As expected, Variety reports Rosie O'Donnell has countersued the magazine publisher Gruner+Jahr in response to a suit the publishers filed Tuesday, alleging O'Donnell's "unilateral and wholly unjustified abandonment" of her magazine, Rosie. They are asking for $100 million in damages. O'Donnell's suit claims it was G+J who breached their contract and forced her to leave the magazine that bears her name and brand. O'Donnell's attorney Mary Jo White told Variety, "When all the facts come out in the course of litigation, we're confident that a court will find that Rosie's decision to terminate the agreement with G+J was justified by G+J's misconduct, and that the court will award her significant monetary relief."
In an effort to boost himself back up to the A-list, Nicolas Cage has dumped his longtime Brillstein-Gray manager Gerry Harrington. Cage's films of late (i.e., Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Windtalkers) have tanked at the box office. "While I appreciate the friendship, support and professional guidance that Gerry has provided me for the past 12 years, I have made the decision to continue without management," Cage told Variety. Smart move, Nic.
Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst will join Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a new film from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich). Variety reports the film will once again explore the recesses of the brain as a man (Carrey) tries to have a steamy ex-relationship erased completely from his mind. Dunst will play a receptionist who gets caught up in the memory elimination process.
Antonio Banderas will star as Pancho Villa in the HBO Films production And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, focusing on a real-life incident in 1914 when Villa sold the rights to his life story to the movie industry to help raise funds for the 1910-1917 Mexican Revolution. U.S. filmmakers shot actual battles for the silent film The Life of Pancho Villa.
British director Ken Loach is encouraging teenagers to break the law to see his movie. He told London's Daily Telegraph that the "18" rating he received from the British Board of Film Classification for his new film Sweet Sixteen is completely unjustified. The rating bars those under 18 from seeing the film, which uses graphic language in its realistic depiction of a teenager who gets involved in the Glasgow, Scotland, crime and drug culture.
American Idol co-host Brian Dunkleman will not be returning for a second season of the hit reality series. The stand-up comic's reps had been talking to Fox about a deal but Dunkleman's spokeswoman told Variety he has decided to pursue other opportunities. The other co-host, Ryan Seacrest, will be returning for more Idol fun as will judge Simon Cowell.
James Brown may lose his $400,000 home and property on Beech Island off the coast of South Carolina. In a lawsuit won by SouthTrust Bank, the Godfather of Soul has been ordered to repay a $900,000 loan he borrowed to buy a building in Augusta, Ga., in 10 days or the bank will cash in on Brown's assets, including his house. The singer can, however, stop the process if he sells the building for the same amount as the debt.
MTV News reports the 9/11 benefit single "What More Can I Give," which was recorded a year ago by Michael Jackson (with Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and others) is finally getting airplay--even though its not supposed to. New York station WKTU-FM has been playing the song for a week, even though Sony Music Entertainment has never released it. WKTU's programming director refuses to say how the station got the song.
Les Miserables is leaving the Great White Way after a 16-year run. Get the full story at our sister site, www.broadway.com.
The Fox network hopes to produce a sequel to the hit reality series American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in time for a January or February bow, Variety reports. The show, which premiered June 11, has averaged 9.8 million viewers over a six-week period. It follows wanna-be pop stars competing for a recording contract, with viewers eliminating contestants via viewer phone calls. British judge Simon Cowell is expected to return, but it's uncertain whether judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, as well as hosts Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, will return for the second installment.
Leadfoot publicist Lizzie Grubman, who mowed down 16 people outside the Conscience Point Inn in Southampton with her Mercedes SUV last July, broke down in a tearful apology after a judge said he would soon set a date for her trial. The 31-year-old has pleaded innocent to a 26-count indictment for second-and third-degree assault, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If convicted, she faces seven years behind bars.
The 1960s British cult TV series Thunderbirds, which used puppets and models in a process dubbed "supermarionation," will be turned into a live-action movie to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, Variety reports. Frakes, who played Commander William Riker on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, last directed the children's adventure Clockstoppers for Paramount Pictures.
Twentieth Century Fox will produce a Bollywood thriller called Ek Hasina Thi, with Ram Gopal Varma attached to direct. A Fox official told Variety this is the first time a Hindi film will be produced by a foreign company. The film is expected to start shooting in August.
The Simpsons will make its 14th season debut this fall in an episode titled How I Spent My Summer Vacation, featuring rockers Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, Lenny Kravitz and Elvis Costello. But according to Reuters, there are more star cameos to come next season by skate legend Tony Hawk, Blink 182, Adam West, Little Richard and David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley). The show's executive producer, James L. Brooks, will also appear as himself in the upcoming episode A Star Is Born Again with Marisa Tomei.
In other Simpsons news, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has renamed several hundred drainage ponds at highway interchanges after characters from The Simpsons, including Apu, Clancy Wiggum, Maggie, Seymour, Bart, Barney and Milhouse. State hydrologist Patrick McLarnon told The Associate Press it was a better naming scheme than the numbers and letters system previously used.
Rapper Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, and two other men were jailed Thursday on charges they raped an acquaintance at his house, the AP reports. All three were also charged with extortion. Tyler allegedly threatened to tell police that the 40-year-old woman had received checks from the rapper's account without his permission when she showed up at his house on July 3. He also threatened to hurt her with bodily harm is she did not comply. If convicted of aggravated rape charges, Tyler could face a mandatory life sentence.