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week 49-00
ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...

BRUCE WILLIS says he has still not yet discovered why his marriage to DEMI MOORE broke up although he thinks the pressures of Hollywood may have played a part. ``It's difficult for any couple to keep their marriage intact under the best of circumstances and our marriage was under a huge magnifying glass the whole time,'' he tells US Weekly. Willis, who is starring in Unbreakable, fathered three children with the actress. He says: ``I still love Demi. We're very close,'' but added: ``Things change. People grow at different rates.''

The British actress KATE BECKINSALE could find herself among the ranks of the world's highest paid actresses if DAN AYKROYD is right about her next film, Pearl Harbour. Aykroyd, who co-stars in it with Beckinsale, BEN AFFLECK and JOSH HARNETT, says of the big-budget Second World War saga: It's going to be bigger than Titanic - the biggest movie in the history of the film industry.''

CINDY CRAWFORD is talking with cosmetics companies about promoting her own line of skin care products now that Revlon will not be renewing her contract when it expires in February. Once the highest paid model in the world, 34-year-old Crawford feels Revlon did not move with the times with their advertising. ``I don't have to be shot with red lipstick on white background,'' she tells USA Today. ``It would have been easy for Revlon to capitalise on my evolution - I'm a mother, married now and my image is a business person. They might have used me in a more modern way.'' Crawford, who is married to bar owner Rande Gerber and is the mother of 18-month-old Presley, added: ``Revlon don't want the story out that they're firing me because I'm too old because that will alienate a lot of customers.''

EDDIE MURPHY is to star in a film version of the 1960s' television series I Spy, which featured ROBERT CULP and BILL COSBY as tennis-playing secret agents. Murphy, who is filming D. Dolittle 2, will play a professional athlete who is pressed into helping a top-secret government agent assigned to recover a missing jet. The TV series was on the air from 1965 to 1968.

FAMKE JANSSEN, who made a memorable film debut as the Bond villainess with the killer thighs in Goldeneye, may next be menacing ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in Terminator 3. The actress is the frontrunner to play the female terminatrix who targets Schwarzenegger and Eddie Furlong's characters in the second sequel to the Terminator saga created by Titanic film-maker JAMES CAMERON. Cameron, however, will not be involved in Terminator 3 and a director has yet to be hired.

ROB LOWE will take advantage of a break in filming the television series West Wing to take a brief but high-profile role as an airline pilot in A View From the Top. He will have some intense love scenes with GWYNETH PALTROW, who plays a flight attendant infatuated with Lowe's character. CANDICE BERGEN, KELLY PRESTON and CHRISTINA APPLEGATE also star in the comedy, which is being directed by BRUNO BARRETO for Miramax.

JOHN MALKOVICH is to take over the role of the sociopathic killer Tom Ripley for a follow-up to last year's The Talented Mr Ripley, which featured MATT DAMON in the title role. Based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, Ripley's Game will show an older Ripley exacting a terrible revenge on man who insulted him years before at a party. The British actor DOUGRAY SCOTT is set to co-star as Ripley's victim.

FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA is not worried about coming second in the race to bring the story of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to the screen, according to sources at MGM, where he is planning the movie. The Oscar-winning director is banking on being able to enlist LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, RICHARD GERE and MADONNA - all of whom are avid collectors of the work of both Kahlo and her lover Tina Modotti - to join him and his star JENNIFER LOPEZ in the project. A rival film to be directed by JULIE TAYMOR with Latina actress SALMA HAYEK playing Kahlo, ASHLEY JUDD as Modotti and ED NORTON as a young Nelson Rockerfeller, is due to go before the cameras early in the new year. ``We are not in the least concerned about competition,'' said a Coppola representative.

HUGH GRANT is likely to star in the film version of British writer Nick Hornby's novel About a Boy. Filming is due to begin in the UK in March with CHRIS and PAUL WEITZ, the brothers behind the hit American Pie set to direct. Grant would play the wealthy, 36-year-old layabout whose fear of commitment leads him to seek out relationships with single mothers on the grounds that they are easier to leave.

WILLEM DAFOE had to develop a Slovakian accent and endure four hours of make-up daily for his role as the vampire actor Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire. The 45-year-old actor is being widely tipped for an Oscar nomination for his part in the film, which co-stars EDDIE IZZARD and is based on the making of the classic silent horror film Nosferatu. Dafoe's daily costume included platform shoes, a corset, padded shoulders, a moulded headpiece and long, twisted fingernails. ``I was always looking for a caring assistant,'' he recalls. ``I had to plan my biological functions very carefully.''

Director TAYLOR HACKFORD insists he had no idea RUSSELL CROWE and MEG RYAN were having an affair while on location with him in Ecuador for the film Proof of Life. ``I'm so focused that I want to be oblivious to the irrelevant,'' he tells Premiere magazine. ``If those things don't affect the performance, so what? I've made films with people who were shooting heroin or freebasing cocaine. ``Some have given good performances and some haven't. Anything can happen in a movie but I didn't know about them and I didn't care.'' In Proof of Life Crowe plays a hostage negotiator attempting to free an American engineer who is kidnapped by terrorists. Meg Ryan plays the engineer's wife.

John Travolta has agreed to pay 607,400 dollars in taxes in arrears to settle a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service dating back more than five years, according to court records. The dispute stemmed from unspecified losses Travolta claimed from 1993 to 1995 for one of his companies and which the IRS had said were improper.

Filming of the Las Vegas casino robbery movie Ocean's 11 has been put back until the end of January to allow BRAD PITT to finish work on Spy Game in London. The remake of the 1960 comedy-thriller which starred FRANK SINATRA and his Rat Pack, will feature an all-star cast, including Pitt, GEORGE CLOONEY, JULIA ROBERTS, MATT DAMON, ALAN ARKIN and DON CHEADLE. CASEY AFFLECK and SCOTT CAAN joined the cast this week and will play Mormon brothers who join the plot to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously during a boxing match. Clooney is confident the new version will be far better than the original. ``The guys in the original film are great but the movie doesn't really work on any level,'' he says.

The British scriptwriting team of DICK CLEMENTS and IAN LA FRENAIS have been hired by producer ALAN LADD JR for a new TV series based on the Orient Express. The duo, who created the TV series Porridge, will write the pilot and supervise the rest of the 22 hour-long episodes. The series will be filmed on board the train and at Orient Express hotels throughout Europe, Australia and Asia. Most of the interiors will be shot in Luxembourg. The stories will centre on a European playboy who is a troubleshooter for the luxury rail line and a female cop. Filming will begin in April when the train resumes running after closing down for the winter.

DAVID WARNER is to don an ape suit again, 34 years after he dressed as a gorilla to disrupt his ex-wife's wedding in Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment. This time the British actor goes ape for his role in the Planet of the Apes remake in which he plays a member of the apes' Senate and the father of HELENA BONHAM CARTER's character. Another British actor, TIM ROTH, plays his political opponent, the ape leader who considers the human captives - played by MARK WAHLBERG AND ESTELLA WARREN - to be animals.

Miramax Films and the BBC are joining forces to co-finance Iris, a film which will star JUDI DENCH as the Alzheimer's-afflicted novelist IRIS MURDOCH. The film, to be directed by RICHARD EYRE, is adapted from the account of Murdoch's decline and death by her husband, John Bayley. The project has attracted a lot of attention in America where SIDNEY POLLACK and SCOTT RUDIN were among the producers who expressed an interest.

NICOLAS CAGE feels he has a connection with the Second World War Italian army officer he plays in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, not just because of his Italian heritage but because of his musical background. Cage, who had to learn to play the mandolin convincingly on screen, tells the Los Angeles Times: ``There are two conductors in my family: my grandfather Carmine and my father Anton. Carmine was also a composer so I feel that is in me. ``Though I've never been musically trained, I felt that came naturally to me.''

His love scenes with KATE WINSLET made filming Quills an added pleasure for GEOFFREY RUSH, who stars as the Marquis de Sade. ``With Kate, I met a down-to-earth playful friend - a mate,'' he told interviewers at the film's Los Angeles premiere. ``Kate is one of the best people in the world to muck around with. Tongue-kissing her was a pleasure.'' In Quills The British actress plays a laundry maid who smuggles the Marquis's writings out of the mental asylum where he is imprisoned.

Producers of CATHERINE ZETA-JONES's next film, America Sweetheart will be looking for a new co-star for the Welsh actress now that ROBERT DOWNEY JR is in trouble once again. Downey was arrested for drug possession at the weekend, three months after being released from prison on drugs charges. He was due to have co-starred with Zeta-Jones, JULIA ROBERTS and BILLY CRYSTAL in the comedy about husband-and-wife film stars trying to hide the fact they detest each other. MEL GIBSON, too, may have to change his plans for next year. He was set to direct Downey in a Los Angeles stage production of Hamlet, which will have to be cancelled if he is returned to jail. When he was arrested in a Palm Springs hotel, the 35-year-old actor was halfway through shooting the ninth episode of 10 Ally McBeal shows he had contracted to appear in.

Hollywood's hottest young actresses are vying for the role of Spiderman's girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson, in the much-anticipated film about the comic book superhero. ALICIA WITT, MENA SUVARI and supermodel-turned-actress JAMES KING are among those reported to be front-runners for the role which, says a showbusiness insider, ``every girl in town wants''. TOBEY MAGUIRE will play Spiderman, WILLEM DAFOE was recently cast as his arch-enemy, the villainous Green Goblin and others rumoured to be close to signing on include former pro wrestler RANDY MACHO MAN SAVAGE as Bone Saw McGraw, JAMES FRANCO as Harry Osborn and JK SIMMONS as newspaper editor J Jonah Jameson.

MICHAEL JACKSON has revealed he used to disguise himself with a ``fat suit, wig, beard and glasses'' to distribute copies of the Jehovah's Witness magazine Watchtower in shopping malls and to homes in Southern California. ``I loved to set foot in all those houses and catch sight of the shag rugs and lazyboy armchairs with kids playing Monopoly and grandmas baby-sitting and all those wonderfully ordinary and magical scenes of life,'' he writes in a statement posted on a religious website. He reveals that as a child, he loved to perform but was ``rarely happy and anything but carefree''. Jackson also writes on, which describes itself as a multi-faith e-community: ``That little boy may have had every material need fulfilled, but he did not have playtime and he did not have freedom.''

GUY OSEARY, the head of Madonna's Maverick Records, has written a book called Jews Who Rock which gives biographical sketches of Jewish rock stars. The Israeli-born Oseary names BOB DYLAN as ``the Jew of all time'' and rock star BECK as the most surprising. ``Most people are blown away by the fact that Beck is Jewish,'' he says. ``And Billy Joel. I didn't know he was Jewish.'' Others mentioned in the book include rocker MARK KNOPFLER, the late Mama CASS ELLIOTT and SLASH of Guns 'N Roses. Oseary says he has now been contacted by other musicians - including GAVIN ROSSDALE of Bush, JASON KAY of Jamiroquai and CHRIS ROBINSON of Black Crowes - complaining because they have been left out.

ANTONIO BANDERAS could be going home for his next film. The Spanish-born actor is in talks to star in Fu Manchu, an English language thriller to be filmed in Spain by Spanish director Alex de la Inglesia. Banderas, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to work in Hollywood and Spanish productions, would star as Nick Smith, an amnesiac FBI agent on the trail of the evil Dr Fu Manchu.

Although Columbia Pictures is anxious to rush a sequel to Charlie's Angels into production as quickly as possible, executives are rumoured to be considering hiring three new actresses for the leading roles. To rehire DREW BARRYMORE, CAMERON DIAZ and LUCY LIU and also bring back BILL MURRAY and director McG would cost more than 30 million before any film is shot. So, to keep the costs down, each sequel could feature new actresses, according to sources. The producers also intend to save money on the script. Instead of 17 writers who worked on Charlie's Angels they intend to hire only one writer for the sequel.

Britain's Emmy-winning star EDDIE IZZARD has landed yet another major Hollywood film role. Cross-dressing Izzard has been cast as Charlie Chaplin in upcoming feature film The Cat's Meow. The film, set in the 1920s, tells the story of one of Hollywood's most famous and scandalous real-life murders and cover-ups. Actress JENNIFER TILLY takes the role of gossip queen Louella Parsons and KIRSTEN DUNST plays Marion Davies, the mistress of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, aboard whose luxury yacht the murder occurred. The movie has just started shooting in Germany and Greece and already has the inside buzz as a strong Oscar contender. Izzard can soon be seen starring with Friends star MATT LeBLANC in Second World War drama/comedy All the Queen's Men.

SANDRA BULLOCK admits she thought she'd killed her British co-star MICHAEL CAINE on the set of their new movie Miss Congeniality. Bullock, who produced the film, says her heart was in her mouth when Caine accidentally fell into a 12ft deep pit of razor-sharp steel lighting equipment during one scene. ``We all rushed over and we could just glimpse his purple shirt through all the metal,'' Bullock recalls. ``I thought, `Oh God! I've killed Michael Caine!''' Luckily, the 67-year-old Oscar-winner sustained no serious injuries and was back to business as usual on the set the very next day.

WILL SMITH and TOMMY LEE JONES are to don the Ray-Bans again for Men in Black 2 which will begin shooting in early June. Director BARRY SONNENFELD hopes to get as many shooting days as possible in the can before the planned actors' strike starts at the end of June. He intends to first shoot the scenes with Smith and Jones that will need special effects work so that the footage can be worked on by these crews who will not be affected by the strike.

DAVID COPPERFIELD blames the break-up on his six-year affair with supermodel CLAUDIA SCHIFFER on their non-stop work schedules. ``We're married to our careers and we basically cheated on our careers by stealing time to be together,'' said the magician, who is now dating Belgian model AMBRE FRISQUE. He tells the Los Angeles Times: ``We had a good time. I had a six-year relationship with someone I really care about. I guess people wrote about it so much because they don't know how to write about magic.''

British producer MARK BURNETT, who hit the jackpot with Survivor is planning to enlist some of America's fighting forces for Combat Missions, a new seek-and-destroy reality series for US television. The series will pit eight four-person teams made up of existing and former members of US military and police combat units, including the SEALS, Green Berets, SWAT teams and Marines, in missions to test their skills and compete for a cash reward. The recruits will live on a secret military base as they undertake challenges such as hostage rescues, sniper attacks and urban assaults. The participants will drop from helicopters into staged street battles, take on make-believe terrorist groups and even respond to a hostage takeover on a 747. ``It's something I've thought about for many years,'' Burnett, a former British paratrooper, told Daily Variety. ``We are making it so viewers feel like part of it, and know what's in the minds of the people doing these missions.'' Burnett, who is in Australia working on the Survivor 2 TV series, acknowledged that the show ``might be a bit violent''.

PETER O'TOOLE, MICHAEL CAINE and ALBERT FINNEY are among the actors who have expressed interest in taking over from ALAN BATES in the hot off-Broadway show The Unexpected Man, according to the New York Post. Bates is contracted only until January 28 but his British leading lady EILEEN ATKINS has signed for the duration of the play's run. The Scottish actor GERARD BUTLER, who has the title role in WES CRAVEN's latest horror film Dracula 2000 was delighted when filming finally finished. On the last day, his role called for him to be tied to a pole in a Louisiana swamp while an alligator lazed 25ft away from him. ``People were feeding the alligator and I'm lying in the water,'' says Butler, who co-stars with JONNY LEE MILLER, JERI RYAN and CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER. ``By then I'd had quite enough of Louisiana.''

HUGH JACKMAN, who co-starred as Wolverine in X-Men, will play a time traveller in his next film, Kate and Leopold, a romantic comedy in which MEG RYAN will be his leading lady. Jackman will play a man who travels from the 19th century to present day New York to woo a contemporary woman played by Ryan.

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