Brosnan admits he was let go
Ex-James Bond Pierce Brosnan says he was basically let go from the lucrative franchise. According to an interview in the Toronto Sun, the 51-year-old Irish actor--in Nassau, Bahamas, promoting his upcoming film After the Sunset--said he was willing, even eager, to do a fifth and final Bond, adding that 007 producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson had asked him to return. "And then one day the phone rang--I was here (in Nassau shooting After The Sunset)--and my agents told me that the goalposts had moved and that they had changed their minds." He added, "It was disappointing. It was surprising. And I accepted the knowledge (that his run as 007 was over for good) after 24 hours of being in shock." But Brosnan says he holds no resentment. "None, none, none! It's not worth having. If I did, it would make all the great decade, the four films, the lovely success, meaningless. Bitterness against whom and for what reason?"
The stars want you to vote
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of several celebrities who have made public service announcements encouraging young people to vote in the Nov. 2 election, The Associated Press reports. In his PSA, DiCaprio speaks about the environment, while Samuel L. Jackson discusses the possibility of a reinstated military draft, Justin Timberlake talks about education, and Benicio Del Toro encourages women to vote. The PSAs are set to go up on www.rockthevote.com next week. "We hope these PSAs help motivate young people to exercise their right to vote in this vital election," DiCaprio told AP.
Prince stirs it up again
Prince is getting more than a little heat over his new music video, "Cinnamon Girl," in which an Arab-American teen imagines herself as a suicide bomber, AP reports. The video features Keisha Castle-Hughes, the Oscar-nominated actress from the movie Whale Rider, playing a schoolgirl who witnesses a terrorist attack and then experiences racism from classmates and others. The racism pushes her to dream about carrying a bomb into an airport. The New York Post said it "might be the most tasteless video ever," Fox News commentator John Gibson suggested that Prince is "causing trouble," and CNN anchor Kyra Phillips said it is "shaking and rumbling the entertainment industry." The video's director, Phil Harder, told AP, "Prince intended for it to spark some dialogue," saying the lyrics show Prince is "sincere in wanting to speak to the times." He also emphasized that the video "resolves itself peacefully."
Bullock awarded $7 mil in real estate case
Actress Sandra Bullock was awarded $7 million Thursday in a lawsuit against the builder of her Texas dream house, Reuters reports. The Miss Congeniality star testified in the two-month long trial that she had paid $7 million for the 10,000-square-foot house on Lake Austin, but had never lived in it because of construction flaws, including water damage, a bad roof, wiring problems and holes in the masonry. Bullock, 40, was not in court because she went to Los Angeles to work on a new film, Reuters reports. Her father, John Bullock, told reporters the actress was pleased with the verdict, but had not decided what to do with the house.
O'Reilly vows to fight harassment charges
While promoting his children's book Thursday on Live with Regis and Kelly, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly vowed to fight sexual harassment charges by one of his producers, the AP reports. "If I have to go down, I'm willing to do it," O'Reilly said. "I'm going to take a stand. I'm a big mouth on the air and I'm a big mouth off the air." Trouble started Wednesday when O'Reilly filed a lawsuit accusing Andrea Mackris, an associate producer on The O'Reilly Factor, and her lawyer of seeking "hush money" during contract negotiations. Mackris, 33, filed her harassment claim against O'Reilly the next day. She alleges O'Reilly made a series of sexually explicit phone calls in which he advised her to use a vibrator, told her about sexual fantasies involving her and engaged in unwanted phone sex.
Jackson's trial will NOT be delayed
According to Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, the child molestation case against singer Michael Jackson will not be delayed beyond its Jan. 31 start date, Reuters reports. Melville issued his ultimatum as the two sides were still bickering over the exchange of evidence and claims from the defense that the prosecutors had engaged in misconduct before the grand jury. "I'm not interested in continuing this case beyond the trial date. That would be punishing me for your failure to comply with the rules," Melville said. "It's not in anybody's interest to prolong this litigation. I'm very serious about this." Melville postponed until November hearings on two key defense motions, one that would have Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon removed from the case and one that would lower Jackson's bail, AP reports.
Blake Judge Rules Taped Calls Irrelevant
A judge yesterday ruled two recorded phone calls--one between Bonny Lee Bakely and her future husband, Robert Blake, and the other involving her ex, Christian Brando--were immaterial to the Baretta star's case and would not be heard by jurors in the actors murder trial, the AP reports. In one call, Blake is heard urging Bakely to get an abortion and in the other, Brando suggests Bakely was lucky someone hadn't put a bullet in her head. Blake, 70, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Bakley, 44. The two were married months before her death and after DNA tests showed Blake, not Brando, was the father of her baby. "Certainly he had a right to be angry, just as Mr. Brando had a right to be angry at what she did. She used people, obviously," Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp said. Blake's trial is scheduled for Nov. 1.
Eminem launches channel on Sirius network
Eminem, who in July announced he planned to start a satellite music radio channel on the Sirius network, will launch the station Oct. 28 with a live broadcast of a concert from New York, Reuters reports. In a statement Thursday, Sirius said the new channel, Shade 45, will feature a full lineup of hip-hop music, stars and song mixers, and will have no filters or commercial restrictions. Sirius is a subscription-based network free from government restrictions on the content it airs. The pairing is an ideal one for Eminem, who has stirred controversy in the past with raps often construed as homophobic and misogynistic. Sirius also made headlines last week when it signed controversial shock jock Howard Stern to a five-year, $500 million contract to move his show from Infinity Broadcasting to satellite radio.
Guylaine Cadorette contributed to this report.
Blake was 'laughing' with wife on night of murder
A witness in the Robert Blake murder trial claims the actor was laughing and smiling as he dined with his wife the night she was killed. Bonny Lee Bakley was shot on May 4, 2001, after eating at Vitello's restaurant in California. After the meal, Blake maintains he left Bakley in their car while he returned to the eatery to retrieve a handgun he carried for protection and returned to find her bleeding. Vitello's co-owner Joe Restivo told the Los Angeles court last Wednesday that he recalled Blake returning in distress and looking for a doctor - but that he did not retrieve his firearm. Restivo says, "He was out of it. He was in hysterics. He was saying, 'We need help', or 'Somebody hurt my lady'." However, Restivo admits he was busy that night preparing takeaway orders for customers. Prosecutors claim Blake killed his wife because he wanted sole custody of their daughter. The trial has been recessed until Jan. 4.
Stiller loves wife's lesbian kiss
Ben Stiller's most enjoyable moment in 2004 came when his actress wife performed a lesbian kiss in comedy movie Dodgeball. The Hollywood funnyman was left thrilled watching spouse Christine Taylor smooch with Scarlett Chorvat in the highly-charged sequence. Stiller says, "I loved the scene. What red-blooded man would not want to see that sort of action?"
DiCaprio unfazed by onscreen nudity
Leonardo DiCaprio remains unfazed by onscreen nudity, despite spending days being filmed naked for his latest movie. DiCaprio's role as Howard Hughes in The Aviator required him to strip off for a series of love scenes, most of which ended up on the cutting room floor. But being naked didn't bother DiCaprio: "I didn't think about the nudity that much. There was a lot more naked stuff in the movie that they didn't show. I was nude for a good couple of days being filmed."
Eastwood: 'only young actors need apply'
Clint Eastwood has dashed the hopes of thousands of twenty-something actors, after announcing he won't be casting anyone over the age of 26 in his new movie. The Oscar-winning director is determined to maintain historical authenticity when he casts World War Two epic Flags of Our Fathers, about the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, early next year. Eastwood, 75, explains, "The average age of most of these fellows at that stage was 19, so in casting, I'll try to be very accurate about that. The oldest amongst them was 26, in fact, they call him the old man, so if he's old at 26, well..."
Hopkins set for music career in 2005
Anthony Hopkins is to embark on a music career after spending the past eight months composing songs on his piano. The Oscar-winning actor doubles as a talented pianist and hopes to have his compositions performed in 2005--firstly in America, then at London's famous Royal Albert Hall venue, where Hopkins plans to conduct an orchestra and choir. A source says, "Anthony has played the piano for a long time, and takes music very seriously, but in the past it has been a hobby. "Now he wants to concentrate on music, and is confident enough to put on a concert of his own work."
Schiffer hires Nepalese fighters
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer and husband Matthew Vaughn have hired five former British Army Gurkhas to help protect their $9 million English mansion. The German-born beauty and Layer Cake director Vaughn, who have been targeted by two stalkers this year, are strong supporters of the brave Nepalese fighters and are urging pals Madonna and Guy Ritchie to employ them as well. Vaughn explains, "The Gurkhas are among the most hard-working, loyal and skilled people I have ever come across. We are delighted to give them jobs."
Ferguson warns of child obesity
British royal Sarah Ferguson has warned the British government to wake up to the child-obesity problem facing the country. The Duchess of York, who earns $1.8 million each year as spokesperson for Weight Watchers in America, yesterday called for everyone to acknowledge the UK's fat epidemic. Ferguson says, "It's time for everyone to wake up to the fact that this obesity situation is not a diet, it's not about whether you are fitting into a pair of blue jeans. "The Government is going to have major health care problems if they don't realize they could have a lost generation because of the different diseases stemming from overweight."
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Top Story: Halle Berry File for Divorce
Actress Halle Berry has filed for divorce six months after separating from her husband of three years, R&B singer Eric Benet. Berry's publicist confirmed the filing Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, The Associated Press reports. The couple met in 1999 at an HBO party for the premiere of the biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, in which Berry starred as the first black woman nominated for a Best Actress Oscar with 1954's Carmen Jones. They married in January 2001. At the time of their split, tabloids speculated Benet's faithfulness was an issue in their marriage. In a statement issued by her publicist in October 2003, Berry said: "Eric and I have had marital problems for some time now and have tried to work things out together. However, at this point, I feel we need time apart to reevaluate our union." This is the second divorce for Berry, 37, whose previous marriage to Cleveland Indians outfielder David Justice ended in divorce in 1996.
Jackson Personally Terminated Lead Attorneys
Michael Jackson said in a statement posted on his Web site Monday that he personally "terminated" his two lead defense attorneys--Mark Geragos and Benjamin Brafman--in his child molestation case. The statement was made in defense to press reports that the two legal eagles had stepped down. On Sunday, Brafman told Reuters Sunday he and Geragos had resigned from the case over "complicated legal and practical issues" that he could not discuss. Jackson, however, did not come out and say why he dismissed his two lead attorneys, but hinted: "It is imperative that I have the full attention of those who are representing me. My life is at stake. Therefore I must feel confident that my interests are of the highest priority."
Godsend Web Site Causes Controversy
Web surfers have started petitions to close a Web site to promote Lions Gate's upcoming drama Godsend, in which a couple clone their dead son. The site, www.godsendinstitute.org, promotes a fertility clinic run by a Dr. Richard Wells, billed as "the top genetic engineering researcher" in the United States. The problem seems to be the fact that the site doesn't mention the film or that the Godsend Institute is fictitious and its Dr. Wells is actor Robert De Niro. "Almost everyone who goes to the site thinks it's real, but by the time they leave, most have figured it's fiction. Some even applaud it," Tom Ortenberg, president of film releasing for Lions Gate, told Reuters. He added that the studio is getting several hundred phone calls a day to the fake clinic's toll-free number, but none have been from people actually looking for help.
Blake's P.I. Won't Testify Before Trial
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp ruled Monday that prosecutors in the Robert Blake murder trial couldn't take pretrial testimony from a private investigator hired by actor to dig into his wife's past. Blake allegedly hired Jordan to investigate Bakley during a custody battle for the couple's 3-year-old daughter daughter. According to Reuters, prosecutors had wanted to examine 77-year-old William Jordan, a former police detective, under oath before the trial starts because of his age and the importance of his testimony. But Schempp rejected the motion because it is too close to the trial date. Blake is scheduled to go to trial in Sept. 9 for the May 4, 2001, murder of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. The Baretta star is free on $1.5 million bail
Stern's Ratings Soar Despite Crackdown
Even though federal regulators have recently tighten restrictions on indecency, specifically targeting shock jock Howard Stern, his radio show's ratings have only gone up. Reuters reports the show scored major gains in listenership during the winter quarter ended Mar. 31 in the three biggest U.S. markets--New York, Los Angeles and Chicago--according to figures made public on Monday by the Arbitron radio ratings service. In Stern's home market of New York, where his show is broadcast on WXRK-FM, he topped all morning drive-time competition with a 7.2 share in total audience, up 22 percent from the fall quarter and 18 percent from last winter, Arbitron said. Stern's show had dipped slipped to No. 2 in total audience last fall.
Blanchett Becomes Mommy for Second Time
Oscar-nominated actress Cate Blanchett and husband writer Andrew Upton welcomed their second son, Roman Robert, last Friday, Blanchett's publicist told Reuters. The couple have a 2-year-old son, Dashiell. The 34-year-old actress will be seen next in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, portraying screen legend Katharine Hepburn.
Pointer Sister Faces Drug Charges
June Pointer Whitmore, the youngest member of the '70s hit-making group the Pointer Sisters, was charged Monday with cocaine possession, Reuters reports. She was arrested last Thursday with two other people outside the Hollywood apartment of her older sister, Bonnie, but was released on bail. Details of Whitmore's arrest were sketchy, Reuters reports, but a spokeswoman for prosecutors said she and her co-defendants were confronted by police officers who responded to citizen complaints and found them in possession of cocaine and cocaine pipes.
Role Call: Polanski Finds His Oliver Twist
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski, who is helming an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel Oliver Twist, has found the right young actor to portray the title character, after a search of London's drama schools. After a screen test in Prague, where Oliver Twist will be shot, 10-year-old Barney Clarke won the role. Ben Kingsley will play Fagin. Shooting begins July 12.