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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
British director ADRIAN LYNE, who directed the steamy
love scenes between MICKEY ROURKE and KIM BASINGER
in 1986's Nine and a Half Weeks, has reportedly surpassed
himself in his new film. Scenes between RICHARD GERE
and DIANE LANE in the upcoming thriller Unfaithful
reportedly match those of Nine and a Half Weeks. These
would return 51-year-old Gere to the sex symbol status
he attained 21 years ago when he played a male escort
in American Gigolo.
MEL GIBSON is starring for The Sixth Sense director
M NIGHT SHYAMALAN in Signs, which will be filmed at
an agricultural school in Pennsylvania at the end
of the summer. Gibson will play a farmer who finds
mysterious crop circles and other patterns on his
land. Filming is expected to last until the end of
the year on the school's 100 acres of cornfields.
``Our biggest concern is that when they leave, they
leave the fields the way they found them,'' said college
president DR THOMAS LEARNER. ``That's part of the
boss HARVEY WEINSTEIN reportedly wants TOM CRUISE
to star in ANTHONY MINGHELLA's film of the best-selling
novel Cold Mountain. If he accepts, Cruise would play
Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier who deserts and
tries to go home to the woman he loves. His journey
takes him through the Blue Ridge Mountains and many
adventures. Minghella, who wrote the screenplay of
The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, has
penned the script from the book by CHARLES FRAZIER.
He will also direct and co-produce the project.
The son of actor BOB CRANE, who starred in the long-running
TV series Hogan's Heroes, is fuming over a film that
would feature GREG KINNEAR as his pornography-loving
father. He describes the film biography, Auto-Focus,
which is to be helmed by writer of Taxi Driver PAUL
SCHRADER, as sensationalist and based on ``rumour
and innuend o''. Schrader has just cast WILLEM DAFOE
as JOHN CARPENTER, Crane's accomplice in a series
of sexual escapades with women. Carpenter was later
acquitted of murdering Crane, who was found bludgeoned
to death with a camera tripod in a motel room. Schrader,
who also wrote Raging Bull, defends Auto-Focus, saying:
``Greg Kinnear is not unlike Bob. They were both funny
guys who worked in talk radio and TV.''
MERYL STREEP and her oldest son, 21-year-old HENRY
GUMMER, will appear in a free production of ANTON
CHEKHOV's play The Seagull, which will run in New
York's Central Park from July 24 to August 19. Streep
stars as Arkadina, while Gummer, a student, portrays
Yakov, a worker on the estate owned by Sorin, played
by CHRISTOPHER WALKEN. While he intends to press ahead
with his planned film biography of Liberace, with
ROBIN WILLIAMS playing the flamboyant pianist, film-maker
PHILIP KAUFMAN is also negotiating to direct a remake
of Suspicion. The 1941 Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller
starred CARY GRANT and JOAN FONTAINE in the story
of a reserved young woman who marries a man after
a whirlwind romance but then suspects he is trying
to kill her for her money. Kaufman, whose most recent
film was Quills, plans to update the story.
ZETA-JONES has emerged as the favourite for one of
the two starring roles in the film adaptation of the
hit musical Chicago. The Welsh actress is in negotiations
with Miramax and the director, ROB MARSHALL, to play
the role of the vaudeville entertainer Velma. Marshall
is also auditioning actresses for the role of Roxie.
The two main characters are both murderers who become
famous as the media make them into stars in Chicago
during the Roaring 20s. HUGH JACKMAN, who starred
in the London stage revival of Oklahoma!, has been
mentioned for the role of the sleazy lawyer Billy
Flynn, while KATHY BATES may play the prison matron,
Mama Morton. The role of Velma would be a high-profile
one for Zeta-Jones, who began her career as a singer
and dancer in London's West End. Others who have been
mentioned as possible Chicago stars over the past
five years include GOLDIE HAWN, MADONNA, CHARLIZE
THERON and ROSIE O'DONNELL.
DE NIRO is the surprise choice to take the role originally
intended for JIM CARREY in the comedy Scared Guys.
The Oscar-winning actor will play an agoraphobic therapist
forced to leave home for the first time in six years
to thwart the planned murder of a woman whom he has
fallen in love with from afar. JIM CARREY was set
to star in the film but instead chose to play a black-listed
writer in the FRANK DARABONT-directed The Majestic.
Oscar-winning film director JOHN FRANKENHEIMER is
in London for talks with the British actor SIR MICHAEL
GAMBON over a presidential role. He wants Sir Michael
to play former US President LYNDON B JOHNSON in his
film Path to War, the story of how the Johnson administration
could not extricate itself from the Vietnam War.
MYERS, EDDIE MURPHY and CAMERON DIAZ are set to earn
3 million each for voicing the main characters in
the Shrek sequel now in de velopment. The three actors
received little money upfront for the first film but
made a little over 2 million each based on their share
of the gross profits. Shrek is expected to become
one of the most profitable animated films in history,
its profits boosted by sales of toys, action figures
and marketing tie-ins.
PALTROW is still impressing the cast and crew with
her looks, despite playing a vastly overweight woman
in the comedy Shallow Hal. ``All I could think was,
`Wow! She's got on a 300lb fat suit and she's still
stunning','' says DARIUS RUCKER, lead singer of the
band Hootie and the Blowfish, who plays a maitre d'
in a scene with the portly Paltrow. Rucker landed
the role because he is friends with Peter and BOBBY
FARRELLY, the writers, directors and producers of
Little gets a girlfriend in Stuart Little 2, the sequel
to last year's hit film about the mouse adopted by
a New York couple. She will be a computer-generated
bird named Margalo with a voice provided by MELANIE
GRIFFITH. ``She's been there, done that,'' says producer
DOUG WICK. ``She's a little bit of a flapper.'' Stuart's
voice will be provided by MICHAEL J FOX while his
parents will again be played by HUGH LAURIE and GEENA
PENELOPE CRUZ, who co-starred with TOM CRUISE in his
latest film, Vanilla Sky, was one of the 200 guests
at his 39th birthday party in a Santa Monica nightclub.
They set tongues wagging by arriving about 15 minutes
apart and leaving at about the same time. ``They danced
together and talked into each other's ears a lot,''
according to one gossip. ``There was something there.
You could feel it.'' But there was tension in the
air between JIM CARREY and his ex-girlfriend, RENEE
ZELLWEGER, who co-starred with Cruise in Jerry Maguire.
When she arrived, said a source, Carrey left.
script has been written for a big-budget feature film
based on the adventures of the 1950s British comic
book hero Dan Dare. British producer COLIN FREWIN,
who holds the rights to the Dan Dare character, is
reportedly teaming up with Columbia TriStar to bring
the comic strip to the big screen. The television
arm of Columbia TriStar has already picked up worldwide
rights to the Frewin-produced 26-part animated TV
series, Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, according to
Daily Variety. The series features ROBBIE COLTRANE,
TIM CURRY and CHARLES DANCE, with the theme tune co-written
and performed by ELTON JOHN.
'N Sync star JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE may be making his film
debut in SPIKE LEE's upcoming project, a film version
of the Broadway hit musical Rent. Timberlake has auditioned
for the role of film-maker Mark, while he and his
girlfriend BRITNEY SPEARS were spotted in the audience
of the long-running show last week. During the intermission
the couple went backstage to meet the cast, according
to the New York Daily News.
JACKSON was shocked to be on the receiving end of
Madonna's attentions during a dinner date 10 years
ago, according to a new book. Madonna grabbed Jackson's
hand and put it on her breast, reports J RANDY TARAB
ORRELLI in his book Madonna: An Intimate Biography,
due out next month. ``The next thing I know, she reaches
over and takes my glasses off,'' Jackson reportedly
told Taraborrelli. ``Then she throws them across the
room and breaks them. I was shocked.''
BILLY BOB THORNTON is denying rumours that his record
company is unhappy with his debut album, Private Radio.
``They're over the moon,'' he tells Us Weekly, adding
that he will embark on a concert tour after the album's
mid-September release. The first single off the album,
Angelina, is named for his wife, ANGELINA JOLIE, and
begins: ``I walked into an elevator and you walked
into a wall.''
British actor JASON ISAACS, best-known for his role
as the sadistic British army officer in The Patriot,
has not been home for six months. In a non-stop schedule
he has moved from filming MIKE FIGGIS's Hotel in Venice
to RIDLEY SCOTT's war saga Black Hawk Down in Morocco
and then to Massachusetts for the romantic comedy
Passionado with SOFIA MILOS. ``I was ripped out of
Morocco where I was murdering everybody around me,
surrounded by corpses and carnage, and now I'm trying
to be romantic and funny,'' he says. ``It's a real
old-fashioned romance, just me and the lovely Sofia.
I don't normally get the woman - I normally kill the
ROBERTS is to miss the upcoming Deauville Film Festival
even though her latest film, America's Sweethearts,
will be a featured attraction there. The actress is
reportedly anxious to avoid the hundreds of journalists
who will want to question her about the end of her
romance with BENJAMIN BRATT. ``She can handle the
US premieres okay because she has all her studio minders
and her own staff to protect her,'' a source tells
the New York Post. ``But in tiny, seaside Deauville,
with maybe 300 international journalists on her case,
there'll be nowhere to hide.'' Her America's Sweethearts
co-star CATHERINE ZETA-JONES is certain to be there
if only for sentimental reasons. Deauville was where
she met her future husband MICHAEL DOUGLAS three years
STING's wife, TRUDIE STYLER, who produced GUY RITCHIE's
two films, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and
Snatch, has no plans to work again with the director.
``He's on to huge films,'' she tells syndicated columnist
MARILYN BECK, ``and I have a love for independent
films because you can retain a lot of control.'' Styler
is in America preparing for the July 18 US premiere
of her production Greenfingers, the prison comedy
film which stars CLIVE OWEN and HELEN MIRREN. She
will be seen on the big screen herself later this
year in Me Without You, a drama in which she plays
the mother of ANNA FRIEL's character.
of the little town of New Milford, Connecticut, are
furious at the disruption caused by ADAM SANDLER and
the 100-strong cast and crew of his new film Deeds.
Streets were closed, small businesses were asked to
change their signs and traffic jammed the streets
during the three weeks Hollywood took over the town.
``They came in and did just about anything they wanted
to do,'' complained JIM KICK to the New York Daily
News. Kick, who owns N ew Milford Insurance, added:
``They shut the street down, there was nowhere to
park and I lost business.'' Deeds,
a remake of the 1936 GARY COOPER classic Mr Deeds
Comes To Town, stars Sandler as Longfellow Deeds,
a poet who unexpectedly inherits 40 billion dollars.
RYDER plays a TV reporter covering the story, while
JARED HARRIS and PETER GALLAGHER also star.
BRANDO lives the life of a semi-recluse, rarely seeing
anyone except JOHNNY DEPP, with whom he shares Chinese
takeaway meals. This is the reality according to writer
PATRICIA BOSWORTH, whose biography of Brando will
be published in September. She says 76-year-old Brando
recently told a close friend: ``I'm going to live
to be 100, then I plan to clone myself with all of
my talent but none of my neuroses.'' And after seeing
himself in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire
a short while ago, he commented: ``Oh, God. I was
beautiful then. But I'm much nicer now.''
SNIPES worked with former world heavyweight champion
LENNOX LEWIS's trainer EMMANUEL STEWARD to prepare
himself for his role as a jailhouse boxing champion
in his new film Undisputed. In the film his character
fights the undisputed world champion, played by VING
RHAMES. Rhames has been working on his physique and
boxing skills for two years, preparing to play SONNY
LISTON in Night Train for TOM CRUISE's production
HOPPER is making his first foray into series television
by starring in Flatland, a 22-episode Matrix-style
action drama to be filmed in Shanghai. Set in the
year 2010, the series follows three Americans who
find themselves trapped in the mysterious web of a
man known only as Mr Smith - played by Hopper. In
Smith's world the past and present co-exist and intersect
with deadly consequences. ``Dennis Hopper was the
only person we ever thought about for the role,''
said creator-prod ucer AL RUDDY. ``He has proven over
the years to be an outstanding and talented actor
and there's a certain mystique to Dennis which is
perfect for our show.''
animator NICK PARK has shut down production on The
Tortoise and the Hare for six months, with only a
few minutes of film in the can. His decision has the
full support of DreamWorks Pictures executives, including
STEVEN SPIELBERG and JEFFREY KATZENBERG, according
to Aardman Animations spokesman ARTHUR SHERIFF. Park's
Bristol-based Aardman company began shooting the film
earlier this year for DreamWorks, but decided to suspend
it to rectify script problems. Sheriff told Daily
Variety that DreamWorks did exactly the same thing
with its hit animated film Shrek. ``This is entirely
an Aardman decision but one with which Jeffrey Katzenberg
in America is in agreement,'' he said. ``It's about
quality control.'' Aardman, which created Chicken
Run for DreamWorks, began shooting The Tortoise and
the Hare using its distinctive clay animation style.
But Sheriff said: ``The script was just not happening
and the characters have got to be fleshed out.''
GRAMMER hopes for a fiery reunion with Oscar-winner
Emma Thompson if he can persuade her to guest star
on his hit television series Frasier. The British
actress played Frasier's first wife on a few episodes
of Cheers nearly 20 years ago. ``They had a passionate,
crazy love,'' says Grammer. ``But after a year they
realised they had married far too young, decided to
divorce and Emma left for England. ``Now we would
like to see them reunited on Frasier with all the
same sparks still flying.'' But Thompson may be hard
to persuade - she recently announced she was taking
a year off work to travel in Africa.
DiCAPRIO is hobbling on crutches following an injury
while playing basketball in Los Angeles. The actor
plays in a regular game with other celebrities, including
his best pal TOBEY MAGUIRE, who has just finished
filming Spider-Man. His spokesman, KEN SUNSHINE, said:
``We don't yet know how long he'll be on crutches,''
adding that the injury was a bad sprain.
HUGH HEFNER has bought a house near his Los Angeles
Playboy Mansion for 3.5 million although he does not
know what he will do with it. ``He had been watching
it for a while and there was a point when he thought
it was a good investment,'' said Hefner's spokesman
DICK ROSENZWEIG. The five-bedroom house has an eight-car
garage and room for additional parking but Rosenzweig
said Hefner was not planning to turn the property
into a car park for the Playboy Mansion. Night-time
parties there, sometimes for more than 1,000 guests,
have prompted complaints from neighbours about cars
jamming the street. ``He is not using his new property
for parking, but he hasn't yet decided exactly how
he will use it,'' Rosenzweig told the Los Angeles
British singer DIDO has been househunting during rehearsals
for her first American tour. She and her fiance, lawyer
BOB PAGE, have already bought rings for their wedding
which has been set for next year, she tells US Magazine.
``It's all lovely and happy but I can't even think
about the wedding until the tour is finished,'' she
says. ``Then I'm going to record my second album at
the end of the year so basically I'll be writing songs
and planning wedding cakes.''
Link host ANNE ROBINSON will soon have the chance
to insult her fellow stars on America's NBC television
network. Network executives are planning a series
of Weakest Link shows featuring contestants from the
casts of such series as Law and Order, Providence
and Third Watch.