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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
SAM NEILL admits he had to think hard before accepting
the offer to return to his role as Dr Alan Grant in
the upcoming Jurassic Park III. ``You don't necessarily
want to repeat yourself but you have to bear in mind
that you never really get a character right the first
time,'' said the New Zealand actor. ``I thought maybe
I could do a little more with him.'' This time Neill
co-stars with WILLIAM H MACEY and TEA LEONI in the
latest episode of the saga which, the film-makers
say, features some 170 special effects shots involving
HUDSON, who played a rock groupie in Almost Famous,
is going on tour with her husband singer CHRIS ROBINSON's
band the Black Crowes. The Crowes, who have a new
album out, Lions, are the opening act for Oasis on
its current Tour of Brotherly Love. ``The best thing
about Kate's and my jobs is when we aren't working
we get to spend all our time together,'' Robinson
tells syndicated columnist MARILYN BECK, adding that
having Kate in his life is affecting his music. ``She's
definitely given me more reasons to sing,'' he said.
``There's so much joy and love there, there's a different
O'NEAL, who has been diagnosed with leukaemia, received
a phone call from actress ALI MACGRAW, with whom he
co-starred in Love Story in 1970. ``She played a girl
suffering from the same disease in the movie and she
said to me, `I hope you didn't catch it from me',''
O'Neal tells Daily Variety. The 60-year-old actor
had just finished work on his latest film, People
I Know, with AL PACINO, when he was diagnosed. ``What
a shock. It buckled me,'' he said. ``I just had a
pain in my stomach. They examined me, tested my spleen
and discovered my white cell count was enormous.''
GRISHAM is ending his five-year exile from the film
business and discussing a deal to bring his new best-seller
A Painted House to the big screen. Unlike Grisham's
legal thrillers, A Painted House is the story of a
seven-year-old boy in 1952. His family's cotton crop
is threatened by tensions between a mountain family
and a group of Mexicans hired to harvest the cotton.
Grisham received 5 million for the film rights to
The Runaway Jury in 1996. The film was never made
and the author turned down offers for his subsequent
books. His editor-agent David Genert said he was back
at the urging of his readership. ``When John would
meet with fans, many said they missed his movies,''
said Genert. ``Since he decided he was ready to get
back in the movie game, we've had some exploratory
talks with people and we're excited by the possibilities.''
Film-maker JAMES CAMERON is returning to the Titanic
for the first of a series of deep-sea exploration
television specials he is making with explorer-environmentalist
JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU. The subject is a favourite of
Cameron's, who won an Osc ar in 1997 for his film
about the doomed ocean liner. For the series they
plan to use the latest photographic technology and
oceanography studies to send an exploration vessel
into areas of the deep sea that have never been photographed.
The project will also follow the lives of the ship's
crew members as they settle into their three-year
round-the-world research journey.
TONY CURTIS is returning to the stage of the first
time in 21 years for a US tour of Some Like It Hot,
a musical based on the 1959 film in which he co-starred
with JACK LEMMON and MARILYN MONROE. In the film he
and Lemmon played musicians who dressed in drag and
joined an all-female band to escape the Mob. On stage,
however, he will have the lesser role of Osgood Fielding
III, the eccentric multimillionaire who fell in love
with one of them, and who was played in the film by
JOE E BROWN. ``I don't want the role to be beefed
up,'' said 75-year-old Curtis. ``I'm just excited
about being in a musical, singing and dancing.'' The
last time he was on stage was in a 1980 production
of Neil Simon's I Ought to be in Pictures.
HAMILL, who played Luke Skywalker in the first three
Star Wars films, is angry at Microsoft which is manufacturing
a computer game he helped develop. He claims the computer
giant wanted him to make his Black Pearl game more
violent. ``They wanted me to add biker-type characters
who shoot up everybody,'' he told the Ford Lauderdale
Sun-Sentinel newspaper. ``The game was based on a
moral code that rewards non-confrontation. ``It is
something kids really want and need. Instead I was
getting memos that the game was `too cerebral' and
`too soft'.'' Work on the game, which stopped because
of the differences, has now resumed, according to
a Hamill spokesman, who said the actor was only voicing
his ``creative frustration''.
PITT is working on launching his own line of clothing
which he hopes will be in the stores this autumn.
He has teamed up with TODD SHERMARYA, stylist to his
wife JENNIFER ANISTON, to create the line inspired
by Pitt's style, according to DNR, a men's retail
and fashion magazine. ``It's something we've put a
lot of thought into, especially Brad,'' Shemarya tells
t he magazine. ``It's his baby.'' DNR editor John
Birmingham thinks it is a good idea. ``Brad has many
admirers who like not only his looks but his style
as well,'' he said.
DAMON and his pal BEN AFFLECK's younger brother Casey
are to star together in Jerry, a British-backed film
to be directed GUS VAN SANT, who directed them in
Good Will Hunting. Described by one studio executive
as ``two guys in the desert'', the project is being
produced by FilmFour, the studio arm of Channel Four,
which will have the UK rights and will handle international
sales. Limp Bizkit singer FRED DURST is to launch
his directing career with Runt, the story of a teenager
who takes revenge on a trio of bullies who kill his
ABDUL and Seven director DAVID FINCHER will be co-executive
producers of the project. Durst, who has directed
music videos for his and other bands, intends to begin
pre-production on the project as soon as the returns
to the US at the end of June after a Limp Bizkit tour
BALDWIN, who co-stars in the blockbuster Pearl Harbour,
says he cannot imagine ever finding a new love to
replace KIM BASINGER. The actor says he is ``devastated''
over Basinger's decision to divorce him. ``It's the
worst thing that's ever happened to me,'' he tells
Biography magazine. ``It felt like someone punching
me in the stomach as hard as they could right before
I had to go run the marathon.'' He said he still loves
his wife, whom he calls a ``one-in-a-billion person''
and feels that finding a new love is ``the most unimaginable
thing in the world for me''.
BRETT EASTON ELLIS is unhappy with the plans for the
film sequel to his controversial 1991 novel, American
Psycho. It is billed as ``a dark comedy'' and instead
of Wall Street trader Patrick Bateman, played in the
original by Christian Bale, the se rial killer will
be a female college student. ``Serial killers are
driven by testosterone, or maybe it is our culture
that turns men into Killers,'' Ellis says in the New
York Post. ``I don't see how American Psycho II can
star a woman and still be plausible.'' Ellis sold
his rights to the title for the first film and has
nothing to do with the sequel, which begins shooting
in Toronto this week. None of the actors from the
first American Psycho is returning for the sequel,
which stars Russian-born television actress MILA KUNIS
as the student who turns into a killer after surviving
an attack by Patrick Bateman.
JENNIFER LOPEZ is returning to television for the
first time since she began her career as a dancer
on the comedy series In Living Color. The actress-singer,
who is filming Enough for British director MICHAEL
APTED, has signed a multi-million dollar deal to star
in and produce a music special for the NBC network.
She will also produce - but not appear in - three
other specials and a half-hour sitcom based on her
teenage years in the Bronx. The first special will
focus on her best-selling album, J.Lo, according to
British director SIMON WELLS has been unable to continue
work on The Time Machine because of ``extreme exhaustion'',
according to DreamWorks, which hired him for the project.
``He's just wiped out,'' a studio spokesman told Daily
Variety. With less than three weeks of shooting left,
he has been replaced by The Mexican director GORE
VERBINSKI. Wells is the great grandson of HG WELLS,
on whose work The Time Machine is based. The p roject
was his first live-action feature film, although he
has directed several animated features including The
Prince of Egypt. The Time Machine, which stars GUY
PEARCE, MARK ADDY and JEREMY IRONS, has been shooting
in New York and Los Angeles since February.
Starship Enterprise has a new captain. After weeks
of negotiations, SCOTT BAKULA is officially on board
to succeed PATRICK STEWART for the next Star Trek
television series, the fifth in the long-running franchise.
Bakula, who previously starred for five years in the
television drama Quantum Leap, will play Captain Jonathan
Archer in the new series, which begins shooting this
GEORGE describes rapper EMINEM as ``the Great White
Dope'' in an interview with Detour magazine. But he
adds: ``I hate the fact that I find him sexually attractive.''
The British cross-dressing pop star-turned-DJ also
attacks the TV show Popstars for ``manipulating us
into believing that talent can be manufactured'' and
Queer as Folk for ``portraying gay men as one-dimensional
NICOLE KIDMAN and husband TOM CRUISE are currently
locked in an ugly and increasingly mysterious divorce.
As rumours swirl about the reasons for the split,
it seems clear that Kidman fears some horrible revelations
about their marriage. She admits: ``Ultimately, nothing
is worth giving up your privacy for. Everybody is
going to have very bad things happen to them at some
time. ``But when everybody scrutinises it, and you
meet people, and they know the deepest, darkest things
that have happened to you - that's really difficult.''
CLEESE is heading back to the big screen in crime
caper Scorched. The former Monty Python star will
play a millionaire in the comedy about three bank
employees who each set out to rob their bank - all
on the same weekend. Scorched also stars ALICIA SILVERSTONE,
RACHEL LEIGH COOKE and WOODY HARRELSON.
ZETA-JONES has become a Hollywood superstar, but the
actress is proving she's loyal to her roots by choosing
to shoot her new movie Coming Out in Wales. The film
will also be a family affair - it's based on an idea
by her brother LYNDON JONES, with whom she has a production
company, Milkwood Films. Even the director, SARA SUGARMAN,
is Welsh. So far, all involved are keeping the plot
under wraps. All Sugarman will say is: ``I loved Lyndon's
idea and the characters involved.'' Coming Out is
expected to start shooting early in 2002.
siren SHARON STONE is in danger of having the plug
pulled on the strife-ridden sequel to Basic Instinct.
She has been turned down by some of the most famous
actors in Hollywood, and still can't seem to find
a good man. Her original co-star, MICHAEL DOUGLAS,
said no soon after his marriage to CATHERINE ZETA-JONES.
KURT RUSSELL, PIERCE BROSNAN, HARRISON FORD, BENJAMIN
BRATT and even ROBERT DOWNEY JR have all been approached
as possible co-stars and they've all turned down the
offer. Producers have been scrambling for two years
to find someone, but rumours abound that they're ready
to quit. It'll be one of the most expensive decisions
they ever make - Stone has a 15 million-dollar deal
in which she gets the money whether the picture gets
made or not. This latest crisis marks a continuing
lean spell at the box-office for Stone. Her last three
films, The Muse, Simpatico and Gloria, were not great
JOLIE and red-blooded husband BILLY BOB THORNTON have
an unusual way of keeping in touch while he is on
the set of his new movie Behind the Sun. Thornton
has taken to sending his wife love letters - written
in his own blood. Insiders reveal he has a nurse on
the set draw the blood from his arm between takes.
CRAWFORD is such a doting mum that she even keeps
son Presley's afterbirth stored in her freezer. The
supermodel, who is pregnant again, says when she and
her clubowner husband RANDE GERBER move into their
new house, they are going to bury the afterbirth under
a tree in line with an old superstition. Until then,
Crawford admits: ``My husband is absolutely grossed
out by it!''