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ShowBiz Weekly: news from the UK & US...
is preparing to go under the direction of her husband
GUY RITCHIE in an update of the romantic saga Swept
Away. Ritchie is signing up actors for his third film,
and has chosen ELIZABETH BANKS to play a dumb beauty
and DAVID THORNTON for the role of a millionaire.
Madonna will play Amber, the wife of a billionaire
drug lord who goes on a luxury cruise, where she falls
in love with a communist sailor, Gennairo. Swept Away,
based on LINA WERTMULLER's 1975 Italian-language movie,
will mark a dramatic departure from Ritchie's previous
mob dramas. Ritchie has worked with Madonna before,
directing her music video What It Feels Like for a
Girl, which was rejected by MTV because of its violent
Warner Bros TV network is stripping Superman of his
trademark swirling cape in their new series to try
to win more viewers. And the Man of Steel's undergarments
will be taking a more discreet role beneath a pair
of jeans. Defending their decision to change the superhero's
look, the show's writer MILES MILLAR says: ``It's
difficult to connect with someone wearing underpants
over his tights.''
Emmy awards, which have been rescheduled for October
7, are expected to go ahead without many of the nominees.
Most of the stars from The Sopranos and Sex and the
City, which received most of the nominations, have
said they will not make the journey from New York
to Los Angeles. As a result the HBO cable network,
which screens the shows, has cancelled its annual
post-Emmy party at Spago in Beverly Hills. Emmy officials
are considering organising a live transmission from
New York as a way to accommodate stars who do not
want to fly.
release of the sci-fi film The Time Machine is to
be delayed while a scene of pieces of the moon falling
on New York is deleted. Originally intended for release
on Christmas Day, it has now been pushed back until
next February when fewer movies are being released.
``Things are so crowded in the holiday period that
we felt we'd have a better chance elsewhere,'' said
MICHAEL CHRISTIANSON, a distribution executive at
DreamWorks. Based on the classic novel by HG WELLS,
the special effects-laden adventure is directed by
his descendant, British film-maker SIMON WELLS. GUY
PEARCE stars as the time travelling hero and JEREMY
IRONS and MARK ADDY co-star in the film, which cost
around 60 million.
CLINT EASTWOOD's actress daughter Alison is following
in her father's footsteps with her new clothing line.
Alison, who has appeared in 12 films, including four
of her father's, is set to launch a line called Eastwood
Ranch. Her father heads Tehama, a successful sportswear
line. ``He warned me that it's a tough business but
he wishes me a lot of success,'' Eastwood, 29, a former
model, tells USA Today. ``Acting is very tough, and
when I began acting, he gave me the same advice.''
Denim will play a big part in her collection, which
will feature earth tones and organic fabrics. ``We're
focusing on authentic, rugged, a bit eclectic, a bit
of the old West mixed with the new looks of the millennium,''
she said of her clothes, which will all be made in
SWAYZE is returning to the dance floor 14 years after
he starred in the hit Dirty Dancing. This time his
dancing partner will be his wife, actress LISA NIEMI,
who also wrote and directed Without a Word, in which
they will play an ageing dance couple who come out
of retirement for one last performance. ``We wrote
it as a play 15 years ago and it went through a who
le bunch of writers and financiers until Lisa finally
decided to write and direct the movie version and
I produced it,'' Swayze tells Premiere magazine.
RORY CULKIN is to star with MEL GIBSON and JOAQUIN
PHOENIX in Signs, the M NIGHT SHYAMALAN drama which
is about to go into production in Pennsylvania. Culkin,
the youngest brother of Macaulay and Kieran, was hired
after a long search. He previously appeared in You
Cant Count On Me and most recently joined Kiernan
in Igby Goes Down. Signs concerns the mysterious appearance
of a 500ft array of circles and lines found carved
into the crop's of a family's farm. The joke-filled
monologues which are a staple of the Emmy Awards have
been scrapped for this year's ceremony, which has
been rescheduled for October 7. Instead, the Academy
of Television Arts and Sciences is promising a ceremony
``different in approach and tone'' and ``one that
reaffirms the spirit of the American people'' while
celebrating the television industry. The annual Emmys,
originally scheduled for last Sunday and due to be
hosted by ELLEN DEGENERES, were postponed for three
weeks. ``The presentation has been affected dramatically
by the events of last week,'' said the academy chairman
Bryce Zabel. Leading nominees are The West Wing, The
Sopranos and Sex and the City.
actor ERIC BANA has emerged as the leading candidate
to play the title character in The Incredible Hulk,
Universal's adaptation of the Marvel Comics adventure.
Bana, who has just finished work on RIDLEY SCOTT's
Black Hawk Down, would play Dr Bruce Banner, the scientist
who morphs into the muscular green superhero.
ELLEN DE GENERES has talked for the first time of
how ANNE HECHE broke her heart when she suddenly ended
their three-year lesbian love affair. ``She walked
out the door and I haven't spoken to her since,''
said the 43-year-old actress, who is promoting her
new television sitcom The Ellen Show while Heche is
hawking her autobiography, Call Me Crazy. They met
in 1997 at a Vanity Fair Oscar party and the relationship
ended a year ago. ``It was the first time I'd ever
had my heart broken and it was in a big way,'' she
told the Los Angeles Times. ``I'd always been the
one to leave relationships and I really believed it
was forever, and I felt safe and I felt we shared
so much together. ``I'd like to believe she loved
me and I'm not that stupid that I would be completely
fooled, but I will never really know. ``I know that
I was happy for a long time and she obviously changed
her mind. I don't have the answers. I'm left with
everyone else wondering what happened. I don't know,
I really don't. I feel betrayed.''
MICHAEL JACKSON is assembling an all-star cast to
record a benefit single which is expected to raise
more than 30 million for terrorist attack victims.
DESTINY'S CHILD, THE BACKSTREET BOYS, 'N SYNC, BRITNEY
SPEARS and CARLOS SANTANA are among the talent set
to join in on What More Can I Give?, a ballad written,
produced and financed by Jackson. It is expected to
be in the stores within a month. Jackson's publicist
Susan Blond said he hopes the song ``will unite the
future of British film-maker MIKE NEWELL's next project,
The Girl With the Pearl Earrings, has been thrown
into doubt by the withdrawal of KATE HUDSON. She was
to have starred with RALPH FIENNES, playing a housemaid
who works for the 17th-century Dutch painter JOHANNES
VERMEER. Following her abrupt departure because of
``creative differences'', the British backers, Intermedia,
have now withdrawn their financing. Producer Andy
Paterson told Daily Variety he was shocked by Hudson's
sudden departure. ``She pursued us for this role,
she was deeply thrilled when she got it and then she
backed out,'' he said. ``The official reason was creative
differences, but we don't recognise that.''
major films, starring BEN AFFLECK and his ex-girlfriend
GWYNETH PALTROW, may be delayed or even scrapped because
of last week's terrorist attacks. Affleck stars in
Paramount's film version of TOM CLANCY's novel The
Sum of All Fears, playing a CIA agent who foils a
scheme to drop a nuclear weapon on a football stadium
during the Super Bowl. At Miramax executives are reportedly
considering the future of A View From the Top, which
stars Paltrow and KELLY PRESTON as competing flight
GRAHAM will return as the US government agent Felicity
Shagwell for the second Austin Powers sequel, Goldmember,
but will meet her doom at the hands of Dr Evil, she
says. ``I talked to the producers and I said, `Just
don't blow me up', she tells USA Today. `If you can
think of a cooler way to do me in at the beginning
of the movie, then I'll do it'.'' In the first sequel
ELIZABETH HURLEY, whom Graham replaced, was also dispatched
by Dr Evil. Special effects wizard RIK BAKER, who
transformed humans into simians for Planet of the
Apes, has been hired to tackle the effects for Universal's
big-budget comic book adventure The Incredible Hulk.
His hiring dispels rumours that Hulk, to be directed
by ANG LEE, will be completely computer-animated.
Casting is still under way, although a release date
has already been set for the summer of 2003.
A 1980s television series starred BILL BIXBY as Dr
Banner and the former bodybuilder LOU FERRIGNO as
his alter ego, the Incredible Hulk.
first episode of a new TV series about the CIA has
been pulled because it includes a reference to Osama
bin Laden as the mastermind of a plot to blow up Harrods.
Instead, a later episode of The Agency series will
be screened with an explanation to account for the
lack of continuity. The Agency executive producer
SHAUN CASSIDY said he did not know what changes would
have to be made in later episodes. ``The world's a
very different place today than it was last week,''
he said. ``We will have to make some adjustments.''
Entertainment consultant RON KRUEGER, of Movie and
TV Marketing, said: ``Studios are very aware of the
problems they are facing and they want to be seen
to be doing the right thing. ``Anything that might
be seen as offensive or upsetting is being pulled
immediately. ``At the moment money is not a consideration.
Probably some of the films and television programmes
being shelved now will eventually be screened but
not until next year at the earliest.''
LENO, the host of the Tonight show, sought the advice
of his predecessor, JOHNNY CARSON about how to resume
broadcasting in the wake of last week's tragedy. Carson,
who invented the late-night monologue, was the host
of the NBC show in 1963 when President Kennedy was
assassinated. Carson told Leno to ``take a few days
to reflect and easy back into it'', according to a
network employee. He also advised Leno to avoid jokes
about the president. Leno said he would try to keep
a light tone, adding: ``We'll do a lot more Viagra
jokes for a while.''
and ALBERT HUGHES, whose Jack the Ripper film From
Hell is soon to be released, may buy an East London
pub where several of the Ripper's victims drank. The
Ten Bells in Commercial Road is up for sale and, Allen
tells Premiere magazine: ``It would be great to live
above the Ten Bells and restore it. ``Turn it into
a lounge and an eatery and coffee place where people
can come in and enjoy themselves. Have photos and
memorabilia, but don't Planet Hollywood it.'' Built
in 1753, the Ten Bells features prominently in From
Hell, which stars JOHNNY DEPP and HEATHER GRAHAM.
McBeal creator and producer DAVID KELLEY has persuaded
SIR ELTON JOHN to appear in an episode of the popular
television series. The rock star will play himself
in an episode which will also star his fellow Briton
JACQUELINE BISSET. ``Ever since I was young I've been
a fan of Elton's and I'm thrilled to have him on the
show,'' says Kelley, who has also signed rock singer
JON BON JOVI as a recurring guest star. The exact
number of episodes in which Bon Jovi will appear is
yet to be decided and his role is still being polished.
But sources indicate his character will become romantically
involved with CALISTA FLOCKHART's Ally McBeal.