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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
ALBERT FINNEY will be reunited at next month's Academy
Award ceremonies with Ed Masry, the lawyer he plays
in Erin Brockovich, the role that wonhim his Oscar
nomination. Masry, despite the fact he has been on
kidney dialysis three days a week for the past year,
will be attending the awards ceremony and says: ``I
haven't seen Albert Finney for about six months and
I'm looking forward to getting together with him again.''
release date of British director JOHN MADDEN'S Captain
Corelli's Mandolin has been pushed back from April
to some time in August. The film, which stars NICOLAS
CAGE and PENELOPE CRUZ, is still being edited and
Universal Pictures marketing division wants time for
word to spread about the film. ``Our experience indicates
that adult films that are more serious and literate
take more time to build awareness,'' Universal Pictures
Distribution president Nikki Rocco tells the Hollywood
Reporter. ``We wanted to give our marketing team ample
time to screen it for the press and opinion-makers.''
The romantic drama, based on the novel by LOUIS DE
BERNIERES, is set on a Greek island occupied by the
Italian Army during World War 11.
BRYAN SINGER, who made the film hit X-Men, is to supervise
a relaunch of the cult television series Battlestar
Galacica. Before beginning work on the X-Men sequel,
Singer will reinvent the Battlestar Galactica series,
which ran on US TV for two years from 1978. He will
be the executive producer of the series and will also
direct the pilot episode. ``The lesson I learned on
X-Men is to have a healthy respect for the fan base
of sci-fi fantasy franchises and I'm confident that
the Galactica brand is a sleeping giant,'' he tells
Daily Variety. ``It was a show I watched during its
initial run, from the pilot to the final episode.''
Singer has time to work on the series because the
film he had planned todirect, Confessions of a Dangerous
Mind, with JOHNNY DEPP and GEORGE CLOONEY, will not
begin production until later this year.
FOSTER has achieved a long-held ambition to play a
villain with her latest role of Sister Assumpta, a
peg-legged, motor-cycle-riding nun in The Dangerous
Lives of Altar Boys. The film, which her company is
producing, concerns two boys who vow to wreak vengeance
on Sister Assumpta for terrorising her students.
Latino singing sensation RICKY MARTIN is set to make
his big-screen acting debut as a revolutionary in
the political thriller The Assassination. The former
Menudo star, who has previously only acted on soap
operas, is in final talks to star as a CHE GUEVARA-like
rebel bent on toppling Dominican strongman RAFAEL
TRUJILLO, who was assassinated in 1961. Martin will
also perform the title song of the film, which co-stars
ANTHONY QUINN as Trujillo and JAMES COBURN as the
US ambassador. Oscar nominee ED HARRIS is in talks
to play a CIA operative who promises Martin's character
weapons and support.
JACKSON has postponed the filming of his big-screen
thriller The Nightmare of Edgar Allan Poe until the
end of this year. Production was due to begin last
autumn but Jackson still has not found a co-star or
a director for the project, in which he will play
the horror writer. Sources say he has also spent longer
than he intended on his new album, which he has now
been working on for two years. The album's producer,
GARY PUDNEY, said the first single from it will be
released in April and Jackson will then begin making
five videos for the album.
KINGSLEY is negotiating with the Walt Disney Co to
star in a film of the children's book Tuck Everlasting.
The British Oscar-winner would play a greedy stranger
known as ``the man in the yellow suit''. He learns
a 10-year-old girl's secret that a neighbouring family,
the Tucks, have a spring whose water prevents people
from ever growing older. Filming is due to begin in
April in Baltimore. The Australian actor HUGH JACKMAN
has been taking a course of stunt driving for his
role in the thriller Swordfish, with JOHN TRAVOLTA
and VINNIE JONES. ``I'm living out my boyhood fantasies.
I spent the weekend going 130 mph down runways,''
he tells Premiere magazine. After Swordfish and the
time-travelling comedy Kate and Leopold, Jackman will
be returning as Wolfman in the much-anticipated X-Men
sequel. ``I'm really looking forward to donning my
mutton chops and claws again and slicing and dicing
a little more,'' he says.
GARY OLDMAN, who fell out with director ROD LURIE
on The Contender and with producer DINO DE LAURENTIIS
on Hannibal, has had enough of Hollywood. ``It's a
sad time, I think, for movies,'' the British actor
is quoted as saying in the New York Daily News. ``There
is a premium on fame and celebrity. That's what it's
about - covers of magazines.'' The British actor,
who refused to be credited on both The Contender and
Hannibal, added: ``If I didn't have the burning need
to act I would completely walk away from the industry.''
British actors, RHYS IFANS and JULIAN SANDS, have
joined their fellow countryman, director MIKE FIGGIS,
in Venice for his film Hotel. They complete an ensemble
cast which includes LUCY LIU, SAFFRON BURROWS, SALMA
HAYEK and DAVID SCHWIMMER. Figgis has devised a system
by which the film will feature four frames of simultaneous
on-screen action. These comprise shooting a period
movie, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the film,
a murder plot and a look at the maid service. The
overlapping storylines converge and culminate during
the Venice Carnival.
SAM MENDES will not give any more interviews for the
next two years. The British director, who is about
to start filming The Road to Perdition with TOM HANKS
and JUDE LAW, told Departures magazine: ``There will
be no more public statements from me for two years.''
Mendes, who won an Oscar for his first film, American
Beauty, said: ``I don't want to be a cultural commentator
or write a novel or have my own TV programme. ``And
I certainly don't want - as someone asked me yesterday
- to give an opinion on, `What has happened to Tony
Blair?''' The director, who still runs the Donmar
Warehouse in London's Covent Garden, added: ``The
truth is, I have a fairly rigid job to do, which is
to make sure this theatre works and to make good plays
MINNIE DRIVER could have a new career as a singer
following a guest appearance on a new TV series in
which she showed off her vocal talents. The British
actress, who was Oscar-nominated for Good Will Hunting,
joins a musical guest star list including STEVIE NICKS,
JOE WALSH, VINCE NEILL and BRET MICHAELS - and outshines
them all on The Chris Isaak Show. ``People are just
going to be blown away when they see what she did
with her singing,'' predicts Isaak, the former lead
singer of The Cars. ``They'll think that because it's
a TV show we probably did 300 takes but it was just
her and my band and they filmed it with one camera
in one take. She has this fantastic voice.'' The Chris
Isaak Show takes a behind-the-scenes look at Isaak's
life and each episode features live performances.
Britain's SAMANTHA MORTON has beaten better known
actresses for the coveted female lead in STEVEN SPIELBERG's
sci-fi drama Minority Report. Morton, who last week
won the London Film Critics Circle award for her work
in Sweet and Lowdown, will star alongside TOM CRUISE
and COLIN FARRELL. She plays a woman who becomes involved
with a detective, played by Cruise, who is being hunted
for a murder he hasn't yet committed. ANGELINA JOLIE
is ``feeding refugees in Africa'' with her husband
BILLY BOB THORNTON, according to a friend of the couple.
The actress, who has just finished filming Tomb Raider
in England, is spending several weeks in Africa handing
out food and clothing to the needy. Jolie was due
to star in Beyond Borders, a postponed film about
United Nations relief workers, but it seems she is
playing the role in real life. Her publicist has not
commented on the report, while Thornton's representative
says: ``They are on vacation.''
RUSSELL will return to LA to film The Plague Season
as soon as he finishes work in New York on CAMERON
CROWE's Vanilla Sky. Written by LA Confidential author
JAMES ELLROY eight years ago, the drama is set in
Los Angeles during the week leading up to the 1992
riots. Russell will play a seasoned Los Angeles detective
investigating a brutal, racially charged robbery-homicide.
STEWART and his manager ARNOLD STEIFEL are planning
a Broadway musical based on the singer's 1971 hit
Maggie May, according to a report. To be called Wake
Up Maggie, the show will be set in 1960s London and
will contain several new numbers. ``It's loosely inspired
by Rod's life,'' Steifel tells the New York Daily
News. ``He used to date a girl from a posh neighbourhood.
At the end of the night Rod, who was poor, would have
her drop him off at a fancy house and then run back
to his home in north London.''
A British director claims STEVEN SODERBERGH's Oscar-nominated
drug thriller Traffic is almost ``exactly the same''
as one of his works. ALASTAIR REID directed the award-winning
mini-series Traffik for British TV 12 years ago, which
formed the basis of Traffic's adaptation. ``They must
have pored over the video of our film for months studying
it,'' he tells the Los Angeles Times. ``It was a bit
like going to an art auction and seeing your own long-lost
paintings come up for sale. It was a strange feeling.''
But he added: ``It's very engrossing. I enjoyed it.''
Traffik starred BILL PATERSON, LINDSAY DUNCAN and
JULIA ORMOND, while Traffic featured in the same roles
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, CATHERINE ZETA-JONES and ERIKA CHRISTENSEN.
CLOONEY and Oscar-nominated director STEVEN SODERBERGH
will be reunited when they jointly produce The Good
German. Against the backdrop of post-Second World
War Berlin, Clooney plays a journalist who returns
to search for the woman he left behind, and finds
himself drawn into a murder mystery. He and Soderbergh
are currently working together in Las Vegas on a remake
of Ocean's Eleven. FRANK SINATRA originally played
the role assumed by Clooney, who won a Golden Globe
for his performance in the comedy O Brother, Where
Art Thou?. The aborted film Confessions of a Dangerous
Mind has allowed Clooney to fit The Good German into
HUDSON, who has been nominated for a best supporting
actress Oscar for her role as a groupie in Almost
Famous, gave her stepfather KURT RUSSELL tips on working
with director CAMERON CROWE. Crowe, who is directing
Russell in Vanilla Sky, says: ``He got the code book
on me from Kate, so he knows exactly what I'm going
to do. And he has every nuance of the part.'' Russell
plays a prison psychiatrist assigned to TOM CRUISE's
GIBSON and American comic actor TIM ALLEN are teaming
up to develop a comedy film together called StarChild.
Allen will be the star and both men will produce the
sci-fi spoof which follows a socially challenged CIA
agent who helps a friendly alien return home, saving
him from the aftermath of an interplanetary war. Allen
is familiar with galaxy-related projects, having previously
starred in Galaxy Quest and supplied the voice of
Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films.
LEEVES, the British actress who has played Daphne
on the TV series Frasier since 1992, returns to work
this week after giving birth on January 9 to a 9lb
12oz baby girl, Isabella. Her absence from the series
was explained by a storyline that Daphne had gained
so much weight she had gone to a health spa. ``I'll
be taking Isabella with me to work and she's going
to be with me the whole time,'' she tells US Weekly
magazine. ``I couldn't go back to work, otherwise.''
In the script, when one of the characters is asked
how Daphne is doing, he says: ``She's lost 9lbs 12oz.''
Leeves says: ``That's lovely, because I'll save all
these tapes for Isabella when she's older.''
SARANDON, the Oscar-winning actress whose car bears
a bumper sticker saying Kill your Television Set,
has joined the list of Friends guest stars. She plays
a soap opera star who is dropped from the series and
has a steamy off-screen duet with Joey, played by
MATT LeBLANC. Her real-life daughter Eva plays her
screen child. Friends is one of the few TV shows Sarandon
allows her children to watch, and she tells USA Today:
``It's funny, original and well-acted. The basis of
it seems very warm-hearted.'' Other celebrities who
have made, or are set to make, guest appearances on
the show include BRUCE WILLIS, TOM SELLECK and BRAD
BOB THORNTON's 21-year-old daughter claims she has
hardly seen him since he married ANGELINA JOLIE last
year. ``He's pretty much made me feel like I've been
shut off,'' says AMANDA SPENCE, Thornton's daughter
from his first wife MELISSA LEE GATLIN. ``I don't
want to cry but it's not fair to watch him on TV every
day and I can't even get a call,'' she tells the TV
show Inside Edition tonight. Spence was 18 months
old when Thronton left her mother but she says she
has not spoken to him for the past five months, since
she gave birth to his first grandchild. ``I talked
to him when I was in labour with my daughter and that's
the last time I've spoken to him,'' she says. The
45-year-old Thronton, who also has two sons with his
fourth wife, PIETRA CHERNIAK, has not commented on
his daughter's allegations.
Actors JOHNNY DEPP and GEORGE CLOONEY, along with
director BRYAN SINGER, have been left to look for
another film now financiers have pulled out of backing
their Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. ``It's a shame,''
Singer told the Hollywood Reporter from Montreal,
where the crew is pulling down the set. ``It's a great
project, a brilliant script and we've got the very
best people here.'' The 25 million-pound project is
based on the autobiography of American talk show host
CHUCK BARRIS, who claimed to also work as a CIA recruiter.
Depp was to have played Barris and Clooney was going
to appear as a CIA man.
MOORE is lending some of her star power to her brother,
PETER MOORE SMITH. The actress, who plays Clarice
Starling in Hannibal, has announced she plans to star
in a film version of Peter's novel Raveling. Set in
New York, the thriller is about a schizophrenic who
believes his sister has been murdered by his older
brother. ``I don't know if it will end up being easier
or fun keeping things all in the family,'' she tells
the New York Daily News. ``I guess I will just have
to find out.''
JON STEWART, the comedian who has signed to host Wednesday's
Grammy Awards was the producers' sixth choice for
the job, according to the New York Daily News. CHER
and JIM CARREY turned it down, WHOOPI GOLDBERG had
health worries, JENNIFER LOPEZ was busy and GARRY
SHANDLING, who did the job last year and recently
hosted the Emmys, said he'd had enough of awards shows.
KIDMAN is not letting her divorce battle with TOM
CRUISE divert her from her career. According to several
reports the Australian-born actress is in talks to
star in a film version of ROBERT HELLENGA's novel,
The Sixteen Pleasures, about the discovery of a 16th-century
erotic text in a Carmelite convent. She is also reportedly
negotiating to take the lead in a stage play Lady
From the Sea, about a woman trapped in an unfulfilling
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