Top Story: Johnny Depp To Manage Crew of Oompa Loompas
Johnny Depp has been offered the role of Willy Wonka in director Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a Warner Bros. remake of Mel Stuart's 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This will be the third reteaming for Depp and Burton, who previously collaborated on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. According to Variety, talks could potentially break down between the studio and Depp's UTA reps, since the commercial success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl gives the actor an upper hand in the negotiations. The adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic is being produced by Michael Siegel, who manages the interests of the author's estate, and Plan B partners Brad Grey, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. A script for the pic is in the works, but Warner Bros. has moved carefully over the years to prep the remake; Dahl adapted his novel for the original Willy Wonka movie but wasn't content with the result.
Production Resumes on Raymond Set
Production resumed Tuesday on CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond following the return of co-stars Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle, who had called in sick the day before. Co-star Patricia Heaton also was out sick several days last week, but the actress did report to work Tuesday, Reuters reports. The show's set has been rocked by the deadlock between producers and Emmy-winning co-star Brad Garrett, who has demanded a raise before he returns. Garrett was subsequently written out of next month's premiere episode.
Plastic Surgeons Snippy About Nip/Tuck
The FX network's hit drama Nip/Tuck, which follows two plastic surgeons who run a successful practice in Miami, is apparently getting under the skin of real life plastic surgeons. Dr. Leo McCafferty, chair of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery's public education committee, claims the show perpetuates the belief that all plastic surgeons do is stretch skin and stuff breasts rather than work with burn or accident victims. "The specialty is a medical specialty that deals with real medical issues," McCafferty told the AP. Maybe so, but according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some 6.6 million people had cosmetic plastic surgery last year, with most popular procedures being nose reshaping, liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery and facelifts. Last week, Nip/Tuck was the 11th-ranked cable show.
The Fab Five Head to Miami
The Fab Five from Bravo's hit reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will guest star as themselves on an episode of the NBC comedy Good Morning, Miami in the show's upcoming second season, Reuters reports. In the scene, Carson Kressley, Thom Filicia, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas and Jai Rodriguez will meet Dylan and Jake in New York, where the couple moves, and will transform their little studio apartment into a nice living space. The episode is set to air Oct. 7 and will also feature guest appearances from Good Day Live's Jillian Barberie and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Tiffani Thiessen.
Harrison Ford Guests at Deauville Film Fest
Harrison Ford will be the star guest at next month's Deauville Film Festival in France, The Associated Press reports. The 61-year-old actor will promote his latest action comedy Hollywood Homicide. Other stars expected at the festival, which honors American cinema, include John Cusack, Ed Burns, Charlize Theron, Ridley Scott and Jessica Lange. Ten films will compete for the Jury Prize, while another 15 will be shown out of competition, including Hollywood Homicide, American Wedding and Woody Allen's Anything Else. The 29th annual Deauville fest runs from Sept. 5-14.
Erik Estrada Sues Production Company
Former ChiPs star Erik Estrada filed a lawsuit Monday against White Tiger Films for $75,000, claiming the studio reneged on paying him when it decided against making a proposed movie, the AP reports. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, the 54-year-old actor was set to appear in Four Corners of the Mafia and was to receive $25,000 a day for three days' work, regardless of whether the movie was made. The provision is standard in many actors' contracts to prevent them from losing income after committing to a failed film project.
Magician David Blaine Reveals Next Stunt
For his next stunt, magician David Blaine will suspend himself from a crane in a small Perspex box for more than six weeks. According to the BBC, Blaine will have no communication for the duration of the stunt and his only source of nourishment will be a tube supplying him with water. The event will start September 5 on the banks of the River Thames in London and end October 19. This will be Blaine's first UK stunt. Britain's Sky One TV will air a live telecast of Blaine gong into the box and then again exiting. His past stunts have included standing on a 100-foot-high pole in New York City for 35 hours and encasing himself in a six-ton block of ice for three days.
Role Call: Hip-Hop Director Eats Up Jelly Beans
Grammy-nominated hip-hop video director Chris Robinson, whose recently helmed the video for Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams' "Beautiful," will direct Jelly Beans for Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project is described as a music-oriented feature set in an Atlanta roller-skating rink in the vein of
Doug Henning, the perpetually upbeat, curly haired, mustachioed magician who made illusion a multimedia affair (on the road, on stage, on television) in the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 52.
Henning had suffered from liver cancer for five months.
Henning revived the popularity of magic through the rock musical "The Magic Show" in the 1970s, which ran on Broadway for more than four years. He returned to the stage for "Merlin" and "Doug Henning's World of Magic" in the 1980s. Henning is survived by his wife, Debbie.
The hip-hop world, meanwhile, is mourning the loss of Big Punisher (a.k.a. Christopher Rios) who died Monday in New York at age 28. The 698-pound Puerto Rican-born rapper, whose double-platinum album "Capital Punishment" spawned the hit single "Still Not a Player" in 1998, was thought to have suffered a heart attack. A Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiner, said that while Rios had an enlarged heart and other health problems, the cause of death would not be determined until autopsy tests were complete. Rios is survived by wife Liza and three young children.
In other obituary notices: "Lonesome" Dave Peverett, lead singer of the British blues-rock quartet Foghat, died Monday at age 56 of complications from liver cancer; and Hercules, the grizzly bear who starred in Disney films, commercials and once wrestled with Roger Moore in the James Bond film "Octopussy." Hercules passed away Monday at age 25.
LEAPIN' LIZARDS: OK, warning to potential "Magnolia" moviegoers: If you don't want to read about a key plot point, THEN SKIP THE REST OF THIS ITEM.
Anyway ... those frogs that rain down on "Magnolia" at the end of the film? Well, they're widely assumed to be a biblical reference to the book of Exodus. But director Paul Thomas Anderson says the inspiration came from writer Charles Fort first, God second.
Fort was known for compiling clippings about strange, unexplained phenomena, and Anderson used his story about three men being hanged named Green, Berry and Hill in a town called Green Berry Hill to open the film. He also found the frog-shower tidbit from Fort's various accounts.
"He thought it shouldn't be explained or that there was a far better explanation. He believed in a place called Megonia, a mythical place above the firmament where stuff would go up to and hang out before dropping back down to Earth. 'Magnolia' is a little tribute to that," the 30-year-old director says in Daily Variety. "And it sounds funny, but he believed that you can judge a society by the health of its frogs. That doesn't seem too crazy to me because our frogs are getting all deformed and dying."
EXPECTING: "Spin City's" Michael Boatman, who plays Carter, the deadpan-funny gay special assistant on minority affairs, is about to be a father again, according to People magazine. Boatman, 35, and wife Myra are expecting their second child, due in July. The baby will join sister Jordan, 3 ... ...
"Baywatch's" Brooke Burns, 21, is expecting her first child with husband Julian McMahon of NBC's "Profiler." The two were married Dec. 22.
IN COURT: Looks like "Veronica's Closet" co-star Wallace Langham will have to face hate-crime charges after all. A Los Angeles judge refused Monday to drop the case, in which Langham was accused of beating a gay tabloid reporter during a supermarket altercation. Despite a civil settlement between the actor and the journalist, the judge says the case must go forward because it was "a fairly brutal attack" and because Langham, 34, allegedly used slurs against the victim. ...
... Rapper-entrepreneur Sean "Puffy" Combs pleaded not guilty Monday to charges he was in possession of two illegal guns after a Manhattan nightclub shooting Dec. 27 that injured three people. Combs was indicted Jan. 13 with criminal possession of a weapon. Combs and girlfriend Jennifer Lopez were taken into custody after they allegedly fled the scene of the shooting in the rapper's sport utility vehicle, but Lopez was released without charges after questioning ...
... And we're happy to report that John Tesh has won back his name. Celebsites.com has agreed to return the cybername Johntesh.com to the ex-"Entertainment Tonight" host after the TV personality-musician filed suit in federal court.
LAUDED: The Publicist Guild of America has announced its nominations for the Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Awards, honoring PR types.
In the film categories, the nominees are the publicists for "American Beauty," "The Matrix," "Stuart Little," The Talented Mr. Ripley and "Toy Story 2"; the television nominees are "Annie," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Judging Amy," "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "The West Wing.". The awards will be handed out March 22 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. ...
... Tom Sherak, chairman of 20th Century Fox's Domestic Film Group and senior VP of Fox Filmed Entertainment, will receive the Sherrill Corwin Humanitarian Award at ShoWest for his involvement with numerous charities. The National Association of Theater Owners will give Sherak the honor, which has not been awarded since 1994, during its convention March 6-9 in Las Vegas.
QUICK TAKES: Two-time Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman will pull the early-morning shift to help announce the nominations for the 72nd Annual Academy Awards bright and early Feb. 15. He'll be joined by Academy President Robert Rehme. ...
... Jude Law ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") has joined the presenting team for Oscar night March 26 at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. ...
... Elizabeth Taylor is scheduled to hold an online chat session on AOL Live from 9-9:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday as a kickoff to Valentine's Day. Ironically, Dame Liz will be advising men on romantic gifts and other gestures. Tip No. 1: If your lady can't remember if your present was better than that of hubby No. 4 or No. 7, it's a very bad sign.