Former cellmates Michael (Russell) and Murphy (Costner) are leaders of a posse that plans to pull off the heist of a lifetime: robbing the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during International Elvis Week. This means of course adopting full-on spangled jumpsuits sunglasses and "thank yuh thank yuh vurry much"-es. But when Murphy turns against the crew to keep all the loot for himself Michael escapes with it instead and heads for the border to launder it. He's sidelined along the way by a dalliance with a grifter (Courteney Cox) and her young son. Meanwhile Murphy's hot on his trail.
Costner turned down the chance to play Russell's part to take on the villain instead - and he looks like he's having the time of his life. Less filled out but more amoral than his baddie in the underrated "A Perfect World " Costner bats well as a foil to Russell who shows a barely visible vulnerability under the necessary roughness. Cox to her credit does a complete 180 from her uptight role on "Friends" as the sexually aggressive con-chick Cybil. Christian Slater David Arquette and Bokeem Woodbine make small appearances as part of the Elvis crew Howie Long and Ice-T kick some tail and Kevin Pollak and the long-absent Thomas Haden Church ("Wings") provide comic relief as bumbling lawmen.
"3000 Miles to Graceland" may seem like a caper reminiscent of last month's "Snatch " except there's a lot of bloodshed particularly during the casino robbery where machine gun blasts fling people across the room to land on cha-ching!-ing slot machines. Novice director Demian Lichtenstein's music video background is evident in his Guy Ritchie-esque cuts zooms and a way-bizarre computerized scorpion fight that kicks off the movie (what was that about?). His style and the Vegas ambience give the film a kitschy edge that disappears once the guys shed their Elvis garb. Stay for the credits - you'll see a costumed Russell lip-synching in his own music video as Costner Cox and crew dance about.
Top Story: Sandler Ties Knot
As Adam Sandler's Web site states, "Sandler got married: Woopity Doo!" The Associated Press reports the comedian wed his girlfriend, actress Jackie Titone, on Sunday in an outdoor ceremony in Malibu, Calif. Photographs of the nuptials showed Sandler in a black tuxedo and white yarmulke, and Titone in a white gown with spaghetti straps, standing among hanging pale rose bouquets and chairs draped with pink satin, AP reports. Even Sandler's dog, Meatball, got in the action, dressed up in a black tuxedo jacket. It is the first marriage for Sandler 36, and Titone, 28.
Lil' Kim's Jewelry Swiped at JFK Airport
Lil' Kim claimed she was robbed of $250,000 worth of jewelry when one of her bags was tampered with at the John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport Friday. AP reports the hip-hop artist's Louis Vuitton bag, which carried as much as $500,000 in jewelry, was mistakenly mixed with her regular luggage before boarding a morning flight to Los Angeles. When the bag was retrieved, it was found to have some jewelry missing, including her signature "Queen Bee" necklace. A spokesman for the Port Authority said Lil' Kim "filed a report for lost jewelry, and the incident is under investigation by the Port Authority police."
Harry Potter Book Flies Off Shelves
And the phenomenon continues. The release of the fifth Harry Potter installment Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Saturday set publishing records all over the world, including in the U.S., where on the first day alone an estimated five million copies were sold, AP reports. "We expected to sell 1 million copies in the first week and we sold that many within the first 48 hours," Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio told AP Sunday. Amazon.com shipped out more than a million copies of the new book, making Saturday the largest distribution day of a single item in e-commerce history, AP reports.
2003 Idols Gear Up for Tour
Ticket sales for the upcoming American Idol tour--which features the second season singers, including winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken--are already surpassing the sales from the first Idol tour, Billboard magazine reports. Expanding to 41 dates from 30 in 2002, the tour starts July 8 at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and wraps Aug. 31 at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. Tickets range from $25-$45 apiece, the same as last year, Billboard reports.
Nelly Sets Up Bone Marrow Search for Sister
Nelly has formed a bone marrow campaign in search of a donor for his sister, Jackie Donahue, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001. AP reports the Grammy-winning rapper was on hand for a drive in St. Louis, Missouri over the weekend. "It's not just a one-day event and you'll never hear from us again," Nelly told AP. "It could be a match for somebody else's brother or somebody else's sister."
Playwright George Axelrod Dies
Writer George Axelrod, best known for writing The Seven Year Itch, Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Manchurian Candidate, died Saturday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Cedric Show Yanked for Now
Fox Television has stopped production on the variety and sketch comedy show Cedric, starring Cedric the Entertainer but plan on running the remaining unseen episodes in the fall, Reuters reports. Despite Cedric's mediocre ratings, Reuters reports Fox originally wanted the show to return for a second season in the fall in hopes to keep the comedian in its fold until the network could develop a more suitable scripted comedy for him.
TV Movie About Fugitive Rapist Changes Ending
Producers of the Lifetime television movie A Date With Darkness: The Trial of Andrew Luster, about real-life fugitive rapist Andrew Luster, are having to rewrite the ending six days before wrapping due to Luster's capture Wednesday in Mexico. Reuters reports Luster, who was confined to house arrest during his trial on charges of drugging and raping three women, escaped five months ago but was apprehended by an American bounty hunter in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta. The heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune had been sentenced to 120 years in prison.
Role Call: Portrait of Dali To Hit Screens
Director Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) has signed on to helm Dali, a biopic on famed artist Salvador Dali. Variety reports the film will focus on the artist who captivated the American art scene with sex, sin and surrealism only to fall eventually into scandal and misfortune.
The Magdalene Sisters, British director Peter Mullan's pointed depiction of an abusive Catholic convent, won the Golden Lion for best picture Sunday at the Venice Film Festival. Earlier this week, the Vatican denounced the film, which depicts young women being imprisoned and tormented in convents for often-preposterous reasons, including having been raped. According to The Associated Press, Mullan told audiences, "As regards the film, it's not just about the Catholic Church and how they oppressed young women in Ireland. It's about all faiths, all fundamentalist faiths, that believe they have the right to oppress young women." Other winners included actress Julianne Moore, who took home best actress for Far From Heaven, and Stefano Accorsi, who won best actor for A Journey Called Love. Andrej Konchalovsky's House of Fools, a drama about a psychiatric institution on the Chechen/Russian border whose inmates are left to cope on their own after the staff flee from the war, won the Jury Grand Prix.
Jerry Lewis collapsed backstage at a London theater shortly before he was due to take part in a benefit show and was taken to an undisclosed London hospital, the BBC reports. The 76-year-old comedian has been plagued with health problems since the 1980s, including prostate cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and spinal meningitis. In an interview with the UK's Daily Mirror published Monday, Lewis was quoted as saying that the pain had been so agonizing that he had contemplated suicide. "In April it got so bad that it forced me to get a gun and seriously think about putting it in my mouth," he said.
Patty Duke remained hospitalized Friday and was listed in fair condition at the Kootenai Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, after suffering a concussion and skull fracture when a horse she was spraying with fly repellent apparently knocked her down, the AP reports. Her husband, Michael Pearce, said he heard a thump and a cry from his wife after he left her in the barn to spray the 2-year-old filly. Duke won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1963 for The Miracle Worker.
The AP reports an Oregon couple who purchased the childhood home of former Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain last month for $42,500 has put it up for auction on eBay with an opening bid of $200,000. The couple says they had no idea it was Cobain's house when they bought it. Cobain lived with his father and stepmother in the turn-of the-century home, valued at $52,660 in 2000, from age 11 to 15. As of Sunday there had been no bids. There's still time to submit yours--the auction ends Sept. 15.
Director James Cameron debuted part of Ghosts of the Abyss Friday at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Goleta, Calif., the AP reports. Ghosts, an underwater documentary on the sunken Titanic, was shot in 3-D using a lightweight camera designed by Cameron, his brother Mike and cinematographer Vince Pace.
Hip-hop sensation Lil' Kim will be making her big-screen debut in the urban Western indie Guns and Roses, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Directed by Higher Ed's Jean Claude LaMarre, the film, set in the 1800s, follows the journey of five female outlaws who are fighting to avenge the murder of one of their own. It also stars singer Bobby Brown, LisaRaye, Monica Calhoun, Marie Matiko and Louis Mandylor.
Madonna's Maverick Films is developing a TV movie with VH1 called How to be the Perfect Latino Popstar, a Pygmalion story set in the world of Latin music, Variety reports. Maverick partners Madonna and Guy Oseary will executive produce the movie, based on a script by Laura Angelica Simone.
Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was being treated in a Hamilton, Ontario, hospital Sunday for an undisclosed ailment, the AP reports. Lightfoot was rushed to a hospital in Orillia, 50 miles north of Toronto, on Saturday night shortly before he was set to perform at a concert promoting his latest album, A Painter Passing Through. He was later airlifted to Hamilton. Lightfoot, 63, and his wife have asked that no more information be given out at this time.
Gotham City, it seems, still needs a hero. Ben Affleck, currently seen in "Dogma" and the upcoming "Boiler Room," is the latest name to be linked with the "Batman" movies.
According to gossip columnist Liz Smith, Affleck is a "major contender" to play the Caped Crusader in Warner Bros.' latest "Batman" film. The franchise bottomed out in 1997 when Joel Schumacher's "Batman and Robin" earned a (relatively) disappointing $107.3 million at the box office. Batstar George Clooney joked that he may have killed the series.
But au contraire: Warner Bros. is reportedly considering two concepts for the latest sequel: One based on the animated WB show "Batman Beyond," in which an older Bruce Wayne passes his Batsuit to a teen-ager, and another based on the comic miniseries "Batman Year One," which traced Wayne's initial transformation into the Dark Knight. Affleck likely wouldn't fill the job if the first concept flies, since he's too old to be the teen-ager and too young to be a middle-aged Batman. Still, at 27, Affleck would be the youngest of the new-wave Batmen -- Michael Keaton was 37 when he first donned the cowl, Val Kilmer was 35 and Clooney was 36.
HELMING 'TOMB RAIDER': The name Lara Croft doesn't mean much in the movie world -- yet. But the video-game heroine soon will, thanks to Paramount's push to bring her to the big screen. According to Variety, the studio is in advanced talks with Simon West ("Con Air") to direct "Tomb Raider," based on Eidos Interactive's best-selling video games of the same name. Croft's buxom sexiness is the force behind "Tomb Raider's" popularity, and names such as Elizabeth Hurley and Sandra Bullock have been tossed around as possible candidates. The film, on Paramount's fast track, has yet to announce a start date.
COSTNER'S DARK SIDE: Kevin Costner, the quintessential American hero, looks to play a baddie in the indie film "3,000 Miles to Graceland" for Franchise Pictures. According to the Hollywood Reporter, director Demian Lichenstein has been courting Costner to play the killer role for some time, and Costner's reps are trying to fit the picture into his schedule.
IT'S ALL GREEK TO MANN: Golden Globe nominee Michael Mann ("The Insider") is in negotiations to direct "Gates of Fire" for Universal Pictures. Based on Steven Pressfield's Greek epic novel, the film follows the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. when 300 Spartan warriors held back rampaging soldiers from the Persian Empire for six days before being massacred. No start date has been set.
SICK DAY: Nicolas Cage's new film "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" is currently minus a director. Roger Michell ("Notting Hill") has dropped out of the production due to illness. The drama, based on Louis de Bernieres' 1994 novel, is about an Italian captain, played by Cage, who has a tumultuous affair with the local doctor's daughter. Universal Pictures and Working Title Films have set the production to begin in April and are now courting director John Madden ("Shakespeare in Love") to helm the film.
What will September bring?
Plenty, say the major TV networks as they begin their weekly series of meetings in New York known as the TV "upfront," hyping their 2001-02 TV schedules to advertisers. As much as 80 percent of next season's ad inventory is bought during this time.
NBC and the WB have announced their lineups, with ABC scheduled to make its presentation Tuesday.
NBC will shake things up a little. It has lessened its sitcom load by scheduling only eight comedy series, including three new sitcoms, the lowest the network has aired in two decades. Gone is the Sunday night movie, an NBC staple since the mid-1970s. It also is banking on its new primetime game show, The Weakest Link, to prosper. The Anne Robinson-hosted quizzer will remain at 8 p.m. Mondays while a second serving will now air at 8 p.m. Sundays.
A new sitcom with much to prove is Inside Schwartz, about a sports fan (Road Trip's Breckin Meyer) whose thoughts are revealed through conversations with sports figures. NBC will air it at 8:30 p.m. Thursdays following Friends, a time slot notorious for such failures as Jesse and The Single Guy. The series comes from the creators of Just Shoot Me and Mad About You. NBC is looking to combat the dent CBS' Survivor put in the famed NBC Thursday Must-See TV schedule, which was once virtually unbeatable with Friends kicking off the night. The rest of Thursday will remain the same with Will & Grace, Just Shoot Me and ER.
NBC also will add three new dramas, changing the schedules on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while keeping Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays intact.
Mondays will lead off with The Weakest Link, with Third Watch moving to 9 p.m., followed by a new drama series, Crossing Jordan, with Jill Hennessy as a female coroner.
The new sitcom Emeril, to air 8 p.m. Tuesdays, stars the TV chef Emeril Lagasse in a "show-within-a-show" scenario. And in the 9:30 p.m. spot will be the last new sitcom, Scrubs, about hospital interns, from the makers of Spin City.
On Sundays, another extension of the Law & Order franchise, called Law & Order: Criminal Intent, will air at 9 p.m. UC: Undercover, about an elite unit at the U.S. Justice Department, will follow at 10 p.m.
Say goodbye to DAG, which starred Delta Burke and David Alan Grier; The Fighting Fitzgeralds, with Brian Dennehy; and the popular 3rd Rock from the Sun, which is in its final season.
Midseason candidates include a new comedy with Seinfeld's Julia Louis-Dreyfus; another new sitcom, What Are You Thinking, starring Hank Azaria; and Leap of Faith; from the creators of HBO's Sex in the City.
Losing Buffy the Vampire Slayer to UPN was a major defection for the fledging WB. Now one of its other popular shows, Charmed, also may go through some unexpected changes.
The WB picked up Charmed for a new season, but Shannen Doherty, one of the three witches/sisters who call themselves "the power of three," is leaving the show after three seasons.
"We have had a long and prosperous relationship with Shannen and we didn't want to hold her back from what she wanted to do," Spelling Television, Charmed's producer, released in a statement. "We wish her all the best and much continued success."
"We hope to see her back on the network in the future," the WB added in its statement.
This is not the first time that Doherty has walked away from an Aaron Spelling-produced show. In 1994, Doherty fled Beverly Hills, 90210. Spelling welcomed Doherty back with open arms in 1998 when he cast her in Charmed.
Nan Sumsky, Spelling Television's director of series publicity, said Monday that it was unclear whether Doherty will be replaced. The show's two other costars, Alyssa Milano and Holly Marie Combs, will return.
"It would be hard to have a 'power of three' without a third," Sumsky added.
Still, the WB has negotiated multiple-year deals with four of its top-rated series: Dawson's Creek, 7th Heaven, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Felicity. The network also is keeping the Buffy spin-off Angel, but did not renew its option with the sci-fi show Roswell. UPN is now in serious negotiations to pick up Roswell.
New shows to be added to the WB's fall schedule include: Deep in the Heart, a sitcom starring Reba McEntire, and Smallville, a drama about the young Superman mythology. The WB also will launch a "reality wheel" on Sundays, with two new shows, Lost in the USA and No Boundaries.
Popular, Jack and Jill, Grosse Pointe and The Jamie Foxx Show, which recently aired its final episode, will not return.
Possible ABC fall schedule
Looks like ABC is weaning itself off of the Who Wants to be a Millionaire juggernaut, now that the writers strike has been averted. The Regis Philbin-hosted game show will now just air twice weekly come the fall.
The Alphabet Network is adding a variety of new and returning shows, with reality, sitcom and dramas among them. A few new sitcoms are planned, including Bob Patterson, about a motivational speaker, starring Jason Alexander, and a Jim Belushi-led family vehicle. There also will be a new Steven Bochco drama, Philly, starring Kim Delaney, to compliment the return of NYPD Blue. ABC also is relying on its reality programming, bringing back another installment of The Mole and a new show, The Runner. ABC will make its announcement Tuesday.
It's been two years since the end of an era for "Seinfeld," and Julia Louis-Dreyfus" is thinking about returning to the tube.
And thinking is the operative term here.
According to Daily Variety, the erstwhile tube actress has been meeting with top programming execs at some of the major networks of late. And while she is said to not be "dying" to get back to the sitcom circuit anytime soon, the trade paper did say that Louis-Dreyfus is at least looking at scripts and meeting with writers.
JOINING THE BEAT: Variety also says that David Straithairn will join the CBS cop/mob drama "Big Apple," with actors Michael Madsen, Donnie Wahlberg, Kim Dickens, Jeffrey Pierce and Ed O'Neill already on board.
PARTY OF THREE: "Party of Five" co-star Scott Bairstow, "Thirtysomething" actress Patricia Wettig and James Handy will join the cast of "Breaking News," Variety says. Set at a 24-hour news channel, the series will debut on cable's TNT in June.
Although ABC's giant "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" is making lots of folks richer (including network suits), a couple of people still aren't happy. One, apparently, is host Regis Philbin, who reportedly is making eyes at his contestants' money.
According to today's New York Post, Philbin is asking to be paid $250,000 an episode -- more than double his current $100,000-per-episode haul. With the show said to be adding a fourth night (Wednesdays) to its schedule, that means Philbin would be angling to become a millionaire -- each and every week.
"It's all very friendly. It's just not resolved," an unnamed source tells the newspaper's Page Six gossip column. "Regis is so tied to ABC, he's not going to mess around. It's kind of a family deal. They are in business together."
All this probably doesn't mean much to contestant Bob Bass, who walked away with $32,000 on Thursday but is contesting the question that stumped him.
On the installment, Bass was asked: "Who was the youngest president at his inauguration?" Bass answered John F. Kennedy. He was told the answer was Theodore Roosevelt.
For the record, Kennedy was inaugurated Jan. 20, 1961, at age 43; Roosevelt was sworn in after President McKinley's assassination in 1901 at age 42. Roosevelt didn't get his own official inauguration until March 4, 1905, after he won his own election -- and by then he was 46.
Yes, we looked this all up. And, yes, we're standing by you, Bob.
No comment from ABC on the Regis contract situation -- or the suspicious question.
DOH! It's curtains for a cast member of Fox's "The Simpsons," which in the grand name of February sweeps plans to kill off one of its cast members. And, according to reports, Maude Flanders, wife of Homer's annoying neighbor Ned Flanders, seems to be the front-runner for the job. Other possibilities include school principal Seymour Skinner and Moe the bartender.
"We're in our 11th season, and we're always looking for new ways to shake up the show a little and do something that might open up new story possibilities," Mike Scully, the show's executive producer, told The Associated Press.
While Scully wouldn't confirm Maude's demise, there are clues: First, Maude's voice-over actor, Maggie Roswell, recently left the show. And secondly, the killer episode is titled, "Alone Again, Natura-Diddly" -- an apparently reference to Ned's annoying overuse of the word "diddly."
The episode airs Feb. 13.
TOUCHDOWN! The St. Louis Rams may have emerged the big winner in Sunday's Super Bowl, but ABC didn't do too shabbily, either.
The telecast drew a 43.2 rating and a 62 share, up 7 percent from last year. Overall, more than 130 million viewers watched the big game, making this year's St. Louis-Tennessee Titans rumble the 19th-highest rated Super Bowl and the fifth most-watched telecast in U.S. history.
We have no specific figures, but we're pretty sure beer-and-chips consumption was pretty high Sunday, too.
IT'S LIKE, A DEAL: Peter Mehlman, a former "Seinfeld" writer and the creator of "It's like, you know ..." has signed a three-year deal with DreamWorks Television worth a low eight figures, according to Daily Variety. Mehlman, whose show was recently canceled, will continue to develop and produce series programming. There won't be an "It's like, you know ..." movie, though. "I have a 22-minute personality," Mehlman said.
New Orleans International Airport might soon honor one of the city's most beloved personality, Louis Armstrong, by changing its name, the Associated Press reports. Mayor Marc Morial asked the New Orleans City Council and the Aviation Board to pass an ordinance making the proposed name official. The name change could be done in time to celebrate the late trumpeter's 100 birthday on Aug. 4.