Newsmakers

Will Smith has always been a man with a plan. With plans. Back when he was the rapper known as the Fresh Prince, he wanted to become an actor. As a movie star, he wanted to go beyond slam-bang summer action flicks ("Men in Black," "Independence Day") to serious character studies ("Ali"). And now he wants to do a love story. Love stories.

He and his wife, the actress Jada Pinkett, have written a romantic picture together, but now Smith has put that on the back burner in favor of another longtime scheme: a remake of the oft-remade classic "A Star Is Born," about an up-and-coming actress's romance with a has-been star.

The 1954 version--the one Smith likes--with Judy Garland and James Mason, made the film a musical. Smith will, too--he's always wanted to show off his singing voice--but he'll flip the roles: he'll be the up-and-comer. He already has a production deal with Sony Pictures; all he needs now is a green light, a script (he's tried several writers), a director and a leading lady to be his has-been love, and he can start--early next year, he says.

Well, at least he seems to have found his costar. He first approached Lauryn Hill, then Alicia Keys ("I'm a huge fan"). But he's settled on the one he had in mind all along: Jennifer Lopez. "I've always wanted to work with J. Lo. This is a project that might work if we can get our schedules together." And then he and Jada do their picture. And then--but you're getting worn out just hearing about it.

The Pet Psychic

When did you start speaking to animals?
I was born with this gift. I talked to animals before people. I had a hearing loss, so I didn't talk at all until I was 4 1/2. My mother likes to say I haven't stopped since.

How exactly does your "gift" work?
We communicate in pictures, feelings, emotions and senses. Pets and people transmit energy fields like radio stations. I pick up their signals. I could go into the metaphysics of it, dear, but you wouldn't understand anyway.

Hey, I'm not dumb.
It's just hard to explain. I become the animal--I think like a dog when I talk to a dog. You see the world on all fours, smell it on all fours.

But how do you know how a dog thinks?
I just know.

Can anyone talk to animals telepathically?
No, you have to be a true animal lover--someone who thinks of pets as children in fur clothes. Those people can learn.

Skeptics say you're telling pet owners only what they want to hear.
That doesn't bother me one bit. I know that what I'm experiencing and feeling is real.

What's the most common complaint you hear from the animal world?
Oh, they always want to talk about their food. One problem is that people feed their dogs dog food. I don't give my dogs anything that I wouldn't eat. So I cook for them--not sweets, of course, just meat, rice and vegetables.

Are there any animals that are so dumb, their minds aren't worth reading?
[Gasps] I can't think in those terms. All animals are worthwhile. I even pull flies from my pool.

Can you also read my thoughts?
Oh, darling, I can't be bothered with humans.

Don't. Stop. We've had enough.

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