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Weekly's Gone By:WEEK-42-01
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week 15-01
ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...

Oscar-winning choreographer MICHAEL KIDD has been hired to create a dance number for JULIE ANDREWS and CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER in the live television production of On Golden Pond. The actors, who starred in The Sound Of Music together, take over the roles played on the big screen by Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in the 1981 film about an elderly couple spending the summer at their lakefront holiday home. The new production, to be screened in the US on April 29, will be directed by Ernest Thompson, who wrote the original play and has adapted it for television.

BALTHAZAR GETTY, the great-grandson of the late oil billionaire J PAUL GETTY, is carving out a successful acting career after checking himself into a Mexican drug rehabilitation clinic two years ago. The 25-year-old Getty, who appeared in a remake of Lord Of The Flies when he was 13 but later succumbed to a heroin habit, recently finished Deuces Wild, in which he co-stars with Matt Dillon and Stephen Dorff. He is to next play the black sheep of a wealthy California family in the pilot for a Dynasty-style television series called Pasadena. Getty, known as Balty to his friends, has also joined the cast of the feature film In God We Trust, playing a confidence trickster who gets caught up in a robbery that goes awry.

LIV TYLER and her British boyfriend ROY LANGDON, the singer with the rock band Spacehogs, are househunting together in New York. ``It's a lot more difficult than I thought it would be,'' says the 23-year-old actress, who has spent most of the last 18 months in New Zealand filming the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and is currently promoting her latest film, One Night At McCool's. ``I thought we'd see somewhere and know instantly that it was the place we have been looking for, but it hasn't worked out like that so far.'' The couple became engaged on Valentine's Day but are keeping the date of their wedding a secret to avoid unwanted publicity.

A sequel to the 1995 action comedy Bad Boys is finally going ahead after being in development for five years. The film's original stars, WILL SMITH and MARTIN LAWRENCE, are reportedly still interested in returning in their roles of two Miami cops and a new script is currently being prepared. British actor JEREMY NORTHAM is making his mark in Hollywood with a series of major film roles. Northam, who has just finished filming his role in ROBERT ALTMAN'S Gosford Park, is next due to star opposite GWYNETH PALTROW in Possession. It will not be the first time the two have teamed up on screen, having co-starred in the successful film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. Northam is also negotiating to take the title role in The Company Man, about an unsuspecting employee who finds himself working as a corporate spy in a world of deadly espionage.

HUGH GRANT has finally acquired a love interest in the film adaptation of NICK HORNBY's novel About a Boy, with RACHEL WEISZ set to fill the role. She is in final talks with the directors, CHRIS and PAUL WEITZ, as filming is due to begin next week. Grant plays a womanising slacker whose fear of commitment leads him to seek out relationships with single mothers because they are easier to leave. But his plans go awry when he becomes best friends with 12-year-old son of a would-be target, and falls in love with Weisz's character. Weisz's two most recent projects include the high-profile films, The Mummy Returns and Enemy at the Gates.

MARLON BRANDO's salary has been upped to a massive two million dollars for four days' work on the comedy sequel Scary Movie 2. Brando will play a priest who performs a supernatural exorcism at the beginning of the film. He was offered the role after CHARLTON HESTON turned it down, reports Daily Variety, which says the producers were shocked when he accepted. ``He will work four days. He'll perform an exorcism. He'll mumble a few words. He may even get killed,'' reports the newspaper. Brando joins an ensemble cast which includes TORI SPELLING, SHAWN and MARLON WAYANS, TIM CURRY and NATASHA LYONNE.

Friends star COURTENEY COX has hit out at rumours that her marriage to DAVID ARQUETTE is on the rocks. ``I heard that I filed for divorce and kicked him out and that he's a bad boy but none of the rumours are true,'' she insists in the May issue of Seventeen magazine. She says she find most of the reports ``so stupid'' that they don't bother her. ``David makes my life better,'' she says. ``I'm not the poet that he is but I just love him.'' She even likes his off-beat way of dressing, saying: ``We wake up in the morning and before he has coffee he actually puts on an entire outfit. ``Then he takes a shower and puts on another one. Can I tell you how much laundry we have?'' A 20-minute clip of the highly anticipated computer-generated film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has received high praise from a test audience. The film, based on the popular Final Fantasy series of video games, took four years to complete and features an entirely computer-generated cast who look hauntingly realistic, according to those who saw the clip. Final Fantasy, which will be released across America on July 11, is set in the distant future when Earth's humans are under siege by alien creatures.

SHERILYN FENN, who starred in the cult series Twin Peaks, is to feature in the American version of the British TV show Blind Men. She will play a pretty and earthy kindergarten teacher who is married to one of two rival window blind salesmen. DAVID THRELFALL, who portrayed Joseph of Nazareth in the TV film Mary, Mother of Jesus, is also joining the cast as the head of the window blind company.

The young British actor JAMIE BAMBER has landed a major film role opposite hot American actress JULIA STILES in Carolina. Bamber, best-known for his role as Lt Archie Kennedy in the TV series Horatio Hornblower, will play Heath, a charming, handsome man with whom Stiles's character falls in love. He will also soon be seen in the Steven Spielberg-produced television mini-series Band of Brothers.

PAUL HOGAN says he will go to court in an attempt to resolve a dispute with the Writers' Guild of America. It is insisting he will not receive an on-screen writing credit for his new film Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles. The Australian actor says he has written the original screenplay, invented all the characters and developed all the jokes for the film, in which he also stars and is producing. ``I have an ongoing problem with the Writers' Guild because I am also the producer,'' he tells the Hollywood Reporter. ``It's rather silly and I think it has to do with the pending writers' strike. The writers are threatening to strike against the producers so they suddenly decided I wasn't a writer anymore.'' Screenwriters MATTHEW BERRY and ERIC ABRAMS are credited for the screenplay, but the film's director, SIMON WINCER, is backing Hogan. He says: ``I have never met the two other guys who have got the screen credit. The script that I read and the script that I shot - every single word was written by Paul.''

While he is waiting for a script for the next James Bond film, PIERCE BROSNAN will star in the action-adventure film Defiance. Brosnan will also produce the film in which he will play the leader of a renegade band of soldiers battling a totalitarian government. He had been expected to star in the RENNY HARLIN-directed adaptation of RAY BRADBURY's A Sound of Thunder - but the script is being rewritten, leaving a gap in his schedule.

MARIAH CAREY has broken the record for the most money ever paid to a singer for an album. She has just signed an $81.5 million deal with her new record label, Virgin, to be paid at the rate of $16.3 million for each of five albums, including the soundtrack to her upcoming film Glitter. It tops the previous highest fees paid to Janet Jackson and REM who were each getting $13.5 million per album in their most recent negotiations.

MARLON BRANDO is considering an offer to appear in a cameo role in the Scary Movie sequel in return for one million dollars. Brando has made it known he would like to appear in more comedies and recently finished The Score with ROBERT DE NIRO and EDWARD NORTON. Scary Movie II is being directed by KEENAN IVORY WAYANS.

SEAN LENNON has accompanied his girlfriend BIJOU PHILLIPS to the Caribbean where she will record a CD dedicated to her father, Mamas and Papas founder JOHN PHILLIPS, who died last month. ``He knew I was working on it before he died,'' says Bijou. ``He was enthusiastic and proud.''

CAMRYN MANHEIM, the star of the TV legal drama The Practice, is to produce and star in a feature film she is developing based on her own experiences on film sets. The project, titled The Extra, centres on a delusional extra who ruins the life of a movie star through stories in the tabloid press.

The US version of the British comedy series The Royle Family will feature health warnings whenever any of the characters light a cigarette. Each time, the smokers will have to comment on how bad the habit is for their health. ``We would like the family to be very much like the British one, but we have a few restrictions,'' says MAYA FORBES, head writer for the series, which will air on the CBS network in America. The American Royles will be called the Kennedys and feature a Boston working-class family. To give the series an added twist the character of Dave, played by CRAIG CASH in Britain, will be black. ``I think Dave is one of the funniest characters I've ever seen on TV,'' says Forbes, ``but we liked the idea of black people and white people sitting around watching TV in a comfortable way.''

RANDY QUAID fills the role of Jim, the couch potato father of the family, while his wife will be played by PAMELA REED. JENNIFER LOPEZ and ROBERT DE NIRO are talking about co-producing and starring in a remake of Love Me or Leave Me. They would fill the roles originally played by DORIS DAY and JAMES CAGNEY in the 1955 musical romance. The original version was based on the true story of 1930s torch singer RUTH ETTING. But the remake, although set in the musical world, would be a fictional story of a mobster who uses his connections to help a singer's career. In it, Lopez would sing on screen for the first time since she starred in Selena, the 1997 film musical about the Latin singer SELENA QUINTANILLA-PEREZ.

A promotional trailer for the new SYLVESTER STALLONE film Driven is being accused of exploiting the death of racing driver DALE EARNHARDT. The trailer ends with a shot of a race car smashing into a wall at high speed in a manner similar to the crash in which Earnhardt died earlier this year. ``It was like living it all over again,'' an Earnhardt family source tells internet gossip columnist MATT DRUDGE. ``The timing of this movie is heartbreaking. It feels like they are out to make a quick buck.'' Stallone wrote the script and plays a veteran race car driver who is hired to steer the career of a young hotshot driver. ``Dale was the greatest,'' said Stallone. ``I paid attention to his racing style and life while I prepared the movie. I hope Driven lives up to his standards.''

JULIA ROBERTS has snapped up the film rights to an unfinished novel about a woman distraught by the close relationship between her lover and his ex-girlfriend. Her company will produce the film and, although she is not expected to star in it, Roberts is said to have a big female star in mind for the role. The unfinished story, called Her, is by LAURA ZIGMAN, whose last novel, Animal Husbandry, was adapted into the romantic comedy Someone Like You starring ASHLEY JUDD and HUGH JACKMAN. Roberts has recently finished America's Sweethearts and is now filming Ocean's Eleven, the STEVEN SODERBERGH-directed remake of a criminal gang's plan to rob a string of casinos.

The British director PETER KOSMINSKY is assembling an all-star female cast for his first feature film. Kosminsky will begin filming the drama White Oleander on April 23 with MICHELLE PFEIFFER, ROBIN WRIGHT PENN and RENEE ZELLWEGER. The main character, a girl who lands in a number of foster homes after being separated from her jail-bound mother, will be played by newcomer ALISON LOHMAN. She was discovered after an extensive search that included casting calls in eight cities and auditions by most of Hollywood's hot young actresses.

PATRICK FUGIT, who has not acted since Almost Famous, will play an orphan. Boy band N'Sync star JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE has just signed a seven-figure deal to write his first novel. The contract is unprecedented for a young celebrity trying his hand at fiction but Ballentine Books are banking on his millions of fans to send sales soaring. The book will be called Crossover Dribble, but no plot details have been released.

PETER O'TOOLE, who has won seven Oscar nominations in his 50-year career, will never star in another film. The 68-year-old actor tells Entertainment Weekly magazine: ``I don't have the appetite to take on and sustain the entire 20 weeks of a movie - and happily that's unlikely to come my way. ``I think perhaps our Maker has put a kind of mechanism into our personalities that when we're past it, we know.'' Instead O'Toole, who is promoting a DVD version of Lawrence of Arabia, is writing a novel and learning how to operate lights camera and sound equipment in preparation for making documentaries.

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Traffic, is to star in a film based on a British TV mini-series. Traffic was also based on a TV series, called Traffik, and now the Oscar-nominated Irish writer TERRY GEORGE, who wrote In the Name of the Father, is adapting Trust for the big screen. The Welsh actress will play a lawyer who defends her psychiatrist husband when he is accused of a brutal murder - but finds he is having an affair with one of his patients. The setting is being moved from London to New York. Zeta-Jones and her brother, LYNDON JONES, will co-produce the film along with JILL GREEN, who produced the original two-part mini-series.

ANNE ROBINSON could find she will have to take it as well as dish it out when the quiz show The Weakest Link makes its American television debut. The producers want to spice up the US version by picking contestants who will stand up to Robinson, and she approves. ``I expect to be spending a lot of time in America,'' she said on a recent visit to the NBC studios in Burbank, California, where the show will be filmed. ``I'm not in any doubt. I don't see it failing.''

KEVIN COSTNER is flying to Cuba this week to show his film Thirteen Days, which depicts events surrounding the Cuban missile crisis, to FIDEL CASTRO. He will be taking his girlfriend CHRISTINE BAUMGARTNER and his co-producer PETER ALMOND with him. Almond acknowledges that the Cubans may ``quibble with any number of facts'' in the film and adds: ``We look forward to a robust exchange of views with President Castro.''

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