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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
Wars fans have been handed a blow by director GEORGE
LUCAS as he has decided against shooting another trio
of the sci-fi films. The director told a French magazine
he is dropping his plans to take the total number
of the series up to nine and calling it a day when
Episode 3 of the prequel trilogy is complete. He told
Tele 7 Jour: ``I will totally give up the Star Wars
saga after Episode 3, which will be released in 2005.
I want to switch to something else after that.'' But
there was good news for Indiana Jones fans, when the
veteran director said there was hope he would get
back together with HARRISON FORD and STEVEN SPIELBERG
for the whip-wielding archaeologist's fourth outing.
``I don't know how I can manage to find time for Indy
before 2006,'' he said. ``Steven and Harrison agreed
a new adventure but due to other projects, we are
very busy. ``The most difficult thing will be to block
out our schedules for a whole year to focus only on
Indiana Jones 4. Anyway, all hope is not lost for
a new Indiana Jones.''
JULIA ROBERTS is to team up again with director STEVEN
SODERBERGH, with whom she won her golden statuette
for Erin Brockovich. The actress and the director
are to work on Miramax film How To Survive a Hotel
Room Fire, which studio bosses are calling ``an unofficial
sequel of sorts'' to Soderbergh's 1989 debut film,
Sex, Lies, and Videotape. It is the third time the
two have worked together. Soderbergh was in charge
of Ocean's Eleven, the upcoming remake of the Rat
Pack classic, which will star GEORGE CLOONEY and BRAD
PITT in an A-list ensemble outing. How To Survive
a Hotel Room Fire will also star X-Files actor DAVID
DUCHOVNY and Frasier's DAVID HYDE PIERCE, the Internet
Movie Database reported.
RYAN will make her next career move in the ring when
she stars as a gritty boxing manager in a big-screen
version of a real-life story. Ryan will play JACKIE
KALLEN, a female boxing manager in the tough city
of Detroit who rose to the top of her profession and
coached fighters including middleweight champion JAMES
TONEY. Studio Paramount has worked on the project
for five years and filming will begin in November,
with CHARLES DUTTON getting his first taste of life
behind the camera as he swaps from actor to director,
Zap2It.com reported. Ryan's next appearance in cinemas
will be in romantic comedy Kate and Leopold, where
she will appear alongside Australian star of Swordfish,
LL COOL J is set to swap the hood for the set when
he appears in a thriller about the FBI's real-life
Crackers. The rap star is in talks to play the lead
role in Mindhunters, about seven new recruits to the
elite FBI unit which tracks serial killers. In the
film, the new recruits' training on a remote island
is cut short as it emerges a real-life killer is in
their midst. The film is being directed by RENNY HARLIN,
who was behind the camera in LL Cool J's 1999 Hollywood
outing, Deep Blue Sea.
Want to own a piece of rock history? PAUL SIMON's
guitar is going on sale in an internet auction - the
latest change of hands in its chequered history. The
instrument was given to its current owner, TODD FISHER,
by his sister CARRIE FISHER when her marriage to Simon
ended. And the letter the Star Wars actress wrote
to her brother is part of the package on sale at fineartsbrokerage.com,
with prices starting at 2,100. ``Simon left this guitar
at my house when we were married, and as far as know
it is the only alimony I ever received,'' she wrote.
STEVEN SPIELBERG's studio DreamWorks has announced
it has bought the rights to remake the classic 50s
film Forbidden Planet. Titanic director JAMES CAMERON
had expressed interest in a remake, but now the film,
set on the planet Altair-4 in 2020, will be overseen
by Spielberg, Daily Variety reported. The original
Forbidden Planet starred Naked Gun actor LESLIE NIELSEN,
along with Hollywood legend ANNE FRANCIS and the late
WALTER PIDGEON. The new version will use cutting-edge
special effects to retell the original story, which
was based loosely on Shakespeare's The Tempest.
MEL GIBSON is to team up with Oscar-nominee JOAQUIN
PHOENIX for Signs, a supernatural thriller about crop
circles. The Disney film is due to begin filming in
the American state of Pennsylvania next month and
revolves around the mystery appearance of 500ft crop
circles at a family farm. Phoenix, who won an Oscar
nomination for his part alongside RUSSELL CROWE in
Gladiator, replaced actor MARK RUFFALO, who had to
pull out as he recovers from an operation. Signs is
being produced by film-makers FRANK MARSHALL, KATHLEEN
KENNEDY and SAM MERCER, the people behind hits The
Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. And it has already made
its writer M NIGHT SHYAMALAN a millionaire. When Disney
bosses saw his finished script they made him a multi-million
dollar offer to keep him with the studio.
PAUL McCARTNEY and PAMELA ANDERSON are to share a
stage on Saturday night when they host animal rights
lobby group's PETA annual awards. The Beatle and the
Baywatch babe will team up with actor ALEC BALDWIN
at the New York event, which is also marking the American-based
group's 21st anniversary. And South African actress
CHARLIZE THERON and CHRISSIE HYNDE of the Pretenders
will be honoured with awards for their work for the
actress KATE BEC KINSALE is in talks about joining
the cast of independent film Laurel Canyon. The film,
directed by LISA CHOLODENKO is about a free-spirited
record producer whose son graduates from prestigious
Harvard Medical School with his upper-class girlfriend,
who Beckinsale is set to play. The record producer
is to be played by FRANCES McDORMAND, who appeared
in Almost Famous and Wonder Boys, while American Psycho
star CHRISTIAN BALE is said to be seeking the role
of her son, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
PITT is the star Americans would most like to have
cloned, according to a new survey, with JENNIFER LOPEZ
the top female choice. Pitt was followed on the list
by ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER and MEL GIBSON, with Lopez
at number four and CATHERINE ZETA JONES and JULIA
ROBERTS behind her. But there was bad news for Jones,
as husband MICHAEL DOUGLAS did not make the top 20,
while age proved no barrier for SEAN CONNERY, who
came in at 13, ahead of his James Bond successor PIERCE
BROSNAN. Also making the list were JOHN TRAVOLTA (eighth),
BRITNEY SPEARS (10th), TOM CRUISE (11th), BEN AFFLECK
(12th) and NICOLE KIDMAN (18th). When the results
were broken down, Pitt was the top choice for women
- but came in at number 11 on the men's list, while
Lopez has some female fans, taking 12th place in the
pop star and club DJ BOY GEORGE is preparing to make
a comeback on the London stage, but this time as a
writer and producer. He is working on a show called
Taboo, a semi-autobiographical rags-to-riches tale
of a small-town boy making it on the international
pop scene. The singer had tried to get this story
told in a movie version of his autobiography, called
Take It Like A Man. But New Line Cinema, he complained,
kept sanitising the story until there was nothing
left to make it to the screen. The 40-year-old George
says he wants whoev er plays him in a movie or stage
version to be ``younger, thinner and more beautiful''.
Grease is back. The film that starred JOHN TRAVOLTA
and OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN is to have a sequel on American
television. The TV movie will be set in 1979, 20 years
after the original film, and will include some new
characters - the children of some of the main players
in the 1978 hit. DIDI CONN, who played dropout beauty
queen Frenchy in the original, will be back in the
TV musical and told Daily Variety: ``Because it takes
place in 1979, we'll get to see the kids go through
the late 70s version of our wild days. We learn about
the original characters through the kids.'' JIM JACOBS,
the author of the original Grease musical, said it
was about firsts - first car, first kiss - and the
energy that accompanies them. ``That's the Grease
spirit, and that's what we're exploring 20 years later.''
The rest of the cast has still to be decided, but
the producers want to restrict auditions to people
who have already played a part in the original film
or one of the many on-stage versions of the musical.
``That opens us up to half of Hollywood,'' said Conn.
BRAD PITT and BENICIO DEL TORO are set to star in
a film version of a true-life story which lifts the
lid on the seamy side of restaurant life in New York.
Chef ANTHONY BOURDAIN wrote Kitchen Confidential:
Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly after a cooking
career which had a spicy sideline in sex, drink and
drugs and it is now being turned into a film. ``People
say Brad Pitt is supposed to be attached to the movie,''
he told the New York Post. ``And I'd love it if Benicio
was in it. I'm a huge fan of his.'' The film of the
best-selling book will be directed by DAVID FINCHER,
who directed Pitt in Fight Club.
ROTH, who played an undercover gangster in QUENTIN
TARANTINO's cult film Reservoir Dogs, has told how
he was turned into a 10-inch doll to mark the 10th
an niversary of the movie. Roth, who played Mr Orange,
insisted his doll did not come armed - despite the
violent content of the film - along with STEVE BUSCEMI,
who was Mr Pink. But the miniature versions of HARVEY
KEITEL (Mr White), MICHAEL MARSDEN (Mr Blond) and
CHRIS PENN (Nice Guy Eddie) come with tiny handguns.
Roth told the Zap2It.com website: ``They sent me one
and I stuck it on the shelf somewhere in my office.
And I actually haven't really looked at it. People
say it doesn't look like me.''
BEASTIE BOYS have been forced to close the doors at
their record label Grand Royal after losses mounted
as the music industry in America slumps. The band
had been one of the first to form an independent label
but was left with no choice but to end the project.
Beastie Boy MIKE DIAMOND told the Hollywood Reporter:
``This is one of the most difficult decisions we've
had to make. ``Our intentions were always simply to
create a home for exciting music and the people who
were passionate about it. It really sucks that we
can't continue to do that.''
GEENA DAVIS has married a surgeon 15 years her junior.
The 45-year-old Long Kiss Goodnight star tied the
knot with DR REZA JARRAHY at a ceremony on Long Island,
near New York, watched by friends and family, Entertainment
Tonight reported. The latest influx of new blood comes
after the departure of LUCY LIU, who played Wing Loo,
and JAMES LeGROS.
bosses are celebrating the end of the American summer
after it proved to be a box-office record breaker
- despite a series of flops. Cinema goers paid out
just over three billion dollars - breaking the previous
record in 1999 of just under three billion dollars.
The record-breaking figure came despite a series of
surefire blockbusters which failed to captivate fans,
including BEN AFFLECK's Pearl Harbor, STEPHEN SPIELBERG's
AI, which starred JUDE LAW, and JOHN TRAVOLTA's Swordfish.
The biggest success of the summer in America was animation
Shrek, which proved a 200 million-dollar hit for makers
DreamWorks and included the voices of CAMERON DIAZ,
MIKE MYERS, EDDIE MURPHY and JOHN LITHGOW.
GLORIA ESTEFAN and her producer husband EMILIO are
to boycott the Latin Grammy Awards, the Spanish-language
version of the leading American music prizes. The
couple pulled out with just two weeks to go after
organisers moved the awards from their native city
of Miami to Los Angeles amid security concerns that
Cuban emigrant protesters would target the show. ``The
only reason we were participating in the Grammys this
year is because it was a dream for us that it would
be in our city that we love,'' Estefan told the Miami
Herald. The Estefans are the leading couple of the
Latino singing world in America. Last year Gloria
performed and presented an award at the show, while
her husband was nominated for six awards. This year
the couple will have to watch television to see if
Emilio, who produced Miami Sound Machine, the band
that made Gloria's name, has won in any of the three
categories he is nominated for. The move had one consolation
- the change in venue allowed JENNIFER LOPEZ to take
part. She had turned down the chance to perform in
Miami because of her busy schedule.
the latest fashion in America. Pay a lot of cash to
a sporting stadium's owners and your company can put
its name on it. Now a chat show host is hoping to
get in on the act by having his old university name
its new American football stadium after him. DAVID
LETTERMAN, who hosts a late-night television show,
wants to see the David Letterman Stadium at Ball State
University in Indiana - but is unwilling to stump
up the cash. ``Each and every night, especially during
football season, I'm giving them a million dollars
in free exposure,'' he said.
casting search is on for a teenage actor to star in
yet another Tarzan adventure. This time the jungle
hero will be the focus of a television series in which
a 17-year-old Tarzan is sent to live with his aunt
in New York after being seriously wounded by poachers.
There the teen Tarzan ``becomes the protector of the
ultimate urban jungle'', according to a spokesman
for Warner Bros which is developing the series. EDGAR
RICE BURROUGHS' Tarzan character is set to turn 90
next year, having first appeared in short story form
in 1912 and subsequently featured in 88 films.
Oscar-winner RUSSELL CROWE has been taking his prized
statuette on tour. The Gladiator star has gone on
the road with his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts,
across America, and in Texas was asked by banner-waving
fans: ``Is that an Oscar in your pocket, or are you
just glad to see us?'' Minutes later he waved the
best actor award in front of the crowd to cheers.
``I asked one of the guys in the crew to drop what
he was doing, run back to the hotel and see if he
could find the Oscar amongst the debris and, uh, he
did,'' he told People magazine. The star will not
meet one request from audiences at his shows, however.
When a New York fan shouted at him to remove his shirt,
he refused a nd said: ``This is a band. It's not Chippendales.''
BOWIE is working with hip-hop mogul PUFF DADDY on
a remake of his song, This Is Not America, for a film
starring DENZEL WASHINGTON and ETHAN HAWKE. The new
version will be called American Dream and will be
part of the soundtrack to Training Day, a movie about
a new policeman on his first day in Los Angeles police's
drugs squad. Bowie would not work on the song until
he saw the film - but once he did he was sold and
got together with Puff Daddy, real name Sean Combs,
to produce the new version. Combs told APTV the song
has ``a techno, hip-hop funk-type feel'' with Bowie
bringing in some soul-rock.
ANNE HECHE has married the cameraman she left her
lover ELLEN DeGENERES for. The 32-year-old actress
had been seen with DeGeneres, who came out on her
hit sitcom Ellen, at a series of Hollywood events.
But she fell for COLEMAN LAFFOON as they worked together
on a documentary about her ex-lover. The couple married
at a family ceremony in Los Angeles, but are postponing
a honeymoon until Heche has finished a book tour promoting
her autobiography, her publicist told Fox News.
JOLIE's husband BILLY BOB THORNTON is preparing to
take his new country music album on the road with
a tour of America. The actor and director releases
Private Radio at the end of the month and will then
set off on a 10-date tour of the main American cities,
with a backing band in tow. ``I want this to be an
experience the way shows used to be,'' he told USA
Today. ``Those concerts were happenings, and that's
what we're trying to do with these dates - bring back
that feeling of something musical going on.'' His
Tomb Raider star wife may fit the gigs into her schedule
``if she doesn't have commitments'' said Thornton's
spokeswoman who added: ``She's a big fan of the music.''
PALTROW's next big film will literally be big - as
the actress wore a fat suit to play the 21-stone lead
role of Shallow Hal. But the Shakespeare in Love Star
drew the line at the sterling silver earrings which
had been bought for her character, a source told Women's
Wear Daily. The actress told stylists she had to have
a minimum of 14-carat gold in her ears, forcing them
to commission specially designed jewellery where only
gold touches her skin.