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Name for ‘Worlds Away’ character has unusual origin

Hollywood film and TV producers often have to play the name game. Coming up with the right moniker for a character isn’t as easy as putting a first and last name together. There are often legal concerns. Imagine the grief anyone who happened to be named Hannibal Lecter would have gone through after the release of “Silence of the Lambs.”

It’s no big deal with stories based on real stories but even then some names get changed to protect the innocent.

In the film “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away,” scheduled to open Dec. 21, the character played by acrobat/actor Erica Linz is named Mia. You might not have picked up on that unless you stay for the credits as her name’s only mentioned once.

Mia goes to a rundown circus where she’s smitten by the aerialist. He’s so distracted by here that he misses a grab and falls to the circus floor. Instead of being killed, he’s pulled down into a sandy vortex followed by Mia. She ends up in a wonderland of strange and weird characters not unlike Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

“A little known fact is my character is named for the actress who starred in the recent ‘Alice in Wonderland’ movie,” Linz tells me.

It was Mia Wasikowska who played Alice in the 2010 Tim Burton movie “Alice in Wonderland.”

Entertainment this weekend

1FNLanN06.JPG No matter whether you opt for watching TV, renting a DVD or going to the movies this weekend, there are some first-rate selections.

MOVIES
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2″: The end is here. This final film in the long-running film franchise is superbly acted and full of great special effects. None of that really matters to all of the loyal fans. All they want to know is if this movie is a proper farewell. It is.

DVD
“Rango”: A chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) comes to the rescue of a small town when he’s lost in the desert. Director Gore Verbinski’s first venture into animation is a rootin’, tootin’ good time. It combines the cheesiness of spaghetti Westerns with the offbeat attitude of “Blazing Saddles” and delivers it all in a spectacular computer generated form.

TELEVISION
“Friday Night Lights,” 8 p.m. KSEE (Channel 24.1): It seems like this series ended three years ago but tonight is the actual finale to the family drama’s five-year run. It’s a proper way to close the door as the team headed to the state championship game.

Entertainment this weekend

gorham_jpg.JPG Pirates, spies and TV stars top this weekend’s entertainment options

MOVIES
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth. Director Rob Marshall deals with multiple storylines such as the race between the English and Spanish to find the fountain, a feud between Sparrow’s old foe Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and the ruthless Blackbeard (Ian McShane), a live-action story line of “Little Mermaid” and sexually-charged battles between Sparrow and an old flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz).

DVD
“Covert Affairs: Season One”: The cable action series works because of the strong performances by Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham who plays a blind CIA agent who uses his computer skills to mentor a CIA trainee. It’s a perfect mix of action, drama and comedy.

TELEVISION
This weekend’s top TV pick is not a program but a book signing. Mary McDonough will be signing copies of her autobiography, “Lessons From the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton,” at the Barnes & Noble, 7849 N. Bloodstone Ave., at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Entertainment this weekend

Film Review Sucker Punch.JPG This would be a good time to pray for rain so you can stay indoors to watch all of the college basketball.

TELEVISION
“NCAA Basketball Tournament”: Last night’s games are proof you aren’t going to find any programming with more drama as the contests being played tonight-Sunday in the college cage tournament. Here are tonight’s games: North Carolina vs. Marquette, 4:15 p.m. KGPE (Channel 47.1); Kansas vs. Richmond, 4:27 p.m. TBS; Ohio State vs. Kentucky, 6:45 p.m. KGPE (Channel 47.1); and Florida State vs. Virginia Commonwealth, 6:57 p.m. TBS.

MOVIES
“Sucker Punch”: Director/writer Zack Snyder’s story about a young women who imagines her escape from a mental institution has problems. But, the film is so visually stunning it should be seen on the big screen. Emily Browning stars.

DVD
“The Tourist”: An American tourist (Johnny Depp) thinks he’s found romance in Italy but finds himself in danger. The film is reminiscent of the mid-20th century, when great-looking actors were thrown into exotic locations to find adventure and love. It never mattered if the story was contrived and clichéd. The romantic sparks between the leads were enough. There are so many sparks in “The Tourist,” it’s a wonder the fire alarm doesn’t sound.

Entertainment this weekend

rango2.JPG It looks like the weather will be nice this weekend. If you prefer to stay indoors, here are a few suggestions to keep you amused.

TELEVISION
“The Defenders” 8 p.m. tonight KGPE (Channel 47.1): This episode of the legal series starring James Belushi and Jerry O’Connell could be the season finale or series finale. Ratings are in the middle and it could go either way.

MOVIES
“Rango”: Yes, there’s a new animated film on the block with “Mars Needs Moms.” Both are equally strong visually. But the writing in “Rango” is light years better. This critters version of a spaghetti western should not be missed.

DVD
“The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season”: The AMC series, based on the popular Robert Kirkman Image Comics series that launched in 2003, is a brilliant blend of horror elements with human stories that has done for the horror genre what “Mad Men” did for TV dramas. Both show that familiar formats can become very original through great writing, acting and cinematography.

UPDATE: You can win tickets to see ‘Rango’

RANGO.JPG The winners have been randomly selected to get the tickets to see the early screening of “Rango.” They include commenters Paul, Monica, Mike, Kyle and John. Thanks for participating and keeping watching for the next ticket giveaways.

Original post: Howdy partners. You say you got a hankering to see the new film “Rango.”

It doesn’t matter if you are as tickled as a lightning bug in a bottle of sarsaparilla about how Johnny Depp provides the voice of Rango, how the movie takes shots at spaghetti westerns or you just never miss an animated movie, this is your lucky day.

We want to give you a chance to be ahead of the movie posse who’ll have to wait until March 4 to see the movie. We’re giving away tickets to the 7 p.m. March 1 screening of the animated movie at the Edwards Fresno Stadium theaters, 250 Paseo del Centro.

Five winners will get four reserved seats to see the early screening. These are reserved tickets, so you won’t be herded like cattle into that long line but are guaranteed great premium seats.

But wait, there’s more. We’ve got some promotional items for the five winners.

All you have to do to is leave a comment telling us whether you like animated or western movies better.

The five winners will be randomly selected from all of the commenters. You have until 4 p.m. Thursday to enter. Check out the pesky rules and regulations below.

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