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DENNIS QUAID has jumped to the defence of his estranged wife MEG RYAN in the
wake of tabloid reports that since leaving him for RUSSELL CROWE she has not
been a good mother to their son Jack. "This is not a daytime soap opera, it's
real life, and Meg and I are real people,'' he tells columnist Liz Smith.
"The reason for our breakup will remain private, just as anyone out there
wants their intimate life to be a private thing. But I won't stand for any
criticism of Jack's mother.''
An angry Quaid went on: "This has been a very difficult time, especially as
it has been so public. But Meg and I are on good terms. We are cooperating and
have coordinated ourselves in regard to our son. We are involved parents and she
is a great mom - loving, caring, nurturing. Anything else is a malicious lie.''
STEVEN SPIELBERG has backed out of his consultancy role on a television
mini-series about Anne Frank after receiving letters from Frank family members
asking him not to be involved.
Instead the family has endorsed a feature film version of The Diary of Anne
Frank which uses prose from her actual diary.
"The vision of the project is to portray Anne not as a saintly child but a
real girl who came of age during horrific circumstances,'' said Fox 2000
president Elizabeth Gabler, who is producing the film.
The television version, Anne Frank: The Whole Story, will still go ahead but
without Spielberg's participation.
It will be based on a biography by Melissa Muller, which chronicles the girl's
life from birth to death. Spielberg became involved because of his activism in
BRAD PITT will be singing on a CD called Hollywood Wild. Pitt, along with
other celebrity singer-musicians JOHNNY DEPP, RUSSELL CROWE, KEANU REEVES, BRUCE
WILLIS and BILLY BOB THORNTON, are all contributing to the project, which will
be in the stores early next year.
All the proceeds will go to help the Los Angeles Wildlife Waystation animal
Having just finished filming his role as Anakin Skywalker in the next Star
Wars movie, HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN is now negotiating to play a troubled teenager in
a comedy-drama, Life as a House.
The young Canadian actor will star with KEVIN KLINE and KIRSTIN SCOTT THOMAS,
who are set to play his parents in a story about an alienated teenager who
spends his time getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution anddodging his
MATTHEW PERRY blames his skinny look during the first episode of the newseason
of Friends on his recent pancreatitis, an illness for which he spent time in
"I was still healing. I couldn't eat more than chicken soup,'' he tells
USWeekly magazine. "By the second episode, you can see I'm better.''
Perry, who entered a rehabilitation clinic in 1997 to cure an addiction to
painkilllers, says the illness was a result of too much high living.
"I've had my share of troubles with partying too much and going out too
much,'' he says. "I really lived life to its fullest and that got me in trouble
from time to time. But I'm back on my feet again and totally fine.''
JULIE ANDREWS has
sung in public for the first time since
throat surgery damaged her vocal chords
nearly three years ago.
singer-actress, who feared she would never
be able to sing again, thrilled the
audience at the New York show My Favourite
Broadway: The Love Songs by singing a few
bars of I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face.
The audience stood and applauded as
Andrews, who was only supposed to be
hosting the event, stole the limelight from
MICHAEL CRAWFORD, who was due to sing the
KEVIN SPACEY is at the
centre of a race row over his latest film,
Pay It Forward in which he plays a
African-Americans are protesting that in
the book on which the film was based
Spacey's character was black.
very sad that a novel that has been so well
received had to change to colour of a major
character for the film version,'' Tanya
Kersey-Henly, the publisher of Black Talent
News tells TV Guide.
"It's a missed
opportunity for a black actor. It's also a
missed opportunity to portray a positive
black male character who makes a
contribution to our children.'' HALEY
JOEL OSMENT and HELEN HUNT co-star with
Spacey in the emotional drama.
budget delays hold up filming of WILL
SMITH's new movie Ali, based on the life of
legendary boxing champ MUHAMMAD ALI, the
actor's gruelling physical training for the
role is bulking him up every day.
is working out for six hours each day,
three hours with weights, three in the
boxing ring. He has added so much muscle
mass to his arms and chest that he's
constantly having to buy new clothes.
The actor's new appearance blew away his
old Legend of Bagger Vance co-star CHARLIZE
She couldn't believe her eyes
when she ran into Smith wearing a
short-sleeved shirt that displayed his huge
"May I touch them?'' she
squealed, and squeezed away to check for
herself that they were real.
20lbs heavier than I was when she last saw
me,'' laughed Smith, "and most of it's in
Smith's muscles aren't the
only thing that are expanding. He's also
growing his hair long.
"I haven't cut
my hair since we finished shooting Bagger
Vance,'' he says. "My Afro is about six
British actor GARY
OLDMAN is claiming that his latest film,
political thriller The Contender, was
turned into anti-Republican propaganda
before its release to show the party in a
bad light on the eve of the forthcoming
which is heavily tipped for an Oscar,
follows the story of a female Democrat
vice-president and the attempts of some
Republican politicians to discredit her.
Oldman, who plays a Republican, says the
film was re-edited, making the Republicans
more villainous, because of the political
sympathies of the studio's owners, STEVEN
SPIELBERG, JEFFREY KATZENBERG and DAVID
GEFFEN, all Democrats.
ROD LURIE, the
film's director, says the claims are not
true. He adds that he believes Oldman may
be suffering from a type of Stockholm
syndrome, in which kidnap victims "begin
to sympathise with their captors, and in
this case, the captors are the characters
A new stage musical
based on the life of SAMMY DAVIS JR will
make its debut in Las Vegas if composers
QUINCY JONES and LESLIE BRICUSSE have their
"We have a wonderful libretto and
we've finished the songs,'' says Jones.
"Now we're talking to directors. We'd like
to open in Vegas first because we can do a
bigger show there and Sammy, Sinatra and
Dean Martin invented Las Vegas.''
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY will be heading to
England early next year to star with
CHRISTIAN BALE in Reign of Fire, a Walt
Disney film about fire-breathing dragons.
McConaughey will play the head of an
American militia that has come to England
to battle the dragons. He joins forces with
a young Briton, played by Bale, whose
mother has been killed by the beast and
together they try to destroy the queen
The American actor is also
toying with the idea of becoming a producer
for a film based on the 1960s' criminal
Murf the Surf, who spent his time between
surfing and jewel robberies.
McConaughey would also star in the
project, called Wipeout.
star MATTHEW PERRY is to play the world's
laziest private detective in The Lazy
In the action comedy he is
hired to find a woman who turns out to be
an ex-girlfriend who broke his heart.
Perry, who is now in demand for feature
films following his role in the hit The
Whole Nine Yards, will film The Lazy
Private Eye when Friends goes off the air
for the summer.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH,
who is still training hard to keep her
weight down, was taken to hospital after
she dropped a barbell on her arm.
injury has kept the model-actress out of a
Texas courtroom where she is seeking
additional money from the estate of her
late husband, tycoon J Howard Marshall, who
died in 1995 aged 90.
month she was awarded nearly 450 million
dollars by a Los Angeles judge in a case
involving her disputed inheritance from
JOHN TRAVOLTA is undeterred at the
scathing reviews and poor box office
performance of the Scientology-inspired
Battlefield: Earth and is planning a
"The bottom line is I feel
really good about it,'' he told
interviewers. "I am so thrilled, believe
it or not, at the outcome because I didn't
believe I could get it done.''
Battlefield Earth was based on a book by
Scientology founder L RON HUBBARD and
starred Travolta as the leader of a race of
aliens bent on dominating the world.
Travolta also produced the film which was
vilified by critics as "deeply dumb'' and
Travolta says the
film is now winning fans on the Internet.
"I felt better about everything when
GEORGE LUCAS and QUENTIN TARANTINO and a
lot of people that I felt knew what they
were doing saw it and thought it was a
great piece of science fiction,'' he says.
"The book stood for something classic
and hopefully this will, too. My whole
career has been based on trying something
new. If I don't try something new, I
The underrated 1973
British horror film The Wicker Man is to be
updated and remade by JOE BERLINGER, the
director of Book of Shadows, the sequel to
The Blair Witch Project.
there will be roles in it for the original
stars, CHRISTOPHER LEE and EDWARD WOODWARD,
if they want them.
"It is my favourite
film of all time and it is a tragedy what
happened to it,'' he said. "It was so
badly edited hardly anyone saw it.''
plans to Americanise the film, which
centred on a police investigator, played by
Woodward, hunting for a missing girl among
a small island community off the coast of
AL PACINO, VAL KILMER,
NICOLAS CAGE and KEVIN SPACEY have all been
mentioned as possible stars to play the
role of CIA spy Aldrich Ames in the
thriller Killer Spy.
Based on PETER
MAAS's 1995 book, Killer Spy is the
real-life story of Ames, who was sentenced
to life imprisonment in 1994 for spying on
behalf of the Soviet Union.
He had been
chief of counter-intelligence for the
Soviet Bloc division of the CIA from
The film will be directed by
PHILIP KAUFMAN, whose last project was
directing Quills, with KATE WINSLET and
Some of Hollywood's
top names will be recruited for a remake of
The Great Race, according to a studio
source at Warner Bros, which is producing
The original 1965 film
starred NATALIE WOOD, TONY CURTIS and JACK
LEMMON, but the new version reportedly will
mix live action stars with cartoon
Martial arts star
JACKIE CHAN is the hero of a new cartoon
series for children which, he says, will be
far less violent than old cartoons
featuring the Road Runner.
cartoons somebody falls and gets hit.
People and animals look like they get hurt
and it looks violent,'' he says.
new show, Jackie Chan Adventures is, he
says, "very safe for kids''. He adds: "We
make a point not to make it ugly or
violent. In the show I don't start fights.
I defend myself. You don't see blood. I
tell kids violence is no good.''
CHARLIE SHEEN, a self-confessed former
client of Hollywood madam HEIDI FLEISS, has
said he is no longer interested in
prostitutes since he gave up drugs.
admits that he has still hired a few ladies
of the night but, he tells Us Weekly
magazine: "It was depressing... Take away
the cocaine and all the desires and
weirdness are depleted radically.''
Sheen, who has taken over from MICHAEL J
FOX in the television series Spin City,
says he still advocates paying for sex,
"It satisfies an appetite,''
he said. "There's less emotional damage
between the parties. It's been around for a
GEORGE CLOONEY fans
couldn't believe their luck when they ran
into their hero at an LA theatre earlier
Clooney had turned up at the
glittering, celebrity-studded opening of
feminist favourite play The Vagina
You may think this play
isn't quite the macho Clooney's kind of
thing, and you'd be right - but the play
stars JULIANNA MARGULIES, Clooney's ER love
interest and his close friend.
had promised months ago to be there to
cheer her on her opening night.
the show, Clooney was mobbed by
autograph-hunters and fans as he tried to
But while other celebs jumped
quickly into their limos and sped away,
good-natured Clooney hung around chatting
and signing and posing for pictures until
the crowd thinned out.
Then he strolled
up the street to meet some of his friends
for beer and pizza.
CELINE DION's husband is her first and only
lover, she reveals in her forthcoming
memoir Celine Dion: My Story, My Dream.
Writing of her romance with RENE ANGELIL,
her husband and manager, who spotted Dion's
singing talent and started training her for
her career when she was only 13 and he was
Dion recalls that, years later, "I
never dared tell him that I dreamed of him
every night, that he would come to my bed
to take me away to a desert island where we
"He told me, `If you really
want to, I'll be the first. I answered him,
`You'll be the first. And only.'''
couple are expecting their first baby at
the beginning of next year.
WILL SMITH and
writer-director MICHAEL MANN are to take
cuts in pay to ensure that their film
biography of MUHAMMAD ALI goes ahead.
Smith has been training with Ali to get
in shape to play the former heavyweight
champion but Columbia Pictures last week
threatened to scrap the project because it
was getting too expensive.
meetings with studio executives, Mann,
Smith and producer Jon Peters agreed to
reduce their upfront fees, lower their
share of foreign profits and cut pages and
locations from the film's script. In
addition they have agreed to pay for any
costs that run over the 110 million (£72
Columbia said in a
statement: "We are pleased that we could
successfully work with all involved to
reach an understanding that will allow a
great actor and a talented director to team
up and tell the story of one of the
best-known men in the world.''
bombing that killed 17 people on the US
Navy destroyer USS Cole, has forced the
producers of KEVIN COSTNER'S latest film 13
Days to hurriedly change their advertising
The film deals with the 1962
Cuban missile crisis and the advertisements
showed missiles showering down on landmarks
such as the Hollywood Sign and the Statue
of Liberty, with the words: "You'll never
believe how close we came.''
been replaced with "more comforting''
advertisements featuring Costner, who plays
White House adviser Kenny O'Donnell, with
the actors who play John F Kennedy and
"The ads were not
exploitative or violent but even the sight
of a missile coming down on a US city now,
considering word events, would not be
right,'' said New Line Cinema spokesman Joe
ROBERT REDFORD and BRAD
PITT have postponed their plans to fly to
the Middle East this week to being filming
their thriller Spy Game because of the
current strife in Israel.
director TONY SCOTT is attempting to switch
the location from Israel to Morocco but
filming, which was due to begin later this
week, has been delayed.
Spy Game is
set in Beirut in the 1980s and Redford is
to play a CIA agent who has to go in a
rescue a protege, played by Pitt. Interior
scenes will be shot at Shepperton Studios.
MEG RYAN has reportedly persuaded
her boyfriend RUSSELL CROWE to turn down a
20 million offer to star opposite SHARON
STONE in the sequel to Basic Instinct.
"Meg knows a bit about on-set romances
herself,'' the New York Post quotes a
friend of Ryan's as saying. "I don't think
she was wild about the idea of him playing
really hot scenes with one of the sexiest
women in movies today.''
DEPP and his girlfriend VANESSA PARADIS
have left the Spanish location of director
TERRY GILLIAM'S The Man Who Killed Don
Quixote because of an injury to French
actor JEAN ROCHEFORT.
plays Quixote, must undergo surgery for two
slipped discs so the ð20 million film,
which stars Rochefort, Depp and Paradis,
has been temporally halted. It is not clear
when production will resume.
British director ADRIAN LYNE who filmed the
1987 thriller Fatal Attraction, is to make
a follow-up film which looks at obsession
from the woman's point of view.
Attraction starred MICHAEL DOUGLAS as an
unfaithful husband being pursued by his
deranged ex-lover. In the new version,
Unfaithful, DIANE LANE will play the
adulterous wife stalked by her ex-lover and
RICHARD GERE will play her husband.
film is based on French director CLAUDE
CHABROL'S 1969 film, La Femme Infidel.
The producers of the
hit television series The West Wing, which
many see as a make-believe version of
President Clinton's White House, have
surprised Hollywood by hiring two former
senior Republican aides.
Fitzwater, who was press secretary to
Presidents REAGAN and BUSH, and former
Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, have
joined the series as consultants.
Wing creator Aaron Sorkin denies he is
hedging his bets on the outcome of next
month's presidential election. "They were
hired not so much for their Republicanness
as for their wisdom,'' he tells the
November issue of George magazine.
series's star, MARTIN SHEEN, who plays
President Josiah Bartlet, hasbeen outspoken
in his dislike of Republican presidential
candidate GEORGE W BUSH, calling him "a
OLIVIA DUKAKIS is
renewing her love for the London theatre
scene by starring in the Royal Court
production of Credible Witness which opens
"Theatre is part of
everyone's life in London. It's not as
expensive as it is in America and more
people go,'' says Dukakis, who is currently
in Canada filming Ladies and the Champ in
which she plays an elderly lady who becomes
a boxing trainer.
MATT DAMON had
to learn to play golf well enough to
portray someone who could play on equal
terms with top golfers Bobby Jones and
Walter Hagen in ROBERT REDFORD'S The Legend
of Bagger Vance.
"I had to learn from
ground zero but in some ways it was
actually better than if I'd played
before,'' said Damon, who learned the game
from top professional Tim Moss. "I didn't
have any bad habits to break because I
didn't have any habits, so it worked out
well. Now I'm addicted to the game.''
Damon, who plays former amateur champion
Rannulph Junuh in the Depression Era film,
can now go around a golf course in less
than 100 strokes but he still has some way
to go before he can match his director.
Redford has a handicap of six and co-star
WILL SMITH, who plays the mysterious caddie
Bagger Vance, is a 12 handicapper.
JONATHAN DEMME wants as his star in a dark
romantic comedy called Intolerable Cruelty.
Grant would team with TEA LEONI in the
story of a revenge-seeking gold-digger who
marries a womanising Beverly Hills lawyer
with the intention of making a fortune in a
divorce. Demme, who won his Oscar for The
Silence of the Lambs, was to have filmed a
remake of the 1963 thriller To Catch a
Thief with WILL SMITH in the starring role,
but he has had to postpone it because Smith
will be busy filming the MUHAMMAD ALI
story, Ali into early next year.
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