professing their love for the series, it also had them stressing the many things that will be different when the film hits theaters next May.

"What we want to do is show the fans that we're staying true to the mythology of the first two, and then give them the war they wanted," explained Australian newcomer Sam Worthington. "The first two ['Terminator' films] in particular, because they are darker and grimier. If the first one's a horror movie and the second one's a great action movie, the third is a romp. And then the fourth one, hopefully, is a visceral 'Black Hawk Down'-meets-'Mad Max' movie."

Whether it soars or sucks, the re-boot of one of fandom's most beloved franchises ultimately rests with three letters: McG.

"McG is dead," cautioned the director, who gained fame with his slick music videos and "Charlie's Angels" films. "This is a new beginning. I think every filmmaker reserves the right to grow and leave the past behind. ... This movie is largely influenced by the language of Stanley Kubrick, the language of Alfonso Cuaron and such contemporaries as David Fincher and Chris Nolan

"There aren't many cuts," he swore. "And it's 180 degrees removed from any music-video energy.

"Christian Bale is the best actor of his generation, and he's our John Connor," McG continued, comparing his challenge to that of Nolan when he and Bale (who was not at Comic-Con this week) set out to reboot the Bat. "I would never be so bold as to say we'll have that kind of success, but we aim to. I don't think anybody would regard what Chris did with 'Batman Begins' as 'Batman 5,' and certainly 'The Dark Knight' is not 'Batman 6.' They respected the heritage of the franchise, but they began again. And that's what we want to do."

So, for those of you scoring at home: Bale is the new Eddie Furlong, Howard is the new Claire Danes, and Yelchin is the new Michael Biehn; if you want to start factoring in the "Sarah Connor Chronicles" actors, well, we're gonna need a bigger scorecard.

"I play Kyle Reese as a young man," Yelchin explained. "Kyle is John Connor's father, he went to protect Sarah Connor, and this is the becoming of the hero."

"My character is the bridge between Kyle and John," said the burly Worthington, cast as a possible Terminator named Marcus Wright. "I help them change and grow, and I'm the catalyst for where they go to."

"This happens in the future, post-judgment day," explained McG. "It happens in 2018, and we see the development of [Skynet] on its way to building the T-800, which was indeed the Arnold Schwarzenegger model. So we get to have a great deal of fun seeing giant robots roaming around the landscape, trying to kill all humanity. And John Connor's doing his best to hold on, and there's an interesting character named Marcus Wright — who we don't know exactly what he's made out of."

"I was doing a scene with Christian Bale, and we're inside some underground bunker where it's dirty and freaky," Howard remembered, when asked about the "Salvation" scene that first made her feel like she really was in a "Terminator" film. "I'm supposed to look up, see him, and then run towards and hold him. I hadn't seen him in his costume yet, and they were about to do rehearsal. They were like 'Christian's here!' and he rounds the corner. I look up, and he's in his John Connor outfit, with a machine gun, a satchel . ... There was this voice in my head saying, 'I cannot believe what is happening right now. I cannot believe that I am in a Terminator film, about to hold John Connor!'"

Ultimately, however, the one question the stars received the most this weekend centered around the geeks' desire to bridge the old franchise with the new: Will Arnold have a cameo in the movie, or not?

"Well, I'm not at liberty to answer that," McG slyly remarked at the notion of a Governator cameo, knowing that any filmmaker who doesn't have a returning star typically moves quickly to deny and get past such rumors. "And perhaps in not answering it, I've answered it."

If the big guy is planning to stay true to his catchphrase and "Be back," it would make the Comic-Con crowd and the "Salvation" talents quite happy — especially since they're one and the same.

"These are the people I'm doing it for," Howard summed up, looking over at the costumed crowd. "Because I'm one of them."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more - updated around the clock - visit MTVMoviesBlog.

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