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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
SMITH may have just finished filming Ali but his new
project, Men in Black II, has shut down because of
the illness of director BARRY SONNENFELD. The 48-year-old
director has had a series of hospital tests but a
Columbia Pictures spokesman would only say production
had been halted because the film-maker ``wasn't feeling
well''. Smith's Men in Black II co-star, TOMMY LEE
JONES, had his film The Hunted shut down for five
months after his co-star BENICIO DEL TORO broke his
wrist during a fight scene. Production has been shut
down for five months on the thriller The Hunted to
allow one of its main stars DEL TORO, to recover from
the broken wrist. Oscar-winner Del Toro had only five
days of filming left when he injured his wrist in
a fight scene with TOMMY LEE JONES while both were
reaching for a knife. He was taken to hospital for
surgery. ``It was a freak accident,'' said Paramount
Pictures chief SHERRY LANSING, whose husband, WILLIAM
FRIEDKIN, is directing the film. The Hunted was due
for release in spring next year but now it has been
pushed back until next autumn.
CLIVE CUSSLER has refused to sell any of his books
to Hollywood for more than 20 years. But now he has
signed a deal, turning over the rights to all 14 of
his novels featuring intelligence agent Dirk Pitt.
The deal, signed with Crusader Entertainment, will
make him one of the world's wealthiest authors as
he will receive 7 million for each book. He will also
have script and casting approval. Cussler steered
clear of Hollywood since the release of the 1980 adaptation
of his novel Raise the Titanic, which he called ``awful
from beginning to end''. He turned down approaches
from stars such as SYLVESTER STALLONE, BRUCE WILLIS
and GEORGE CLOONEY, who wanted to buy the rights to
his books, because no studio would grant him any control
over the process. ``They've dealt with weirdo authors
before and weren't too keen to give out casting and
script approval,'' he said. The first of his books
to go before the cameras will be Sahara. No cast or
director has yet been announced.
JOEL OSMENT is not old enough to see himself starring
in STEVEN SPIELBERG's sci-fi adventure AI, in which
he plays a mechanical boy. The film will have a 15
certificate when it opens in Britain in September,
meaning that 13-year-old Haley and children of his
age will be barred from seeing it. But the film's
producer, KATHLEEN KENNEDY, tells Daily Variety: ``It
truly is the most amazing performance I've seen by
any actor, young or older. ``The older Haley gets,
he may very well turn to directing - the way he thinks
has banned EMINEM's new video Purple Pills, the first
single from the controversial rapper's new album,
Devil's Night. A source close to Eminem says MTV objected
to the song's apparent pro-drug message and wanted
it cleaned up. Changes were made, but not enough to
satisfy the music video channel.
CAGE is negotiating to take the superhero title role
in Ghost Rider, which is based on the Marvel comic
book character. He would play Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle
stuntman who sells his soul to a dark force to save
the life of his girlfriend. But when the pact goes
awry he becomes a demon-like entity who takes out
his wrath on bad people. It is the latest of several
Marvel comics heading for the screen. An X-Men sequel
is being developed, director SAM RAIMI has just finished
Spider-Man and ANG LEE is set to helm the superhero
saga The Incredible Hulk.
FORD COPPOLA is to produce a film based on JACK KEROUAC's
classic tale of the Beat Generation, On the Road.
JOEL SCHUMACHER will direct while BILLY CRUDUP is
likely to play Kerouac and BRAD PITT is in line for
the role of his friend Dean Moriarty.
ZETA-JONES was called back from Marbella and JULIA
ROBERTS was flown in from New York to join JOHN CUSACK
and BILLY CRYSTAL in Los Angeles to shoot a new ending
to their comedy America's Sweethearts. Test audiences
wanted a comedy rather than a romantic ending so one
was written and shot over a weekend, according to
Daily Variety. The new version, it reports, tested
positively with audiences and is due to open on July
British actor CLIVE OWEN is making his mark in the
US through a series of advertising campaigns on the
internet for BMW cars. Owen stars in the six-minute
digital films which are each helmed by big-name directors
including ANG LEE, GUY RITCHIE and JOHN FRANKENHEIMER.
``Shooting them was like going to film school,'' Owen
tells Movieline magazine. ``All of the directors were
hugely talented but completely different, so I learned
a great deal.''
J FOX says his forthcoming autobiography, Lucky Man,
will be published in January. The actor, who suffers
from Parkinson's disease, says the book is about why
the disease ``is not a struggle and why I feel that
way''. He tells syndicated columnist MARILYN BECK:
``In many ways the illness has been a blessing to
me. It got me out of my own showbiz garbage and re
ally made me realise there are bigger things in life.''
Fox, whose wife TRACY POLLAN is expecting their fourth
child, provides the voice of the lead character Milo
in Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
ADAM SANDLER will play multiple roles in The Five
Johnsons, a comedy he is likely to start filming later
this year. The comic actor, whose last film, Little
Nicky, was a surprising flop, must first finish the
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON film The Denise Show, in which
he plays the owner of a failing phone-sex business.
He then moves on to Deeds, the modern-day retelling
of the 1936 GARY COOPER comedy Mr Deeds Goes to Town.
A month spent filming the comedy Evolution in the
tiny desert town of Paige, Arizona left comic actor
ORLANDO JONES hankering for a change of scenery. ``You
say the word Four Seasons in Paige and people believe
you're talking about the weather. Ask for a bagel
and they tell you it's not a pet shop,'' says Jones,
who stars in the movie with DAVID DUCHOVNY and JULIANNE
MOORE. Jones may soon find himself in London for his
next project - in the starring role of a jewel thief
hired by the Queen of Swaziland to steal the illustrious
Star of Africa diamond from England.
McGREGOR is going home to Scotland after completing
work on the mega blockbusters Star Wars: Episode 2
and Black Hawk Down. The second instalment in the
prequel trilogy is now in post-production and will
see McGregor battling the forces of evil across the
universe as Obi Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, RIDLEY SCOTT's
war movie will see the Scottish actor don fatigues
as part of a band of elite US soldiers battling a
Somalian warlord. Back home he will work on Young
Adam, which has a more modest budget of 4 million,
playing a young drifter who works on a barge travelling
between Glasgow and Edinburgh and discovers a floating
female corpse in t he river.
SWINTON, who appeared with LEONARDO DiCAPRIO in The
Beach, will co-star with him in the project, which
is party financed by Scotland's government-backed
film-funding agency Scottish Screen. ALFRED MOLINA
and SALMA HAYEK joke that co-starring in Frida will
be the death of them. ``Alfred had to gain so much
weight that he thinks he will have a heart attack
and I think I will get lung cancer because I have
to smoke,'' says the Mexican actress. Hayek is also
producing the project which centres on the passionate
Mexican painter FRIDA KAHLO.Molina,
last seen on screen in Chocolat, plays DIEGO RIVERA,
the muralist Kahlo married twice, while ANTONIO BANDERAS
is his muralist friend, DAVID SIQUIEROS.
RUSH portrays the exiled Russian revolutionary LEON
TROTSKY, with whom Kahlo had an affair. Although she
has grown a moustache and big eyebrows for the role,
Hayek tells USA Today that Kahlo was very sexy ``or
she would not have seduced so many men and women around
the world with such success''.
NICHOLSON, who has just spent 12 weeks in Omaha filming
the comedy About Schmidt, is planning a holiday which
will include a trip to Wimbledon. He leaves for Mo
scow this weekend to promote The Pledge with its director
SEAN PENN, and will then move on to Paris to see his
old friend ROMAN POLANSKI before taking his courtside
seat at Wimbledon. When he returns to America he will
consider his next project, which is likely to be playing
a country sheriff opposite WILL SMITH in The County.
COLLINS and ROD STEWART's ex-wife RACHEL HUNTER co-star
with a talking koala bear in the low-budget film Ozzie,
which they have just finished shooting in New Zealand.
SPENCER BRESLIN, most recently seen opposite BRUCE
WILLIS in The Kid, plays a 10-year-old Los Angeles
boy who finds the koala after it escapes from captivity.
LEE is likely to be the man to bring the hit musical
Rent to the big screen. Lee, whose last film was the
showbusiness satire Bamboozled, is talking to Miramax
Films about the project, although no screenwriter
or cast have yet been hired. The rapper DMX is to
star in an updated remake of the classic 1931 German
crime thriller M. The original film starred PETER
LORRE as a child murderer stalking Berlin. In the
new version DMX will play a crime boss who helps the
police catch the murderer. Sources say VIN DIESEL
is being sought to co-star.
DIANE KEATON, whose ex-boyfriends include her former
co-stars WOODY ALLEN, WARREN BEATTY and AL PACINO,
says she is finished with romance. ``I don't really
think about it very much anymore. It's probably out
of the picture, you know?'' she says in the current
issue of More magazine. ``I remember when I was younger
I honestly believed in some ridiculous way that you
didn't really lose people - that you would find someone
who would be the person you lived with until you died.
``Now, I understand that these are episodes we go
through with people, and they don't all last.'' Keaton,
55, says she remains close to Allen, who wrote Annie
Hall for her, and is ``friendly'' with Beatty, but
she no longer speaks to Pacino. She dated Pacino during
the 1970s while filming The Godfather and Godfather
II and then again in 1989 during the making of Godfather
III. Her biggest regrets, she said, involve holding
on to the past. ``Those relationships were almost
impossible for me to let go of,'' says the single
mother of adopted children, five-year-old Dexter and
six-month-old Duke. ``Now that I'm older, time is
valuable. You just think, gee, it would have been
nice if we had parted a little earlier. ``There are
so many things to do, so why are you quietly hanging
on to something that's over?''
MOORE will be directed by her boyfriend, BART FREUNDLICH,
in her next film Raveling, which he is adapting for
the screen. In it she will play a psychologist who
unravels the mystery surrounding two brothers and
the murder of their sister. Moore, who is starring
in the comedy Evolution, previously worked with Freundlich,
who is the father of her child, on The Myth of Fingerprints.
British film-maker DANNY BOYLE and author ALEX GARLAND
are teaming up again for the sci-fi thriller 28 Days
Later, which was written by Garland. Bo yle, whose
most recent film was based on Garland's novel The
Beach, hopes to start shooting in London in August.
28 Days Later, about a deadly virus that sweeps the
planet, will be co-financed by Britain's Film Council
and Fox Searchlight.
MIRA SORVINO has persuaded some of her friends, including
SPIKE LEE and SANDRA BULLOCK, to take cameo roles
in Lisa Picard Is Famous, her first attempt at producing.
She met the writers and two stars, LAURA KIRK and
NAT DE WOLF, in acting classes 10 years ago and decided
she wanted to work with them. Her friend GRIFF DUNNE
is directing the project, about an actress's attempted
rise to fame. ``We started doing readings and revisions
in my living room,'' said Sorvino, who also cast the
movie, rewrote parts of the script and even filmed
some scenes herself. ``We got incredible feedback.
It's rare to get the overwhelming response we received.''
leader GENE SIMMONS has unveiled what he considers
to be the ultimate piece of music memorabilia for
the band's fans - a lifesize, fully functional Kiss
Forever coffin. Selling for around 2,500, the coffin
bears the band's logo, a panoramic graphic of the
crowd at a Kiss show and the faces of the four founder
members in full make-up. Until it is ready for it
final use, Simmons suggests the coffin can be used
as a beer cooler. ``We figured, why not use it while
you're alive?'' he says. ``For a guy who's at home
watching the game in his living room, he could just
reach over a grab a cold beer.''
and the City co-star CYNTHIA NIXON is heading to Broadway
to join JENNIFER TILLY and KRISTEN JOHNSTON in the
play The Women. The trio will take the roles immortalised
by NORMAN SHEARER, JOAN CRAWFORD and ROSALIND RUSSELL
in GEORGE CUKOR's 1939 film based on the CLARE BOOTHE
play. The story was remade in 1956 as a film called
The Opposite Sex which starred JUNE ALLYSON, JOAN
COLLINS and DOLORES GRAY. The play was last revived
on Broadway in 1973 with KIM HUNTER, MARIE WALLACE
and ALEXIS SMITH in the lead roles. In the new production
Nixon, who plays Miranda in Sex and the City, will
play Mary Haines, who is humiliated by Johnston's
Sylvia Fowler when it is revealed that Mr Haines is
having an affair with Tilly's Crystal Allen.
still surrounds the death of a four-year-old boy who
was floating face down in the swimming pool of hellraiser
rocker TOMMY LEE JONES. Jones, the ex-husband of Baywatch
beauty PAMELA ANDERSON, is said to be devastated by
the death of Daniel Karven Veres, son of TV producer
JAMES VERES. The death occurred at a joint birthday
party in California held for Jones and Anderson's
eldest son Brandon. An autopsy in California found
the death to be accidental. Daniel's grieving father
said in a statement: ``Obviously there wasn't enough
help at the pool. It's inexcusable and just amazing
five years in existence THE SPICE GIRLS' fan club
has closed for business. The organisation sent out
its final message to fans recently after the singers
decided to close the fan club earlier this year. However
a spokesman has denied that this is a connected to
a split of the band. The girls are all currently pursuing
solo careers but all of them are saying that the band
is still very much together. The reason for the closure
of the fan club has been given as the growing use
of the Internet as a source for information.
HOPKINS has been in talks with Universal Pictures
to take on the role of Hannibal Lecter for a third
time. The Welsh actor reprised his Oscar-winning role
in the Silence Of The Lambs sequel Hannibal earlier
this year. The film company hopes work on Red Dragon,
based on Thomas Harris's first Lecter novel, will
begin at the end of the year.
legend ERIC CLAPTON is celebrating after the birth
of a baby daughter. The 57-year-old guitarist's girlfriend
Melia McEnery gave birth to 7lbs 1oz Julie Rose in
the early hours of Thursday morning in her hometown
of Columbus, Ohio, it was reported. The birth comes
10 years after the death of his four-year-old son
Conor who fell from the 53rd floor of a New York skyscraper.
The tragedy inspired his classic hit, Tears In Heaven.
Clapton, who also has a teenage daughter, has said
his current world tour would be his last so that he
could spend more time with his family.
actor JONNY LEE MILLER has revealed how he used to
make ends meet prior to becoming famous in films such
as Trainspotting and his latest film Dracula 2001.
When he was a struggling actor he used to work at
London's Hard Rock Cafe where he admits he had fun
winding up the diners. He says: ``They'd ask for a
black t-shirt and we'd reply: `What kind of black
would you like? Midnight black, dark black, rock back
or granite back?' ``Then they'd ask to see them, so
we'd bring our four t-shirts that were exactly the
same,'' he says in an interview with FHM magazine.
``Sometimes they took ages - it was a big deal for
WILLIAMS is rumoured to be planning to release an
album of big band cover versions, if reports are to
be believed. He intends recording some FRANK SINATRA
songs for the album, which could be out late this
year or early next year. Robbie has already recorded
the Sinatra track Have You Met Miss Jones? for the
Bridget Jones's Diary soundtrack. A source at Williams's
record label EMI said: ``Robbie won't be releasing
the follow-up to Sing When You're Winning until 2003,
but in the meantime he's going to record an album
of big band songs, people like Frank Sinatra.''