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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
Stuart Little II will see HUGH LAURIE returning in
the role of the father along with GEENA DAVIS as his
wife. MICHAEL J FOX will once again supply the voice
of the little mouse while MELANIE GRIFFITH joins the
cast as Margolo, a sophisticated bird befriends Stuart.
The first film has so far grossed more than 200 million
director RIDLEY SCOTT has added another fellow countryman
to the cast of his next film, Black Hawk Down. Scott
has hired the young British actor ORLANDO BLOOM for
the role of Blackburn. He plays a young US Army Ranger
who falls from a helicopter and survives to be a hero
in the story of a group of US soldiers on an ill-fated
mission to capture a Somalian warlord's lieutenants.
Bloom, who will be seen later this year in the first
part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, joins fellow
Briton EWAN McGREGOR and JASON ISAACS on the set of
Black Hawk Down when shooting begins next week.
HACKMAN had to learn to smoke, using non-addictive
herbal cigarettes for his role in the upcoming comedy
film Breakers. He also spent several hours every day
with make-up artists who added liver spots and age
lines to his features for his role. Hackman plays
an eccentric billionaire tobacco company magnate who
has spent years chain-smoking his own product. SIGOURNEY
WEAVER and JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT co-star with him,
playing a mother and daughter team of confidence tricksters.
THOMPSON's 13-month-old daughter Gaia helped her deal
with the bleak play Wit, in which she plays a brilliant
academic dying of cancer. ``After the day's shooting
I would go and play with my daughter,'' Thompson told
reporters at the New York premiere of the TV adaptation
of the play, which was directed by MIKE NICHOLS. ``When
you've got a daughter, there's always family stuff
to do.'' She also made a point of cutting off her
hair for her role in front of Gaia so she would not
be shocked by her mother's appearance.
COLLINS is hoping for a sequel to follow These Old
Broads, the made-for-TV film in which she starred
with DEBBIE REYNOLDS, SHIRLEY MacLAINE and ELIZABETH
TAYLOR. Collins, 67, who sang and danced along with
professionals Reynolds and MacLaine in the film, also
did the splits during a dance number. ``My grandmother,
who was a variety show performer, taught me how to
the splits when I was child,'' she explained.
ANTHONY HOPKINS looks set to be transformed from flesh-eater
to fraudster as Hannibal hits UK cinemas this weekend.
For the man who played Hannibal Lecter is frontrunner
for the role of disgraced studio head and Hollywood
swindler David Begelman in Indecent Exposure. JEREMY
IRONS and DUSTIN HOFFMAN have also been mentioned
British documentary maker NICK BROOMFIELD will be
making his feature film directing debut with the story
of Begelman, who headed Columbia Studios and was convicted
of forging cheques before committing suicide. Sex
and the City star KIM CATTRALL is in negotiations
to star in a Broadway production of TENNESSEE WILLIAMS'
A Streetcar named Desire. Cattrall, who plays the
sexually ambitious Samantha in the weekly TV series,
would portray the sexually tormented Blanche du Bois.
Britain's SIR PETER HALL is set to direct, while one
of his proteges, newcomer JOHN DINO, is likely to
play Stanley Kowalski. ELIZABETH SHUE will play Stella
HOSKINS is to star in a joint US-British TV production
of SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE's The Lost World. The British
actor will play Professor George Challenger in the
three-hour film while PETER FALK will cameo as the
Reverend Theo Kerr. TOM WARD, JAMES FOX, MATTHEW RHYS
and ELAINE CASSIDY are also among the cast. The production,
which will feature digital dinosaurs created in London
special effects studios, begins shooting in New Zealand
later this month. The film is scheduled to run on
the BBC at Christmas and in the US on the A&E network
in the second half of 2002.
Oscar-winning composer ELMER BERNSTEIN is bound for
Rome to begin work with MARTIN SCORSESE on the score
of The Gangs of New York. It will be the sixth time
they have teamed on a film. Bernstein, who is celebrating
his 50th anniversary of composing film scores, will
first conduct a special FRED ASTAIRE tribute at the
London Palladium on Sunday. He was a friend of Astaire's
for many years. The Palladium event is being produced
by Astaire's daughter AVA McKENZIE and, Bernstein
tells Daily Variety: ``It will be an affectionate
look at things he did.''
BRIAN DE PALMA has chosen former supermodel REBECCA
ROMIJN-STAMOS as his modern day RITA HAYWORTH. He
was looking for a bombshell Hayworth type to join
ANTONIO BANDERAS and JEAN RENO in Femme Fatale, the
film he has written about a woman who fails to outrun
her past. Romijn-Stamos, who played Mystique in X-Men
and has just finished co-starring in a remake of Rollerball,
flew to France to meet De Palma who signed her immediately.
He is now tailoring the script to suit her.
MAGGIE SMITH is set to join SANDRA BULLOCK, ASHLEY
JUDD and ELLEN BURSTYN in the ensemble cast of Divine
Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. She will play one
of a group of women known as the Ya-Yas, who set down
their hopes and dreams in a diary which is passed
down to the next generation.
CARRIE FISHER sought the blessing of her mother DEBBIE
REYNOLDS and stepmother ELIZABETH TAYLOR before penning
a satire about three ageing actresses. Reynolds, SHIRLEY
MacLAINE and JOAN COLLINS star as the trio in These
Old Broads, while Taylor plays the talent agent who
reunites them for a TV special. ``It was a very serious
thing for them - here's the daughter of one, who's
the stepdaughter of the other,'' MacLaine tells the
Los Angeles Times. ``The three of them met and decided
what they would and wouldn't say. It was Hollywoodishly
historical.'' CARRIE FISHER's father was EDDIE FISHER,
who left Reynolds for Taylor, causing a major scandal
at the time.
BRUCE GREENWOOD is heading for the Second World War
thriller Below amid widespread acclaim for his performance
as President JOHN F KENNEDY in Thirteen Days. He will
play the skipper of a haunted submarine sent to rescue
three survivors from a sunken British hospital ship.
His co-star is British actress OLIVIA WILLIAMS. His
role casts further doubt on the future of Basic Instinct
2, in which he was due to co-star with SHARON STONE,
playing a psychiatrist to her sociopathic murderess.
It seemed a deal had been done last week and shooting
was to begin next month but the film's financiers
were reportedly concerned about rising costs.
TRAVOLTA's brother Joey has bought the film and television
rights to the life story of actor SAL MINEO, 25 years
after his murder. JOEY TRAVOLTA wants to direct a
feature film based on the life of Mineo, who was 37
when he was murdered outside his Hollywood apartment.
His killer was later sentenced to life in prison.
``He was an American icon but a lot of people still
don't know him or know of him,'' Travolta told the
Hollywood Reporter. ``I have known his body of work
for years and have always been a fan of his.'' Mineo's
career began in the 1950s and he went on to star in
more than 30 films. He earned an Oscar nomination
for his role opposite JAMES DEAN in Rebel Without
a Cause and a Golden Globe for his performance in
Exodus with PAUL NEWMAN and EVA MARIE SAINT.
ZELLWEGER is to work with British director PETER KOSMINKSY
on her next film, White Oleander. The Golden Globe-winning
actress will play the daughter of a woman, played
by MICHELLE PFEIFFER, who murders a former lover and
is imprisoned for life. Zellweger has spent almost
six months in London filming Bridget Jones's Diary.
DON FELDER, who joined the Eagles in 1974 and co-wrote
the band's landmark hit Hotel California, is suing
former bandmates DON HENLEY and GLENN FREY. He claims
they sacked him from the group last week at ``a board
of directors meeting'', and is seeking an account
of all the money earned by the Eagles since he joined
them. DANIEL PETROCELLI, who represents Henley and
Frey, said ``the action to terminate Mr Felder's relationship
was taken in the best interest of the Eagles''. The
British film Liam will be released in the US this
summer despite concern that American audiences may
not understand the accents. Liam is directed by STEPHEN
FREARS, written by JIMMY McGOVERN and set in the Irish
Catholic quarter of Liverpool in the 1930s. The story
is seen through the eyes of seven-year-old Liam, played
by newcomer ANTHONY BORROWS, as his family sinks into
poverty during the Depression. The film will be released
in the US by Lions Gate Releasing, which has also
acquired the rights to release ELIZABETH HURLEY's
latest film, Double Whammy.
DONALD TRUMP is to be the host of a reality TV series
in which contestants are challenged to spend one million
dollars in half an hour. The property tycoon will
host Billionaire from his office at the top of Trump
Towers in New York. The show will select four contestants
each week to take the challenge, with all of them
asked to compete on the spur of the moment when they
are under duress. ``They will be enlisted when they're
about to get married or there'll be a husband in a
delivery room, waiting for the birth of his child,''
said Trump, who will be appearing in his first TV
Street actor MATTHEW MARSDEN has been cast in RIDLEY
SCOTT's military drama Black Hawk Down which is due
to begin shooting soon. Marsden, who next appears
as MICHAEL CAINE's son in Shiner, will appear alongside
EWAN McGREGOR and JOSH HARTNETT in the story of US
troops on a disastrous mission in Somalia.
DIAMOND is back on screen playing himself in the comedy
Saving Silverman, more than 20 years after making
his film debut. Diamond also wrote an original song
for the film, his first original movie composition
since the ill-fated The Jazz Singer. The singer says
he has turned down all film offers since 1980 because
``I decided that I'd rather be a really good singer
than a mediocre actor and that I would concentrate
on my music, my records and my shows''. Saving Silverman
stars JACK BLACK, JASON BIGGS and STEVE ZAHN as fans
who have a Neil Diamond cover band called Diamonds
in the Rough. ``This move is really more about my
fans than anything else and about their devotion over
the years,'' Diamond tells the Los Angeles Times.
``It was the kind of thing I had to do. It's a tribute
to my fans and to fans in general.''
musical version of the 1968 comedy film The Producers
is about to open on Broadway with NATHAN LANE and
MATTHEW BRODERICK in the roles originally played by
ZERO MOSTEL and GENE WILDER. Mel Brooks, who wrote
and directed the film, has written the songs for the
new version. ``Once I started writing them I couldn't
stop,'' says Brooks. ``Over the years there's always
been talk of turning the movie into a musical but
it didn't take hold until three years ago when the
producer DAVID GEFFEN kept at me to do it.'' Lane
plays Max Bialystock, the unscrupulous producer who
persuades investors to put their money in a musical
called Springtime for Hitler and Broderick is Leo
Bloom, the accountant who falls under his influence.
British film-maker PETER HOWITT, who wrote and directed
Sliding Doors, is to next direct a remake of the 1946
film Vacation From Marriage. The project has been
put on the fast track at Warner Bros. ``We're all
fans of Sliding Doors and can't wait for Peter to
bring the same perception and wit to this project,''
producer SHULER DONNER tells the Hollywood Reporter.
The original film, which starred DEBORAH KERR and
ROBERT DONAT, is about a couple in a dull marriage
who are separated for three years when the husband
serves in the Navy during the Second World War. While
apart they take steps to divorce but end up rediscovering
each other. The new version has been updated to the
present day and the separation now stems from the
husband being sent to Indonesia on business while
the wife lands a job in New York. No casting has yet
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