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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
RIDLEY SCOTT is to add as much as an hour of unused
footage to his hit film Hannibal when it is seen on
television. The British director is resuscitating
the first version he filmed which runs for more than
three hours, according to Daily Variety. The CBS network
has spent ð14 million on the rights to show Hannibal
three times on US television, beginning in November
The controversial rapper EMINEM may make his film
debut playing the villain in Lazarus, the fourth instalment
of The Crow series. He has been offered nearly $3
million to take the role opposite fellow rap artist
DMX, who will play the hero, reports Daily Variety.
In Lazarus two young men die and are brought back
from the dead. One is good and the other evil and
they battle for dominance in the hip-hop world. Eminem,
who won three Grammy awards last week, is also set
to star in an autobiographical film currently being
written for him. The film, to be made by Grinch producer
Brian Grazer, will cover the young white rapper's
struggle to make a name for himself.
black law professor at Yale University has set a record
for a first time novelist by landing a $3 million
deal for two books. STEPHEN L CARTER, who has previously
written several serious non-fiction books, landed
the deal with Knopf after editors read the manuscript
for his first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park. The
book, a legal thriller, revolves around an African-American
judge andhis family. ``There aren't many African-American
suspense writers and there aren't a lot of books published
about the world of the black elite,'' said an editor
at a publishing house which dropped out of the bidding.
MURPHY and OWEN WILSON are to play the two government
agents in the feature film version of the 60s television
series I Spy. The series, which ran from 1965-1968,
starred BILL COSBY and ROBERT CULP and the tennis-playing
secret agents. In the new version Murphy will play
a professional athlete who is pressed into helping
Wilson recover a missing jet. MICHAEL MYERS is to
earn nearly $20 million for writing and starring in
Austin Powers 3. The storyline is being kept a closely-guarded
secret although sources say it will once again involve
time travel. Several guest stars are expected to be
hired for cameo roles in the comedy, which is expected
to begin filming at the end of this year.
Erin Brockovich, the legal assistant portrayed on
screen by JULIA ROBERTS in the Oscar-nominated film,
is carving out a showbusiness career for herself.
She is appearing on stage in Toronto in The Vagina
Monologues, and is looking into several offers, including
one to host a television show. ``But,'' she says,
``I won't do anything if it's not significant. I'm
not doing them to `be Hollywood'.''
DAVID BOWIE'S ex-wife ANGIE is one of the stars of
Deadrockstar, a dark satire on the record industry
that is due to go into production soon in Los Angeles.
STEPHEN BALDWIN and STEVE BUSCEMI also star in the
story of a record company so greedy that it sets out
to kill its rock stars in order to give them legend
status and boost their record sales.
SPIELBERG has made a cameo appearance in CAMERON CROWE'S
new film Vanilla Sky after visiting its star, TOM
CRUISE, on the set. The Oscar winning director has
been meeting with Cruise to discuss Minority Report,
the Spielberg film in which Cruise will star as soon
as he finishes work on Vanilla Sky. Crowe reportedly
spotted Spielberg and shouted to him ``How about being
an extra in my movie?'' Spielberg answered: ``Sure.
If you appear in my next movie.'' Crowe agreed and
Spielberg is one of the patrons in a restaurant scene
between Cruise and PENELOPE CRUZ.
WAHLBERG, who made love to a bevy of beautiful women
in Boogie Nights, has some love scenes with a primate
in Planet of the Apes ``It's actually a very pleasant
experience because it's HELENA BONHAM CARTER in the
ape costume under all that makeup,'' he tells USA
Today. ``The makeup artist has just made her so cute
so kissing her is very easy.''
horror director WES CRAVEN is turning to classic British
novels for his next two projects. He will first direct
a new version of the Robert Louis Stevenson tale Dr.Jekyll
and Mr Hyde and will then move on to Alice, a Gothic
horror version of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.
Craven's most recent film was Dracula 2000, loosely
based on the story by Bram Stoker.
DENCH is lining up a heavy work schedule following
the death of her husband. The actress, who is Oscar-nominated
for Chocolat, is soon to start work on The Shipping
News in Nova Scotia with KEVIN SPACEY and RHYS IFANS.
She will take a brief break to attend the Academy
Awards ceremony in Los Angeles and when filming finishes
she will return to England to star in Iris, about
Alzheimer-afflicted novelist the late IRIS MURDOCH.
She is also to co-star in the film version of Oscar
Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest, playing
the haughty Lady Bracknell.
Director RENNY HARLIN says the fact that 30 million
television viewers watched the fatal NASCAR race in
which Dale Earnhardt crashed and died proves there
is an audience for his upcoming film Driven. The film
stars SYLVESTER STALLONE as a champion race car driver
and Harlin says there are no fatal crashes in it,
although there are serious accidents. ``Driven is
respectful to the sport,'' he tells Daily Variety.
``We don't try and exploit it.'' Test screenings,
he said, have gone very well, adding: ``I was surprised
women rated it even higher than men.''
king ROGER CORMAN is capitalising on the success of
Gladiator by remaking his own, 1970 sword-and-sandals
drama The Arena. Like the original, it will feature
female gladiators and he has renamed it Gladiatrix.
The two stars will be 1998 Playboy Playmate of the
Year KAREN MCDOUGAL and Playmate runner-up LISA DERGAN.
director CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, whose first full-length
feature film Memento is due to be released in the
US next week, has already landed his next assignment
- a big budget thriller with major stars. He is to
direct Oscar winners AL PACINO and HILARY SWANK in
the $35 million thriller Insomnia which begins production
in Vancouver in April. Pacino will play a police detective
who accidentally kills his partner during a murder
investigation in a small Alaskan town and is then
blackmailed by the killer into framing an innocent
SCHWARZENEGGER has bought up a neighbour's home to
add to the compound he and his wife MARIA SHRIVER
own in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
The former bodybuilder paid $2 million for the five-bedroom
house on 1.5 acres. It is the third time in eight
years that the Schwarzeneggers have bought a neighbouring
property to add to their estate. The other two properties
were owned by former Dynasty actor JOHN FORSYTHE and
Hill Street Blues star DANIEL J. TRAVANTI.
FIENNES will divide the summer between London and
Canada, filming the psychological thriller Spider
with Canadian director DAVID CRONENBERG. The British
actor, whose most recent film was Sunshine, will begin
work as soon as he finishes filming another thriller,
Fear Itself, in Washington DC. ``Everyone involved
with Spider has that special tingle, that passion,''
Cronenberg tells Daily Variety. ``We are sure it is
going to be a classic psychological thriller and we
can't wait to get started.''
The British filmmaker BEN HOPKINS is hoping his film
Simon Magus does better in America than it did when
it was released in England last year. ``There's a
flexibility built into the American market that we
don't really have in Britain,'' he tells the Los Angeles
Times. ``When your film is released with one print
in one cinema in your country, you feel a bit frustrated.''
Hopkins filmed Simon Magus, about pre-Holocaust Eastern
European Jews, two years ago with Welsh farmland standing
in for a turn-of-the-century Polish village. It is
due to be released in the US next month, after being
screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Hopkins has
just finished another film, The Nine Lives of Thomas
Katz, which has been turned down by film distributors
in England. ``Sometimes there seems to me to be a
lack of energy on the distribution side of the industry
to try and get more interesting products to the public,
probably because they don't have to,'' he said. ``There's
enough films out there and enough people are making
money out of those movies.''
Warner Bros has apologised for sending out warning
letters to young Harry Potter fans who have created
websites. ``Our intention was never to harass fans,''
said studio spokeswoman Diane Nelson, who added that
the studio has stopped sending the letters. The apology
comes following reports that angry fans were organising
a worldwide boycott of merchandise featuring the boy
wizard. The letters say Warner Bros wants Potter-related
websites shut down because ``they are likely to cause
consumer confusion or dilution of the intellectual
property rights''. ``The tone of the letters did not
take into account that Harry Potter isunique and many
of the recipients were innocent young fans,'' said
that OLIVER STONE'S big-budget epic love story Beyond
Borders hasbeen postponed, RALPH FIENNES, who was
due to star in it with ANGELINA JOLIE, has taken another
offer. The British Oscar winner will play a paranoid
schizophrenic who uncovers a White House conspiracy
but cannot get anyone to believe him in the psychological
thriller Fear Itself. It will be produced by Wolfgang
Peterson, who is currently interviewing directors.
MCGREGOR and NICOLE KIDMAN sing a duet on the soundtrack
of the upcoming film Moulin Rouge in which they star
together. Their song is the film's love theme, titled
Come What May. They sing throughout the film which
writer-director Baz Luhrmann describes as ``a comic-tragic
musical fantasy''. Other artists featured on the soundtrack
include OZZY OSBOURNE, BECK, FATBOY SLIM and CHRISTINA
US distributor of the British film Intimacy has asked
the director Patrice Cereau to tone down some of the
sex scenes before it is shown to US audiences. ``It
is common knowledge that audiences in America are
slightly more sensitive as opposed to, say, audiences
in Sweden about sex,'' said distributor Philippe Angers.
Co-writer HANIF KUREISHI says Intimacy which won the
top prize at the Berlin Festival, is about an adulterous
British couple and ``what can really go on between
two middle-aged lovers''.
best actor Oscar nominees RUSSELL CROWE and ED HARRIS
will have to leave the post-Oscar parties early as
they are due to begin working together the next day,
March 26, on A Beautiful Mind. Crowe, nominated for
Gladiator, and Harris, for Pollock, star together
in the story of Nobel Prize-winning mathematician
John Forbes Nash Jr. MARK ADDY, who hates to leave
his Yorkshire village, is travelling again, this time
through time. The Full Monty actor has begun work
on The Time Machine, based on the HG Wells novel.
He co-stars with GUY PEARCE and JEREMY IRONS in the
film, which was first made in 1960 with ROD TAYLOR
and YVETTE MIMIEUX.
are rallying to support ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in the
face of allegations that he has groped women, berated
his pregnant wife in public and engaged in extramarital
liaisons. The star's publicist, Jill Eisenstadt, has
released letters written by several of Schwarzenegger's
supporters, including JAMIE LEE CURTIS, his co-star
in True Lies, who says the allegations, in Premiere
magazine, ``are clearly a politically motivated hatchet
job.'' Nicholas Lazarus, of British TV's The Big Breakfast
show, has written toSchwarzenegger saying DENISE VAN
OUTEN, one of the three British talk-show hosts whom
the star allegedly touched, ``had absolutely no problem
at all with the interview and really enjoyed meeting
British director SIMON WEST, who is currently putting
the finishing touches to Tomb Raider, is to next tackle
a film based on the life of one of Britain's greatest
racing drivers. The Silver Arrows, which West will
also co-produce, is inspired by the true story of
Richard Seaman and is set in the world of Grand Prix
racing against a backdrop of political espionage at
the beginning of the Second World War. Seaman made
headlines when he defied Britain to race for Germany's
Mercedes-Benz team, known as the Silver Arrows, and
won the German Grand Prix in 1938. ``I've wanted to
do a story set in the early days of Grand Prix racing
for some time and when I heard about Richard Seaman's
compelling story, I knew this was the one,'' West
tells Daily Variety.
One of JUDY GARLAND's former husbands admits he is
``bitter'' about a television mini-series based on
her life which scored high ratings when it aired in
the U.S. this week. SID LUFT said Life With Judy Garland:
Me and My Shadows, which was based on the book by
their daughter LORNA LUFT, ``blew away'' a feature
film which he was working on with OLIVER STONE. ``The
whole project was a scam,'' said Luft, talking to
the New York Daily News about the mini-series. ``Lorna
wrote an autobiography about growing up, her love
affairs, getting LIZA (MINNELLI) to go to the Betty
Ford Clinic, and the break-up of her disastrous marriage.
``The mini-series latched on to the name of Judy Garland.
I think Lorna is totally corrupt. She doesn't care
about her father--or her mother. ``Nobody knew Judy
Garland better than me. I will expose the truth in
time.'' Lorna Luft retorted to the newspaper: ``I
don't care what Sid thinks.''
WITHERSPOON, the actress who co-starred with CHRISTIAN
BALE in American Psycho, is practising a British accent
in preparation for her role in the film adaptation
of OSCAR WILDE's play The Importance of Being Earnest.
The actress, who is married to RYAN PHILLIPPE, will
join JUDI DENCH, RUPERT EVERETT and COLIN FIRTH in
the comedy about mistaken identity, set in English
high society during the 1890s.OLIVER
PARKER will direct the $10million production, which
is due to begin shooting in London on April 23 for
nine weeks. Witherspoon will play Cecily Cardew, the
young ward who is wooed by Rupert Everett's Algernon.
HUMPERDINCK has put his Sunset Boulevard house, known
as the Pink Palace, back on the market for slightly
less than the $3,600,000 he was asking for it last
year. The house, built in 1935 by the crooner RUDY
VALLEE and later owned by the actress JAYNE MANSFIELD,
was put up for sale in September 1999 but was later
withdrawn from the market. The asking price is now
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