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week 11-01
ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...

The British director DANNY BOYLE, whose last project was directing LEONARDO DiCAPRIO in The Beach, is casting his next film, the suspense thriller Tick-Tock. Boyle will begin production in Los Angeles this autumn on the film, about an amnesiac who is suspected of a series of bombings across the city and must help an FBI agent find the remaining bombs.

Film-maker PETER BOGDANOVICH has offered his good friend, QUENTIN TARANTINO, the role of a ghost in his next film, Wait For Me, in which a movie director looks back on his life. Bogdanovich, who has written and will direct the film, stayed with Tarantino after he declared bankruptcy in 1997. Another friend, comedian JERRY LEWIS, will also take a cameo role in the film.

The double Oscar-winning actress SALLY FIELD is returning to the small screen where she first made her name as the star of the 1960s TV series Gidget. Field, who earlier this year appeared in six episodes of ER, will star in her own series, playing a liberal US Supreme Court judge in the drama The Bench. She won best actress Oscars in 1980 and 1985 for Norma Rae and Places in the Heart and last year made her directing debut with the film Beautiful, which starred MINNIE DRIVER.

RAY LIOTTA, whose Justice Department character meets an unpleasant end in Hannibal, has turned down an offer to be in The Sopranos. The actor, who starred in the 1990 film GoodFellas about a Mafia family, tells the New York Post he was offered a regular role in the series for two seasons. He rejected the offer ``because movies are really happening for me right now. Plus, when you've been in GoodFellas, where are you going to go with this Mafia stuff?''

RUSSELL CROWE and CATHERINE ZETA-JONES are teaming up to provide the voices for the hero and heroine of the animated DreamWorks film Sinbad. CHRISTINE BARANSKI, who co-starred with CYBIL SHEPHERD in the TV series Moonlighting, will play the villainess, the evil goddess Eris. In preparation, she is studying with the English voice expert PATSY RODENBERG to lower her register about an octave.

MARIE OSMOND has turned down an offer to appear on stage in London in The King and I to concentrate on promoting her new book. The singer tells CNN's LARRY KING that she is planning to embark on a major promotional tour for the book, Behind the Smile, which rules out any other work. In the book she tells of her life with the famous Osmond family and the troubles and illness which led to the breakdown of her marriage. Last year she turned down an offer to stage in the musical Annie Get Your Gun to concentrate on writing the book.

ROBIN WILLIAMS is to play the villain in British director CHRISTOPHER NOLAN's next film, a remake of the 1997 Norwegian film, Insomnia. His character will be a killer who blackmails a cop into pinning his murders on an innocent person. It will be the second consecutive villainous role for Williams, who has just finishing filming One Hour Photo, in which he plays an obsessed stalker. Nolan, whose Memento is receiving good reviews in the United States, begins shooting in Vancouver next month. AL PACINO will play the cop and HILARY SWANK has been cast as a rookie detective.

Writer NORMAN MAILER is to reunite with writer-producer LAWRENCE SCHILLER on a TV mini-series based on the case of FBI agent ROBERT HANSSEN, who is accused of passing secrets to the Soviet Union. Mailer and Schiller previously collaborated on 1996's Oswald's Tale about LEE HARVEY OSWALD's experiences in the Soviet Union. They have also teamed up on a recent TV adaptation of Schiller's best-selling book OJ Simpson, An American Tragedy. They have already begun their research for the Hanssen project, which is not expected to be shown until May 2002 at the earliest. ``This is something which touches on a subject Mailer and I have been interested in for years,'' Schiller tells Daily Variety. ``Our interest is in the minds of these people.''

Crime JAMES ELLROY is famous for such best-selling Los Angeles crime sagas as LA Confidential and The Black Dahlia. Now he is drawing on two episodes in the city's notorious crimes for his first feature film script. Ellroy is linking two events from May 1974 - the unsolved murder of a police officer and the shoot-out between LA police and the Symbionese Liberation Army - in his script for the drama 77. The film will be produced by DICK WOLF, who created the Law and Order series for television.

CLINT EASTWOOD is to produce, direct and star in Mystic River, a film based on the best-selling novel by DENNIS LeHANE. The psychological suspense thriller tells the story of three childhood friends whose relationship ends after a tragic accident, only to see them reunite 25 years later when they become linked to a murder investigation. Eastwood's last film was Space Cowboys, which he also produced, directed and starred in.

DOLLY PARTON is to portray the legendary screen vamp MAE WEST in a TV film about her life. It will focus on the career and private life of West, the sex goddess who moved from vaudeville to the big screen, pushing the envelope of sexuality during the 1930s. The project follows the success of a recently screened mini-series about JUDY GARLAND, which topped the ratings in the US.

Oscar-winner GEOFFREY RUSH will portray communist agitator Leon Trotsky in the drama Frida. He joins a star-studded cast in the film about the Mexican artist FRIDA KAHLO, which features SALMA HAYEK in the title role. British actor ALFRED MOLINA stars as Kahlo's husband DIEGO RIVERA, EDWARD NORTON as EDWARD ROCKEFELLER, ASHLEY JUDD as photographer TINA MODOTTI and ANTONIO BANDERAS as the painter DAVID SIQUIEROS. Rush, who won a statuette for Shine, is also nominated this year for his portrayal of the MARQUIS DE SADE in Quills.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, JOHN TRAVOLTA and SHARON STONE are among a list of actors who may be influencing millions of teenagers to take up smoking. Teenagers are 16 times more likely to try tobacco if their favourite stars smoke in three or more films, compared with those whose idols don't light up on screen, according to a new study. The worst offendere DiCaprio, Travolta and Stone ver a two-year period each appeared in four films in which they smoked more than twice, says the eport from researchers at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

ALAN McGEE, who discovered Oasis and served as one of TONY BLAIR's advisers on cultural policy, is breaking into the American nightclub scene. He is opening three Radio 4 clubs, based on his successful London nightspot, in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto at the end of this month. ``I got fed up,'' says McGee, who dissolved his Creation Records label last year. ``I thought, `Get out now and reinvent yourself'. Creation was stuck in a corner. People expected white boys with guitars.'' McGee tells the Los Angeles Times he is also negotiating to open clubs in Stockholm, Melbourne and Tokyo.

RACHEL WEISZ, who has just celebrated her 30th birthday, has no fears about ageing. ``I have a feeling that the thirties are a great time to be a woman,'' she said at a New York press conference. ``I'm just really enjoying getting older. It's a huge relief, really.'' Weisz, who is dating Oscar-winning director SAM MENDES, plays a mud-covered riflewoman during the Battle of Stalingrad in Enemy at the Gates. She will soon be seen as the mother of an eight-year-old son in The Mummy Returns.

JOANNA LUMLEY has been cast as the American writer and humorist ELINOR GLYN in writer-director PETER BOGDANOVICH's film The Cat's Meow. The film, which also features EDDIE IZZARD as CHARLIE CHAPLIN, is based on a shooting scandal on newspaper tycoon WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST's yacht in 1924. Lumley had to delay a commitment with BBC television to join the cast in a Berlin studio where the low-budget film is being shot. ``It meant going to Germany and none of us is working for very much money,'' she tells the Los Angeles Times. ``But it's a chance to work with Peter Bogdanovich.'' The film also features KIRSTEN DUNST as Hearst's girlfriend MARION DAVIES, JENNIFER TILLY as gossip columnist LOUELLA PARSONS and veteran actor EDWARD HERRMANN as Hearst.

STEVEN SPIELBERG's DreamWorks company has bought the film rights to an as-yet-unpublished biography of ABRAHAM LINCOLN. It has prompted speculation that it is a project the Oscar-winner wants to direct. The book, which is being written by a former Harvard professor of history and is due to be published early in 2003, will focus on Lincoln's White House years, from 1861 to 1865. The US president has been the subject of two previous films, Young Mr Lincoln in 1939 which starred HENRY FONDA, and 1930's Abraham Lincoln, which featured WALTER HUSTON.

MERYL STREEP and GWYNETH PALTROW are to play mother and daughter in Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a film based on the memoirs of radio reporter JACKI LYDEN. Paltrow will play Lyden in the story which focuses on her relationship with her mother, the men in her life and her travels in the Middle East as a news correspondent. ``This is not a talking heads movie,'' says producer SUSAN CARTSONIS. ``It has a lot of physical action and humourous elements combined with serious subject matter. Ultimately it is a love story between a mother and daughter.''

The Columbo TV series celebrated its 30th anniversary in America this week with an episode featuring BILLY CONNOLLY as a murderous film composer. The series, which starred PETER FALK as the crumpled detective, was originally due to star BING CROSBY. It is by far the longest-lived dramatic TV series in US history. The 30th anniversary episode was co-written by PATRICK McGOOHAN, the British actor who has appeared in several Columbo episodes as a villain.

CHRISTIE McVIE is the only former member of Fleetwood Mac holding up plans for a new album from the band, according to STEVIE NICKS. ``I want Fleetwood Mac to make another record really badly,'' Nicks tells Entertainment Weekly magazine. ``LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM, MICK FLEETWOOD and I have been talking and we'd like to do it.'' But McVie, says Nicks, is another story: ``She wants to live in her beautiful English castle with her dogs and her garden. ``Everyone keeps saying, `Oh, we can talk her into it,' but I know this woman. When she left, she really left.''

MUHAMMAD ALI's daughter Laila is offering publishers a book about herself and her life with her famous father. She claims in the manuscript, called Reach! that her family was ``dysfunctional to the max''. Ali says she could not stand so many people always being in their house and she did not like being taken by her father to Muslim mosques. Laila, 23, who has a 9-0 record as a boxer, also deals with how she went ``from a mansion to jail'' when she was arrested as a juvenile for her involvement in a credit card fraud in Beverly Hills.

RIDLEY SCOTT is back in Morocco where he shot much of Gladiator to make Black Hawk Down, the true story of the battle of Mogadishu during the Somalian civil war in 1993. The Oscar nominee has the full co-operation of the US Department of Defence which is supplying four Black Hawk helicopters for the filming. Scott does not anticipate using any computer-generated effects for the film, as he did for Gladiator. He tells Daily Variety the helicopter scenes will be filmed live ``and with the greatest of care''. His film begins just as his younger brother, TONY SCOTT, leaves the country after shooting Spy Game with ROBERT REDFORD and BRAD PITT.

JIMI MISTRY, who played Dr Fonseca in EastEnders, is starring opposite HEATHER GRAHAM and MARISA TOMEI in the comedy film The Guru of Sex. Mistry, who co-starred in East is East, will play Ramu, an Indian who goes to America and becomes a guru teaching spiritual enlightenment through sex. Based on an idea by Oscar-nominated Indian director SHEKHAR KAPUR, the comedy is due to begin filming in New York next month.

WOODY ALLEN has an unpaid, unbilled cameo role as the American ambassador to Cuba in Company Man, a comedy loosely based on the 1960s secret agent TV series Get Smart! His only demand was that he could film all his scenes in his hometown of New York rather than in Puerto Rico, which stands in for Cuba in the film. According to DOUGLAS McGRATH, the film's writer, director and star, Allen said: ``I don't care about the money but if I'm not going to be paid then I don't want any billing.'' McGrath and Allen have previously worked together, receiving an Oscar nomination with for co-writing the 1994 comedy Bullets Over Broadway. Company Man, which is about a plot to overthrow FIDEL CASTRO, also stars ANTHONY LaPAGLIA as Castro and ALAN CUMMING as General FULGENCIO BATISTA.

British actress TILDA SWINTON, last seen on screen with LEONARDO DiCAPRIO in The Beach, is becoming accustomed to co-starring with big-name actors. She has just finished filming a role in Vanilla Sky with TOM CRUISE and KURT RUSSELL and will next star with NICOLAS CAGE and MERYL STREEP in Adaptation. She will play a Hollywood studio executive who hires a sexually frustrated screenwriter (Cage) to adapt a novel written by Streep's character. With production still under way on the much-anticipated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Warner Bros executives have already approved a script for the sequel. ``We will be going ahead with it almost as soon as the first one is finished,'' said Warner Bros chief ALAN HORN. ``We will be using the same cast and we want to have the sequel in cinemas by mid-November next year.''

ERIC IDLE is working on a sequel to The Rutles: All You Need is Cash, his 1978 comedy spoof of the Beatles. ``I have an extraordinary cast and I tracked down all the original Rutles material and out-takes which I have been editing,'' the former Monty Python star tells the Los Angeles Times. The new ``mockumentary'' will be called The Rutles: Evolution, and will feature celebrity interviews with TOM HANKS, ROBIN WILLIAMS, STEVE MARTIN, GRAHAM NASH and SALMAN RUSHDIE. Accompanying their discussions on the influences of the Rutles on their lives will be music and out-takes from the original film.

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