Top Story: Actor Patric Arrested on Intoxication Charge
Jason Patric, star of the upcoming The Alamo and films such as The Lost Boys and Speed 2: Cruise Control, was arrested in Austin, Texas, on misdemeanor public intoxication charges, The Associated Press reports. According to police, Patric, 37, was with a group of people standing in a downtown street about 3 a.m. when they were asked by officers to move. The actor moved slowly toward the sidewalk, but then took an aggressive stance, police told AP, and when they tried to arrest him, he resisted and shoved an officer. The arrest warrant says Patric insisted he was not drunk and that officers should test him, but no test was administered. Patric's publicist, Michelle Bega, said in a statement that the actor "believes he has done nothing wrong. He hopes for a rapid resolution to clear his name," AP reports.
Jackson Says Breast Incident Was Unplanned
In her first television interview since her sensational Super Bowl stint, Janet Jackson appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman Monday and insisted the breast exposure "was an accident." The singer, wearing a revealing red dress, was on the show to promote her new album Damita Jo, due in stores Tuesday. Censors bleeped the singer when she exclaimed "Jesus!" in response to Letterman's bringing up the topic. She went on to say, "It truly was an accident. It was very embarrassing for me to have so many people see this little breast," Jackson said. "It was supposed to kind of happen like that, but I wasn't supposed to come out of it the way I did." When asked if she and stint cohort Justin Timberlake were still friends, she responded, "at some point, he and I need to talk."
Veteran Broadcaster Cooke Dies
Broadcasting icon Alistair Cooke, best known for his long-running BBC radio series Letter from America and for hosting the PBS series Masterpiece Theater, died in New York Tuesday from apparent natural causes. He was 95.
Studios, Independents Settle Screener Ban
Officially putting an end to a legal battle that sparked much controversy in the entertainment industry late last year, Hollywood's major studios, led by the Motion Picture Association of America, and a coalition of independent filmmakers have settled a lawsuit over the use of videotape ("screener") copies to promote films vying for awards, Reuters reports. The battle erupted last September when MPAA members issued a ban on all screeners, citing piracy issues. Indie filmmakers, who consider screeners a helpful tool to get lesser-known films noticed by Academy voters, then filed suit, claiming the ban would bias voters toward big-budget films. Last December a federal judge in New York sided with the indies and effectively stopped the ban. Details of the agreement were not disclosed, according to a statement issued by the groups suing the studios. In a statement made Monday, the Motion Picture Association of America chief executive Jack Valenti said he was "pleased that we have put this matter behind us."
E.R. Actor Wounded by Father
Actor Keith Diamond, whose real name is Vincent Ford Jr. and who has made guest appearances on shows such as E.R. and The Drew Carey Show, was shot by his father Sunday while eating at his family kitchen table in Queens, New York, AP reports. He was visiting his parents from California when his father, Vincent Ford Sr., 81, allegedly walked in and shot him three times with a .32-caliber revolver, police told AP. The actor was taken to the hospital, where he was listed in stable condition with face, chest and arm injuries. The elder Ford, a retired postal worker, was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, assault and weapons possession and did not enter a plea, AP reports.
Leno Cops $100 Mil
Late-night talk show host Jay Leno has signed a $100 million deal with NBC that will keep him on The Tonight Show through 2009, Reuters reports. Leno has been the undisputed ratings champ in late-night talk since the mid-1990s after taking the reins from Johnny Carson in 1992. The Tonight Show generates about $100 million in annual profits for NBC, according to a report in the February edition of Fortune magazine.
Reality TV Tackles Serious Subject
Reality TV guru Mark Burnett, producer of hits such as Survivor and The Apprentice, has set his sights on the very serious subject of abducted children. According to Variety, CBS has ordered episodes of Recovery, which will track a special team of experts in covert missions as they set out to find and rescue kidnapped youngsters. "The show is like Without a Trace, but it's with a kid who really has been taken," Burnett told Variety, referring to the CBS drama series about the FBI's missing persons unit. "There's nothing bigger than this. It's more than just television."
Role Call: Black Stomps Into King Kong, Aniston Makes a Gambit
Jack Black has been cast opposite Naomi Watts in director Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Black will play Carl Denham, an adventurer filmmaker who is trying to make a name for himself in 1930s New York. Robert Armstrong played the role in the 1933 original … Jennifer Aniston has signed on to star in Gambit, a remake of the 1966 British caper starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. The trade paper reports the film revolves around a British thief who comes up with a foolproof plan to steal an expensive statue from one of the richest men in the world. His strategy involves the participation of a beautiful woman (Aniston) who happens to be the spitting image of the rich man's late wife. Igby Goes Down's Burr Steers is set to write and direct.
Top Story: Singer Brown Faces Battery Charges
Bobby Brown was charged with battery Wednesday, after allegedly hitting his wife Whitney Houston on Sunday, The Associated Press reports. A police spokesman told AP Brown, 34, turned himself in after the couple and their attorneys met with police. Houston called police Sunday to report that Brown had struck her on the left side of her face with his open right hand at the couple's home near Alpharetta, Ga., AP reports. Houston, 40, declined comment, but her lawyer, Mark Trigg, said, "She is trying to resolve the matter privately." Brown was in jail in August for violating his probation on a drunken driving charge, and in 2000 he spent 26 days in a Florida jail for violating probation on different charges. Authorities are now investigating whether Brown broke probation in Sunday's incident. Brown is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Jan. 7.
Slater's Wife Not Charged
In related news, Christian Slater's wife Ryan Haddon will not face criminal charges for throwing a glass at the actor's head in a Las Vegas hotel room Nov. 10, AP reports. A Nevada court said there's no proof Haddon meant to hurt Slater, who received stitches for a cut behind the ear. "We did not feel we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she committed intentional battery," Clark County District Attorney David Roger told AP. "Both the victim and the defendant maintained that it was an accident." Police in Nevada investigate domestic violence cases even if the alleged victim doesn't want to press charges, AP reports.
Seacrest Takes Over Top 40
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest will become the new host for the weekly pop radio countdown show American Top 40, replacing veteran broadcaster Casey Kasem, AP reports. Seacrest, 28, will start Jan. 10. Kasem, who has hosted Top 40 since 1970, signed his own long-term agreement with Premiere Radio Networks, where he will continue hosting American Top 20 for adult contemporary stations across the country, AP reports.
Edwards To Get Honorary Oscar
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected acclaimed director/writer/producer Blake Edwards to receive an Honorary Award at this year's Oscar ceremony. Best known for the Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers as well as comedies 10 and Victor/Victoria, Edwards also helmed the Audrey Hepburn classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. "For more than 50 years, Edwards has had an extraordinary career writing, directing and producing mainly his own material," Academy President Frank Pierson said in a press release. "And that puts him in a select and very small group of outstanding film makers."
Snoop Dogg's Mom Goes After Rapper Knight
Rapper Snoop Dogg's mother Beverly Green and rapper Delmar "Daz" Dillinger Arnaud's wife Maria Watkins have joined together in filing a slander suit against rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, AP reports. The defendants claim the song "Tha Row" from the soundtrack of the film Dysfunktional Family contains graphic lyrics saying Knight was sleeping with the plaintiffs. "These plaintiffs are totally innocent victims being tormented as a means to force Daz Dillinger and Snoop Dogg to suffer personal anguish and to take retaliatory action," AP reports the lawsuit reads. "This is the same type of feud that led to the Tupac Shakur and Christopher 'Biggie Small' Wallace's death."
Pirates Rakes in Hefty Rental Booty
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has broken the one-week record for combined DVD and VHS sales, topping 11 million units sold through to consumers and rental chains, as well as earning $19.5 million during its first five days on rental shelves, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Bruce Almighty came in a close second with an estimated $17.1 million in rentals for the past week.
LAPD Veteran Caught Pirating
MPAA's Jack Valenti should be feeling a little better. Los Angeles Police Department captain Julie D. Nelson was arrested Tuesday for allegedly selling pirated and counterfeit DVDs, Variety reports. After more than 100 pirated and counterfeit DVDs were found in her home and car, authorities told Variety, Nelson was arrested on two felonies: failure to disclose the origin of a recording or audiovisual work and possession and sale of a counterfeit trademark or registered mark.
Role Call: Congeniality 2 Gets Director
Director John Pasquin (Joe Somebody) is in negotiations to direct Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bullock will reprise her role as Special Agent Gracie Hart, but no other talent is attached to the Warner Bros. sequel. The 2000 original also starred Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt and Candice Bergen and cleared $100 million at the domestic box office from a budget in the $45 million range.
German supermodel Claudia Schiffer is expecting her first child with her husband of three months, British producer Matthew Vaughn. According to Reuters, a spokeswoman for Schiffer said Monday, "We can confirm she is pregnant and has got through the first trimester." The couple married on May 25 in a lavish English country wedding.
Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster will receive the outstanding achievement in acting award from the Hollywood Film Festival. Foster will be honored along with Motion Picture Association president Jack Valenti, director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Robert Towne, producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, composer Marc Shaiman, editor Pietro Scalia, production designer Harold Michelson and casting director Marcia Ross. The Hollywood Movie Awards Gala Ceremony will be held on Oct. 7.
Director John Lee Hancock (The Rookie) is near a deal to helm the historical epic The Alamo, Variety reports. Hancock would replace director Ron Howard, who bailed on the project after the studio had difficulty jump starting production. It also looks as though Russell Crowe, who was to star in the role of Sam Houston, will also exit from the project. Disney had an option on Hancock's next film and has been offering him everything in its arsenal. Now it looks as though Hancock will be landing the studio's biggest film.
Jack Nicholson is in negotiations to star in an untitled comedy for Sony Pictures written by Nancy Meyers (What Women Want), who is also set to direct. According to Variety, the film is about an older man who falls for the mother of his young girlfriend.
Paralegal Erin Brockovich, who inspired Steven Soderbergh's dramatic comedy Erin Brockovich, will host a reality-drama series titled Final Justice for the Lifetime TV cable channel. The show will present true accounts of real-life women who encounter injustice and take on the system, Variety reports.
'N Sync singer Lance Bass wants to turn three popular comic strips into a TV series through his California-based production company A Happy Place Prods., Variety reports. The strips include Glenn McCoy's The Duplex, Mark Tatulli's Heart of the City and Bill Hinds' Cleats.
A Jamaican court has issued an arrest warrant for American rapper Ja Rule for failing to appear on charges of using profanity during the country's Reggae Sumfest last year. According to The Associated Press, Ja Rule was in Jamaica this weekend to perform at the same festival and was served with a summons to appear in court Monday. However, Ja Rule apparently left the island Sunday. Judge Wilson Smith ordered his arrest warrant when the rapper, whose real name is Jeff Atkins, failed to appear. If convicted, he faces a maximum charge of...$20.
New Line Cinema's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring pulled in $18.2 million at the domestic box office on Wednesday, the biggest take ever for a single day in December. According to Reuters, it was and the third biggest Wednesday opening for any film in North America, after Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, which grossed $28.5 million on May 19, 1999, and Jurassic Park III, which made $19 million on July 18, 2001. Box office figures show the film has gone far beyond a cult following, but director Peter Jackson is already under criticism from devoted fans for making changes to J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
Holly Hunter's husband, cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, has filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, the Associated Press reports. Kaminski, 42, and Hunter, 43, have been married since 1995.
Britney Spears is developing her own wireless fan clubs, complete with fashion tips, backstage voice journals, concert updates and contests to win backstage tickets, ABC.com reports. Information will be available to cell phone users for a fee. JCOR Entertainment, the media company responsible for the concept, has also signed Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. The program will be subscription based but details have not yet been determined.
During the week ending Dec. 16, 839,000 office workers flocked to Apple.com to view the trailer for the live-action feature Spider-Man. According to Reuters, nearly 16 percent of the site's audience spent more than five minutes on the site. Jarvis Mark, senior Internet analyst at NetRatings, said the Quicktime feed brings surfers close to the action of the film and simulates the in-theater experience. Spider-Man debuts in May 2002.
Sam Elliott and Nick Nolte will star in Ang Lee's feature film version of the Marvel comic The Incredible Hulk slated for release in 2003, AP reports. Elliott will play Gen. Ross, who's in charge of the military base where research scientist Dr. Bruce Banner makes his accidental transformation into the Hulk, while Nolte will play Banner's scientist father. Eric Bana (Black Hawk Down) has already been cast as the Hulk.
The Hollywood's wartime committee, chaired by Motion Picture Assn. of America president-CEO Jack Valenti, has greenlit an international public service announcement in which Muhammed Ali will emphasize that the war on terrorism is not a war against Islam or Arabs, Variety reports. At a press conference Thursday, Valenti also announced a parallel series of PSAs unveiled by cable channel Starz! Encore which will urge tolerance toward Arab-Americans.
The Dept. of Justice has started investigating two partnerships formed by seven major studios to build Internet-based video-on-demand movie services for potential violations of the Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts. According to Variety, the investigation is to determine whether either joint ventures may lessen competition or create a monopoly in the market for video-on-demand services. Studios in one such partnership include Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, Paramount and MGM.
Rush Limbaugh's surgery to restore his hearing was a success, Reuters reports. Limbaugh lost his hearing last spring due to an autoimmune disease. In a statement issued Thursday, Limbaugh said he felt great and was looking forward to enjoying the holidays and returning to the air in early January.
Scott Weiland, frontman for The Stone Temple Pilots, pleaded guilty Wednesday to domestic battery as part of a plea bargain to avoid jail time stemming from his November arrest for assaulting his wife at the Hard Rock in Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Weiland was ordered to attend twenty-six counseling sessions and stay out of trouble for six months, Rolling Stones reports.