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is about to stir up more controversy when her concert
tour arrives at New York's Madison Square Garden later
this month. Her spokeswoman has confirmed that she
plans to include a scene in which she picks up a rifle
and pretends to shoot a male dancer on stage. The
murderous-looking number comes three months after
her last shock scene - the video for her song What
It Feels Like to be a Girl which featured her mowing
down men in a car and then appearing to kill herself.
Madonna's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said: ``Madonna
hasn't explained what her intentions are in the show.
The man she shoots was abusive to her earlier on.
There's a thread that runs throughout the show about
women and power. It's operatic.''
TARANTINO'S mother is following her son into film
production andhas joined up with a company in the
Czech Republic to produce independent features. Connie
Zastoupil, a former hospital administrator, is to
set up her office in Prague, leaving her son in Los
Angeles to work on a follow-up to 1997's Jackie Brown.
``I originally came to research a project and hang
out with the director but I became more and more involved
and decided to stay in Prague,'' she tells Daily Variety.
Plans for the fourth instalment in the Indiana Jones
series have hit a stumbling block because the project
will cost Paramount Pictures well over 100 million.
FORD, who turns 59 next month, reportedly wants 20
million to return while producer GEORGE LUCAS and
director STEVEN SPIELBERG each want a large portion
of the film's proceeds. There are also script complications.
Industry insiders believe the plots range from Jones's
search for the lost city of Atlantis to his quest
to find his long-lost brother. ``They already have
three scripts that they think are acceptable but now
George and Steven say they want to have writing control,''
a source tells the New York Post.
DAVID LYNCH has succeeded in turning a failed television
series into what looks like becoming a hit feature
film. Lynch, who created the cult series Twin Peaks,
wrote and produced Mulholland Drive as a television
series about the intertwined stories ofseveral couples
living in Los Angeles, but it was turned down by the
networks. Now he has made it into a film which has
been acquired by Universal Pictures, the studio which
last year took over Billy Elliot and made it an international
hit. ``I work off enthusiasm and Universal has shown
tremendous enthusiasm for Mulholland Drive,'' says
Lynch. ``I am confident they will do a great job.''
Thirty-five years after WALT DISNEY died, more than
200 of his favourite sayings have been collected in
a just-published book, The Quotable Walt Disney. ``It
was actually put together 30 years ago as an internal
studio document,'' said Dave Smith, the archivist
at Walt Disney Studios. The book contains Disney's
observations on everything from sequels (he didn't
like them) to women as critics (``If the women like
it, to heck with the men.'') Smith's favourite is
one of Disney's most quoted: ``I only hope that we
never lose sight of one thing - that it was all started
by a mouse.''
stars MICHAEL CAINE, BOB HOSKINS, HELEN MIRREN and
RAY WINSTONE Are all expected to be at the Toronto
Film Festival this year for the world premiere of
Last Orders. They co-star in the film, playing pals
on a cross-country mission to scatter the ashes of
a deceased friend. Also at the premiere will be the
director, Australian Fred Schepisi, who adapted the
script from Graham Swift's Booker Prize-winning novel.
JENNIFER LOPEZ has come under fire from the black
community for using theword ``nigger'' on her new
album. Angry listeners deluged her record label, Epic,
with telephone calls after a black New York disc jockey
drew attention to the lyrics of the single I'm Real.
On the track Lopez sings: ``People are always asking
me what's up with so-and-so (a reference to ex-boyfriend
PUFFY COMBS) I tell those niggers mind their business,
but they don't hear me, though.'' Spokesmen for Lopez
and Epic have had no comment.
WASHINGTON is about to start casting for an actor
to take the title role in his directing debut, The
Antwone Fisher Story which he is also producing. Filming
was originally due to begin last summer but had to
be postponed because of Washington's acting commitments.
The Antwone Fisher Story is based on the true life
story of Fisher, who was born in a prison, abused,
raised in a succession of foster homes and managed
to turn his life around in the Navy. He then set out
to search for the family that had abandoned him. Washington
will play the role of a Navy psychologist.
star BILLY ZANE is about to go into production with
Starving, Hysterical, Naked, a low-budget film about
Beat generation writer JACK KEROUAC he is producing
as well as starring in. Focusing on Kerouac and his
bohemian intellectual writing crowd in New York in
the late 1940s, Starving, Hysterical, Naked also stars
ROBERT WAGNER'S daughter NATASHA as the smart, Benzedrine-popping
waif at the centre of the group.
NICOLE KIDMAN has reportedly abandoned her plans to
film JANE CAMPION'S erotic In the Cut drama in New
York this winter because the script will not be ready.
Instead the Australian actress, who has just finished
filming The Hours in London, will next star in the
low-budget Dogsville for LARS VON TRIER in Denmark.
JUDD is taking over the role of the slinky, rubber-clad
Catwoman who was played by MICHELLE PFEIFFER in Batman
Returns. This time Catwoman will not be a sidebar
to Batman's story but will be the central character
in a film spin-off currently being developed by producer
DAVID BOWIE says he has been approached to play Frank
Sinatra in a film version of the crooner's life. Bowie
gave no details, but told the New York Daily News:
``I'm flattered and very interested, because I always
admired his style and panache.''
Backstreet Boy KEVIN RICHARDSON believes he is ready
to make the move into acting. ``I'm looking for the
right script - in film or television,'' the senior
member of the pop phenomenon that is now in the middle
of its Black and Blue concert tour says in an interview.
``I miss acting. I did a lot of theatre in high school
and community theatre. I miss playing a character
that's just totally not me.'' Richardson's wife, former
dancer KRISTIN WILLITS whom he married a year ago,
is already making her mark on the big screen and appears
in the soon-to-be-released film Rock Star with MARK
WAHLBERG and JENNIFER ANISTON.
DICAPRIO and Sopranos star JAMES GANDOLFINI still
do not have a director for their next film, Catch
Me if You Can. GORE VERBINSKI, who directed Gandolfini,
JULIA ROBERTS and BRAD PITT inThe Mexican, was originally
to have directed the film but dropped outwhen it had
to be delayed because DiCaprio was still filming Gangs
of New York. Then LASSE HALLSTROM stepped in and took
over but this week announced that he, too, was dropping
out but did not give a reason. A DreamWorks spokesman
said the film, based on the true story of a confidence
trickster, would go ahead as son as a new director
JOLIE'S husband, BILLY BOB THORNTON, and her father
JON VOIGHT were amo ng the crowd of spectators on
a New York street watching her being shot in the chest
by a cop for a scene in her new film, Life or Something
Like It. In the film she plays a television reporter
who interviews a psychic homeless man who tells her
she is going to die within a few da ys. After filming
her death scene several times, the actress got to
her feet, and waved to the applauding crowd and then
hugged her father and kissed here husband.
LOVE HEWITT, who played the devil in her most recent
film, TheDevil and Daniel Webster, is back on the
side of the good guys for her next project, The Tuxedo.
In it she will play a government agent who is paired
with a bumbling spy, to be played by JACKIE CHAN,
who invents a tuxedo that helps him fight crime. It
is due to start shooting in Toronto in September and
is expected to be the first of several films featuring
WOODY ALLEN, who hates to leave New York, is packing
up his clarinet and going on a three-city tour of
jazz clubs to promote his new film, The Curse of the
Jade Scorpion. Accompanied by banjoist EDDY DAVIS
and His New Orleans Jazz Band, Allen will give concerts
in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, marking
the first time he has played on America's West Coast.
His family - wife Soon-Yi, daughters Bechet, 2, and
Manzie, 1, plus assorted nannies - will join him on
the tour. ``My wife likes to go to California every
now and then for a couple of days,'' Allen tells USA
Today. ``I can ta ke it or leave it. But I can play
X-Men director BRYAN SINGER is turning to television
to direct the two-hour pilot episode of a new-style
Battlestar Galactica series. The original series,
which starred LORNE GREENE as the commander of a battleship
of humans fleeing to Earth after an intergalactic
war, ran from 1978-1980. The new version has been
updated and will be set after the seventh-millennium
time frame of the original. ``Our goal is to take
the Galactica franchise and move it forward in both
style and character while bringing the scope and sensibility
of epic science-fiction filmmaking to the small screen,''
LUKE PERRY has emerged as the number one contender
for the role of Rocky Balboa in the Broadway musical
version of SYLVESTER STALLONE's Rocky. Stallone has
decided he cannot commit himself to a long stage run
and Perry, now on Broadway in The Rocky Horror Show,
has endeared himself to tough New York audiences and
has also demonstrated a competent singing voice.
director RICHARD DONNER will be in the driver's seat
for Crazy Taxi, the feature film version of Sega's
best-selling video game. The film is expected to retain
the visceral, high-energy feeling of the video game,
which introduces a cas t of colourful cab drivers
and rewards players for delivering customers to their
destination as fast as possible by any means necessary.
Cabs race through crowded streets and pavements, rush
through subway tunnels and jump onto rooftops to make
better time. Donner believes the game will translate
well to the big screen because it is grounded in the
real world. ``While a lot of video games are set in
science-fiction environments or fantasy worlds, Crazy
Taxi is set in New York City with a Russian cab driver,''
said Donner, whose films also include Lethal Weapon.
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH has reunited professionally with
British director SAM MENDES, who directed her in Cabaret
on Broadway. The actress, who is known to prefer offbeat
roles in low-budget productions, has joined the cast
of Mendes' film Road to Perdition, co-starring with
TOM HANKS and JUDE LAW. ``I took it because I just
love Sam Mendes,'' she said. ``I just want to make
movies that I think are good. A lot of times mainstream
movies try too hard to please a mass audience to be
interesting.'' She recently appeared with her Cabaret
co-star ALAN CUMMING in The Anniversary Party, which
they wrote, directed and produced together.
STONE III, who created the Whassup? Budweiser beer
television commercials, is heading for the big screen.
Stone, whose Whassup? campaign won the prestigious
Grand Prix at Cannes, is to direct Drumline, a fish-out-of-water
comedy about a Harlem street drummer who enrols in
a southern university and leads its marching band
MONTY PYTHON's sometimes racy material was deemed
suitable forthe Hollywood Bowl crowd 21 years ago,
when the troupe recorded their Live at the Hollywood
Bowl concert film, today's audiences are apparently
less tolerant. ERIC IDLE was ordered to cut some of
the vintage Python material out of his performance
on Friday when he represented the Pythons at its induction
into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Specifically,
the Bowl executives objected to the popular Python
ditty Sit on My Face and ordered it cut from his repertoire,
although he performed it - in drag - at Carnegie Hall
last year. ``We certainly performed it at the Bowl
21 years ago,'' said Eric, ``but word came from on
high not to do it this time. They seemed all upset,
afraid some of the wealthy patrons would be offended.''
He reluctantly went along with the edict because,
he said, ``This is a charity event and one has to
be decent about charity things. Still, it's funny
to think that after all this time, Monty Python is
still raising controversy.''
``PUFFY'' COMBS has enlisted a number of celebrity
friends to make appearances in the video he has just
shot for his record Bad Boy 4 Life. In it, he images
the havoc he and his friends might wreak in a new
CUBE, SNOOP DOGG, and CARL THOMAS are among those
who drop by and then MIKE TYSON thunders up with some
pals on Harley-Davidsons. BEN STILLER plays the neighbour
who fumes when Combs hits a golf ball through his
window and then peers over the fence to watch Combs
team up with basketball star SHAQUILLE O'NEAL for
SMITH and his wife JADA PINKET SMITH can lay claim
to being the fittest celebrity couple in Hollywood.
She has just completed three months of rigorous training
in San Francisco with KEANU REEVES for Matrix 2, while
her husband is continuing with the fitness regimen
he developed while training for the recently-completed
Ali. They are about to separate for several months
as Jada goes to Australia to film the next two Matrix
pictures while Will remain in New York, filming Men
in Black with TOMMY LEE JONES.
JOEL OSMENT is getting fed up with portraying sympathetic
characters in family dramas. ``I'd like to do an action
movie - or maybe play a villain. I've never done that,''
he tells Daily Variety. The 13-year-old star of A.I.
Artificial Intelligence recently returned from Poland
where he was shooting his next film, Edges of the
Lord, in which he plays a Jewish child hidden with
a Catholic family during the Nazi occupation. ``I
heard similar stories while I was in Poland and it
was very interesting taking part in a movie which
is part of history,'' he said.
of J.R.R Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings are
soaring, due to advance marketing of the much-anticipated
movie which is due out in December. More than 1.7
million copies of Tolkien's books have been sold in
the U.S. in the past year - more than triple the total
in the previous two years. ``I've never seen anything
like it, six months before a movie,'' says Kuo-Yu
Liang, associate publisher of Del Rey/ Ballantine,
who also handled book tie-ins for Star Wars and Jurassic
Park. ``By October, who knows how big it will be?''
The film stars IAN HOLM as Bilbo Baggins and IAN MCKELLEN
as the wizard Gandalf.