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August 28, 2007
Resurrecting a co-worker

"Resurrecting the Champ" might devote most of its run time to the relationship between a reporter (Josh Hartnett) and the homeless former boxer (Samuel L. Jackson) he wants to profile, but at least one local moviegoer was keeping a close eye on a subplot.

Sheila Kern, assistant director of editorial research at The Bee, worked with reporter J.R. Moehringer for the Los Angeles Times' Orange County edition in the 1990s and helped Moehringer research his story on the man who called himself Champ. When Kern heard from Moehringer that former model Rachel Nichols would play her counterpart in the movie, Kern wasn't surprised.

"It seems like everyone in Hollywood is model-like -- a young, glamorous actress," Kern says. When she saw the film last week, Kern observed that Nichols buttoned up quite nicely.

"She was smart, efficient and she had a quick wit," Kern assessed. "But (the character) was highly fictionalized. She took the liberty of setting up an interview appointment for the reporter to talk to the source, and I would never in a million years do that."

Kern assures that few events in the newsroom played out quite like they do on screen. For instance, Moehringer never said to her, "I could kiss you."

"As I tell all my friends who are going to see the movie -- if you have to ask me if something really happened, the answer is, categorically, no," she says with a smile.

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