Actress Rebecca Gayheart has expressed "sorrow and regret" for an accident in which she reportedly ran over and killed a 9-year-old boy who was crossing the street in Hollywood, The Associated Press reports. The parents of Jorge Cruz Jr., who was hit June 13, sued Gayheart on Monday for wrongful death after their son received head injuries and died the next day. Cruz' lawyers contends the actress was talking on a cellular phone when the Jeep Grand Cherokee hit the boy. "Despite the allegations in the lawsuit, the facts will establish that this was a most unfortunate accident. The pain of this tragedy will live with me forever," Gayheart said Wednesday in a statement released to Access Hollywood.
Singer Bobby Brown was rushed to a Morristown, N.J., hospital to receive treatment after he suffered a seizure because of the intense heat and hectic recording schedule of his new album. Brown was rushed to the Morrison Memorial Hospital by his wife-singer Whitney Houston at 3 a.m. Wednesday. He reportedly waited 90 minutes in the emergency room and was not admitted, the New York Post reported. Houston's spokeswoman, Nancy Seltzer said Brown "hadn't been getting enough fluid and basically he was lightheaded."
Emmy-winning director Alan Rafkin, whose work included such television comedies as The Andy Griffith Show and M*A*S*H, died Monday of heart disease at the UCLA Medical Center, AP reports. Rafkin directed episodes for more than 80 primetime television series, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and I Dream of Jeannie.
Blake Edwards, 79, was awarded the Rhode Island International Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday. His wife, actress Julie Andrews, accepted the award in his honor because Edwards had come down with pneumonia and a high fever, AP reports.
Guido Damiani, chief executive officer and general manager of Damiani Group, responsible for creating the wedding rings for Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, has denied the couple's $50 million lawsuit claiming that the firm broke the pact of not selling similar wedding rings in its jewelry store. Damini said that the rings were original designs owned by the company.
Tribune Entertainment can continue to use the name Mutant X for its upcoming syndicated TV show, but the name does violated the rights of 20th Century Fox, a New York judge ruled Thursday. Fox had sued Tribune allegedly that Mutant X bore too many similarities to its X-Men film series. The ruling will still allow Tribune to launch the show into syndication starting the week of Oct. 1.
Country singer Terri Clark lost her driver's license for a year and receive six-months probation after she pleaded guilty Thursday to drunk driving, AP reports. Her license was suspended because she refused to take a blood-alcohol test. Clark, 33, was stopped for speeding May 2.
The children of singer Perry Como, responsible for such hits as "Catch a Falling Star" and "Papa Loves Mambo," battled over the late 88-year-old singer's medical care before he died of Alzheimer's disease on May 12, Palm Beach County court records show. According to AP, his four children were fighting over who would be the personal representative of their father's estate. As a result, Como's estate will be distributed to his three children and 13 grandchildren. His wife of 65 years, Roselle, died in 1998.
The World Wrestling Federation lost a legal battle with the former World Wildlife Fund on Friday over the use of the WWF initials, Reuters reports. The agreement placed a series of restrictions on the Federation's use of the letters WWF for the purposes of its business, which the Wildlife Fund--now known as the Worldwide Fund for the Nature-- Fund claimed had been breached.
Colombian television producer RCN has hired the William Morris Agency Inc. in its bid to find a potential American producer to introduce the Colombian soap opera potential Betty la Fea (Ugly Betty) into the U.S. market. Producers believe that the soap, which has had enormous success in Europe and Latin America, could translate into an English-language version. According to Reuters, Univision Communications Inc., the No.1 U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster, acquired the rights to air Betty la Fea in the fall.
Besides the elbow-rubbing and power mongering, let's not forget that the Sundance Film Festival is also about the films.
With that in mind, the annual indie film fest announced today its partial list of films for the 2001 powwow.
The lineup for three categories -- dramas, documentaries and the American Spectrum -- have thus far been announced, and other areas such as premiere, international films and short films will be announced Wednesday.
Films at the festival only compete in the dramatic and documentary categories. Top films coming out of Sundance in previous years include Ed Burns' "The Brothers McMullen" and last year's "Girlfight" from director Karyn Kusama.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
In the meantime, here's the complete list of Sundance films in competition and in the American Spectrum.
"30 Years to Life," directed by Vanessa Middleton "American Astronaut," directed by Cory McAbee "The Believer," directed by Henry Bean "The Business of Strangers," directed by Patrick Stettner "The Deep End," directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel "Donnie Darko," directed by Richard Kelly "Green Dragon," directed by Timothy Linh Bui "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," directed by John Cameron Mitchell "In the Bedroom," directed by Todd Field "L.I.E.," directed by Michael Cuesta "Lift," directed by DeMane Davis & Khari Streeter "MacArthur Park," directed by Billy Wirth "Memento," directed by Christopher Nolan "Scotland, PA," directed by Billy Morrissette "The Sleepy Time Gal," directed by Christopher Munch "Some Body," directed by Henry Barrial
"Chain Camera," directed by Kirby Dick "Children Underground," directed by Edet Belzberg "Dogtown and the Z-Boys," directed by Stacy Peralta "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic," directed by George Butler "Go Tigers!" directed by Kenneth A. Carlson "Home Movie," directed by Chris Smith "Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton," directed by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson with "Albert Maysles Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind," directed by Stanley Nelson "The Natural History of the Chicken," directed by Mark Lewis "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," directed by William Greaves "Scout's Honor," directed by Tom Shepard "Scratch," directed by Doug Pray "Southern Comfort," directed by Kate Davis "Startup.com," directed by Chris Hegedus & Jehane Noujaim "Trembling Before G-D," directed by Sandi Simcha Dubowski "An Unfinished Symphony," directed by Bestor Cram & Mike Majoro
"Acts of Worship," directed by Rosemary Rodriguez "After Image," directed by Robert Manganelli "Dancing in September," directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood "Diary of a City Priest," directed by Eugene Martin "The Doe Boy," directed by Randy Redroad "Haiku Tunnel," directed by Jacob Kornbluth & Josh Kornbluth "Invisible Revolution," directed by Beverly Peterson "Jump Tomorrow," directed by Joel Hopkins "Manic," directed by Jordan Melamed "Margarita Happy Hour," directed by Ilya Chaiken "Miss Wonton," directed by Meng Ong "Raw Deal: A Question of Consent," directed by Billy Corben "Roof to Roof," directed by Ara Corbett "Women in Film," directed by Bruce Wagner "Tape," directed by Richard Linklater "Wet Hot American Summer," directed by David Wain.
Coming into the home stretch of the final week of the final sweeps period before summer, we've got tearful farewells, wacky guest stars, tantalizing cliffhangers and best of all … sexy stories about Florence Henderson!
ABC's "Spin City" (9 p.m. EDT/PDT Wednesday) will be back next season with Charlie Sheen as its new star. But the bigger news is that Michael J. Fox will make his network TV farewell (hopefully only temporarily) in the series' hourlong season finale. Fox will be taking a break from acting to use his considerable charm and energy to help the fight against Parkinson's disease. Michael Gross, who played Fox's TV dad in "Family Ties," the series that made him a star so long ago, makes a guest appearance in this episode. Expect lots of hugs all around.
The season finale of "3rd Rock from the Sun" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT Tuesday, NBC) is a special one-hour episode featuring William Shatner and giant babe/WWF superstar Chyna in return guest appearances. Last year, the two were used in separate ratings stunts that were only moderately successful. Currently, Shatner's hilariously self-deprecating series of ads for Priceline.com is causing a resurgence in the former Captain's popularity. And Chyna, for whatever it's worth, can kick your ass. Add in the shocking revelation that Dick (John Lithgow) is really the son of the Big Giant Head (Shatner), and this might be an interesting hour.
Also on Tuesday, Fox promises "the greatest find since King Tut," as Hugh Downs hosts "Opening the Tombs of the Golden Mummies: Live!" (8 p.m. EDT/PDT). We don't want to pick on the decision-makers at Fox, who are still trying to live down "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" and perhaps don't have the time to look more deeply into the genre of "opening things," but shouldn't Downs know better than this? After all, he used to work with Geraldo Rivera on "20/20" just before Geraldo decided it would be a good idea to open Al Capone's "vault" on live TV.
Sunday night, meanwhile, (sort-of) brought us the goods on two famous couples: Greg and Marcia Brady, and Paul and Linda McCartney. So, just what really went on between Greg and Marcia? NBC's "Growing Up Brady" dug up the dirt you wanted on the famed "Brady Bunch" duo. Barry Williams, who played Greg on the 1969-74 sitcom, executive-produced this TV movie (based on his autobiographical book of the same name) which promised "the affairs, the secrets and the scandals!" Cool! How does Florence Henderson fit into all of this? (Barely a peck.)
CBS, meanwhile, served up a much more sanitized brand of nostalgia in its biopic "The Linda McCartney Story," about the 30-year romance between Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell) (that rare, one-woman rock star) and photographer/activist Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell), who died in 1997 of cancer. If you are a fan of Paul, or the Beatles, this movie played sweet and sad, entertaining without offending. But it was also pretty bland.
"Whatever you do, do NOT refer to this film as a musical." That was the proclamation of British filmmaker Mike Leigh when "Topsy-Turvy" was screened at the New York Film Festival.
True, there are large-scale musical numbers, but these set pieces are there to illustrate and, in some cases, advance the plot. Instead, what Leigh has achieved is the most successful integration of theatrical production numbers and comedy-drama since Bob Fosse tackled "Cabaret" in the early 1970s. And like that movie, "Topsy-Turvy" is also set during a period of upheaval, although one more subtly portrayed.
Fans of Leigh's "social surrealism" (best demonstrated in the Oscar-nominated "Secrets & Lies" and the critically acclaimed "Life Is Sweet" and "Naked") will be in for a bit of a shock. In attempting his first large-scale period piece, the writer-director focuses not on the proletariat but on a turning point in the collaboration between bon vivant Sir Arthur Sullivan (a fine Alan Corduner) and the dour William S. Gilbert (an appropriately irascible Jim Broadbent).
The Victorian era mores were beginning to loosen, and Leigh slyly depicts this through Sullivan's relationship with the married Fanny Ronalds (Eleanor David), in some cast members' objections to loose-fitting costumes that press the boundaries of propriety, and by introducing technological innovations such as a reservoir pen and the telephone.
What is perhaps most impressive about this film, however, is that Leigh once again employed his tried and true methods of improvisations with the cast before actually writing the script. Despite the confines of historical fact, he has managed to craft an intriguing if overstuffed jewel box of a film. Some will carp over its split between biopic and backstage drama, while others may feel there are too many asides.
If Leigh has a weakness as a director, it is that he tends to include extraneous material. In "Topsy-Turvy," there are several such instances. On the other hand, Leigh is not a self-indulgent filmmaker; those added sequences are there either to provide background or to give a particular actor a moment. Still, there is a shapeless feel to the material, as if burdened with an excess of riches, Leigh felt he had to include it all.
The plot conflict arises from Sullivan's desire to compose loftier work than the popular operettas for which he became renowned. He voices his concerns that Gilbert (rankled by being called the "king of topsy-turvy" by the august Times of London) is repeating himself, and the pair is at loggerheads over fulfilling their contract with the Savoy Theatre. Through happenstance, Gilbert hits upon an idea that develops into "The Mikado," which rejuvenates their creative partnership.
On this rather slight outline, Leigh and company hang a visually and aurally beautiful film. Cinematographer Dick Pope bathed the film in crisp, clean lighting, lending it the look of history come alive, while production designer Eve Stewart crafted astonishingly detailed interiors and Lindy Hemming designed strikingly colorful costumes.
For the members of the D'Oyly Carte company, Leigh specifically hired actors who could sing. Among the more notable are Kevin McKidd, Jessie Bond, Timothy Spall and Martin Savage. While all of the actors turn in fine work, special note must also be made of Lesley Manville, whose heartbreaking performance as Gilbert's neglected wife gives the film some added dimension.
For those who prefer a more straightforward and comprehensive biographical film about the duo, they should check out 1953's "The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan" with Robert Morley and Maurice Evans. Those interested in a leisurely, if slightly meandering, but well-acted depiction of creativity filtered through Gilbert and Sullivan should check out "Topsy-Turvy."
* MPAA rating: R, for a scene of risque nudity.
Jim Broadbent: William S. Gilbert Allan Corduner: Arthur Sullivan Dexter Fletcher: Louis Suki Smith: Clothilde Wendy Nottingham: Helen Lenoir
A USA presentation. Director Mike Leigh. Screenplay Mike Leigh. Producer Simon Channing-Williams. Director of photography Dick Pope. Editor Robin Sales. Music Carl Davis and Arthur Sullivan. Production designer Eve Stewart. Costume designer Linda Hemming. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes.