The reality TV star wants to construct a massive beachfront facility, Trump on the Ocean, in Nassau County's Jones Beach State Park on the site of the former landmark restaurant Boardwalk Cafe, which was demolished in 2004.
Trump wants to extend the building over several floors, including a basement, but he has run into opposition from members of the community, who are concerned about sending workers to build a subterranean level in the area, which is an officially designated flood zone.
Critics have also complained about the size of the project and the potential traffic jams it could cause.
The Apprentice star won a court battle last month (Sep10) to build the lower level on the basis that the previous property also had a basement - but he admits he's outraged that New Yorkers aren't supporting his plans to improve what he has branded a "rat-infested dump".
He tells the Associated Press, "The word I'd use is incomprehensible... I was going to build a magnificent building on the boardwalk that would have made (urban planner) Robert Moses envious and proud. It would have been the best building in the entire state parks system... the finest dining and banquet facility in the world.
"This is the result of gross incompetence on the part of the state of New York. This would have been really successful, and they don't want that. It would have helped everybody."
Brosnan admits he was let go
Ex-James Bond Pierce Brosnan says he was basically let go from the lucrative franchise. According to an interview in the Toronto Sun, the 51-year-old Irish actor--in Nassau, Bahamas, promoting his upcoming film After the Sunset--said he was willing, even eager, to do a fifth and final Bond, adding that 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson had asked him to return. "And then one day the phone rang--I was here (in Nassau shooting After The Sunset)--and my agents told me that the goalposts had moved and that they had changed their minds." He added, "It was disappointing. It was surprising. And I accepted the knowledge (that his run as 007 was over for good) after 24 hours of being in shock." But Brosnan says he holds no resentment. "None, none, none! It's not worth having. If I did, it would make all the great decade, the four films, the lovely success, meaningless. Bitterness against whom and for what reason?"
The stars want you to vote
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of several celebrities who have made public service announcements encouraging young people to vote in the Nov. 2 election, The Associated Press reports. In his PSA, DiCaprio speaks about the environment, while Samuel L. Jackson discusses the possibility of a reinstated military draft, Justin Timberlake talks about education, and Benicio Del Toro encourages women to vote. The PSAs are set to go up on www.rockthevote.com next week. "We hope these PSAs help motivate young people to exercise their right to vote in this vital election," DiCaprio told AP.
Prince stirs it up again
Prince is getting more than a little heat over his new music video, "Cinnamon Girl," in which an Arab-American teen imagines herself as a suicide bomber, AP reports. The video features Keisha Castle-Hughes, the Oscar-nominated actress from the movie Whale Rider, playing a schoolgirl who witnesses a terrorist attack and then experiences racism from classmates and others. The racism pushes her to dream about carrying a bomb into an airport. The New York Post said it "might be the most tasteless video ever," Fox News commentator John Gibson suggested that Prince is "causing trouble," and CNN anchor Kyra Phillips said it is "shaking and rumbling the entertainment industry." The video's director, Phil Harder, told AP, "Prince intended for it to spark some dialogue," saying the lyrics show Prince is "sincere in wanting to speak to the times." He also emphasized that the video "resolves itself peacefully."
Bullock awarded $7 mil in real estate case
Actress Sandra Bullock was awarded $7 million Thursday in a lawsuit against the builder of her Texas dream house, Reuters reports. The Miss Congeniality star testified in the two-month long trial that she had paid $7 million for the 10,000-square-foot house on Lake Austin, but had never lived in it because of construction flaws, including water damage, a bad roof, wiring problems and holes in the masonry. Bullock, 40, was not in court because she went to Los Angeles to work on a new film, Reuters reports. Her father, John Bullock, told reporters the actress was pleased with the verdict, but had not decided what to do with the house.
O'Reilly vows to fight harassment charges
While promoting his children's book Thursday on Live with Regis and Kelly, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly vowed to fight sexual harassment charges by one of his producers, the AP reports. "If I have to go down, I'm willing to do it," O'Reilly said. "I'm going to take a stand. I'm a big mouth on the air and I'm a big mouth off the air." Trouble started Wednesday when O'Reilly filed a lawsuit accusing Andrea Mackris, an associate producer on The O'Reilly Factor, and her lawyer of seeking "hush money" during contract negotiations. Mackris, 33, filed her harassment claim against O'Reilly the next day. She alleges O'Reilly made a series of sexually explicit phone calls in which he advised her to use a vibrator, told her about sexual fantasies involving her and engaged in unwanted phone sex.
Jackson's trial will NOT be delayed
According to Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, the child molestation case against singer Michael Jackson will not be delayed beyond its Jan. 31 start date, Reuters reports. Melville issued his ultimatum as the two sides were still bickering over the exchange of evidence and claims from the defense that the prosecutors had engaged in misconduct before the grand jury. "I'm not interested in continuing this case beyond the trial date. That would be punishing me for your failure to comply with the rules," Melville said. "It's not in anybody's interest to prolong this litigation. I'm very serious about this." Melville postponed until November hearings on two key defense motions, one that would have Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon removed from the case and one that would lower Jackson's bail, AP reports.
Blake Judge Rules Taped Calls Irrelevant
A judge yesterday ruled two recorded phone calls--one between Bonny Lee Bakely and her future husband, Robert Blake, and the other involving her ex, Christian Brando--were immaterial to the Baretta star's case and would not be heard by jurors in the actors murder trial, the AP reports. In one call, Blake is heard urging Bakely to get an abortion and in the other, Brando suggests Bakely was lucky someone hadn't put a bullet in her head. Blake, 70, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Bakley, 44. The two were married months before her death and after DNA tests showed Blake, not Brando, was the father of her baby. "Certainly he had a right to be angry, just as Mr. Brando had a right to be angry at what she did. She used people, obviously," Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp said. Blake's trial is scheduled for Nov. 1.
Eminem launches channel on Sirius network
Eminem, who in July announced he planned to start a satellite music radio channel on the Sirius network, will launch the station Oct. 28 with a live broadcast of a concert from New York, Reuters reports. In a statement Thursday, Sirius said the new channel, Shade 45, will feature a full lineup of hip-hop music, stars and song mixers, and will have no filters or commercial restrictions. Sirius is a subscription-based network free from government restrictions on the content it airs. The pairing is an ideal one for Eminem, who has stirred controversy in the past with raps often construed as homophobic and misogynistic. Sirius also made headlines last week when it signed controversial shock jock Howard Stern to a five-year, $500 million contract to move his show from Infinity Broadcasting to satellite radio.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
LEOFEST TO LAUNCH: It's not just Santa who will be arriving any day soon. Leonardo DiCaprio will be delivering the official version of his LeoFest International Online Short Film Festival to the Web right after the New Year/new millennium celebration (a work-in-progress site is up now).
LeoFest is calling for anyone, anywhere (Tonga! Iceland! Wichita! You name it!) to submit for consideration a film of up to 15 minutes in any of the following categories: narrative, documentary, animation and alternative. Filmmakers will have to make transfers before they submit since LeoFest says that no film stock of any gauge will be accepted (Take that, Eastman Kodak!).
While prizes haven't yet been announced, we've heard that Leo himself will be awarding grand prizes of $20,000 to all finalists, and it's money right out of his own pocket. And we bet that the talent scouts at Leo's all-powerful management company, Mike Ovitz's AMG, will take a careful look at the cream of the entries.
Filmmakers worldwide should also know that they need to accompany each submission with $35 and create subtitles for any work that is not English-language. But just as the Web is fluid, no doubt LeoFest will evolve through a number of changes, as DiCaprio, aping actor-turned festmeister Robert Redford does his Sundance in cyberspace.
With the Kirk Douglas starrer "Diamonds" just opened, the big screen now has two high-profile features with major characters as stroke victims. Robert De Niro, in MGM's "Flawless," is stricken but ultimately and unexpectedly comforted by a compassionate drag queen neighbor (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
In the more lightweight "Diamonds," Douglas, who suffered a real stroke several years ago, delivers an enormously energetic performance as a former boxer who takes a road trip to Nevada with his son (Dan Aykroyd) and grandson (Corbin Allred) to recapture his youth and some hidden diamonds. Douglas sparkles like a "diamond" in this latest, but fans also wanting to recapture vintage Douglas can do so at The Screening Room's 16-film American Film Institute retrospective of the Hollywood royal which began over the weekend in New York.
MORPH 'N' OTHER THINGS:
Attendees at the Venture Capital in New Media Conference last week at New York's Columbia University, sponsored by Columbia's Business School, learned that "continuous morphing" -- a process of changing function and form together by way of dynamic differentiation and resource layering -- is the way for an Internet site to survive and thrive.
In less abstract terms, would-be Internet moguls were told that, content-wise, bigger is better (content will be king!) and that building a brand image to draw and retain traffic is also key. Of course, marketing is a must, but it's the timing of that marketing that is all-important. But that other m-word, "morphing," is what has pushed companies like Yahoo! to the forefront.
BUZZ CUTS ...
No Play, Please, I'm Skittish: She's a "name" actress we've seen on the big and small screen many times who once had a husband who still has an even bigger name than hers, but she devastated a New York theater company this week with news that she is bowing out of a play she committed to, after many meetings and a promise to star. She explained her last-minute bolt by saying she is "afraid" of the project....
Buzz Bits: Veteran TV talk-show host Sally Jessy Raphael is throwing a "Carnival in Venice" New Year's Eve party for the millennium for about 100 guests at her Pawling, N.Y., spread. Will any of the guests -- all asked to dress up for this costume ball - dare to show up as a certain vet talk-show host with signature flaming red glasses? ... Filmmaker Neil LaBute's controversial play "Bash," now running in Los Angeles with stars Calista Flockhart, Ron Eldard and Paul Rudd, is being taped Thursday for a premiere airing on Showtime. The play, which comprises three one-acts focusing on men (and a woman) as beasts, was named one of Time magazine's top 10 plays of 1999. Not so beloved by all scribes, "Bash" afforded brilliantly viscious critic John Simon the opportunity to outdo himself in a colossally mean and nasty attack of the play in New York magazine last summer. ... Hot film "Toy Story 2," again the top-grossing film this weekend, will have a very cold incarnation beginning Jan. 18 when Disney On Ice's all-live "Toy Story" takes to the ice at New York's Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. ... Yes, yes, yes. A certain film mogul we know swears that Roman Polanski ("Chinatown," "Rosemary's Baby"), the great director whose involvement with a 13-year-old has made him a persona non grata stateside for many years, will be allowed back into this country for the premiere of his upcoming "The Ninth Gate" in March.