Top Story: Ryan, Soderbergh Join Jury at Cannes
Representing the Hollywood contingent, actress Meg Ryan and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh will serve on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival next month, The Associated Press reports. Joining them on the nine-member panel, whose primary purpose is to award the festival's highest honor--the Palme d'Or--are French director Patrice Chereau, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, French actors Jean Rochefort and Karin Viard and Italian writer Erri De Luca. It was also announced Wednesday that Notting Hill director Roger Michell's new film The Mother will be one of the films featured during the festival's prestigious sidebar, the Directors Fortnight, Variety reports. The film is about a 65-year-old English woman who has an affair with her daughter's boyfriend.
"Chamber of Secrets" Sells Big on Home Video
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets sold more than 6 million VHS and DVD copies combined its first day on the shelves. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film was released on Friday, April 11--instead of on the usual Tuesday--and went out simultaneously in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Spain and Scandinavia.
Brando Settles With Former Girlfriend
Marlon Brando has settled two lawsuits filed against him by his ex-girlfriend, Maria Cristina Ruiz, who claimed the eccentric actor fathered three children with her during a 14-year relationship. Donald Woldman, an attorney for Ruiz, told Reuters terms of the settlement were confidential but resolved both a paternity action that dealt with issues of child custody and support and a second lawsuit seeking palimony.
Britney Gives Up Stalking Case
After lawyers for both sides reached an agreement, pop princess Britney Spears dismissed her case against a Japanese man, Masahiko Shizawa, who she claimed stalked her last year, Reuters reports. Spears had filed a restraining order against Shizawa last December after he sent her hundreds of love letters and tracked her down at several of her residences. Shizawa's lawyers maintained the stalking allegations were "a cultural misunderstanding."
The Catfight Turns Uglier
Sporting a bruised chin, Sharon Osbourne went on the syndicated series Celebrity Justice Wednesday, and accused Renee Tab, a talent agent, of slugging her at a restaurant last Thursday, City News reports. Tab, who has been in a running dispute with the MTV matriarch over a necklace Tab won at an Osbourne party Sharon claims Tab wasn't invited to, fired back the same day that it was Osbourne who started the row by spitting on her. Los Angeles police took dueling battery reports from the women, both of whom reportedly sought treatment for their injuries. Neither has been arrested.
"Watching Ellie" Returns
Seems some people still want to watch Ellie. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus sitcom's low ratings last year nearly got it canned, but when a new and improved show premiered Tuesday on NBC it came in at No. 2 in its timeslot with 9.8 million viewers, Reuters reports.
J. Lo Oh So Chic!
Luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton snatched up sultry singer-actress Jennifer Lopez to represent them for their fall-winter advertising campaign, AP reports. Designer Marc Jacobs wanted a "contemporary icon" to represent the company and sought "a sophisticated, influential and sexy woman," Vuitton told AP.
Actors Protest Union Merger
Nearly 50 actors, including Rob Schneider, Diane Ladd, Valerie Harper and Tyne Daly gathered outside the Screen Actors Guild headquarters Wednesday to protest the proposed merger between SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AP reports. Attempts to merge the unions have failed in the past primarily because SAG members, who are mostly film and primetime TV actors, have been unwilling to share power with the daytime TV actors, broadcasters and recording artists represented by AFTRA. To be passed, the merger needs approval from 60 percent of the members of each union.
Role Call: Fisher Tackles Foster Care, Nolan Looking for "Prestige"
Screenwriter Antwone Fisher, who chronicled his troubled youth in the drama Antwone Fisher, directed by Denzel Washington, has chosen a comedy as his next feature for New Line Cinema. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story focuses on the foster care system and is a cross between Big Daddy and Problem Child… Meanwhile, all Christopher Nolan wants is a little Prestige. Variety reports the Memento director has signed on to direct The Prestige, which is based on a novel by Christopher Priest and follows two young stage magicians in 1878 who become embroiled in a bitter rivalry after attending a séance. Jude Law is being considered for one of the main roles.