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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
terrorist-driven plot has led to the postponement
of JENNIFER LOPEZ's next film. Tick-Tock, which involves
an FBI hunt for a series of hidden bombs in Los Angeles,
has been shelved until mid-2002 and will be re-examined
for sensitive story elements. But this has allowed
Lopez's co-star, SAMUEL L JACKSON, to join VIN DIESEL
in the action drama XXX. Jackson, who has just finished
filming the thriller Changing Lanes with BEN AFFLECK,
will play a government agent who recruits and trains
Diesel's character to infiltrate a Russian crime ring.
The film is described as an extreme sports version
of a James Bond adventure and will feature Diesel's
character performing a series of daredevil stunts.
an American network rejected the pilot episode of
a proposed TV series from DAVID LYNCH, it turned out
to be a blessing in disguise for the controversial
film-maker. Lynch, who previously created and wrote
the television series Twin Peaks, persevered with
his idea. Now Mulholland Drive, which won Lynch best
director at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is a
feature film starring British-born actress NAOMI WATTS.
It goes on limited release in US cinemas on October
12. ``When ABC executives saw it they hated it and
scrapped the series so it looked as if the idea was
dead, but it really was a blessing,'' says Lynch in
an interview in Los Angeles. ``The opportunity then
arose to restructure it as a feature film so I had
some ideas and did a whole new bunch of shooting and
made it what it is today. ``I see it as something
that was intended always to be a feature film but
took a strange route to get there.''
FONDA will be donning the Stars and Stripes jacket
he wore in the 1969 classic film Easy Rider to lead
this year's Hollywood Christmas Parade. He joins a
list of grand marshals that in the past has included
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, JOHN WAYNE, NATALIE WOOD and
CHARLTON HESTON. Fonda will greet an expected one
million fans along the two-mile parade route. ``I
think it's a good time to be playing Captain America,''
says Fonda, who is returning to the screen in a comedy,
Stamp and Deliver, about the US postal system. ``The
way I see it, this holiday season will be one of hope
and a time to pull together and remember the value
of the American dream.''
STREISAND has removed all anti-President Bush comments
from her website amid the patriotic fervour that has
engulfed America following the terrorist attacks.
Earlier this year she sent a memo to Democrats calling
Bush ``a destructive man'' who ``stole the election
through family ties, arrogance and intimidation''.
Now, says Streisand: ``In the light of recent events
I strongly believe we must support our government
despite our disagreement on certain policies, such
as those relating to environmental, educational, social
and other specific issues. ``My past concerns about
such matters still pertain but at this point in time
I have removed several articles from my website in
an effort to encourage national unity instead of partisan
MARIAH CAREY has failed to strike box office gold
with her first starring role in Glitter, which has
opened to poor reviews in America. The film, which
co-stars British actor MAX BEESLEY, tells of a pop
music diva's rise to fame. Its opening was previously
postponed because of Carey's illness. While Glitter
was the only major film opening across America, it
could only reach No 11 in the charts, with a paltry
1 million take at the box office. It was easily beaten
by NICOLE KIDMAN's The Others, which took in almost
4 million at the weekend despite having been in release
for several weeks.
are protesting against reported plans to cut singer-actress
AALIYAH from The Matrix Reloaded following her death
in a plane crash last month. Warner Bros executives
are grappling with whether to recast her role and
risk alienating her fans. Aaliyah, who had the role
of Zee in the highly anticipated sequel to the 1999
blockbuster The Matrix, had already filmed some scenes
in the US and was due to go to Australia to resume
filming next month. A petition is circulating on the
internet urging Warner Bros ``to honour the memory
of Aaliyah's life and keep her scenes''. The
film-makers are remaining tight-lipped about the project
and producer JOEL SILVER has declined to discuss how
they will deal with the dilemma.
latest Star Trek film is being pushed into production
to allow its star PATRICK STEWART to finish work on
it in time for his next film, X-Men 2. Star Trek:
Nemesis, the 10th in the Start Trek series, begins
shooting next month with the crew of the Star Trek:
Next Generation television series. The film, which
has been written by Gladiator screenwriter JOHN LOGAN,
is due to be released at the end of next year.
BRAD PITT confesses he went week at the knees when
he met his idol, famed architect FRANK GEHRY. A keen
student of architecture, Pitt tells W magazine: ``It
was about as much fun as I've ever had,'' adding that
the meeting left him ``salivating''. Pitt, who helped
design his and wife JENNIFER ANISTON's new home in
the Hollywood Hills, says: ``Right now Gehry's the
voice, the pioneer. He's completely reinventing construction.''
Gehry tells the magazine that Pitt was ``like a kid
in a candy story'' when he visited the architect's
BEN STILLER has made his new film a family affair.
Zoolander, a comedy about a male model, stars co-writer
and director Stiller, who also hired his wife, CHRISTINE
TAYLOR, and his parents, ANNE MEARA and JERRY STILLER,
as co-stars. ``It turned out to be a great way for
us to connect on a lot of levels,'' he says. ``I now
understand more about what my parents went through.''
The worldwide hit quiz show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?
is now to become a children's television cartoon series.
It will follow the adventures of fictional Millionaire
winners as they pursue their dreams in far-flung destinations
such as the Amazon and the Himalayas. ADRIAN WOOLFE,
commercial director of Celdaor International, the
show's creator, tells Daily Variety: ``The animated
series will take the Millionaire brand in an exciting
ZETA-JONES could not restrain herself from interrupting
her brother-in-law Eric's comedy act at New York's
Comic Strip. She and husband Michael had gone to support
his brother Eric's return to the comedy stage after
a long struggle with drink and drugs. But the actress
could not stop herself from interrupting when Eric
cracked a joke about their backgrounds. ``Michael's
Jewish and she's Scottish,'' he said. ``Together they're
the world's cheapest couple.'' To which the indignant
actress replied: ``I'm Welsh!''
author DOUGLAS THOMPSON is moving from one musical
phenomenon to another with a book about the early
days of the Beatles. It follows his biography of pop
superstar Madonna, which is soon to be made into a
multi million-dollar film by Miramax. Thompson is
focusing on the ``fifth Beatle'', STUART SUTCLIFFE,
in The Beatles Shadow: Stuart Sutcliffe and his Lonely
Hearts' Club, which reveals untold exploits of the
band in Hamburg. Sutcliffe was the Beatles' bass guitarist
when they played seedy nightclubs in Hamburg's red-light
district in 1960. He left the band the next year after
falling in love with German photographer ASTRID KIRCHHER
but died of brain haemorrhage in 1962 aged only 21.
The book's release next month will coincide with an
auction of Sutcliffe's letters and art, including
his designs for the Beatles' famous buttoned-up suits
and moptop haircuts.
BIGGS, who found fame playing Jim in the teen comedy
American Pie, is heading to Broadway to star in the
stage adaptation of The Graduate. Biggs, who also
stars in American Pie 2, will portray Benjamin Braddock
in the role DUSTIN HOFFMAN originally played in the
1967 film. It marks a return to Broadway for Biggs
- as a child actor he co-starred opposite JUDD HIRSCH
in Conversations With My Father 10 years ago. AL ICIA
SILVERSTONE has already been cast as his girlfriend
and KATHLEEN TURNER will play her mother, Mrs Robinson,
a role she has played on the London stage.
British stars KATRIN CARTLIDGE and PAUL BETTANY are
joining NICOLE KIDMAN in Danish director LARS VON
TRIER's upcoming thriller Dogville. Kidman plays a
woman on the run who takes refuge in a small town
populated by an assortment of strange characters.
Cartlidge has been cast as a mother of seven children
and Bettany, who was last seen in A Knight's Tale,
will portray one of the villagers. Dogville is set
in California but will be filmed entirely in Sweden,
beginning in the New Year.
ARNAZ and her brother DESI ARNAZ JR will star in a
50th anniversary television tribute to their parents,
LUCILLE BALL and DESI ARNAZ. Together they will recreate
some of the classic scenes from the original I Love
Lucy television series. The show will include celebrities,
including ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER and ANTONIO BANDERAS,
telling of growing up watching I Love Lucy in their
native lands. The I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary special
will air in America during the November Thanksgiving
holiday and will be seen in Britain next year.
SCHWARZENEGGER is suing one of America's leading makers
of slot machines for 20 million dollars. The actor
says International Game Technology has used his voice
and image as the Terminator on slot and video gaming
machines. But Schwarzenegger does not associate himself
with products he does not support or believe in, according
to his lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
He is also ``particularly circumspect to avoid using
his name, likeness or image for certain industries
such as gambling''. His lawyer, Marty Singer, said:
``He's turned down offers as high as 20 million dollars
in the United States so if someone uses his likeness
for a product without his authorisation, then he should
get paid a fee commensurate to what he has previously
been offered.'' The company is contesting the lawsuit,
saying it had received permission and a licence to
market a Terminator slot machine.
British director SIMON WEST has postponed the big-screen
version of the cult TV series The Prisoner to produce
and direct the pirate film Black Flag. ``Ever since
I was a child I have been obsessed with classic high
seas adventure films,'' West tells Daily Variety.
``For some time now I have been looking for a story
that reinvents the genre and I knew this was the one.
``It isn't the swashbuckling, men-in-tights version
of yesteryear but a realistic, less idealised version.''
West, whose films include Con Air, The General's Daughter
and Tomb Raider has a reputation for his skills with
big-budget, epic-style material. Set in the Indian
Ocean in the 17th century, Black Flag centres on a
former Royal Naval officer who is unjustly marooned
after a mutiny and becomes a pirate. The West Wing
is delaying the start of its new season to produce
an episode exploring the issues raised by the New
York terrorist attacks. The show's creator, AARON
SORKIN, says he wants to confront recent events and
encourage tolerance of other cultures and ideas. Executive
producer JOHN WELLS adds: ``I don't think it was possible
for us to proceed without pausing to acknowledge what
happened.'' Details of the topical episode are being
kept secret until it is aired on October 3. The Emmy
award-winning drama chronicles the lives of a fictitious
White House staff and administration.
release of SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS' new film, a comedy
in which terrorists threaten New York with a nuclear
holocaust, has been indefinitely postponed by the
Walt Disney company. Bad Company, which was completed
earlier this year, stars Hopkins as a CIA agent who
recruits a rookie, played by CHRIS ROCK, to negotiate
``a sensitive nuclear weapons deal with terrorists'',
according to an official synopsis. The 70 million
production reportedly contains a scene in which a
terrorist named Omid tells Rock's character that he
will use a nuclear device to ``turn Wall Street into
a piece of charcoal''.
judge has thrown out a lawsuit which accused the producers
of the acclaimed television drama The Sopranos of
insulting the dignity of Italian-Americans by depicting
them as mobsters. Judge Richard Siebel ruled in Chicago
that the American Italian Defence Association suffered
no harm at the hands of the Sopranos, despite its
claims to the contrary. He said the show's producers
have the right to make Tony Soprano and his family
as bad as they want to, but the association has said
it will appeal against the decision. It is not seeking
financial damages but wants a ruling condemning the
series for harming the image of Italian-Americans
by portraying them as criminally and morally corrupt.
planned sequel to the comedy hit Meet the Parents,
to be called Meet the Fockers, has been delayed by
the problems of finding a suitable script. Both its
stars, ROBERT DE NIRO and BEN STILLER, have taken
other film work and the director JAY ROACH has signed
on to direct the third Austin Powers instalment, Goldmember.
``I don't know what's going on with it,'' Stiller
tells Entertainment Weekly magazine. ``Comedy sequels
are tough because so much is based on the freshness
of it. So if they can figure out a way to do it, it
would b e great. ``But no one wants to make something
that's just going out there to do the same things
team behind the acclaimed drug smuggling expose Traffic
is working on a film about the Belgian king Leopold
II, whose rubber-producing factory was responsible
for the deaths of millions of people in Africa's Congo
basin. Traffic's Oscar-winning director STEVEN SODERBERGH
and its producer LAURA BICKFORD are basing the film
on a book by NEAL ASCHERSON. It tells of a group of
young workers who tried to expose the enslavement,
torture and dismemberment of Congo natives who were
forced to harvest rubber. King Leopold, who reigned
from 1856 to 1909, cultivated an image as a benevolent
philanthropist, yet paid his brutal foremen based
on the number of hands they cut off from workers who
resisted them. No casting has yet been announced but
GEORGE CLOONEY is reportedly talking to Soderbergh
about the project.
Patriotic songs are topping the list of best selling
records in America this week with LEE GREENWOOD's
Grammy-winning 1984 tune God Bless the USA in particular
demand. It re-entered Billboard magazine's country
charts at No 16 after receiving 2,605 plays on radio
stations during the week, compared with 47 the week
before. Retailers said other in-demand songs include
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's Born in the USA and We Shall Overcome,
WHITNEY HOUSTON's Star-Spangled Banner, RAY CHARLES's
America the Beautiful and KATE SMITH's 1938 recording
of IRVING BERLIN's God Bless America.