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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
THE ROCK may have been seen on the big screen for
about 10 minutes so far in The Mummy Returns - but
now he is set to star in two more films for Universal
Pictures. The Rock, who recently finished his first
starring role in The Scorpion King, will next star
in Hunting Bronze, a rugged action comedy in which
he will play a bounty hunter. In addition, studio
executives want him to star in an as yet untitled
film written by Oscar-winner BRIAN HELGELAND, who
wrote LA Confidential.
British actor JASON STATHAM, who co-stars in JOHN
CARPENTER's futuristic adventure The Ghosts of Mars,
is considering leaving the London home he shares with
model KELLY BROOK and moving to Los Angeles. ``The
films I've been in recently, they'd never make these
kind of films back home,'' he said in an interview
in Los Angeles. The move would enable him to spend
more time with his friend, director GUY RITCHIE, who
cast him in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and
Snatch. ``Guy has a passion for fighting and so do
I,'' says Statham. ``He's like a sparring partner
- we go down to whatever dojos available and strangle
each other. I like to turn him a shade of purple.''
SMITH is to produce a remake of the 1980 comedy Nine
to Five with his wife, JADA PINKETT SMITH, playing
one of the three leading roles. The original film,
about secretaries who take revenge on their boss,
starred JANE FONDA, LILY TOMLIN and DOLLY PARTON.
The new version will feature three black women at
a black workplace, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
It has not yet been decided whether Smith, who has
just finished filming Ali, will appear in the film.
CRAWFORD is to return to Broadway in the macabre musical
Dance of the Vampires - 14 years after appearing in
The Phantom of the Opera. Crawford has reportedly
committed himself to the show for one year and has
been working with writers on the script, which is
based on ROMAN POLANSKI's 1967 film spoof, The Fearless
Vampire Killers. He will play Count von Krolock, a
distinguished vampire who battles with a student from
Heidelberg University over the body and soul of a
young woman, who has not yet been cast. The show is
due to open on April 11.
hit 1970s television series Kung-Fu, which starred
DAVID CARRADINE as Caine, a nomadic marital arts expert,
is coming to the big screen. The creator of the series,
ED SPIELMAN, has been hired to write a new script,
which will be filmed as American Samurai. No cast
has yet been announced for the project.
SPIELBERG is on the verge of agreeing to direct LEONARDO
DiCAPRIO's next film, Catch Me if You Can. The Oscar-winning
film-maker, who is editing his sci-fi drama Minority
Report, wants to begin shooting in early January,
according to his DreamWorks company. Catch Me if You
Can, the true story of the youngest man to make the
FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, interested a number of
directors, including CAMERON CROWE, GORE VERBINSKI,
MILOS FORMAN and LASSE HALLSTROM, but all have dropped
out of the project. The Sopranos star JAMES GANDOLFINI
was set to co-star with DiCaprio but left when Verbinski,
who directed him in The Mexican, backed out. ``Steven
has been a great fan of Catch Me since the first time
he read the draft last year,'' DreamWorks production
chief WALTER PARKES told the Hollywood Reporter. ``His
commitments to AI and Minority Report precluded his
considering it then, but we're hoping that this time
he'll be able to clear the decks and commit to the
CRUISE has reportedly agreed to take a ``major cameo''
role in MIKE MYERS' next Austin Powers film. He will
play a spy aiding Powers while spoofing his Mission:
Impossible films, reports the New York Post. Sources
who have seen the latest draft of the Austin Powers
III script say film-makers are still hoping to entice
SEAN CONNERY to play Powers' father and are looking
for a star to portray the villain of the piece.
WOODS' drop in form on the golf course may be due
to his eating habits off course. The 25-year-old golfing
phenomenon has been flying from tournament to tournament
in his private Falcon jet and is about to upgrade
to a larger Gulf Stream IV. A source who has been
involved with his flight plans tells the New York
Daily News: ``He can order any kind of food he wants
on these planes, but his choice is McDonald's, morning,
noon and night.''
RITCHIE has received a rap on the knuckles from People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals after embarking
on an alligator hunt in Florida. MADONNA's husband
went hunting with the aid of a guide near Lake Okeechobee
during a stop on the singer's Drowned World Tour,
according to reports. The Snatch director was unable
to bag an alligator because they were out of season
but instead bagged a wild boar, according to PETA.
They wrote him a letter saying: ``We were troubled
to learn that you recently went hunting in Florida.
``Should you find yourself with any more free days
in the Sunshine State, we'd like to suggest you splash
around in the shark-infested surf near Tampa or Daytona
Beach where you might square off against a more equally
matched predator instead of a small vegetarian animal
who can only run from your guns.'' Ritchie's spokeswoman
had no comment.
An EMINEM showdown with LL COOL J and JAY-Z for a
video shoot in which they play gangsters had to be
moved after police in New York's South Bronx said
they did not have the necessary permits. Instead the
trio ended up shooting the video in the subway under
Grand Central Station. Trains were cancelled to enable
the three rappers, playing thugs in red hats and gold
chains, to chase each other in and out of two trains
for the cameras.
NEWMAN has recruited an all-star cast to perform a
little-known work by ERNEST HEMINGWAY in aid of charity.
The World of Nick Adams, which features music by AARON
COPLAND, has not been seen since it was televised
in America in 1957. Now it will be performed as a
one-time production at New York's Lincoln Centre in
November with a cast including MERYL STREEP, JULIA
ROBERTS, ROBERT De NIRO, MORGAN FREEMAN, JOANNE WOODWARD,
MATT DAMON and ALEC BALDWIN. The proceeds will go
to Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for children
with life-threatening illnesses.
RICHARD HARRIS had his doubts about taking the role
of Hogwarts headmaster Prof Dumbledore in Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer's Stone. But he has now signed on
for three sequels, which are all in various stages
of development. ``I wasn't sure I wanted to do this,''
Harris tells Premiere magazine. ``I hate making dates
and appointments - it feels like entrapment.'' But,
as Harris reveals, a call from his 11-year-old granddaughter
left him no choice: ``She rang up one day and said,
`Papa, if you don't play Dumbledore, I'll never speak
to you again'.''
British actor CHRISTIAN BALE is considering an offer
to play Oscar-winner FRANCES McDORMAND's son in Laurel
Canyon, a family drama that has been in development
for nearly four years. Bale, who was last seen in
American Psycho, would play a strait-laced young man
who, after completing medical school, returns to his
childhood home with his fiancee to find his pot-smoking
mother living in the house.
MARLON BRANDO may be one of America's finest actors
but he was no good as a director, according to a biography,
Marlon Brando, due out soon. He was thrilled to have
total control when he landed the job of directing
the Western One-Eyed Jacks, says the author, PATRICIA
BOSWORTH. ``He become involved with every aspect of
One-Eyed Jacks, from costumes to sets to lighting,''
she writes. ``He even had a dozen horses brought to
his home and they trotted around the garden while
he auditioned them. He called meetings to order in
the dining room by striking a big brass gong.'' Bosworth
writes: ``One day an executive came by and commented,
`You're looking into the wrong end of the viewfinder'.
Said Marlon, `Maybe that's why the picture is so late'.''
FARRELL, one of Hollywood's hottest new young stars,
is tipped to play Beat generation author JACK KEROUAC
in director JOEL SCHUMACHER's version of the classic
On the Road. Dublin-born Farrell previously starred
in Schumacher's Tigerland and Phone Booth and in America
he is on the screen as Jesse James in the American
chilling 1978 Nazi-themed The Boys From Brazil is
the first of several classic films to be remade by
the US arm of the British production company Carlton
International, which owns the originals. Other titles
under consideration for remakes, according to the
Hollywood Reporter, include The Eagle Has Landed,
Farewell My Lovely, On Golden Pond and the British
television series Captain Scarlet. No casting has
been announced for the new version of The Boys From
Brazil, a dark thriller about a new race of Hitlers
which starred GREGORY PECK as Joseph Mengele and LAURENCE
OLIVIER as the Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman.
HANKS has revealed he found it difficult to leave
his family to go to Chicago to film The Road to Perdition
for British director SAM MENDES. ``This is not an
easy gig, in the heart of the school year, to be off
in Chicago making another m ovie,'' he said in an
interview in September's Reader's Digest. ``But Rita
(his wife, actress RITA WILSON) puts her head down
and says, `OK, when will you be coming home?' This
is what we do. This is our life.''
CHRISTINA RICCI has already established herself as
an actress and producer and now the 21-year-old star
of Sleepy Hollow is turning to directing. She will
make her directorial debut on Speed Queen, a dark
comedy in which she will play a salesgirl who goes
on a lethal road trip with a man and woman and then
tells her story to a best-selling author while on
death row. Last year Ricci produced and starred in
Prozac Nation which will have its world premiere in
Toronto next month and also produced and starred in
Pumpkin, which is due for release next year.
punk band the Adverts' 1977 song Gary Gilmore's Eyes
is featured in Shot in the Heart, an upcoming film
about writer MIKAL GILMORE's relationship with his
murderous younger brother. GARY GILMORE was executed
in 1977 and his corneas were donated for eye transplant
surgery, which promoted the Adverts song. ``It's jarring
song and never a song I accepted easily, but it's
important historically,'' Mikal tells the Los Angeles
Times. ``It was a deft commentary imagining what happens
when your memories are transmitted through someone's
eyes - how would it be to look at the world through
the eyes of a killer?'' Shot in the Heart, which stars
GIOVANNI RIBISI as Mikal and ELIAS KOTEAS as Gary,
is based on Mikal's book about his attempts to come
to terms with his tortured family history.
HASSELHOFF and several original Baywatch cast members
are reuniting for a film, even though the 10-year-old
TV series has been axed because of poor ratings. Baywatch
Blast, which will cost more than 3 million, will be
filmed in Hawaii and Los Angeles and feature Baywatch
beauties ALEXANDRA PAUL, GENA LEE NOLIN, NICOLE EGGERT,
YASMINE BLEETH, TRACI BINGHAM and CARMEN ELECTRA.
PAMELA ANDERSON, who began her acting career on the
show, has not yet said whether she will return.
MICK JAGGER is embarking on heavy promotional duties
for two films and his first solo album in eight years.
He assumed production duties for Enigma, which stars
KATE WINSLET and is due for release shortly. Meanwhile,
The Man from Elysian Fields, in which Jagger co-stars
with ANDY GARCIA, JULIANNA MARGULIES and JAMES COBURN,
will be screened at the Toronto Film Festival next
month. His album, Goddess in a Doorway, is scheduled
for release in early November and reportedly includes
performances by guest stars LENNY KRAVITZ and PETE
his recent film Driven was not a hit, SYLVESTER STALLONE
is persisting with a race car theme and has sold the
idea of a series to the NBC network in America. Sources
say the story is a mixture of relationship drama and
adrenaline-fuelled action. Stallone would not appear
in the project but would probably write and direct
Scrabble has suddenly become a hot property in Hollywood
with two rival projects in the works based on the
53-year-old word game. Oscar-nominated director CURTIS
HANSON has bought the rights to the non-fiction book,
Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius and Obsession
in the World of Competitive Scrabble. Meanwhile, Miramax
Films are developing Your Word Against Mine, a romantic
comedy set in the world of tournament scrabble. GWYNETH
PALTROW is being tipped to star in the Miramax project
as a young woman who has set her heart on becoming
the national Scrabble champion when she meets an equally
competitive man who throws her off her game.
British director ALAN PARKER will have an all-star
cast for his next film, The Life of David Gale. KEVIN
SPACEY will star as a professor opposed to the death
penalty who ends up on death row after being convicted
of murder. LAURA LINNEY, who was nominated for an
Oscar for You Can Count On Me, will play a death penalty
activist and one of the two female leads in the film.
The producers are hoping NICOLE KIDMAN will be the
The Who singer ROGER DALTREY is expanding his acting
career by starring in the premiere of a new American
television drama series called Strange Frequency,
an anthology of music-related horror stories. ``I
play a very good guy, a rock manager who delivers
the goods,'' says Daltrey, who also hosts the series.
``It was kind of fun being on the other side and playing
a manager, poking fun at all the things that happen.
I wasn't making fun of my past managers but there
were certain things they get up to that came to mind.''
HAYEK is rumoured to be interested in starring in
the film adaptation of SALMAN RUSHDIE's rock and roll
novel, The Ground Beneath Her Feet. Sources say that
Rushdie is also seeking a role in the film for his
girlfriend, PADMA LAKSHMI, who will soon be seen on
screen in the MARIAH CAREY film, Glitter, playing
a bad disco singer.
BOB THORNTON credits his happiness with his wife ANGELINA
JOLIE for his new career as a recording artist. The
Oscar-winning writer-actor-director makes his musical
debut with the release next month of the album Private
Radio on which he was helped by Grammy-winning musicians
MARTY STUART and RANDY SCRUGGS. Thornton told the
Hollywood Reporter that music has always been a passion
and he started his first band when he was nine years
old. ``When Angelina and I got together a few years
ago I was really happy with my life and I was ready
to start thinking about making music again,'' he said.