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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
three months to go until the highly anticipated release
of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, pre-production
is already under way on the follow-up film, Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Director CHRIS
COLUMBUS and the rest of the cast, including ROBBIE
COLTRANE, MAGGIE SMITH and RICHARD HARRIS, will be
returning when filming begins in November. And to
keep the ball rolling, the screenwriter of the two
films, STEVE KLOVES, has already been hired to adapt
the third JK ROWLING book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner
Kloves, who was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay
adaptation of Wonder Boys, also wrote and directed
The Fabulous Baker Boys.
British actress EMILY WATSON will join SIR ANTHONY
HOPKINS in Red Dragon, the next film featuring psychiatrist-turned-cannibal
Hannibal Lecter. Production will begin in November
on the project, which has been fast-tracked by Universal
after the RIDLEY SCOTT-directed Hannibal earned more
than 250 million at the box office. The film will
also star EDWARD NORTON as an obsessive former FBI
agent hunting down a brutal serial killer known as
the Tooth Fairy. Watson will play Reba, a blind woman
for whom the killer works. Red Dragon, the first of
author THOMAS HARRIS's books to introduce the Lecter
character, was previously filmed in 1986 as Manhunter
with BRIAN COX portraying Lecter. The new version,
with a screenplay by Oscar-winning Silence of the
Lambs screenwriter TED TALLY, will use elements from
the book that did not make it into the Manhunter film.
DOUGLAS is planning to team up again with director
MILOS FORMAN for a film adaptation of the ARTHUR MILLER
play The Ride Down Mount Morgan. The duo worked together
when they both won Oscars for the 1975 film One Flew
Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which Douglas co-produced
and Forman directed. Now Forman will helm and Douglas
will star in The Ride Down Mount Morgan, a satire
on the state of marriage which had its London premiere
in 1991. It later played on Broadway where it starred
PATRICK STEWART and won a Tony nomination for best
Dorothy and the land of Oz are coming to television
in a weekly series originally pioneered by Planet
of the Apes director TIM BURTON. Tales of Oz, based
on the 45 novels by L FRANK BAUM, will be dark and
treat Dorothy and company as figures who inhabited
Oz more than 60 years ago. This vision comes from
The X-Files writer DAVID HAYTER, who has written the
pilot episode and will executive-produce the series
with Pulp Fiction's LAWRENCE BENDER. Burton failed
with a similar attempt several years ago. ``I have
reduced the more childlike aspects of the movie and
created a series that inhabits a more visceral world,''
Hayter tells Daily Variety. ``Not many people realise
there were 45 books in the series, 16 of them written
by L Frank Baum.'' He said the Oz of the series will
be a ``very real, very dangerous place''.
SHATNER is to star in the sequel to American Psycho,
last year's hit film about Wall Street serial killer
Patrick Bateman which starred CHRISTIAN BALE. The
next instalment, to be called American Psycho 2: The
Girl Who Wouldn't Die, will centre on the murderous
exploits of a college girl to be played by MILA KUNIS
of the television series That 70s Show. If it is successful,
more American Psycho films could follow as BRETT EASTON
ELLIS, who wrote the original American Psycho novel,
has sold the rights to Lions Gate Films. ``We're going
to see what happens with American Psycho 2 before
we go ahead with a franchise,'' said a source at the
studio. ``American Psycho does have a brand name and
it was a big international hit.''
MORVAN, half of the band Milli Vanilli, which won
and then lost a 1990 Grammy after it was revealed
they did not sing on their album, is beginning a new
career as a karaoke singer. Morvan, whose partner
ROB PILATUS died of a drug overdose in 1998, is the
star of Showerpalooz UMA MAKES PREGNANT PAUSE QUENTIN
TARANTINO is postponing production of his new film
Kill Bill for a year until his star UMA THURMAN, has
had the baby she is expecting. He was faced with the
alternative of recasting the film but, he tells Daily
Variety: ``I'm going to wait for Uma. She is my actress.''
Tarantino began writing the script shortly after Thurman
appeared in his Pulp Fiction and he describes Kill
Bill as his homage to such genres as ``the spaghetti
Westerns, the bad-ass chick flicks and CHARLES BRONSON
movies''. He said Thurman helped him come up with
her character of the Bride, who tracks down the men
who wronged her and kills them one by one.
HEFNER's Playboy company is moving into the feature
film business and plans to produce ``broad romantic
comedies'' in the 20 million budget range, according
to producer LARRY KASANOFF. ``We want to make movies
that are funny and sexy and centre around the unique
lifestyle that Playboy has created,'' said Kasanoff,
who is Playboy's partner in the venture. The first
two films in development are tentatively titled A
Night at the Playboy Mansion and Playmate of the Year.
MIRREN's film-maker husband TAYLOR HACKFORD is to
direct a feature film he is developing based on the
life of the blind singer RAY CHARLES. No actor has
yet been cast as Charles, who, although not appearing
in the film, is heavily involved in the music for
the project. Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story
will follow the singer's poor beginnings to his rise
through the music industry while battling racism,
drug use and problems in love. Hackford, whose most
recent film was Proof of Life with RUSSELL CROWE and
MEG RYAN, previously directed a 1987 documentary about
another music legend, Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll.
Exorcist author WILLIAM PETER BLATTY is unhappy that
Warner Bros is going ahead with a third sequel to
the 1973 horror film based on his novel. JOHN FRANKENHEIMER
is to direct the latest version of the story - a ``prequel''
which portrays Father Merrin's first showdown with
the Devil while serving as a missionary in Africa.
But Blatty `I don't like people playing with one of
my very central characters,'' he tells Daily Variety.
``It does not have my blessing. Far from it.''
QUAID, who was recently divorced from Meg Ryan, was
forced to confront the failure of his marriage in
Dinner With Friends, about an outwardly happily married
couple who shock their friends by divorcing. His co-star
was ANDIE MacDOWELL, also recently divorced, whom
47-year-old Quaid dated briefly after their marriages
broke up. ``Of course the plot made us think and of
course we brought our own experiences to it,'' he
said in an interview in Los Angeles. ``Relationships
change in a day,'' he said. ``You think you know somebody...
but that someone changes. ``The real secret of a successful
marriage is intimacy, and if there is a loss of intimacy,
that is when a relationship starts to die. They are
making minimum wage and is someone going to tell Warren
Beatty and Annette Bening they can't come? Probably
film-maker RENNY HARLIN wants JUDE LAW to star in
his big-budget film about the father of Finland, CARL
MANNERHEIM, who died in 1951. The English language
film, which Harlin hopes to being filming in 2003,
tells the story of Mannerheim who restored law and
order in Finland after the Bolshevik Revolution in
Russia and became president of the country in 1944.
The international love story Beyond Borders , which
OLIVER STONE recently abandoned after four years'
work, is now going ahead with former James Bond director
MARTIN CAMPBELL at the helm. ANGELINA JOLIE is to
star as a socialite involved in a 10-year romance
with a relief worker among disaster-stricken locations
in Africa, Thailand and Europe after CATHERINE ZETA-JONES
and MEG RYAN dropped out. No male lead has yet been
cast, following the withdrawals of KEVIN COSTNER and
RALPH FIENNES, but Campbell, who directed the 007
adventure GoldenEye, plans to begin filming on December
star LUCY LAWLESS has begun filming her first The
X-Files episode and is expected to become a semi-regular
on the series, according to sources. Xena shut down
production in May after Lawless, 34, had announced
she planned to take a year off to spend time with
her 13-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son. ``I
wasn't looking to be a guest on anybody's show but
then the X-Files creator CHRIS CARTER tracked me down
when I was vacationing in Hawaii and asked me to do
it,'' she told the New York Daily News. She said she
has signed for two episodes which they might expand
to eight or more, although her role remains shrouded
in secrecy. ``You won't be able to tell if she's a
good or evil force,'' said the show's executive producer
COURTNEY LOVE rescued her husband, Nirvana singer
KURT COBAIN, from death nearly a dozen times before
he committed suicide in 1994, according to a new biography.
Cobain once told his school friends: ``I'm going to
be a superstar musician, kill myself and go out in
a flame of glory,'' says author CHARLES CROSS in Heavier
Than Heaven, his book about the Nirvana frontman.
He quotes Love recalling one episode in which she
awoke to find her husband passed out on the floor
of their hotel room. ``It wasn't that he OD'd. It
was that he was DEAD. If I hadn't woken up at seven...
I don't know, maybe I sensed it. It was sick and psycho.''
It was the first of many times Love would save Cobain's
life, the book says.
is putting her newly completed clifftop mansion in
Malibu on the market for 20 million. The Oscar-winning
actress-singer employed 70 workmen for two years to
build the house, which has seven bedrooms, a wig room,
a guest house, pool and tennis court. The house is
described by those who have seen it as a cross between
a villa and a monastery. Cher is said to have hand-picked
all the tile in the house and overseen the installation
of such special features as a hammered-copper ceiling
in the dining room. GWYNETH PALTROW has revealed she
had to seek the help of a psychotherapist after she
won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in 1999. She
said she was ``overwhelmed'' by the fame her win radiated
and was ``flipping out''. ``If you think about the
whole world focusing on one person that much - if
you pointed that much energy at an atom, it would
explode,'' she tells W Magazine. ``You think about
one poor, tiny girl just trying to make her way through.
I thought I wasn't going to make it. I was like, `I
need help!''' And she may still need help when it
comes to her relationships with men. ``As my reputation
will attest,'' she says, ``I have problems with commitment.''
She says that four years after their engagement ended
she and BRAD PITT still do not speak and when she
broke up with BEN AFFLECK it was hard for him to accept
their relationship was over.
all-girl band The Go-Gos, who broke up in 1985, have
reunited and are back on the road with a new album
and a possible film in development. ``I think it's
just the right time for us again,'' says bassist KATHY
VALENTINE. The band broke up amid jealousy and drug
use but after they were approached in 1998 by producers
interested in optioning their story for a film, the
Go-Gos began exchanging e-mails about working together
again. ``In the early days, being a Go-Go was about
fame, recognition and power,'' singer BELINDA CARLISLE
tells US Weekly magazine. ``Now it's about doing something
we love and making a living out of it.''
KATE HUDSON has taken over the role originally intended
for GWYNETH PALTROW in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Other commitments forced Paltrow to back out of the
film, based on the illustrated guide of the same name
that chronicles the don'ts of dating and what it takes
to ruin a promising relationship in only 10 days.
The script has been adapted to focus on a womaniser
who bets his friends he can stay in a relationship
for more than 10 days. But he winds up getting more
than he bargained for when the woman he chooses tries
to get rid of him. DANNY DE VITO will direct the film
but the leading male role has not yet been cast.
Even though they are only talking to each other through
lawyers, TOM CRUISE and NICOLE KIDMAN are thinking
about working together again. Cruise's producing partner,
PAULA WAGNER, confirmed she and Cruise were developing
a film for NICOLE KIDMAN to star in and their friend
and Eyes Wide Shut co-star SYDNEY POLLACK to direct.
``That's all I'll say about it, but it's a terrific
character,'' Wagner told USA Today. Cruise and Wagner
produced The Others, the supernatural chiller set
in Jersey and starring Kidman, which has just opened
to enthusiastic reviews in America. Wagner said both
she and Cruise think Kidman is ``a great actress and
wonderful to work with''.
BEN AFFLECK's representatives are not saying whether
the actor will leave alcohol rehab to appear at Wednesday's
LA premiere of the comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike
Back. The Pearl Harbour star is undergoing treatment
at the Promises clinic in Malibu, where CHARLIE SHEEN
also sobered up. Even if he doesn't appear, most of
his co-stars, including MATT DAMON, JAMES VAN DER
BEEK, SHANNON DOHERTY, JASON BIGGS, CARRIE FISHER
and SHANNON ELIZABETH, are expected to attend.
ALBERT FINNEY is to portray WINSTON CHURCHILL and
VANESSA REDGRAVE will play his wife Clementine in
A Lonely War, a drama about their marriage. The film
is being produced by the British film-making brothers
Ridley and TONY SCOTT and will be directed by RICHARD
LONCRAINE, who helmed Richard III and some episodes
of the Second World War mini-series Band of Brothers.
Filming begins in London in October.
casting search is under way to find an actor to portray
HERVE VILLECHAIZE in a film biography of the troubled
star of Fantasy Island. Villechaize, who portrayed
the dwarf island-greeter Tattoo in the popular series,
shot himself in 1993 following several brushes with
the law and disputes with women friends. Producers
of the film, The Big Tease, are holding auditions
for ``bold, expressive little people'' to play Villechaize
as both a child and an adult.
British boxer LENNOX LEWIS has a cameo role in the
gangster drama Shottas, which is being filmed in Jamaica,
where the former world heavyweight champion spends
much of his time. Former Fugees rapper WYCLEF JEAN
is to write the soundtrack for the film, in which
he also stars. The story centres on two Jamaican thugs
who reunite and decide to take on the city of Miami.
It also stars KY-MANI MARLEY, SPRAGGA BENZ and PAUL