The singer, who made her directorial debut in 2008 with Filth and Wisdom, plans to tell Simpson's story in Wallis, which would chart her love affair with English King Edward III, who gave up the throne to marry her.
Madonna is said to be lining up Blanchett for the lead role, while she is considering Dr Who star David Tennant to play Edward, according to British newspaper The Sun.
A source tells the publication, "The final script is now written and the locations have been scouted. Madonna is now trying to assemble the cast and put the finances in place. The first scene is an old woman in her nineties living on her own in a Parisian flat (apartment), she starts to tell her life story to a housekeeper and it turns out the woman is Wallis Simpson. There will be a song for every decade of her life."
Former football star O.J. Simpson has criticized the media for its coverage of Paris Hilton's prison sentence.
The socialite was readmitted to jail on Friday at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, California, to finish the 45-day sentence she began earlier this month--after a judge reversed the decision to allow her to complete the sentence under house arrest.
But Simpson, who in 1995 was acquitted of the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, believes the media circus surrounding Hilton's jail sentence was over the top.
He says, "When Paris Hilton was going to jail last week, more people knew about that than knew that we were sending people into space that day.
"It has replaced what is real news. There was always a place for it, but it was (gossip writer) Rona Barrett. Now it is the equivalent of Edward R. Murrow reporting it today."
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Macaulay Culkin arrested on drug charges
Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin was arrested Friday in Oklahoma City, Okla., on suspicion of possessing marijuana and a controlled substance, Reuters reports. According to the arrest report, an Oklahoma City police officer pulled over a car speeding on a highway in the city. Culkin, 24, was a passenger in the car driven by a man from New York. The officer asked Culkin and the driver, identified as Brett M. Tabisel, to step out of the car after he had given the officer permission to search the vehicle. The two said they were driving from New York to Los Angeles. The officer found the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and sleeping pills in plastic sandwich bags and 17.3 grams (0.6 ounce) of marijuana in a metal cigarette box. The two were reportedly cooperative with the search and quickly surrendered the drugs. According to the report, Culkin obtained the prescription drugs without a prescription. After spending about two hours in jail, Culkin was released Friday night on $4,000 bail, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department said. Culkin, who most recently starred in the film Saved!, did not talk to reporters when he left the jail, Reuters reports.
Edward Furlong busted in lobster ordeal
Actor Edward Furlong also did jail time last week. The Associated Press reports the Terminator 2 star was arrested Wednesday night in Florence, Ky., on a misdemeanor charge of alcohol intoxication in a public place. According to the police report, Furlong, an animal-rights supporter and vegetarian, was arrested after he and some friends removed lobsters from a tank at a grocery store. He argued with store managers, who then called police. According to his arrest citation, Furlong was unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol, the citation said. He spent about 1 1/2 hours in the Boone County jail before his release. The actor is in the area to shoot his latest film, Jimmy & Judy.
Jackson regrets paying off past molestation claims
During a break in his child molestation pretrial hearing Friday, Michael Jackson's attorney read off a statement aimed at rumors and leaks surrounding the case, including reports he paid off past molestation claims. "Many years ago, he did pay money rather than litigate two false allegations that he had harmed children," attorney Tom Mesereau said. "Mr. Jackson now regrets making these payments." Dressed in a white suit and flanked by family members, Jackson stood by as Mesereau read the statement. Mesereau said Jackson had been pressured to make payments by his advisers and by a music industry that "did not want negative publicity from these lawsuits interfering with their profits," Reuters reports. Jackson was in court in Santa Maria, Calif., to watch the mother of his young accuser take the witness stand.
Toronto film fest hands out awards
Hotel Rwanda and Omagh won top honors Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival, which ran from Sept. 9-18. Hotel Rwanda, based on the true story of a hotel manager who saved hundreds of lives during the country's 1994 genocide, won the People's Choice award, which are voted on by regular moviegoers. Past People's Choice winners include the Oscar winners American Beauty, Life Is Beautiful, Shine and Chariots of Fire. The Discovery award, chosen by journalists who attended the festival, went to Omagh, about the relatives of victims of the 1998 bombing in Northern Ireland. Other prizewinners included the New Zealand film In My Father's Den, which won the Fipresci prize given by a jury to an emerging filmmaker. Canadian film prizes went to comedy It's All Gone Pete Tong and French-language horror La Peau Blanche (White Skin).
French director flips bill for free screening
French director Claude Lelouch, who held free screenings for his film Les Parisiens Friday after it was trashed by critics, told RTL radio in an interview he must now flip the bill for $182,700. "It'll cost me about a million francs ($182,700)," Lelouch said. "(Audiences in the) theaters were enthusiastic ... People loved it. And since (Friday), I am getting even more messages than before." Lelouch, whose 1966 film A Man and a Woman won Oscars for best foreign film and screenplay, said about 40,000 people had watched the film in 400 theaters. "It's been 40 years that I've let myself be criticized. I've shut my mouth for 40 years," he said of his move to try to drum up public support for the film by offering the free screening.
Papa Simpson starts new record label
Jessica Simpson's father and manager, Joe Simpson, is starting a record label. Reuters reports JT Records (named for Simpson and his wife, Tina), a joint venture with Geffen Records, calls for the new label to deliver at least two albums per year. Geffen will pay all costs, with profits split evenly between the two entities. JT's first act will be the male quintet Barefoot, whom Simpson describes as a cross between Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Third Eye Blind. The band is expected to release its debut next spring. Simpson, who also handles the careers of his two daughters, Jessica and Ashlee, says he was also courted by Warner Music Group (Simpson manages breaking artist Ryan Cabrera, whose music is distributed through WMG's E.V.L.A./Atlantic label) and Sony BMG (Jessica is on Sony BMG-owned Columbia).
Porn studios get first condom fines
The California Division of Occupational Health and Safety on Friday slapped fines on two Los Angeles-based porn production companies for allowing actors to perform without condoms, Reuters reports. Evasive Angles and TTB Productions were fined $30,560 each for making porn movies that it said exposed three actors to HIV infections. It was the first time the Cal/OSHA had taken regulatory action against the lucrative adult film industry in what is dubbed "Porn Valley" in the San Fernando Valley area of L.A. Last April, five actors tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, causing the porn industry shut down voluntarily for a month following the outbreak. Porn producers have resisted compulsory condom rules saying consumers do not want to watch safe sex. But Cal/OSHA said porn actors had the same legal right to a safe workplace as employees in more conventional businesses.
Six months after his breakup with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake is finally talking about it. Timberlake told People magazine that he still can't say the words "break up" because it hurts too badly. "You get to a point where you're crying yourself to sleep at night," he said. "I feel like I'm in the middle of a soap opera. I honestly know what it's like to have a broken heart now." Timberlake appears in People's June 24 issue, featuring "America's Top 50 Bachelors."
"I want that," is what Michael Jackson told his entourage about Queen Elizabeth's golden throne while touring Britain's Houses of Parliament on Friday, Reuters reports. Jackson--with friends magician David Blaine and psychic spoon bender Uri Geller--visited Westminster, where his unannounced visit took tourists by surprise. The bizarre trio is now headed to the city of Exeter for a children's charity event organized by the local soccer club, which is headed by Geller.
Former Party of Five star Jennifer Love Hewitt is releasing her debut album, BareNaked, on Sept. 24, Reuters reports. The self-titled single from the album, which was co-written by Hewitt and Meredith Brooks, will hit the airwaves July 1.
Director Joel Schumacher is developing a remake of the 1937 film A Star Is Born for Warner Bros. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schumacher may also direct the pic, which is being produced by Jon Peters, with Will Smith in talks to take on the starring role.
British actor Jason Statham, who played Turkish in 2000's action comedy Snatch, has joined the cast of The Italian Job by director F. Gary Gray. According to Variety, the film focuses on a heist crew out to steal gold bullion by creating the largest traffic jam in the history of Los Angeles. The film also stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Edward Norton.
Pamela Anderson may soon be sending out her résumé. Columbia TriStar Domestic Television is pulling the plug on Anderson's syndicated action/adventure series, V.I.P., Reuters reports. In a statement Thursday, Columbia Tristar blamed the show's cancellation on financial troubles.
William Shatner will host a new series of late-night movies on the Sci-Fi Channel called William Shatner's Full Moon Fright Night starting July 20, The Associated Press reports. As well as introducing movies, Shatner will re-enact gruesome scenes from that night's film.
Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Sting, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Randy Newman were honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday night, the AP reports. Liza Minnelli and her husband, David Gest, accepted the award on behalf of Jackson, who is currently in Great Britain. The ceremony will air on the Bravo network Oct. 7.
Model Niki Taylor said that she has lost some of her hair and may require back surgery to fix a curvature of the spine when she gave her first interview to Us Weekly magazine on Thursday. Taylor said she suffers from constant pain, lingering nightmares and has had about 40 surgical procedures. "I now have scars all over my stomach - it looks like I have a 16-pack," she told the publication. Taylor added that the scoliosis resulted for her two-month stay in bed. Antibiotics caused the hair loss, and the sides of her legs are numb due to nerve damage. "When I look in the mirror, I see a survivor. I see a fragile but strong person. And I love her," she said.
Television producer Aaron Spelling received the lifetime achievement award from The Friars Club of California on Oct. 24 for the hours of television entertainment he has provided to audiences worldwide and for his efforts in the Los Angeles community, The Associated Press reports. Some of his biggest television hits include Beverly Hills 90210, Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Fantasy Island. Proceeds from the event went to the Friars Charitable Foundation, City of Hope National Medical Center and the Sept. 11 Fund for victims of last month's terrorist attacks.
The American Film Institute will honor actor Tom Hanks with the 30th AFI Life Achievement Award for his commitment and understanding of American history during a ceremony at Hollywood's new Kodak Theater on June 22. "Tom Hanks is American film's every man for a new generation," AFI board of trustees chairman Howard Stringer told Reuters. The ceremony will be aired by USA Network on June 23.
Michael Jackson will give a sneak preview of his upcoming release Invincible on his official Web site, www.michaeljackson.com, on Oct. 26. According to a Michael Jackson press release, the King of Pop will log on for a live audio chat at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT and the 24-hour streaming of his new album will begin at 12 p.m. ET/ 9 a.m. PT.
Producers of the syndicated show Crossing Over With John Edward have decided to not air footage of the host trying to contact people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Reuters reports. Edward, who claims to communicate with the dead, recently taped some "readings" for viewers who asked him to contact their relatives. Although producers claim that the show was "inundated with calls and pleas for readings," they decided that the subject matter was too sensitive to air on television.
Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has reportedly bought a huge villa north of Denmark and plans to settle there, Se & Hoer (See & Hear), a popular Danish magazine reported on Oct. 25. The magazine also said that Tyson felt safer living in Denmark after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, Reuters reports.
Michael J. Fox helped the University of California, San Francisco to kick off a drive on Oct. 24 to raise $1.4 billion to help its medical research institute find a cure for Parkinson's disease. "It's been a tremendous blessing to me in many ways," Fox told AP of his diagnosis. "It has opened my eyes to the staggering work researchers are doing."
The producers of the Broadway musical The Producers are trying to undercut illegal ticket sales by setting aside 50 tickets to each show and charging $480 per ticket, AP reports. The decision was made after months of watching scalpers resell tickets for staggering prices. "Those moneys belong to the people who created the show, pure and simple," Rocco Landesman, one of the play's producers told The New York Times on Oct. 24. The producers will donate $150 from every $480 ticket to the Twin Towers Fund for several months.
Barbara Streisand has sold her six-room pad on the 20th floor in the Ardsley building on Central Park West and 92nd Street for $1.99 million to a "highly qualified couple," The New York Post reports. The singer's apartment had been on and off the market for the last 10 years.
ABC anchorwoman Carole Simpson said that she regretted releasing false information at an Oct. 16 International Women's Media Foundation conference in New York that led to her two-week suspension from Sunday's World News Tonight. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Simpson told the conference that This Week's co-host Cokie Roberts had received a suspicious letter and had contracted anthrax along with her 7-month-old infant. But later the letter was proved uncontaminated and left officials upset that Simpson had bypassed the network's process for disseminating anthrax information.
Billy Joel has given permission for the New York musical The Thoel Project to use about 15-20 of his songs to tell the story of three Vietnam vets, People.com reports. The musical will debut next year and will be choreographed by Twyla Tharp and produced by the Nederlander Organization.
When gullible small-town square Paul (Biggs) gets a scholarship to a prestigious New York City university he's ripe for the plucking from the likes of his spoiled rich roommates (Zak Orth Tom Sadoski Jimmi Simpson). Meanwhile Paul's classmate Dora (Mena Suvari) tries to balance schoolwork off-campus jobs and a covert relationship with her world lit professor (Greg Kinnear). Will Paul and Dora two very different breeds of social outcast find a way to hook up? You don't need SAT scores in the 99th percentile to figure that one out.
Biggs' natural goofiness and Everyboy likability go a long way toward making "Loser" watchable but there's little the talented young actor can do with the lifeless increasingly predictable storyline. Suvari who functioned well enough as "American Beauty's" teen lust object ranges from weak to downright awful trying to navigate a lead role in this vastly inferior film. Kinnear lends a piggish charm to his people-using misogynist prof easily the film's most entertaining character.
Writer-director Amy Heckerling who so successfully mined the comic potential of '80s and '90s youth culture in the genre classics "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless " scores surprisingly few laughs in moving her act to an institution of higher learning. To its credit "Loser" shows more respect for the audience's intelligence than the average campus comedy fare taking the time to delve into a few real issues (teacher/student relationships inequalities between rich and middle-class students) along the way but the results simply don't generate the sparks Heckerling's earlier high school films did.