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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...

Now he has finished his producing duties on the Second World War thriller Enigma, MICK JAGGER is going in front of the cameras to co-star in the drama The Man From Elysian Fields, which is due to begin shooting soon. The Rolling Stone leader, who last acted in 1997's Bent, will play the owner of an escort service. ANDY GARCIA will play a novelist who goes to work for him while ER's JULIANNA MARGULIES will play his wife.

The success of Billy Elliott in America has led to its first-time director, STEPHEN DALDRY, landing a big-budget Hollywood production for his next project. The British stage director is in talks to direct NICOLE KIDMAN, MERYL STREEP and JULIANNE MOORE in the DAVID HARE scripted adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Hours. GWYNETH PALTROW was originally expected to be in the cast but Moore stepped in when Paltrow was unavailable. The novel, a homage to VIRGINIA WOOLF, is the story of three women from different periods in the 20th century. It will be co-produced by Hollywood veteran SCOTT RUDIN and British theatre impresario ROBERT FOX, who bought the rights to the book last year.

QUENTIN TARANTINO, who has been keeping a low profile recently, is writing Kill Bill, for his Pulp Fiction star UMA THURMAN. He is still working on the script and he will also direct Kill Bill, which is described as a revenge film, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Thurman won a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction and Tarantino won the Oscar for best screenplay.

Producers of the made-for-television film In His Life: The John Lennon Story, auditioned more than 300 actors before finding the right man toportray the ex-Beatle. Production was delayed and at one stage the film was on a the verge of being scrapped. "I remember standing in the rain outside a recording studio in Liverpool saying `We're not going to be able to make this movie','' recalled writer-producer MICHAEL O'HARA. Then the casting search turned up Dublin musician PHILLIP MCQUILLAN, who was deemed to be perfect for the role. He had never acted before but had been performing a one-man Lennon music show. The film, much of which was shot in and around Liverpool is to air in the US on December 8, the 20th anniversary of JOHN LENNON'S death.

JAMES CAAN, who has been much in demand since his film comeback opposite HUGH GRANT in Mickey Blue Eyes, is to star in Glimpse of Hell, about the explosion that killed 47 sailors on the USS Iowa in 1989. He will play the ship's captain, Fred Moosally, who toed the Navy line in a cover-up in which high-ranking officers allegedly concocted a false story blaming the incident on a gay love affair gone bad. "We wanted an actor who had the formidable presence of a naval captain and that's exactly what James Caan has,'' said producer Kevin Reilly.

Troubled flick The Dreyfuss Affair is back in development hell with the news that BEN AFFLECK'S schedule makes it impossible for him to star in this gay-themed sports drama. That makes this the fourth time this movie about a love affair between two big league baseball players has struck out at a major film studio. Disney picked up and dropped the project twice, Fox Studios were next to option it, start it and then dump it and New Line Cinema won't give the controversial film the green light without Affleck. But that doesn't mean the picture won't get made. Some of Hollywood's other stars have been expressing interest in signing on and seeing to itthat this story gets in front of the cameras. Among those interested in the film are High Fidelity's JOHN CUSACK.

Multi-millionaire actor/producer DAVID HASSELHOFF is finally speaking out about why he left his hit TV show Baywatch after 11 successful years. "I'd reached rock bottom emotionally and creatively,'' admits the star, "I felt I was becoming a caricature of myself and wanted to go back to my original dream - doing musical theatre.'' Now Hasselhoff is realizing his dream - he opens this month on the Broadway stage as the lead in Jekyll & Hyde. Life is good, he says, but the move to New York means that the actor has had to leave his wife and Baywatch co-star, actress PAMELA BACH and their two daughters, Taylor-Anne, 10 and Hayley Amber, 8, behind in Los Angeles.

Gladiator star RUSSELL CROWE proved he was less of a man than he appears when he took off some clothing at producer JERRY BRUCKHEIMER'S recent garden party. The hunky star kicked off his shoes and puzzling revealed himself to be a couple of inches shorter than he had been when he arrived. Amused guests quickly realized that the Aussie actor, who is currently dating superstar MEG RYAN, seemed to be wearing lifts in his shoes to make himself taller than his new girlfriend.

Is that the love-light back in GWYNETH PALTROW'S eyes when she looks at her on-again/off-again boyfriend BEN AFFLECK - or is it a glittering reflection from the 18-carat diamond bracelet the actor has just given her?

You can forget the new CAMERON DIAZ movie Stuck Nowhere - because it's going nowhere. The Something About Mary and Charlie's Angels star was telling friends all over town how excited she was when she got the script. It seemed a sure thing that the film was getting the green light with Diaz attached. But then the actress learned the identity of her leading man and has pulled the plug on the entire project. Not that Diaz has anything against MATT DILLON as an actor, you understand. But she used to go out with him and their break-up was anything but amiable.

STEVEN SPIELBERG's new film is AI, the brainchild of the late and legendary film director STANLEY KUBRICK. Kubrick was planning the picture for 18 years but died before he could get it made. Spielberg vowed to bring it to the screen as a tribute to Kubrick. The film's plot is being kept hush-hush, but we have learned it is set in the future, when the polar ice-caps have melted and flooded New York. The director is shooting AI - it stands for Artificial Intelligence - on the same Warner Brothers soundstage where the raging Atlantic seas were created for GEORGE CLOONEY's latest movie The Perfect Storm. AI is due out in cinemas next year.

"I've been doing yoga for a few years. It can make you have sex better and longer. I can only demonstrate it. I can't really verbalise it.'' - STING.

"I know I'm singing a lot better now than ever. I hate to say it, but I am knocked out listening to my own voice, which I never used to be.'' - ROD STEWART.

With the last-minute agreement of English Patient star RALPH FIENNES to replace KEVIN COSTNER and ANGELINA JOLIE agreeing to take the place of CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, troubled flick Beyond Borders seems finally to have solved its casting problems. The romantic epic, directed by OLIVER STONE, tells the story of a 10-year love affair between a beautiful socialite and a relief worker. It is set against the ravaged landscapes of war-torn and disaster-stricken countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Beyond Borders first ran into problems when Zeta-Jones, due to take the starring role opposite Costner, discovered that she would be heavily pregnant when filming was originally due to start. Producers thought they'd found the perfect replacement when MEG RYAN expressed interest in the role - months of negotiations followed, then Ryan dropped out. By that time, the delays meant Costner had to quit the project because of scheduling conflicts with another movie, Dragonfly. Now it's Fiennes and Tomb Raider star Jolie to the rescue. Can they save this movie and make it a hit?

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT has agreed to sign on to new movie The Devil and Daniel Webster alongside SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS and ALEC BALDWIN. The film tells the story of an author, played by Baldwin, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a best-seller and 10 years of fame and fortune. But when the devil comes to collect, Baldwin's character tries to get out of the deal, enlisting reclusive millionaire publisher Anthony Hopkins to argue his case. Hewitt is taking the role of the devil, and we can reveal that the star will finally be shedding her squeaky-clean image in favour of some major gender-bending in this role.

MEG RYAN has just signed on for another movie, Kate & Leopold, a time-travel romantic comedy which casts her opposite new movie heart-throb HUGH JACKMAN of X-Men fame. The film tells the story of a 19th century duke, played by Jackman, who falls in love with a Ryan's contemporary New York girl. Proof of Life, the film in which Ryan co-stars with RUSSELL CROWE and on the set of which they fell in love, will be out soon.

The long-awaited album by LISA MARIE PRESLEY, daughter of the legendary ELVIS PRESLEY, has been put on hold yet again. The disc was due out in stores this coming January, but now the label's executives are saying vaguely that we can expect it "sometime next year''. Part of the problem is not Presley's voice but her battle with her weight. Insiders say she is determined to return to the svelte figure she had during her short-lived marriage to Michael Jackson before she faces the album-release publicity shots.

JONATHAN LIPNICKI stole scenes from TOM CRUISE in Jerry Maguire when he was only five years old, went on to star in Stuart Little and is headlining again in Little Vampire. But the actor, now 10, isn't sure about all this fame. "People used to be really wild. They would follow me around,'' he says. "They thought I had a cell phone in my backpack. I was in kindergarten.'' Lipnicki certainly doesn't want to grow up to be a celebrity heart-throb. "I've heard when girls meet 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, they throw up on them and faint,'' he explains.

Entertainment giant Disney has just pulled the plug on their most controversial movie to date - after spending over 20 million dollars so far just to develop the project. The film, called Wild Life and directed by ROGER GOULD and HOWARD BAKER, was intended to be a "hip'' urban flick set in the world of nightclubs that would appeal to both youngsters and adults. The plot focused on a group of club kids evicted from the coolest club in town, who become determined to get back in at any cost. According to an insider, executives at Mouse House were so taken aback by the sexual content of the film and its gay-friendly tone that they gave Wild Life the thumbs-down before they even saw the second reel of the rough-cut.

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