Jess writes: I’m sending some info about some of the southern hemisphere’s splendid LotR stars.

Anyone in Sydney in October can catch Jay Laga’aia as Mufasa in the Aussie stage production of The Lion King. Oh, and for anyone who is wondering, you pronounce his last name “Lah-guy-ah”.

Miranda Otto’s new film Danny Deckchair opens in Oz on July 31. It tells the story of Danny, an idealistic cement contractor played by Notting Hill’s Rhys Ifans, who decides to escape his humdrum life by strapping helium balloons to a fold-up chair. After an unscheduled journey across Sydney, Danny lands in the backyard of Glenda, played by Otto.

In the crime-comedy Gettin’ Square, David Wenham plays Johnny “Spit” Spitieri, a crim trying to walk the staright and narrow after getting out of jail, but finds it hard to resist crime, the underworld and all things nefarious on Australia’s glittering Gold Coast. It opens in Oz in October.

This article: “Cate a soft touch for green things” was in Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph a few weeks ago:

Cate Blanchett has handed over a substantial donation to a US environmental group, Forest Guardians. Blanchett made the donation to the New Mexico-based group after filming Ron Howard’s The Missing in the Desert State. “The gift to Forest Guardians is meant both as a token of gratitude for the crew’s tireless contributions and also to help preserve the state’s natural splendour for generations to come” she said. She must have developed a soft spot for those other forest guardians, the Ents, while filming The Lord of the Rings in New Zealand.