Top Story: Disney Blocks Moore Documentary
The Walt Disney Co. has moved to stop its Miramax Films subsidiary from distributing Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore's upcoming documentary Fahrenheit 911. The documentary touches on the personal relationship between President George H. W. Bush and Osama bin Laden's family as well as the events that led Bush and bin Laden to become enemies. According to a report Wednesday in the New York Times, Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Disney CEO Michael Eisner expressed concern the release of the film would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park and hotels in Florida, where President Bush's brother, Jeb Bush, is governor. But one Disney executive denied that allegation, telling the Times the company did not want to be seen taking sides in the election and risk alienating customers of different political views. In a statement, Moore said: "I would have hoped by now that I would be able to put my work out to the public without having to experience the profound censorship obstacles I often seem to encounter. The whole story behind this (and other attempts) to kill our movie will be told in more detail as the days and weeks go on. All I can say is, thank God for [Miramax Chairman] Harvey Weinstein and Miramax, who have stood by me during the entire production of this movie." Fahrenheit 911, which was slated for release in July, will still premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival this month.
Idol Finalists Hit the Road
In what has become a sort of tradition, the top 10 finalists from Fox's third American Idol season have made plans for a summer North American tour. The finalists include Fantasia Barrino, Diana DeGarmo, George Huff, Jasmine Trias and La Toya London as well as the already voted out Amy Adams, Camile Velasco, Jennifer Hudson, John Stevens and Jon Peter Lewis. Reuters reports the 48-city tour will kick off July 14 in Salt Lake City and end Sept. 26 in San Jose, Calif. The two-hour American Idol season finale is scheduled for May 26.
Anna Nicole Launches Clothing Line
Former Guess? model and Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith is planning to create a clothing line with the trendy outfitter Von Dutch, Extra reports. Smith, whose real name is Vickie Lynn Hogan, is currently on a world tour promoting the weight loss company Trim Spa, to which she credits having lost 69 pounds. The 36-year-old entertainer's reality TV series The Anna Nicole Show, which followed her daily misadventures, was canceled after ratings slipped from their all-time high in August 2002 when the series debuted.
Madonna Kicks Up Privacy Efforts
Madonna, meanwhile, is kicking the fight to keep hikers off her $16 million English country estate up a notch. Reuters reports a public inquiry opened Wednesday to look into whether English walkers, known across the pond as "ramblers," can saunter through Madonna and Guy Ritchie's 1,200 acre Ashcombe House estate in Dorset, southwest England--of which 100 acres has been defined as open country and therefore open to the public. The couple argues the land should be reclassified as "semi-improved" grassland because it is used for shooting game, which would define it as agricultural land and exclude it from public access. The inquiry is expected to last five days, with a verdict due this summer.
Usher Misses Chilli
R&B singer Usher recently told Rolling Stone magazine that every once in a while he thinks about calling his ex, TLC's Chilli. The two ended their highly publicized relationship earlier this year. "Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I did call [Chilli]," he said. "Would it become a good thing or would it become a bad thing? I think it's best that I don't call." The couple and Chilli's son lived in Usher's Atlanta home before the split. Chilli is now reportedly dating Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Lewis.
Emmys Test Online Voting
The Emmys will become the first major award show to offering online voting, Variety reports. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has sanctioned online voting for its interactive television Emmy and is pegging it as a test run for a system that may be expanded to the rest of its awards. "The technology is here, and it is only fitting that the Interactive Media Peer Group sets the precedent for online voting with this particular Emmy Award," ATAS chairman Dick Askin told Variety. "We hope it is a process that will be extended in the future to other Emmy Award categories."
Frasier May Live On
Could another incarnation of Frasier be in the works? As the long-running series comes to an end this year, Variety reports that according to industry insiders, Paramount topper Garry Hart met with NBC execs to discuss possibly extending the Frasier franchise, chronicling the next phase in Dr. Frasier Crane's life. All parties involved are declining comment, but industry insiders told Variety NBC opted against continuing the franchise, giving Paramount free reign to shop a new Frasier show to another network. It's unclear if star Kelsey Grammer would continue his Frasier character in a third series, but Grammer, who has played Frasier Crane for 20 years, has made it clear that he wouldn't have minded if Frasier continued on.
Another HIV Case Hits CA Porn Industry
A fourth adult film performer, a transsexual actress who goes by the stage name Jennifer, has tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS but the case is unrelated to an outbreak that virtually shut down pornography production last month, an industry health care official told Reuters on Tuesday. The performer had last performed a sex scene on Feb. 27 with two male actors who have since tested negative, according to Sharon Mitchell of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation. "This is an open-and-shut case of genealogy," she told Reuters. "We think it's contained."
Role Call: Amityville Horror Revisited
British commercial director Andrew Douglas will make his feature film debut with an update of the 1979 thriller The Amityville Horror. The original, starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder and Rod Steiger, centered on a newlywed couple who move into a mysterious house where all sorts of strange things happen.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has yet to decide whether to activate a new feature animation category at the Academy Awards in 2002. While 13 submissions have been submitted to the Academy's short film and feature animation branch, entries must now be evaluated to make sure at least eight of them meet Academy stipulations. According to Variety, pictures must be at least 70 minutes in length and be primarily animated. The Academy will announce the category's status on Dec. 11.
Country singer Johnny Cash, 69, was released from Nashville's Baptist Hospital Thursday after a three-day stay where he was treated for bronchitis, Reuters reported. The singer also suffers from autonomic neuropathy, which makes him susceptible to pneumonia.
Tommy Mottola is reportedly reaching out to his ex-wife Mariah Carey. Carey's friend and makeup artists Billy Brasfield told People, "She and Tommy are talking...They're friends. He has been really, really supportive." Only a few months ago, Carey blamed Mottola for her nervous breakdown and claimed on her Web site that Sony Records put her under intense surveillance and pressured radio stations not to play her records.
Madonna is the highest female earner in the UK, with an income of 30 million pounds in 2001, the BBC reported. The 43-year-old pop star is also the highest earning arts and entertainment figure on the list, beating out JK Rowling and Paul McCartney. Madonna qualifies for the survey because she is married to British director Guy Ritchie.
Members of the Los Angeles City Council are considering a proposal to paint the white Hollywood sign red-white-and-blue as a show of support for U.S. troops, Reuters reported. The sign would be changed for 14 days starting on Veterans Day on Nov. 12. Universal Studios has agreed to pay for the cost of painting and restoring the sign.
Monsters, Inc., which raked in $63.5 million in its opening weekend, is making even more in product sales. According to Reuters, Doritos has introduced 3-D Monster Colorz, a corn chip that turns your tongue blue, and Hasbro, Inc. has introduced figures and dolls of characters in the movie.
Nicolas Cage will star in and produce the sci-fi thriller The Volunteer, Variety reported. The story revolves around an Iowa state trooper who becomes a pawn between two alien races in a bid to avenge his daughter's death.
Fox has moved up the released date for Behind Enemy Lines to Nov. 30. The film was originally slated for release on Jan. 18. According to Variety, audiences' positive reaction to the trailer motivated the studio to release the film for the Christmas movie season.
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) has asked the Motion Picture Association of America to speak with various producers about making a trip to congress, Variety reported. Hyde has voiced concerns over America's image abroad and is hoping Hollywood creatives can change people's attitudes through compelling images and advertising.
Tom Hanks is teaming up with HBO to produce a series on the American Revolution. According to Variety, Hanks' Playtone Prods. has optioned the rights to David McCullough's John Adams, a biography of the second U.S. president.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling said she was reduced to tears after seeing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time at a private screening, Reuters reported. "Dan [Daniel Radcliffe] nailed it--I am really pleased," she said. "I just love his face. He has such an endearing face."
Michael Jackson's album Invincible topped UK album charts this week. According to the BBC, the album beat out the Backstreet Boys, Mis-Teeq and Russel Watson and could be one of the biggest opening week sellers of 2001.
Madonna and Guy Ritchie have finally tied the knot.
Avoiding the hundreds-strong media pack, the couple took their solemn vows and exchanged rings in front of family and friends on Friday night, the Rev. Susan Brown, who presided over the ceremony, confirmed today.
It is believed that the couple wed at 6:30 p.m. London time.
Many guests arrived at Skibo Castle in Dornoch, Scotland, after dark, covering their faces. Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Bryan Adams and Elton John were reportedly invited to join the celebration, but some reports said that Pitt and John were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.
The marriage of the Queen of Pop and the British director has been reported on daily up to the actual nuptials, but strategic planning has ensured that Madonna would keep her big day private.
Security surrounding the castle was so tight that it was virtually impenetrable. Bodyguards protecting the wedding party brought in heat-seeking equipment to hunt down intruders on the grounds of the Highlands castle.
Two uninvited guests caught hiding in nearby 13th century Dornoch Cathedral, where the couple's 4-month-old son Rocco was christened Thursday night, have been arrested and released with court dates in their future. The unnamed men, one of whom reportedly hid in an organ, were not members of the news media, local police said.
Madonna ordered private security for her wedding day rather than turn over the arrangements to local police. The Rev. Brown, who conducted Friday's service in Skibo Castle, also presided over the baptism of Rocco on Thursday.
Former Police frontman Sting, who donned a kilt, and wife Trudie Styler were among the first guests to arrive for the wedding. They are guests of honor after introducing the couple at a dinner party two years ago. Sweeping into the driveway of the 76,000-acre estate in a navy blue Mercedes, Sting and Styler waved to the crowds of well wishers and media.
Designer Stella McCartney, the daughter of former Beatle Paul McCartney, was also an early guest. She has been secretly working on a wedding dress believed to be a stunning gothic design. The bride chose a sparkling $72,000 French diamond bracelet to complement the wedding gown, according to London jeweler Susy Lauder.
Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow was reportedly maid of honor at the ceremony. Other guests said to be in the Highlands today included Chris Ciccone, Madonna's brother; sister Melanie and father Silvio; Madonna's close girlfriend, fashion designer Ingrid Casares; rock star Jon Bon Jovi; fashion scion Donatella Versace; actor Rupert Everett; and Ritchie's family.
Carlos Leon, the father of Madonna's 4-year-old daughter Lourdes, was also on the guest list.
Other reported wedding details included:
The menu for the wedding breakfast included haggis, a spicy Scottish meat dish.
A Caillie band was booked for traditional Scottish dancing and music in the great hall of the stone castle.
Instead of jetting off to warmer climates for a honeymoon, the couple plans to stay in their suite at the castle.
The cake, prepared by a French baker, was flown to Scotland to a nearby Royal Air Force base after flights into the passenger airport were diverted due to fog.