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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
British director PETER CHELSOM has confirmed the rumours
that WARREN BEATTY was to blame for many of the problems
associated with the critically panned comedy Town
and Country. ``Warren insisted on dozens of script
changes and reshoots,'' Chelsom tells the New York
Daily News. ``I just can't understand why he now has
to go around telling everyone that he had nothing
to do with all the delays that held it up.'' Town
and Country, which starred Beatty, DIANE KEATON, GOLDIE
HAWN and GARRY SHANDLING, cost in the region of 65
million and has taken in about 6 million at the box
office. ``Warren now wants to pretend that he was
just one of the many actors following directions like
everyone else,'' says Chelsom. ``It's ridiculous and
insulting. Just the other day Diane Keaton took me
aside and said that at least I should take comfort
in the knowledge that I'd never have it that bad again.''
RITCHIE's parents were shocked when he announced he
was marrying MADONNA, according to Goddess, an unauthorised
biography of the singer out next month. ``They always
envisioned he would marry someone more proper,'' says
the author, BARBARA VICTOR, who claims she had exclusive
access to Madonna's family. ``They looked down on
her because she is in showbusiness, was 10 years older
than him and pregnant,'' she says. She also claims
Madonna had had 11 abortions before she met Ritchie,
including one between the births of babies Lourdes
and Rocco, when she became pregnant by an Englishman.
BARRYMORE, who produced and starred with CAMERON DIAZ
and LUCY LIU in Charlie's Angels film, is trying to
reunite the cast and crew for a sequel. ``We are working
on it and a script is being written now,'' she said.
``We are very plot friendly and we don't come up with
plots that will scare people. Charles Angels are positive
and fun.'' Barrymore, currently starring in the true-life
comedy drama Riding in Cars With Boys, believes her
biggest headache will be getting everyone together
again. ``Everyone's schedule is all over the place
and it takes a lot of work,'' she says.
HOSKINS, who has portrayed such figures as General
Noriega and Joseph Stalin, is to play the Catholic
leader Pope John XXIII in a big-budget TV mini-series.
The British actor will begin work in Rome in January
on The Good Pope, which will follow the life of the
pontiff, focusing particularly on the last year of
his life. The Italian star CARLO CHECCHI will play
a trusted adviser to Pope John, whose Second Vatican
Council, convened in 1962, has been compared with
Martin Luther's Reformation in the effect it had on
actress SVETLANA MIGOUNOVA is hoping to break into
Hollywood by producing and starring in a film of one
of her country's most popular 20th-century novels.
She has bought the screen rights to MIKHAIL BULGAKOV's
The Master and the Margarita, a novel about what happens
when the devil wreaks havoc in Moscow for three days
during the Stalin era. The actress plans to play Margarita
and her co-producer, WILLIAM PAUL BURNS, will have
a leading role in the production, which is expected
to cost around 50 million.
film-maker MICHAEL RADFORD is to direct Crime of Honour,
an English-language remake of the 1957 LOUIS MALLE
film Elevator to the Gallows. Malle's brother, VINCENT
MALLE, is co-producing the film, about an executive
who murders his boss and gets stuck in the building
for the night only to be arrested for a murder committed
by a thief. The locale of the remake has been shifted
from Paris to New York and production is expected
to begin in the spring.
than two months after the death of singer-actress
AALIYAH in an air crash, The Matrix sequels have lost
another key cast member. GLORIA FOSTER, the enigmatic
Oracle who guided KEANU REEVES' character in 1999's
sci-fi blockbuster, has died after complications from
diabetes at the age of 64. Like Aaliyah, she had filmed
most of her scenes for the first sequel, Matrix Reloaded,
but none for the untitled third instalment, which
is being filmed immediately afterwards. Her character
is said to be integral to the series and has created
another huge problem for the producers, who have still
not decided how to deal with the death of Aaliyah.
A Warner Bros spokesman would only say: ``We don't
make statements about casting with regards to this
JOHNNY DEPP flew from Paris to Los Angeles at the
weekend to promote his latest film, the Jack the Ripper
saga From Hell. But he confessed he was anxious to
return to his girlfriend VANESSA PARADIS and their
two-year-old daughter as soon as possible. ``We live
in a little village in the French countryside and
my immediate plans are to get back to my girls,''
he said on Sunday when told the bombing attacks on
Afghanistan had begun. ``It's difficult to have to
sit around and talk about movies in the midst of what's
happening.'' In From Hell he and ROBBIE COLTRANE play
Scotland Yard police officers on the trail of the
Ripper. ``Is this a movie people should go and see?''
he asked. ``I don't know. We've got to keep moving
forward and movies are escapism, so if people want
to go and get out of reality for a couple of hours,
BILL MURRAY was thrilled when his Rushmore director
WES ANDERSON offered him a role as GWYNETH PALTROW's
husband in The Royal Tenenbaums, which received its
world premiere on October 5. ``I figured, `Hey, I
haven't been with a hot blonde in a while','' he tells
the New York Post. ``But then I read the script and
discovered she locks me out of the bathroom where
she's lounging naked in the tub and she sleeps with
practically everybody else in the cast but me.'' The
cast includes GENE HACKMAN, ANJELICA HUSTON, BEN STILLER,
DANNY GLOVER and LUKE and OWEN WILSON.
soon as she gives birth to her baby, UMA THURMAN will
go through a rigorous kung-fu training course for
her next film, QUENTIN TARANTINO's Kill Bill. Writer-director
Tarantino plans to hire two action giants of Asian
cinema, Hong Kong's YUEN WOO PING and Japan's SONNY
CHIBA to choreograph the action. Thurman will play
a female assassin who sets out to track down and kill
the gang members who wiped out all the guests at her
wedding. ``I've written this character for Uma and
Yuen and Chiba and going to put her through training
where she will have to learn the kung-fu animal styles,''
scene of an explosion at Las Vegas's New York, New
York hotel and casino in Ocean's Eleven is being reshot
in the wake of last month's terror attacks. The computer-generated
explosion is not an act of terrorism, but Oscar-winning
director STEVEN SODERBERGH will replace New York,
New York with a fictional casino. Ocean's Eleven,
which stars GEORGE CLOONEY, JULIA ROBERTS, BRAD PITT
and MATT DAMON, is a remake of the 1960 adventure
which starred FRANK SINATRA and his Rat Pack. It will
have its premiere in Las Vegas on December 7.
British director TONY SCOTT received no help from
the CIA for his film Spy Game because it was deemed
to reflect badly on the agency and its senior management.
Spy Game, filmed mainly in London, stars ROBERT REDFORD
as an agency operative nearing retirement who discovers
that his protege, played by BRAD PITT, has been jailed
in Beijing on espionage charges. ``We were eager to
co-operate,'' says CHASE BRANDON, the CIA's liaison
officer with Hollywood. ``But when I saw a final rewrite
of the script it had taken a turn for the worse. ``It
showed our senior management in an insensitive light
and we just wouldn't be a part of that kind of project.''
One of the film's writers, MICHAEL BECKNER, tells
the Los Angeles Times: ``It's a very accurate depiction
of the way agents operated in the morally ambiguous
climate of the Cold War. ``There are things in the
story that might make the agency uncomfortable but
in the end, it's about a sacrifice and doing the right
MINNIE DRIVER is going back to work after splitting
from her fiance JOSH BROLIN. Their six-month engagement
began after Driver met 33-year-old Brolin on the set
of the movie Slow Burn. Now the 31-year-old British
actress joins COLIN FIRTH and HEATHER GRAHAM in the
romantic comedy New Cardiff, which begins filming
next week in Vancouver. Her role of a jilted fiancee
was intended for HELENA BONHAM CARTER but the Planet
of the Apes star is staying in England for her next
British actress KATRIN CARTLIDGE, the thrill of working
with JOHNNY DEPP in the Jack the Ripper tale From
Hell was deadened by their first encounter. Cartlidge,
who plays the prostitute Dark Annie Chapman, a Ripper
victim, recalls: ``For my first scene with him, I'm
lying dead on the ground and he's leaning down into
my face to smell my breath. ``I'm thinking, `He's
looking at the ugliest thing he's ever seen I have
a slit throat and entrails over my shoulder and three
flies are walking on my face'. This is not the way
I wanted to meet Johnny Depp.''
AFFLECK has lost his leading lady in the romantic
drama Gigli which was due to begin filming at the
end of the year. HALLE BERRY has dropped out because
of her previous commitment to return as Storm in the
sequel to X-Men which now begins shooting in January.
In the film, to be directed by MARTIN BREST, Affleck
plays an LA hitman whose latest scheme is to kidnap
the retarded brother of a powerful district attorney.
Once Gigli is wrapped, Affleck will move on to the
family film Surviving Christmas before tackling the
Marvel Comics movie Daredevil.
his San Francisco-based TV series Nash Bridges has
finished, DON JOHNSON is selling his 6 million home
in the city to move to Colorado. The four-story Tudor-style
house in the Pacific Heights neighbourhood of San
Francisco, has 17 rooms and spectacular views of the
Golden Gate Bridge. Johnson, 51, his wife KELLEY PHLEGER
and their 22-month-old daughter, Atherton Grace, will
live full time in Johnson's home in Aspen, just a
walk from the ski slopes.
CAINE is talking to MIKE MYERS about taking the role
of the swinging superspy's father in the next sequel,
Austin Powers 3: Goldmember. The role was originally
written with SIR SEAN CONNERY in mind but the former
James Bond star was not interested. Sir Michael finds
himself available for the role because the film set
to be his next project, Boswell for the Defence, fell
through at the last minute. Myers will play Austin
Powers and the title character of the villainous Goldmember,
as well as Fat Bastard, a role he created in the second
instalment. HEATHER GRAHAM is expected to make a brief
appearance as the CIA spy Felicity Shagwell.
ALLEN and JOHN CUSACK are working together on polishing
the script for Allen's next film in which they will
both star. Secrecy usually surrounds Allen's projects
but it is understood the film will be a comedy adventure
based on the 1972 New Year's Day robbery at New York's
Pierre Hotel when thieves stole 10 million dollars.
``We are putting the finishing touches to the script
right now,'' Cusack tells columnist Liz Smith. ``Woody
and I both intend to act in this but I don't know
when we'll start.''
The Parents star BEN STILLER is reviving the 1970s
crime-fighting duo Starsky and Hutch for the big screen.
The comic actor is to star and produce an updated
version of the adventures of the two undercover cops.
It is based on the US TV series which ran from 1975-79
and starred PAUL MICHAEL GLASER and DAVID SOUL as
the bachelors who raced around Los Angeles in Starksy's
1974 bright red Ford Torino. Apart from Stiller no
casting has yet been announced, although sources say
both Glaser and Soul will be asked to make cameo appearances.
STONE wants to make a film about terrorism, even though
most producers believe the major Hollywood studios
will be unwilling to finance them. ``I'd like to do
a bullet of a movie about terrorism and how it works,''
said conspiracy-theorist Stone during a panel discussion
at New York's Lincoln Centre. ``It could be a fascinating
thriller that would really entertain people. I don't
buy into this concept that all people want to see
right now is comedies. ``I think we can tie movies
into the September 11 attack. Let's make a big movie
about terrorism and let's do a good job of it.''
Beneath the Veil, the memoir of former Channel 4 reporter
SAIRA SHAH, is to be turned into a film by Miramax,
which has bought the life rights to her story. Her
book, based on her trips to Afghanistan to expose
the Taliban's cruel treatment of women, is expected
to generate the most interest at the Frankfurt Book
Fair this week. Shah's journey into Afghanistan revealed
much of the country's poverty was caused by the policies
of the fundamentalist Islamic government. The daughter
of Afghan scholar Idries Shah, she journeyed to the
refugee camps of Pakistan before finding brutality
and bravery in Afghanistan itself.