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Weekly's Gone By:WEEK-42-01
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week 23-01
ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...

MGM has dropped its plans for a sequel to Basic Instinct as SHARON STONE filed a lawsuit for 10 million, saying producers had promised her the sum. She claims producers ANDY VAJNA and MARIO KASSAR agreed to pay her the money even if the film never got made. Stone is also seeking a share of gross profits if the film is ever produced, regardless of its title or who plays her role. In her lawsuit, Stone says she rejected other offers, learned her lines, attended wardrobe and make-up sessions and moved to a health and fitness spa to prepare for Basic Instinct 2. Since she agreed to return in her role as the ice pick-wielding novelist Catherine Tramell last June, a series of leading men have been considered but no one was hired. Among those who were rejected or turned down the role were MICHAEL DOUGLAS, KURT RUSSELL, BRUCE GREENWOOD, BENJAMIN BRATT and PIERCE BROSNAN.

British director SIMON WEST had an unusual condition attached to his contract with Paramount Pictures to bring video game Tomb Raider to the screen. ``I said I'd do it only if I could change every single thing in the script apart from the name,'' West told a Los Angeles press conference. ``It had been written by Americans for Americans and it was full of jokes about drinking tea and visits to the Queen and funny red buses and cheery Cockneys. It was like a vision of England from the 50s. ``I looked on it as a matter of national pride to change it and make it like James Bond on acid - slightly sadistic, supercool, with a surreal element.''

Anthony Quinn, who died last week aged 86, has a scene in a forthcoming film in which he plays his own death scene. In Avenging Angelo, Quinn portrays a Mafia don whose daughter seeks revenge when he is murdered. Quinn finished filming his scenes just before he died. His co-star, SYLVESTER STALLONE, who plays the don's bodyguard, said: ``Anthony was a generous man, a brilliant actor and a true professional. I will miss him.''

Double Oscar winner DUSTIN HOFFMAN is virtually taking over the film adaptation of SCOTT TUROW's legal thriller Personal Injuries. Hoffman has bought the film rights to the project and will produce, direct and star in it for the Walt Disney Company. Hoffman will play a lawyer who is pressured into assisting in the FBI in a sting operation after being caught bribing juries to win favourable decisions. It will mark his directing debut.

HEATHER MILLS says she has persuaded her boyfriend SIR PAUL McCARTNEY to perform ``some new stuff'' for the audience at her Adopt-a-Minefield benefit in Los Angeles on June 14. PAUL SIMON will also perform and JAY LENO will be the host of the event, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where Mills will present an award to an activist who lost a leg to a mine.

NICOLE KIDMAN has two more weeks work to do in England on STEPHEN DALDRY's film The Hours before heading back to Australia for a long holiday. ``I don't want to work for the rest of the year,'' she tells USA Today. ``I'm just trying to take care of my kids and stay close to my mum and dad.'' Kidman, who turns 34 on June 20, plays Virginia Woolf in The Hours, co-starring with MERYL STREEP, JULIANNE MOORE and ED HARRIS.

British actor TIM ROTH had to conceal his feelings towards gun advocate CHARLTON HESTON when they worked together on writer-director TIM BURTON's Planet of the Apes. ``I have great disagreements with everything he stands for,'' Roth tells the July issue of Premiere magazine. ``I had to treat him with respect, as I would any actor, and so I did.'' Heston, the president of the National Rifle Association, starred in the 1968 original Planet of the Apes and plays Roth's ape father in the new version, which is due to be released this summer.

Director WOLFGANG PETERSEN will follow up The Perfect Storm by returning to sea to film the story of the heroic Antarctic explorer SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON. He wants RUSSELL CROWE or MEL GIBSON to star in the film, which will tell of Shackleton's death-defying journey across sea and ice to save the crew of his icebound ship Endurance. ``I never get tired of ship movies,'' said Petersen, who also directed the German submarine classic Das Boot. ``But this may be the last. This time I get to destroy the boat by crushing it and putting it under the ice. ``In a way the film will be the opposite of The Perfect Storm. In this one they all survive,'' he tells USA Today. ``And it's very nice to have that for a change.''

Action star JACKIE CHAN is keeping the martial arts to a minimum in favour of acting for his next film, Tuxedo, a drama produced by STEVEN SPIELBERG. ``I don't like people always talking about Jackie Chan the action star,'' he said in an interview in Los Angeles to promote his latest film, Rush Hour 2. ``I want to be an actor. An actor has a life that goes on forever.'' In Tuxedo he plays a taxi driver who cannot resist trying on the clothes of a wealthy man who has slipped into a coma. As with most Spielberg projects, details of the plot are being kept secret.

When th e hit Broadway show The Producers moves to London, it will have two British stars in the roles currently played by NATHAN LANE and MATTHEW BRODERICK, according to the show's creator, MEL BROOKS. The two leading contenders, he said, are ALAN CUMMING and ALFRED MOLINA ``and a whole lot of people who can dance and sing''. Brooks tells Daily Variety that, following the success of The Producers, he is contemplating turning his 1974 film comedy Young Frankenstein into a stage musical.

Producer MACE NEUFELD is looking for a major Hollywood star to take the leading role in a remake of the 1950 film State Secret. Neufeld, currently working on the film adaptation of TOM CLANCY's The Sum of All Fears with BEN AFFLECK, believes State Secret has all the elements of a contemporary political thriller. The original starred DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS JR as an American surgeon who travels to an Eastern European country for a medical function and finds the country's leader has been murdered and replaced by a lookalike. ``You can still set it in an Eastern European country and make a great chase film that makes a pretty strong political statement as well,'' said Neufeld, whose recent credits include Bless the Child and The General's Daughter.

PETER CHELSOM's film Town and Country, which starred WARREN BEATTY, DIANE KEATON and GOLDIE HAWN, is officially the biggest film flop of all time. The film, which cost 60 million to make has earned a paltry 4 million in four weeks of release and has now been pulled from US cinemas. According to The Top Ten of Everything, Town and Country has beaten the previous biggest money-loser, GEENA DAVIS's pirate film Cutthroat Island, by several million dollars. Another Warren Beatty film, Ishtar, features prominently on all lists of flops.

ER original cast member SHERRY STRINGFIELD, who walked out after the show's third season, is to return for the next three as Dr Susan Lewis. Stringfield said she left the show because she became tired of the media circus that surrounded the top-rated drama and she ``needed a life''. Now, she says, she is returning because ``I just felt like really working again and it was the obvious choice for me. It's a great show and I certainly didn't leave on bad terms''. She tells Daily Variety she has no regrets that her cast mates became the highest paid dramatic television stars of all time after she left the show. ``I was happy for them,'' she said. ``But I totally believe I did the right thing at the time.'' MAX BROOKS, the 29-year-old son of MEL BROOKS and ANNE BANCROFT, is following his parents into showbusiness. He has sold his first script, More Than Meets the Eye, about children who become their favourite action figure toys. He has a hard act to follow because his father's hit show The Producers made entertainment history on Sunday by winning 12 Tony awards. ``I've no desire to become the next king of Jewish immigrant comics, but I am so proud of my old man,'' commented Max.

PATRICK WILSON is set to take the leading role in the British National Theatre's production of Oklahoma! when it moves to New York next season. He is currently starring in the Broadway production of The Full Monty. Oklahoma!, which starred HUGH JACKMAN during its London run, is directed by TREVOR NUNN and choreographed by SUSAN STROMAN.

IKE TURNER is currently on tour to promote his latest album Here and Now - his first in 23 years. The 69-year-old singer says it has taken him so long to make it because he was afraid to perform solo after his wife TINA TURNER left him in 1976. Now he tells Entertainment Weekly: ``I have nothing against Tina. She's just another act. I'm totally disconnected with her.''

JOHN TRAVOLTA and BARBRA STREISAND are hoping to fulfil their long-held ambition to do a musical together if they can find the right material. ``We've talked about it for 22 years,'' said Travolta, who is promoting his latest film, Swordfish. ``I've been pitched at least a couple of thousand musical ideas over the years and seen about a thousand scripts. It's not that we don't want to do it - no one is creating the right material.'' Travolta made his name with Saturday Night Fever, but has not appeared in a musical since Grease in 1978.

ANTHONY HOPKINS' next role will be as a mysterious man who moves in upstairs to a brilliant boy in the film adaptation of the STEPHEN KING book Hearts of Atlantis. In the King story he turns out to be an alien but director SCOTT HICKS has made him an ordinary earthling. ``We've chosen to keep the story grounded in the real world,'' he tells USA Today. ``I decided you were ultimately more engaged with the character if he was a real human being.'' He has also stayed away from special effects although the story tells of how the man's eyes behave in curious ways. ``Once I had Tony Hopkins I thought, `I've got one of the greatest special effects in the world','' said Hicks. ``Hopkins has an extraordinary ability to commune with the camera in a way that few people have.''

GEORGE CLOONEY and his producing partner, Oscar-winning director STEVEN SODERBERGH, are to develop a film based on the life of a wily undercover US revenue agent. Clooney is also expected to star in the film, playing GARLAND BUNTING, who became the scourge of bootleggers in North Carolina during the late 1950s. Soderbergh is putting the finishing touches of Ocean's Eleven, which stars Clooney, BRAD PITT, MATT DAMON and JULIA ROBERTS.

Following the success of the animated comedy Shrek, plans are already u nder way for a sequel. Based on WILLIAM STEIG's children's book of the same name, the fairy tale, featuring the voices of MIKE MYERS, EDDIE MURPHY and CAMERON DIAZ, has grossed nearly 100 million in its opening two weeks. Shrek took nearly five years to bring to the screen, but the sequel will be a much more rapid process. ``Part of those five years was shaping that world and defining the characters,'' said co-writer and co-producer TERRY ROSSIO. ``The real fun of the sequel is revisiting those characters. Now we can go back and get into some of those unexplored mysteries.''

The newly-wed BROOKE SHIELDS is cutting short her honeymoon with writer-producer CHRIS HENCHY to begin rehearsals in New York for her next project. The former wife of ANDRE AGASSI will replace GINA GERSHON as Sally Bowles in the Broadway musical Cabaret - a role originally played by LIZA MINELLI.

FRANK SINATRA's widow Barbara has moved out of the Beverly Hills home where they were living when he died and moved into a high security, high rise block of flats nearby. BARBARA SINATRA, who was recently mugged while walking in the street near her house, paid 2 million for the four-bedroom penthouse.

British director SIMON WEST was already thinking about a follow-up to Tomb Raider while he was still shooting the movie. ``ANGELINA JOLIE and I were talking about a sequel until the last day of filming,'' he says. ``I had to cut out so many ideas that there is enough material to do a sequel straight away.'' West, whose previous films include Con-Air and The General's Daughter, is still working on a plan to bring the cult television series The Prisoner to the big screen.

Latin pop singer ENRIQUE IGLESIAS will make his acting debut in ROBERT RODRIGUEZ's Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which begins filming this week. Iglesias, the son of Julio, will play one of three mariachis alongside ANTONIO BANDERAS and MARCO LEONARDI. The star-packed cast also includes JOHNNY DEPP, QUENTIN TARANTINO, SALMA HAYEK, MICKEY ROURKE and WILLEM DAFOE. Once Upon a Time in Mexico is Rodriguez's third instalment in the trilogy that began with 1992's El Mariachi and continued with 1995's Desperado, which also starred Banderas.

The comic scenes in Rush Hour 2 where CHRIS TUCKER and JACKIE CHAN cannot understand each other are based on fact. Producer ART SARKISSIAN says: ``They hadn't seen each other since making the first Rush Hour and when they did meet up again they were still having trouble understanding each other. ``It works in the movie because it really is how they are. They genuinely try very hard to get what the other is saying.''

STEVIE NICKS is vowing to prod her former Fleetwood Mac stars back into the recording studio even though CHRISTIE McVIE has said she will not return. ``I'm going to make it happen. I'll haunt them,'' she tells USA Today. MICK FLEETWOOD and JOHN McVIE are eager to reunite and LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM is already studying 17 of Nicks's demo tapes, according to Nicks. ``We've given Christine three years and she doesn't want to do it anymore. Without her influence it goes back to me and Lindsey singing, which is how we started,'' she says. ``It puts the focus back on guitars so we can have more touches of the blues and ZZ Top-type rock we love. It's going to be fun and absolutely different.'' Fleetwood Mac, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of Rumours in 1997 with a reunion tour, will not return to the stage before recording and releasing new material, says Nicks. ``We're not going to sell out and go on the road just to make money,'' she said. ``We could have done that every year since 1983.''

ALAN CUMMING, who wrote, directed and starred in The Anniversary Party with JENNIFER JASON LEIGH, is now planning his next directing job. ``I want to do a film about people in London,'' Cumming tells Entertainment Weekly magazine. He says he plans to make a documentary about his friends, then fictionalise it and shoot it as a feature film. ``Some of the people are actors and some are normal people, so if I do the documentary first, they can get used to the camera,'' he adds. He will begin work on it after he finishes his first novel, Tommy's Tale, which is due at the publisher's later this year.

JASON PRIESTLEY, who left Beverly Hills 90210 two years ago, has signed on for another television series. He will star in the drug drama Dope, which follows the path of a kilo of heroin that bands together a disparate group of characters.

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