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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
James Bond villainess FAMKE JANSSEN has dropped out
of the Men In Black sequel after only one day's filming
and has been replaced by LARA FLYNN BOYLE. A Janssen
representative said she had been forced to pull out
because of an illness in her family. Boyle will play
Serleena, the female lead opposite WILL SMITH and
TOMMY LEE JONES, who are returning in their roles
of Agent J and Agent K.
of the world's top martial arts stars, JACKIE CHAN
and JET LI, will be teaming up for the first time
in a Hollywood action picture for American Sweethearts
director JOE ROTH'S Revolution Studios. The two men,
who for a long time were the reigning Hong Kong action
kings before making their marks in Hollywood, are
already both involved in developing the as-yet-untitled
film and will also be executive producers of the project.
Li is currently on-screen in Kiss Of The Dragon and
is soon to head an all-star cast of Asian actors in
a Chinese-language period epic, Hero, while Chan's
latest film, Rush Hour 2, is about to open in the
WILLIAMS and former Monty Python star ERIC IDLE have
been in France cheering on their friend, Tour de France
cyclist LANCE ARMSTRONG. Williams, who has long hoped
to make a film based on the gruelling race, has cycled
with Armstrong in the past and found it a humbling
experience. ``I was keeping up and I realised he wasn't
even warmed up,'' Williams told reporters. He took
off and it was bye-bye. All of sudden he was gone.''
Although not a cyclist, Idle says he enjoys the spectacle,
particularly the items tossed into the crowds by the
corporate sponsors. It's a strange feeding frenzy
of French people drinking coffee and having free gifts
thrown at them,'' he said. ``It's absolute madness.''
WELCH is returning to her roots to play a sexy Latin
divorcee in the wry comedy Tortilla Soup. ``A lot
of people don't realise that I really am Latin, Welch,
whose father was a Bolivian engineer, she tells Movieline
magazine. ``It's a nice thing at this point in my
career to be able to do something that uses more of
my Latin soul.'' Tortilla Soup also stars HECTOR ELIZONDO
and ELIZABETH PENA and deals with the relationship
of a Latin widower and his three grown, complex daughters.
``I felt such empathy with this project,'' says Welch,
who was born Racquel Tejeda. ``I liked everyone on
the set. Maybe it's just that a bunch of people with
Latin heritage felt familiar to me.''
director JAMES CAMERON is turning his attention to
the Old West and will be co-producer of a film called
The Hanging Tale. The comedy-adventure centres on
a man who, about to be hanged for petty crimes, tells
the crowd a story of his journey in search of Spanish
couple MEG RYAN and DENNIS QUAID have reached an amicable
settlement in their divorce. They have signed an agreement,
filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, stating that
they will have join custody of their nine-year-old
son Jack and neither will seek any money from the
other. They will even share their 2000 Jeep Cherokee
and Ryan will keep her jewellery and assorted ``objects
of personal adornment''. Quaid, who is now dating
former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, told W magazine recently:
``When you break up, your whole identity is shattered.
I got through shock, depression, anger - all of that
FORD COPPOLA says he wants RUSSELL CROWE, ROBERT DE
NIRO, NICOLAS CAGE and PAUL NEWMAN ``as well as others
I have worked with'' to star in his film Megalopolis.
The film-maker tells Daily Variety his story of a
New York mayor battling with an architect over the
construction of a huge building is ``a Cecil B De
Mille-size epic''. Original reports stated that Coppola
wanted WARREN BEATTY to play the mayor, but he now
says there is no role for the actor. He hopes to start
filming in New York at the beginning of next year.
DOUGLAS turned down a visit to a mental hospital to
help him understand the criminal pathology behind
the plot of his latest film, Don't Say A Word, because
he felt that his experience producing One Flew Over
The Cuckoo's Nest would suffice. ``I used to be more
of a method actor,'' he tells Premiere magazine. ``But
it's too exhausting.'' In Don't Say A Word, Douglas
plays a New York psychiatrist whose daughter is kidnapped
by a crazed jewel thief, played by British actor Sean
Bean. The kidnapper gives him eight hours to treat
a seemingly catatonic psychiatric patient who has
information about a stolen diamond.
JET LI has to fight several versions of himself in
the science-fiction thriller The One, which co-stars
British actor Jason Statham. ``Nobody has done this
before,'' says Li, who turned down a reported 3 milliollars
to appear in The Matrix sequels to make The One. ``We've
seen a lot of actors playing two characters, but we've
never seen anyone fight himself.'' The film-makers
are using over-the-shoulder shooting combined with
filming Li twice from both sides of the fight and
a double wears a white mask on to which Li's face
will be digitally grafted.
NORTON did most of his own ice skating for his role
in the comedy Death To Smoochy, in which he plays
a children's television show host. While Canadian
Olympian ELVIS STOJKO doubled on the ice for Norton's
co-star Robin Williams, Norton glided effortlessly
through some complex figure eights, according to insiders.
But he is not likely to be joining the Ice Capades.
``He's already a multi-hyphenate: writer-producer-director,''
producer Andrew Lazar tells Entertainment Weekly.
``He has enough things on his plate.''
British Working Title production team of ERIC FELLNER
and TIM BEVAN have acquired the film rights to Booker
Prize-winning novelist MARGARET ATWOOD'S Alias Grace,
which had previously been bought by JODIE FOSTER.
Foster, who won a bidding war against NICOLE KIDMAN'S
production company, failed to get the film into production
and the rights became available once more.
BLANCHETT, soon to be seen in Charlotte Gray, is expected
to star in the fictionalised account of 16-year-old
Grace Marks's trial for murder of her employer and
his mistress in Canada in 1843. The trial made headlines
around the world when, despite severe doubts over
whether Marks committed the killings, she was sentenced
to life imprisonment and spent the next 30 years in
jails and asylums.
FORD COPPOLA unveiled his long-awaited script Megalopolis
for a first reading by WARREN BEATTY, KEVIN SPACEY,
PARKER POSEY and others in New York, according to
Daily Variety. Coppola's script, described as reminiscent
of AYN RAND'S The Fountainhead, is about a popular
New York mayor at odds with a property tycoon who
plans to use a low-cost plastic compound to build
the Megalopolis structure. Coppola reportedly wrote
the role of the mayor for Beatty.
DIESEL, who stars in the surprise summer hit Fast
And The Furious, may be pricing himself too highly,
according to reports. The actor, who appeared in Saving
Private Ryan and Boiler Room, is asking for 10 million
dollars to star in the action film Triple X, say Hollywood
sources. Apparently the producers are now looking
instead to Ewan McGregor to take the role.
singer MICHAEL STIPE, who previously co-produced the
hit Being John Malkovich, is now concentrating on
film and television production and has several projects
in development. With his partner, Sandy Stern, Stipe
has bought film rights to science-fictio n writer
DOUGLAS COUPLAND'S upcoming novel All Families Are
Psychotic. The story, by the author of Generation
X, is about a family get-together the weekend before
the first female astronaut is launched into space.
``She might be the most grounded family member, despite
being about to fly off into space,'' says Stripe.
``This is a very real story that turns into a fairy
tale.'' Stipe is also planning a situation-comedy
series for MTV about the world of a Stipe-like rock
star and a television film, Tribute To A Dead Rock
Jones's Diary star RENEE ZELLWEGER is the leading
candidate tipped to star as a little girl who grows
up quickly in the comedy 13 Going On 30. Described
as a female version of Big, it has been written by
the team who wrote the hit What Women Want.
PITT will not have many lines to learn for his next
film, To The White Sea, because it is largely dialogue-free.
Based on the 1993 James Dickey novel and written by
JOEL and ETHAN COEN, the film follows a B-29 gunner
shot down during a World War 11 bombing mission over
Tokyo. He must then walk across Japan to escape. The
film's silence stems from the fact it is largely set
in the wilderness and Pitt's character, who does not
speak Japanese, views those he meets during his journey
as enemies who must be killed. Production is due to
begin in January.
LOPEZ and CAMERON DIAZ are the likely candidates to
take the roles originally played by DORIS DAY in remakes
being planned of two of Day's musicals. Lopez is being
mentioned for Love Me Or Leave Me, playing a singer
whose every move is monitored by her gangster lover,
a role originally played by JAMES CAGNEY but now set
to be offered to ROBERT DE NIRO. For the remake of
the lighter Day hit Send Me No Flowers, Diaz is expected
to take the role of a wife whose husband, convinced
he is going to die, tries to find her a new mate.
Both HUGH JACKMAN and GEORGE CLOONEY have been mentioned
for the role of the husband, originally played by
ROCK HUDSON. As soon as BROOKE SHIELDS finishes her
Broadway stint as Sally Bowles in the long-running
Cabaret revival she plans to get to work on her next
project - having a baby. ``I want to do it as soon
as I possibly can,'' she told USA Today. ``It's honestly
the main focus after this show.'' Shields, 36, who
was previously married to Andre Agassi, married Spin
City writer Chris Henchy on May 26. Her role in Cabaret
is her first Broadway appearance since Grease in 1994.
buying actor CHARLIE SHEEN'S Malibu house will find
some unusual extras. The four bedroom compound, which
Sheen has put up for sale for 3 million, features
a master bedroom with a fireman's pole that descends
to the front entrance for a quick escape in case of
fire, said estate agent Adrian Grant. Described as
``the ultimate bachelor pad,'' the house also has
a poker room, cigar room, media room with four televisions,
billiards room and a baseball batting cage. ``His
biggest love is baseball and he has temperature-controlled
cases for his collections of baseball memorabilia,''
said Grant. Sheen, who stars in the television series
Spin City, turned his guest house into what he calls
the aqua room, simulating an underwater experience.
It has a miniature replica of a 17th century galleon
and walls of salt-water aquariums. Sheen, who has
been working on the house since it was built 10 years
ago, owns three other properties in the Los Angeles
area as well as one in New York, where he films Spin
of a planned feature film about Charles Manson are
unsure whether or not to include any of notorious
mass murderer's songs on the soundtrack. Manson's
songs have achieved underground cult status through
numerous boot-leg releases over the years and received
mainstream attention when Guns N Roses recorded his
Look At Your Game, Girl. ``Manson obviously recorded
a lot of songs,'' says Kurt Fethke, who is producing
Helter Skelter, based on the book by Manson prosecutor
Vincent Bugliosi. ``I just don't want to head down
the path of doing Manson songs and glamorising him.
I don't want this to lead to a bunch of kids running
around with Free Charles Manson T-shirts.'' He intends
to use the Internet to solicit public input about
that and other music elements for the film, which
is currently in pre-production.
CARLYLE is heading for Australia to star in Black
And White, a fact-based story about a man framed by
police. The Full Monty star will play a lawyer in
the low-budget drama which will begin filming in South
Australia in November.