Top Story: Farrelly Brothers Try Small Screen
Filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the sibling team behind the hit comedies There's Something About Mary and Shallow Hal, are developing a TV project for Fox. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will revolve around a telemarketer with limited physical appeal and a dismal love life who hits the jackpot after a script he writes on the side becomes a popular TV series. Despite his success, he remains a Hollywood outsider who still can't score with women. Ricky Blitt, who wrote the pilot script with Peter Farrelly, describes the show as a "cross between CSI: Miami and Benson." The Farrellys will direct the pilot, and will executive produce with Blitt, who is expected to play the lead on the show. The Farrellys, who came up with the idea for Seinfeld's infamous "The Virgin" episode, plan to write three or four episodes a year and help punch up every script for the show.
Public Memorial for Gregory Peck
A public memorial service for Gregory Peck is set for Monday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles, The Associated Press reports. Peck's longtime friend Brock Peters, who played Tom Robinson, the black man Atticus Finch defended in the 1962 drama To Kill a Mockingbird, agreed to deliver the eulogy, while Cardinal Roger Mahony will preside over the memorial. Peck died Thursday in Los Angeles at age 87.
Missing Oscar Statuette Found
FBI agents on a drug investigation in Miami found something they weren't looking for: one of three missing Oscar statuettes stolen three years ago from a loading dock in Los Angeles. The statuette was found in the Fort Lauderdale area in Broward County Thursday and has been verified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as one of 55 stolen after they were shipped from their Chicago manufacturer to Los Angeles, the AP reports. Fifty-two of the gold-plated statuettes were recovered next to a trash bin nine days after the theft, but until now, three had remained missing. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.
Nolte Accused of Violating Probation
A judge in Malibu, Calif., told Nick Nolte, who was ordered not to drive under the influence after his Mercedes-Benz was seen swerving near his Malibu home last December, that he is checking into reports that the actor had violated his probation in a driving-under-the-influence case. The allegation that Nolte violated his parole stems from the TV program Celebrity Justice, which reported that an anonymous tipster saw Nolte intoxicated and buying alcohol from a San Francisco-area liquor store and then driving away. The 62-year-old actor told reporters on the way into the courtroom Friday that he has not been drinking.
Actor William Marshall Dies
Actor William Marshall, who appeared in several dozen films and popular TV series, including Star Trek and The Jeffersons, died Wednesday in a Los Angeles rest home at the age of 78. The actor also starred in the 1972 movie Blacula and its sequel, Scream Blacula Scream, modeling his character on the original Count Dracula, the tormented Eastern European royal in Bram Stoker's 19th-century novel. Marshall, who suffered in recent years from Alzheimer's disease, is survived by three sons and one daughter. A memorial service will be held this summer.
Punk'd Star Inks MTV Deal
Ryan Pinkston, the 15-year-old co-star of Ashton Kutcher's hit MTV series Punk'd, will topline a new series project for the channel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. No details about the deal have been released. On Punk'd, Pinkston, who stars in Dimension Film's upcoming 'tween pic Spy Kids 3, often poses as a red-carpet interviewer who asks celebrities offensive questions. Pinkston has also snagged a role as the son of the only white family on board the maiden flight of an urban airline in the MGM comedy Soul Plane.
David Bowie Launches World Tour
Singer David Bowie is launching his most extensive world tour in more than a decade, Clear Channel Entertainment announced today. According to Billboard.com, Bowie's seven-month long Reality tour, named after his forthcoming album, will begin Oct. 7 at the Forum in Copenhagen and hit Europe, the U.S., Australia and Japan before wrapping up in March 2004. On stage, Bowie will reportedly walk through a house, with each room representing a different era from his career, including his half-man half-beast persona from his 1974 hit Diamond Dogs. It will be Bowie's first major tour since the hugely successful Outside World tour of 1995. He is scheduled to play North America in December and January.
P. Diddy Relaunches Record Label
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is relaunching his Bad Boy Records label with the soundtrack to the upcoming feature Bad Boys II, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Unlike many soundtracks, Bad Boys II, set for release July 15, consists entirely of previously unreleased songs and features artists Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Beyonce Knowles, Mary J. Blige, and Snoop Dogg, Billboard.com reports. Bad Boys Records had been affiliated with Arista Records, but the two companies parted ways last year. Combs brought the label to Universal earlier this year under a three-year deal in which Universal will market, distribute, and promote Bad Boy releases worldwide.
Top Story: Vandross' Condition Improves
Luther Vandross was moved out of intensive care Thursday for the first time since suffering a debilitating stroke April 16, Reuters reports. "I am happy to report that Luther Vandross continues to improve and that he is more and more responsive each day," Carmen Romano, his business manager and longtime friend, told Reuters. "I feel as though I am watching a modern-day miracle," he added.
Eminem's Ex-Wife Busted for Possible Drug Possession
Kim Mathers, former wife of Grammy-winning rapper Eminem, may be looking at drug charges after police found what looked to be cocaine in her car during a routine traffic violation, The Associated Press reports. Mathers was pulled over Tuesday in St. Clair Shores, Mich., for failure to change lanes to move away from an emergency vehicle that was parked on the shoulder, police told AP, and was arrested for driving with a revoked license. She was released pending further investigation, and no formal charges had been filed as of Thursday afternoon, AP reports.
Love Is in the Air
As if we didn't already know, Harrison Ford has officially announced he is in love with actress Calista Flockhart, according to People magazine. "Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love and I think there is potential for it at any stage of your life. I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love, and I wasn't surprised that I did. But I'm very grateful," Ford, 60, told People.The couple met at the January 2002 Golden Globes.
Peck's Spirit Hovers Over De Niro's AFI Tribute
As the American Film Institute honored actor Robert De Niro Thursday with a lifetime achievement award, it was the spirit of film icon Gregory Peck, who had died earlier that day, that permeated the ceremony. Reuters reports as De Niro took the stage to thank the audience and participants for his award, the actor paid simple homage to Peck. "Good night and good night Gregory Peck," De Niro said.
Hawaiian Kudos for Davis, Reiner
Director Rob Reiner and Geena Davis were both honored at the Maui Film Festival Thursday night, AP reports. Reiner's award was given "for his heartfelt professional commitment to making films that matter and his long held personal commitment to work for social justice and the triumph of the human spirit." Oscar-winning actress Davis was presented the festival's Stella Award for selecting roles that show women making choices that empower their lives.
Berry Files Suit Against Former Homeowner
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry filed a $2 million lawsuit against the former owner of her home, claiming the house she and her husband, Eric Benet, recently bought needed more than $1 million in repairs, AP reports. Berry claims they paid more than $2 million for the Beverly Hills house, but found out only after the purchase that it "contain[ed] major undisclosed [geological] defects that would require over $1 million in corrective measures."
Lee Wins Fight Over Name…For Now
Spike Lee was granted a temporary cease and desist in using the name Spike TV. AP reports a Manhattan judge on Thursday granted the 25th Hour director's petition and ordered Viacom, Inc. to stop using Spike TV as the new name for its TNN Network, pending a trial on the issue. The court, however, also ordered Lee to post a $500,000 bond to cover Viacom's losses in case the company wins, AP reports.
Fake Britney Spears Gets Fake Breasts
Reuters reports a waxwork model of the pop princess, to be displayed at Madame Tussauds museum in London, will be equipped with a pair of inflatable breasts that will pulsate in time to her dancing. The museum wants to make its models not just visual but tactile. "Brad Pitt has got a squeezable (latex) bum, but Britney would be the first with heaving bosoms," the museum's spokeswoman told Reuters.
Role Call: Latifah Hails Taxi, Marshall Takes on Geisha
Queen Latifah is set to star in the 20th Century Fox film Taxi. No, it's not a big screen version of the hit TV sitcom but a remake of the 1998 French film of the same name. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story centers on a speedy cabbie (Latifah) who teams up with an eager young cop to solve a series of bank robberies…Chicago director Rob Marshall is poised to helm the film adaptation of the popular novel Memoirs of a Geisha, to which director Steven Spielberg was once attached. Geisha follows the life of a young Japanese girl who becomes a very famous and sought-after geisha.
Frank Ramaesiri, the St. Louis jewelry salesman who sold the video of a topless sunbather to Penthouse, telling the magazine it was Anna Kournikova, testified on Tuesday he mistakenly thought the woman was the tennis star due to the diameter of her nipples. Now how would Ramaesiri, a non-professional photographer, know the diameter of Kournikova's nipples, you may ask? Reuters reported that the salesman told the court he had seen pictures of the Russian beauty in a sweat-soaked tennis dress revealing her nipples, and "the diameter matched what we had on film," he said. Plus, he added, the sunbather looked Russian.
The "sunbather" was actually Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton. While Penthouse has issued a formal apology to both Kournikova and Soltesz-Benetton, the women are still pursuing cases against the infamous magazine for damages.
Steven Spielberg is finally making his life complete--he's graduating from college. After dropping out nearly three decades ago to pursue his career, the famed director, 55, will receive a bachelor's degree from California State University Long Beach, where he recently finished courses in the film and electronic arts major.
Jason Alexander, on the other hand, wants to teach college. The former Seinfeld star will be instructing other young actors on the University of Southern California campus under the George Burns Distinguished Visiting Professor in Performance program.
Rapper Jay-Z won't be moving into that $6.5 million penthouse in New York's trendy TriBeCa complex, after all. He pulled out of the deal without giving a reason, but owner Peter Arnell blames neighbors for sabotaging the deal. Arnell claims two tenants, Lynn Fisher-Hill and Lewis Taffer, posted notices in the halls, referring to the rapper's criminal record and lifestyle of violence, The Associated Press reports.
Jennifer Lopez shelled out the dough for her new Miami home. She recently bought a $9.5 million waterfront mansion in Miami Beach, with a view of Biscayne Bay. Her celebrity neighbors include Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin and the Bee Gees, Barry and Robin Gibb.
Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines, two veterans of the Broadway stage, will be hosting the Tony Awards June 2. This marks the second time for Hines, who co-hosted with Glenn Close and Nathan Lane in 1994. It'll be the first hosting gig for Peters.
Anne Heche may be heading for Broadway lights. She could replace the departing Jennifer Jason Leigh in David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Proof at the Walter Kerr Theater in New York. Mary-Louise Parker originated the play's lead role of Catherine, the grief-stricken, troubled daughter of a math genius, in spring 2000.
In the Biz
Another large ensemble piece for Robert Altman? Go figure. Variety reports the veteran director may sign up to helm The Company, a large ensemble project about ballet dancers, with Neve Campbell (Scream) attached to star as a young dancer distracted by other things. Apparently, there are about 50 roles to be had--piece of cake for Altman.
Jay Kay, the lead singer of the funk band Jamiroquai, was involved in an altercation Wednesday at the post-premiere party for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones in London. Kay's agent told Reuters the singer found his new car damaged and confronted the suspected culprit. Kay suffered some facial injuries.
There is no love lost between rapper Eminem and Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne Cheney. She has been very vocal in her criticism of the recording industry, often citing Eminem's music as offensive. He countered by flinging a four-letter word at her in his song, "White America," on his soon-to-be released album The Eminem Show. Now, now, Marshall.
In a rare appearance, three of rock and roll's greatest legends--Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley--were honored by Broadcast Music Inc. They received BMI's Icon Awards at the 50th annual pop music awards show Tuesday and were recognized for their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," Reuters reports.