Magazine says Ian McKellen to play Gandalf in 'The Hobbit'

LONDON - Ian McKellen will again take up the robes of Gandalf the Wizard in the cinematic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic 'The Hobbit,' a British film magazine reported Wednesday.

But McKellen's publicist warned that final arrangements were yet to be made.

'Of course he wants to do it, but nothing's been agreed or signed,' Clair Dobbs said.

Vin Diesel backs Dominican leader for re-election

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Vin Diesel has stopped chasing bad guys long enough to endorse the president of the Dominican Republic for re-election.

Diesel appears in a Dominican campaign commercial urging a vote for his friend, President Leonel Fernandez. The endorsement first aired Wednesday on local TV stations and is paired with movie clips that show Diesel running, driving and surviving a bomb explosion.

The 40-year-old actor said he visits the Dominican Republic about once a year and owns a home on the country's eastern coast.

Blaine sets new world record for holding breath

CHICAGO - David Blaine set a new world record Wednesday for breath-holding - 17 minutes and 4 seconds - fulfilling what he said was 'a lifelong dream.'

The feat was broadcast live during 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and the studio audience cheered as divers pulled the 35-year-old magician from a water-filled sphere 8 feet in diameter.

Studios reject demands for pay raises by SAG

LOS ANGELES - Major Hollywood studios said Wednesday they were not willing to accept demands for what they called huge pay raises sought by the Screen Actors Guild in contract talks.

In a release posted on its Web site, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said after 13 days of talks, significant gaps remain between the two sides.

The alliance of major studios and networks also blamed the problems on the guild's insistence on doubling fees for DVD sales and demands for 'huge increases in compensation and benefits.'