Ice Cube is clearly becoming a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. The multitalented rapper-actor will begin filming The Big Ticket for DreamWorks in January. But for Ice Cube, this is just another notch on an otherwise brimming belt.
O.J. Simpson, move over
Steven Spielberg came up with the story for The Big Ticket in 1999. The action comedy focuses on a banker who obsesses over car chases on the evening news--until he one day becomes a victim of such a crime.
After a car jacking finds him on the other side of the TV camera, the banker's life suddenly depends on unraveling an elaborate scheme involving a kidnapping and a bank heist.
Ice Cube will play the wrongly convicted man who car jacks the banker. The two end up in a car chase, O.J. Simpson-style, where they find out more about one another.
The film will reportedly unfold in real time.
Director Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) was originally considering the project but instead went to work on DreamWork's The Mexican, starring Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt.
DreamWorks also announced recently that Johnny Knoxville would star in the flick as the banker.
Knoxville is probably best known for his role on the MTV series Jackass. The show, which features dumb pranks and stunts, is co-produced by Knoxville. He created the show with Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine. On the big screen, Knoxville appeared in the 1995 comedy Desert Blues and was credited as "a college guy" in last year's Coyote Ugly.
Though his film repertoire is short, Knoxville has several projects lined up for next year, including two films directed by Barry Sonnenfeld: Big Trouble with Tim Allen and Rene Russo, and Men in Black 2 with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
Ice Cube is keeping busy with his Friday franchise for New Line Cinema. Friday After Next will go into production in the fall for a Thanksgiving 2002 release. Ice Cube wrote the script for the third installment and is producing the comedy with Matt Alvarez. He also will be busy promoting his new films Ghosts of Mars, which comes out on Aug. 24, and All About the Benjamins, coming out Jan. 18.
The Big Ticket was written by James Herzfeld, who also scribed 15 Minutes, Meet the Parents and its sequel, Meet the Fockers.
Lensing will begin on the project, which is out to directors, in early 2002 in Los Angeles.
'N Sync heartthrob Justin Timberlake told Rolling Stone magazine on Tuesday that he wants to do a duet with pop princess girlfriend Britney Spears." "I feel like we still have artistic growth to show, and maybe after that, then I'll think about it. It definitely would be a spectacle. It would be huge," he said.
'N Sync fans are still having a hard time coping with the recently confirmed two-and-a-half-year romance between Timberlake and Spears. On July 21, MTV premiered Road to Celebrity, a listening party where the members of 'N Sync played some songs of their new album prior to release date. After fans asked Timberlake about his relationship with Spears and he said he loved her, they booed. "Hey, booing isn't going to change anything," Timberlake said to them.
The pair made a perfect match when they went public with their relationship last March, but it gets to be a bit irritating when both constantly talk about each other (Timberlake describes her as "the cream of the crop"). The big question is, will any of Timberlake's 12-year-old fans who are still upset about his romance with Spears buy his new single? Many fans who once liked Spears stopped liking her after they heard of the romance between the two. Sometimes a duet between musicians who are dating can be cute (gag), but how long does it last? We all remember Jessica Simpson's duet "Where You Are," (as well as her relationship) with 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, don't we?
Jackson tribute causes family feud
Poor Michael, all he wanted to do was celebrate his music career. But a month shy of the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration show, the long-anticipated reunion of the original Jackson 5 brothers is slowly falling apart.
On July 20 Reuters reported a statement made by Jackson 5 members Jermaine and Randy saying they would not participate in the show because of "exorbitant" ticket prices. As fans (and media) began to doubt the reunion would take place, brother Marlon issued his own statement apologizing for the confusion caused by Jermaine's statement, which Marlon claimed was "totally false." He apologized and said that Randy had "never seen the statement" and confirmed his presence in the event.
Talk about brotherly love....The fact that the Jackson family constantly points fingers at one another no longer comes as a surprise to fans, who could care less who said what to whom or who's accusing whom, but who just want to know if there will be a Jackson 5 reunion or not. It's time to put the dirty laundry aside and give the fans something they want to see. It's the music that matters; maybe that's something the Jackson family still has to learn after all these years.
Hetfield joins McLean in rehab
Looks like rehab is the rock star's version of a summer spa. Only two weeks after Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean checked himself into an undisclosed location to treat his alcohol abuse and depression, Metallica frontman James Hetfield jumped onto the (band) wagon as well. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Hetfield entered a rehab facility to treat alcoholism and "other addictions." Ironically enough, alcoholism and drug abuse is the reason why Metallica fired their former lead singer (and now Megadeth lead singer) Dave Mustaine from the group in the early '80s.
In the meantime, Metallica has canceled all of its scheduled activities, including a July 29th party marking the relaunch of their official Web site, www.metallica.com, and the recording sessions for their first studio album since 1997's Reload.
We're not gonna take it...or are we?
Wait, is that Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder? Oh sorry, Christina, from behind you almost looked like him. The "Lady Marmalade" team of Christina Aguilera, Mya, Pink and Lil' Kim picked up six nominations for this year's MTV Video Music Awards, which airs on Sept. 6 at New York's Opera House. Some of the "Lady Marmalade" team's nominations include Best Dance Video, Best Pop Video and Best Video from a Movie (Moulin Rouge). As if the video didn't play enough on MTV, or the song on the radio. Well, I guess 30 pounds of makeup and very little clothing is what guarantees these performers a spot onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Beatles to release another greatest hits album
The surviving members of the Beatles are considering releasing yet another greatest hits album to follow the huge success of last year's compilation release 1, drummer Ringo Starr told the syndicated TV show Access Hollywood on Tuesday. "There's a couple of projects in the works," Starr said. "Nothing will be out until next year and we're all going to meet up again in October and finalize what it will be. I mean, everybody wants the No. 2s."
It makes sense for a band as famous as the Beatles to put out a greatest hits album to remember the best songs of their career, but haven't they done that enough times already? The Brit band released the two-CD sets 1962-1967 and 1967-1970 years ago, as well as the three Anthology albums in 1996--all including the same songs. Why would anyone want a 2--to own the same songs with a different album cover? It begins to defeat the purpose of a recollection album altogether. If the Beatles released an album featuring different versions of their songs that might be worth buying, but a sixth compilation CD featuring the same recycled music is clearly a rip-off.
So, what's it like when you sell your movie at Sundance? Like this: You drive through the streets whooping, yelling, cranking up the stereo and tossing black Adidas ski hats to the unwashed (and un-picked-up) masses.
The groovesters of "Groove" are, yes, grooving. A day after Sony Pictures Classic snapped up the low-budget slice-of-rave-life flick, the film's players were partying in the streets here this afternoon. And to hear one of its stars tell it -- this was situation normal, big-time movie deal or no.
"We've been partying since Day One of shooting and that's all it was, was 28 days in a warehouse, dancing 18 hours a day," actor Steve Van Mormer told Hollywood.com while dancing atop the SUV-anointed "Groove" Mobile. "And we haven't stopped since."
Not that the Sony deal hasn't made the day of even the most veteran party animals.
"It is unfathomable," said Van Wormer, who plays a club promoter in the flick. "It was always in the back of our minds, but it's a total, total dream. ... It's unbelievable. I don't even know what else to askfor."
Meanwhile, in other Park City happenings:
BIG "BUCK": "Chuck & Buck," a different kind of buddy film starring the directing-producing brothers behind 1999 summer smash "American Pie," was bought today -- reportedly for $1 million-plus -- by Artisan Entertainment, the distributor behind that other 1999 summersmash, "The Blair Witch Project." The deal was completed after the "Groove" one, leaving that film with the distinction of being the first Park City buy. "Chuck & Buck," with hot "Pie" sibs Chris and Paul Weitz, is the second feature from Miguel Arteta, who became a Sundance star with 1997's "Star Maps."
GOLDEN GLOBES? WHAT GOLDEN GLOBES? OK, so tonight's official Sundance party was billed as the DirecTV Golden Globes party -- except, like, it started at 9 p.m. local time (or roughly just as the award show was ending) and, like, nobody cared anyway.
Reports Hollywood.com's Gerry Katzman: "Fifty percent of the people there had very little concept that the Golden Globes were even going on." The other half were juiced that Alan Ball took a Globe for his screenplay for "American Beauty" (almost like an indie -- except for the DreamWorks part).
And then there was the matter of Barbra Streisand. (She picked up the Globe's lifetime achievement award.) The word that came up most often, Katzman says, in describing Streisand's acceptance speech was, um, "rambled."
MAYBE WE WERE AT THE WRONG PARTY: The big shindig in town tonight (perhaps the one that emptied the streets) was apparently the MGM-sponsored Globes bash. This one wasn't for journalist types -- it was for "the special people," in the words of a fellow journalist type (i.e., a nonspecial person).
THE ORIGINS OF BUZZ: "Oh, it's really good." -- A cell phone disciple on her way out of Saturday's premiere of boxing chick flick (and Dramatic Competition hopeful) "Girlfight" at the Park City LibraryCenter.
HOW TO PARK IN PARK CITY: Stop your SUV in the middle of Main Street -- and get out. (Leaving the engine running is optional, if not recommended. At least that's how three drivers -- two in one lane, one in the opposite -- did it at the same time here Sunday night, much to the delight of their fellow motorists.)
PARKING ASIDE, WE'RE A WELL-BEHAVED BUNCH: Park City police Sgt. Sherm Farnsworth told us today all has been pretty quiet in packed Park City -- flier controversy or no. The Slamdance types, as we reported earlier, have been complaining that their filmmakers are being hassled over handbills and threatened with $2,000 fines. Farnsworth said no actual citations had been issued through the weekend. He also denied that police were springing a new law on festivalgoers -- as Slamdance had suggested. ("Why they say that ... I have no idea," Farnsworth said.) The anti-flier ordinance has been on the books for a while, the official said, adding that police are just cracking down this year. In other civic news, Farnsworth estimated that the biggest Park City population crush is yet to come, with up to 30,000 expected to be milling about town Wednesday and Thursday. No word on how many will come bearing fliers.
WHO SAID MOVIE PEOPLE HAVE NO STANDARDS? "I can't just whip out a power schmooze -- 'How 'bout them Knicks?'" -- A conflicted guy overheard tonight on Main Street.
THE MOST WELL-INFORMED MALL IN AMERICA: Park City's Main Street Mall (home to the No Dance Festival), where the communal TV sets are inexplicably always tuned to CNN.
HOW TO ELIMINATE THE COMPETITION: New to Park City this year is the Independence Film Festival. It's the brainchild of filmmaker David Merwin, who has a very specific agenda: To screen his short, "The Regular Menu," as many as 100 times by Wednesday morning. "The Regular Menu," in fact, is the only film on the menu at the Independence Film Festival, based near Slamdance headquarters at the Treasure Mountain Inn. Said Merwin: "We could have hustled up some other entries, but I kind of liked the idea of being the guaranteed grand-prize winner thisyear."
MOVIES WE SAW:
1. "Songcatcher" (Sundance Dramatic Competition) -- We had to get up early to watch this stuff? Janet McTeer plays a 1920s musicologist who chooses to move to hillbilly country to live with her lesbian sister schoolteacher (Jane Adams) and discovers the joy of native folk songs. Unfortunately, almost every freakin' scene features dirty-faced mountainfolk breaking into song. It's both annoying and unrealistic -- as if the hillbilly lifestyle was not too divorced from that of a Broadway gypsy. A great performance by Aidan Quinn (as McTeer's love interest, a hillbilly with a heart of gold) and an unbelievable supporting turn by Pat Carroll ("The Little Mermaid") can't make up for the film's contrivances. (-- AnonymousSource)
2. "Double Parked" (Slamdance Competition Feature) "Tumbleweeds" (and/or "Anywhere But Here") with a New Yawk accent. Like those two wacky-mom/put-upon-kid flicks, "Double Parked" gives us a wacky single mom (who, in a twist, is as a tough-talkin' meter maid name of, ugh, Rita) and a put-upon kid (who, in a twist, is sickly). Though heartfelt, this is the kind of film that shows up on IFC or the Sundance Channel full of a self-congratulatory sense of entitlement that says, "We're indie. We're better than Hollywood because no cars were crashed to make this film." Well, no cars were crashed to make "Anywhere But Here," either, and it's just as cloying as that, so what's the point? (-- J.R.)
MOVIES WE WANTED TO SEE BUT COULDN'T GET TICKETS TO EVEN THOUGH WE WAITED OUT IN THE BITTER COLD FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF: "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" (Sundance Documentary Competition).
SPOTTED: Indie god Steve Buscemi ("Living in Oblivion") at today's "Songcatcher" screening at the Eccles Theatre; indie guru John Pierson (TV's "Split Screen"), animation icon Craig "Spike" Decker (of Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation) and James Woods ("Any Given Sunday") at the Independent Film Channel bash tonight at the Harry O's nightclub. We also thought we saw Kato Kaelin (The People vs. O.J. Simpson) at the IFC shindig, but upon further review it was determined it wasn't Kato, after all. (It was that kindof night.)
LOOKING AHEAD: The Jason Priestley-directed documentary "Barenaked in America" (about the pop band Barenaked Ladies), plays Slamdance on Monday; the buzz-a-rific "Happy Accidents" (with Marisa Tomei) unspools at Sundance; alternafest SlamDunk begins its run at Harry's O.
"Ally McBeal" is getting a new friend: Indie guy. James LeGros James LeGros, the so-called Brad Pitt of the indie film world, is set to join the cast of Fox's hit lawyer show -- a sort-of testosterone reinforcement as series stalwart Gil Bellows prepares to exit.
According to reports today, LeGros will bow on the show in May (as in, yes, the May sweeps). The 37-year-old actor will play a thirtysomething lawyer name of Mark Albert. In USA Today, "Ally" creator David E. Kelley says he sees the LeGros character (and a couple of other new ones still to come) as rocking the boat at the all-too-precious firm of Cage/Fish Associates.
The LeGros casting comes at a time of relative upheaval for the still-young, still-popular series. By the end of this -- its third season -- "Ally McBeal" will have said goodbye to Bellows (as lawyer Billy Thomas) and Courtney Thorne-Smith (as lawyer Georgia Thomas). The status of Lisa Nicole Carson (as prosecutor Renee Radick) is fuzzy. She's still with the show; she just hasn't been on the show much since -- per her own account to the National Enquirer -- she did a stint in a New York psychiatric ward after living like "a one-woman party" around the holidays.
Being an indie dude, LeGros isn't really best known for anything, although he has starred in a number of films, including "Living in Oblivion."
HEATHER'S SPIN: Heather Locklear is terribly happy with "Spin City," is terribly happy about the sitcom's impending move from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen and is just terribly happy. So a rep for the actress tells the New York Daily News, denying rumbles that Locklear is, um, not terribly happy (or optimistic) about the prospects for the ABC sitcom after Michael J. Fox departs at the end of this season.
CUT OUT: This item was going to be about how Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective disgraced on the stand during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, had been hired as a consultant by ABC morning news show "Good Morning America," except now he's not. Protest from staffers nixed the deal that would have seen the ex-cop turned author on the dole as a paid consultant for his expertise on a Connecticut homicide allegedly involving a member of the Kennedy clan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.