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‘Things Finally Starting To Calm Down’ for Cibrian and Rimes

hollywoodexclusive1It's been a year since reports emerged that Eddie Cibrian and his "Northern Lights" leading lady, LeAnn Rimes, were more than just co-stars, a year since their lives turned upside down with the couple eventually splitting from their respective mates and going through divorces. And only now, Cibrian tells us, "Things are finally starting to calm down and be the way they're supposed to be.

"I think things happen for a reason," adds the father of two sons. "I'm just focusing on work and focusing on my family," he says. And, quite obviously, he's enjoying being with Rimes, to judge by the steady flow of paparazzi pics of their outings.

Cibrian is busy right now with his Jesse Cardoza role on "CSI: Miami" — and the launch of his Hallmark Channel movie, "Healing Hands," premiering tomorrow (3/20). In it, he plays a man who comes out of a near-death experience with the power to heal others. It was a role that took him through some tough emotional territory — particularly scenes involving Patrick Duffy as his cancer-stricken uncle.

"Just thinking about that disease and how it affects people — my mom and dad both survived cancer — it's raw emotion for me, dealing with that subject matter. Anyone in the hospital, on respirators ..." He adds, "Patrick did a masterful job."

Cibrian says that non-medical healing "is not really part of my world at all. Years back, I dated a girl that always watched Benny Hinn, the evangelical minister, on TV. He always had people come up to get healed, but to me, it's still very, very foreign.

"My first concern was how to do this without it looking hokey," he continues, "without sparks coming off people's hands or whatever. My intention was always about making it as subtle as possible." It turned out, he says, the movie's producers and the Hallmark Channel matched him in that desire.

The movie "all comes down to: Do you believe in miracles or not? I do," says Cibrian. "There are things that happen that science can't explain."

THE BIG-SCREEN SCENE: Roman Polanski's latest film, "The Ghost Writer," which goes into wide release March 26, was acclaimed at the international festivals, but star of the film Olivia Williams tells us it was odd not having Polanski there. You'll recall the director was arrested on his way to the Zurich Film Festival in September on an international warrant stemming from his 1977 flight from the U.S. after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. He was not allowed to take part in the film's world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

"It was very moving that he got the director's prize in Berlin, though it was very strange to do a press conference and talk about the movie without him being there," recalls Williams, who plays Pierce Brosnan's wife in the political thriller/mystery.

Williams admits it wasn't always easy trying to capture Polanski's vision.

"Being directed in the Polanski style is very different from anything else. So many people had said he is difficult so one goes into it with a certain amount of nervousness beforehand, and there's an atmosphere of sort of high drama. That's as much to do with the French/German/Polish temperament," she adds. "I realized after a while that he's not just being difficult. He has a very clear vision of almost every frame and that actor's part in that picture. He needs you to do things in the way he saw it in his head, and if you don't do it right, he gets frustrated and tells you that you're wrong. It's not the way young directors are being taught to direct. Normally, it's up to the actors to create their own performance, but I wanted to help him create his perfect picture, and I enjoyed doing it."

In the end, Williams says the experience was definitely worth it.

"I want to be in good things. The reputation of someone's work makes you want to work with them, and you're willing to put up with a certain amount of temperament to do good work. Fortunately, Ewan (McGregor, co-star) is a very good-natured man and Pierce is probably the nicest man in the world so we provided the sort of light relief in between takes."

PAGE TO SCREEN: Wonder what "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson will look like at 93? So do the casting forces on "Water for Elephants," who've been checking out old guys to play the aged version of Pattinson's character in the big-screen adaptation of the acclaimed Sara Gruen historical novel. The story is formed by his reminiscences of dropping out of Cornell veterinary school and joining the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth during the 1930s Great Depression — encountering a brutal, mentally unbalanced trainer (Christoph Waltz, fresh off his "Inglourious Basterds" Oscar win) and his beautiful, mistreated wife (Reese Witherspoon). Another key bad guy still has to be cast as well. Production's set for May 22.

The inspiring and suspenseful true-life saga of a band of courageous Dutch WWII heroes will get a fresh look in "Return to the Hiding Place," which is due to shoot in July in the Netherlands, Texas and Michigan with Peter Spencer directing. He also serves as executive producer on the project, and its screenwriter. If you recall the story of Corrie ten Boom and her family, they hid Jews who were fleeing the Nazis in their home until they could be smuggled out of the country via the underground — as in people and tunnels. "Return to the Hiding Place" revisits that story from the vantage point of one of the resistance fighters.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

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