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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
Part of the website for the film Quills has been closed
down amid complaints from parents about the risque
nature of the site. Quills, which stars GEOFFREY RUSH
and KATE WINSLET, tells of the Marquis de Sade's attempts
to publish his prose while incarcerated in an asylum
from 1801. The film has won favourable reviews and
several awards. The website featured a ``vices section''
containing excerpts from some of de Sade's writings
and a history of pleasure. ``The irony is that the
movie is about how the Marquis de Sade was willing
to die for his right to speak his mind without censorship,''
said a spokesman for the company which created the
Quills site for Fox Searchlight Pictures. ``But the
website for the movie was taken down without a fight.''
A Fox Searchlight spokesman said: ``Given the fact
that you cannot prevent children from viewing adult
materials on the internet we made the decision to
take the vices section of the Quills site down.''
GRAHAM, who has finished filming the Jack the Ripper
tale From Hell, is in negotiations to star with MARISA
TOMEI in Guru of Sex. The film follows the adventures
of Ramu, a young Indian who goes to New York to find
fame and fortune and becomes a guru who teaches spiritual
enlightenment through sex. Graham and Tomei would
play the two women involved in his life. The guru
role has yet to be cast. It is based on an idea by
Elizabeth director SHEKHAR KAPUR, who is also co-producing
the film for Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's Working
Oscar-winning director SAM MENDES has British stage
actor DANIEL CRAIG to play the villain in his next
film, The Road to Perdition. Craig will co-star with
TOM HANKS, JUDE LAW and PAUL NEWMAN, playing the prime
suspect in murder of the wife of a hitman. Craig has
just finished filming a role opposite ANGELINA JOLIE
in Tomb Raider, and was recently named best actor
at the British Independent Film Awards for his performance
in SIMON CELLEN-JONES's Some Voices.
DENCH is to return to work opposite KEVIN SPACEY in
The Shipping News. She had been turning down film
offers to care for her husband, MICHAEL WILLIAMS,
who died on January 11. Dench will play Spacey's aunt
and Welsh actor RHYS IFANS will play his boss in the
film, which is due to begin shooting in Newfoundland
in April. The role will reunite her with her Chocolat
director LASSE HALLSTROM. Spacey plays a divorced
father who takes his two daughters to live in a small
fishing village where he takes a job on the local
CHRISTENSEN returns to film more scenes for the next
Star Wars saga when he finishes work with KRISTIN
SCOTT THOMAS and KEVIN KLINE on Life As A House. Christensen,
19, who plays the teenage Anakin Skywalker, has been
signed by GEORGE LUCAS to return in 2003 as Darth
Vader in the third Star Wars prequel. The blonde Christensen
dyed his hair black with a purple streak for his role
in Life As a House. He plays a rebellious son who
makes amends with Kline, his cancer-stricken father.
They both trained in carpentry for scenes in which
they build a house together.
AL PACINO and BEVERLY D'ANGELO have named their new
twins Anton and Olivia. The boy and girl are with
their parents in Los Angeles, where they were born
last week. But they will soon be moving to New York
where their father is due to begin filming The People
I Know, playing a press agent down to his last big
Director DAVID CRONENBERG has walked out of Basic
Instinct II, reportedly because of disputes with its
star, SHARON STONE. Now the whole project, which lacks
a leading man and director, is in doubt and Stone
is reportedly looking for other projects. The original
director, PAUL VERHOEVEN, and male star, MICHAEL DOUGLAS,
declined to return for a sequel. Other male actors
wanted as Stone's co-star - HARRISON FORD, PIERCE
BROSNAN, KURT RUSSELL and ROBERT DOWNEY JR - were
DUNAWAY's dream of portraying MARIA CALLAS on screen
may have been shattered. CATHERINE ZETA JONES is reportedly
being sought to play the opera star in a film about
Callas's life with ARISTOTLE ONASSIS. Dunaway owns
the film rights to the play Master Class, which tells
of Callas's stint as a university lecturer in the
early 1970s. Although she starred in the stage version
she has not yet been able to get a movie project started.
Director COSTA GRAVAS wants Zeta Jones to star in
a film based on NICOLAS GAGE's book, Greek Fire: The
Story of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, according
to the Hollywood Reporter. The screenplay has been
written by Gage's son Christos, and RUSSELL CROWE
is being talked about as a possible candidate for
the role of Onassis.
British singer-songwriter DAVID GRAY, who is about
to embark on his 11th US tour, believes he knows what
stateside audiences want. ``In America they don't
like these English bands who come over all full of
it, do a couple of gigs on the West Coast and in New
York, then head off back home and think they've cracked
it,'' Gray tells the Los Angeles Times. ``They like
a good song, some decent lyrics and if you can do
it live, you're for real and they'll take you on board.
Touring America is like joining the Marines - they
want to see you get down and dirty.'' During his tour,
which includes concerts at Radio City Music Hall in
New York and the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles,
he will also appear on the Jay Leno Show.
ADDY has signed to star opposite GUY PEARCE in The
Time Machine, a film based on the classic novel by
HG WELLS. Wells's great-grandson, SIMON WELLS, will
direct the film from a script penned by Gladiator
writer JOHN LOGAN. Addy will portray the best friend
of the inventor who builds a machine that allows him
to travel 800,000 years into the future. The actor,
who found Hollywood fame after portraying the overweight
Dave in The Full Monty, will next be seen with CHRIS
ROCK in the comedy Down to Earth.
ATKINSON will be heading for Australia next month
as one of the stars of the comedy-adventure Scooby-Doo,
which will be filmed in Sydney. He rounds out a cast
that includes FREDDIE PRINZE JR as Fred and MATTHEW
LILLARD as Shaggy. BO DEREK is writing a book called
Everything I Know About Men I Learned From a Stallion.
Derek, a horse breeder, says stallions can be hugely
territorial and men do irrational things for the same
reason. The actress, whose husband JOHN DEREK died
two years ago, tells USA Today the book is ``the scariest
thing I've ever done''.
WARREN BEATTY is distancing himself from British director
PETER CHELSOM's much-delayed film Town and Country,
in which he stars. Its release date has been pushed
back for the 12th time, while Daily Variety reports
that the film's budget ballooned to around $60 million.
The film industry newspaper also referred to ``marathon
rewrites, scheduling nightmares and even legal threats
from its leading man'' as well as ``costly group writing
sessions led by Chelsom and Beatty''. Meanwhile, Beatty's
lawyer, Bert Fields, has issued a statement saying
he was ``in no way responsible for the film costing
more than was anticipated''. He denies Beatty asked
for any retakes during shooting, stating: ``He was
strictly an actor in the film. He did not create it,
write it, direct it or produce it.'' Town and Country,
which is shrouded in secrecy, also stars GARRY SHANDLING,
DIANE KEATON and GOLDIE HAWN, and is now due for release
in the US on April 20.
TOM CRUISE is to portray the British stage magician
Jasper Maskelyne in The War Magician, a film based
on a true Second World War story. Cruise's production
company will also produce the story, based on a 1983
book about Maskelyne's attempts to adapt stage magic
to fight the Germans. He used camouflage and special
effects to confuse the enemy and create a phantom
British Army before the battle of El Alamein. Cruise
wants to make The War Magician his next project after
filming STEVEN SPIELBERG's Minority Report, which
is to begin in April.
NICHOLSON is quashing rumours of his retirement by
making two films which touch on the theme. In The
Pledge he plays an ex-detective on the trail of a
killer, and is to start work on About Schmidt, a dark
comedy of a man at the end of his career. ``Any actor
will always be attracted to an opportunity to be involved
in one more good movie,'' he explains. ``Unless I
decide that's not the best thing for me, there's no
need to retire. I love being on a set and acting.''
Nicholson has not been seen in a film since he won
an Oscar three years ago for As Good As It Gets.
GEOFFREY RUSH, who appears opposite KATE WINSLET in
Quills, is to star with GOLDIE HAWN and SUSAN SARANDON
in the comedy The Banger Sisters. The Australian star
will play a failed middle-aged writer when Hawn's
character, a former groupie, meets him en route to
visiting to one of her old contemporaries (Sarandon).
But when they find her, she has become socialite wife
of a powerful lawyer - and will do anything to keep
her past a secret.
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