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Playing wicked

Angelina Jolie is turning wicked as one of Disney's most-famous villains in "Maleficent," a live-action twist on "Sleeping Beauty" that's set for release just under two years from now.

Walt Disney Studios announced Monday that "Maleficent" is due in theaters on March 14, 2014.

The film will spell out the back story of the evil enchantress in Disney's animated classic "Sleeping Beauty."

Production designer Robert Stromberg, a two-time Academy Award winner for "Avatar" and "Alice in Wonderland," is set to direct.


Making a big leap

"Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria is leaving Wisteria Lane for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The 37-year-old actress was named a national co-chairwoman for President Obama's re-election campaign in February, and she's bidding farewell to her sassy, model-turned-housewife character Gabrielle Solis on the ABC drama's May 13 finale.

But making the leap from the domestic affairs of the "Housewives" to a national political campaign hasn't been an easy transition.

"People go, 'Who cares about your opinion, you're just pretty,' " Longoria said. "And it's like, 'Why can't I have an intellectual argument about immigration or health care reform just because I'm pretty?' "

The Mexican-American actress is also developing a dating reality series titled, "All About Love," for NBC and is co-producing ABC's upcoming telenovela-style TV drama "Devious Maids," about the scandalous lives of the hired help.


'A Poem Is

Jessica Alba is adding her voice to National Poetry Month, helping to lure children into the art form.

Alba is among more than a dozen celebrity parents whose poetry readings are airing on the Disney and Disney Junior channels this month.

Readings by Viola Davis, Caroline Kennedy, Liev Schreiber and Katie Holmes also are featured in "A Poem Is ....", a short-form series that sets verse to classic Disney animation. Langston Hughes, Mary Ann Hoberman and May Swenson are among the writers whose work is included.

Alba, who has two daughters, chose a Mexican folk song, "De Colores" ("Of Colors"), which reflects her Hispanic heritage. Her segment will air at 11:55 a.m. EDT Monday and at 6:55 a.m. EDT April 29, on the Disney Channel, and will play at various times on Disney Junior.

Joining poetry and imagery is "just a really great way to introduce kids to poetry," including those too young to read, Alba said.

It's also reflects the "genius of 'edu-tainment,' a new word I've been introduced to since I've become a mother," Alba said. Her definition: "tricking your kids into learning."

The actress ("Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," "Dark Angel") says her own poetry dabblings have taken a sharp turn.

"I have a lot of teen angst on paper," Alba said. "Now I just kind of make up songs for my girls. I have little poems that I sing to them before they go to sleep, to the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle (Little Star).' "

-- From News and wire services