A crowd of about 10,000 fans, music professionals and relatives filled the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., to bid farewell to TLC member Lisa Lopes. Reuters reported that before the service, the TLC hit song "Waterfalls" played softly in the background while images of Lopes played on two monitors. Among those in attendance were singers Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Keith Sweat, producer Kenneth "Baby Face" Edmonds and Marion "Suge" Knight, founder of Death Row Records.
Teen People magazine announced its 25 hottest stars under 25. Those who made the cut include those Attack of the Clones lovebirds Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, Spider-Man's Kirsten Dunst, songster Alicia Keys, cutie boys Josh Hartnett and Orlando Bloom, and martial arts butt-kicker Zhang Ziyi.
Britney Spears smokes! NewYorkPost.com reported the pop princess was caught by a cameraman with an offending butt in her hand as she sat on the balcony of her hotel room in Sydney, Australia. Now you might ask, who the heck cares? Well, two years ago she told the Knoxville, Tenn., News-Sentinel that she doesn't believe in drugs or even smoking. Only God. Ah, the hypocrisy of it all.
Sometimes it doesn't pay to get your face on television. Joseph Bakley, the brother of Robert Blake's slain wife, learned that the hard way when the state of Florida came after him for probation violation after seeing him on ABC's 20/20, talking about his sister's death. D'oh!
Angel's David Boreanaz and his wife, actress Jaime Bergman, welcomed their first child on May 1, boy Jaden Rayne Boreanaz, weighing in at 8 lbs., 9 oz. Mother and baby are doing fine.
Daily Variety's columnist Army Archerd reported the final scene being shot for Mike Myers' new Austin Powers film, Austin Powers in Goldmember, is set in the home of Ozzy Osbourne. Myers and director Jay Roach are big fans of the MTV show about the Osbourne family. Myers told Archerd that it will be only one of the "many surprises" in the movie.
Will Smith may enter back into the television arena. His company Overbrook Entertainment is looking to develop a syndicated half-hour newsmagazine pilot, Good News, to roll out in fall 2003. It will focus on inspirational individuals, including celebrities, public figures and everyday heroes.
Fox's Dark Angel may be no more. Series creator James Cameron told the New York Daily News that the show is on the verge of cancellation, but Fox will announce its final decision in the next two weeks. The finale of season two will air this Friday night, marking Cameron's TV directing debut.
Legendary rockers The Rolling Stones plan to announce their first tour in three years Tuesday in New York. The tour will coincide with the band's 40th anniversary of its first public appearance. They just don't know when to quit, do they?
Eminem donned a turban and played Osama bin Laden in his latest music video, for his single "Without Me." He also parodies the Survivor TV show, Elvis Presley and singer Moby. It premiered Wednesday on MTV's Making the Video.
Don't confuse the shock rock group Slipknot with the knitters' quarterly journal Slipknot. Apparently, irate fans of the American group sent threatening e-mails to the British knitters' Web site, telling the club not to call its publication Slipknot because it made their idols look bad.
Audrey Hepburn will be honored with a sculpture outside the UNICEF headquarters in New York. Called "Spirit of Audrey," the artwork of a tall, slender woman holding a child will commemorate Hepburn's years of tireless support of the children's organization before she died in 1993.
John Nathan-Turner, a producer of the British cult show Dr. Who, died in England at the Brighton's Hove Hospital on Wednesday following a short illness. He was 54.
ABC has canceled Jason Alexander's new sitcom, Bob Patterson, for its inability to spark Nielsen ratings before completing its initial 13-episode run, according to the Hollywood Reporter. After a rough start in the competitive Tuesday 9 p.m. slot against NBC's Frasier, Patterson, in which Alexander plays a motivational speaker with a messed-up personal life, was moved to the 9:30 p.m. slot in hopes to increase ratings, but it still flopped. Patterson is the second comedy series built around a former Seinfeld sidekick to be canceled. NBC dropped The Michael Richards Show in early December. Next at the bat is Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose comedy series 23:12 is set to launch on NBC in March.
Bruce Springsteen won a legal battle in a London court on Tuesday against the British company Masquerade Music, which was appealing an earlier ruling that blocked the unauthorized use of his music, Reuters reports. It was argued that Springsteen's copyright was breached after the company expressed interest in releasing the album Before the Fame, which contained over two dozen songs composed by Springsteen between 1970 and 1972. Springsteen said he was defending the ownership of his music.
Leonardo DiCaprio has signed on to star as a twin in the upcoming drama Johnny Eck, Reuters reports. The film relates the story of twins Robert and Johnny Eckardt, who are identical in every way except that Johnny was born without the lower half of his body and learned to walk on his hands. When Johnny becomes a world famous sideshow performer called "the Half Boy," Robert becomes his manager. Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) will write the screenplay for the film that is being produced by Pelagius Entertainment's Joe Fries and Mark Gordon.
Tom Cruise will narrate the new Imax film Space Station, taking viewers on a cinematic journey shot by 25 astronauts and cosmonauts from Florida's Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station. "Tom Cruise brings a special dimension to this exciting project, which takes the Imax 3D experience to even more spectacular heights," Greg Foster, president of filmed entertainment for Imax, told Reuters. The film is scheduled to debut early next spring.
Paul McCartney released his second charity single, "Freedom," on Monday after a huge public demand, his publicist told Reuters. Money raised by the new single will go to the Robin Hood Foundation, which helps the families of the victims of Sept. 11 and New York firemen and police. His previous charity single, "From a Lover to a Friend," entered the UK chart at number 45 on Sunday.
Kathleen Turner will play the seductive older woman Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of the 1967 film The Graduate. Jason Biggs of American Pie will portray Benjamin Braddock, the young man she seduces, and Alicia Silverstone will co-star as her daughter, Elaine. According to The Associated Press, the stage production will begin a pre-Broadway tour in January with shows in Baltimore, Toronto, Ontario and Boston. It will then begin preview performances in New York on March 15 with an April 4 opening at a theater yet to be announced.
Web research firm Webnoize confirmed that online music service use has risen since the shut own of Napster earlier this year. According to the report, users swapped a whopping 1.81 billion media files on alternative online services like Kaaza, MusicCity and Grosker in the month of October, Reuters reports. All three applications use software licensed from FastTrack, an Amsterdam-based peer-to-peer technology, and share the same network.
HBO has decided to pick up their Emmy-winning show Sex and the City for a fifth season, Reuters reports. The six remaining episodes from season four are set to bow Jan. 6 though Feb. 10. The cable network plans to premiere season five in June.
Public Broadcasting Corp. announced Monday that it will reduce its 565-person workforce by 10% and close its Midwest programming office due to tough economic times, Reuters reports. PBS president-CEO Pat Mitchell said the network regretted having to cut jobs, but that the move was necessary to preserve programming integrity.
Retiring SAG president Bill Daniels urged its members on Sunday to try to work with the newly elected president, Melissa Gilbert, rather than battling her, or she would face the same massive divisiveness that dogged him during his two-year term, Reuters reports. The controversy stems from the 25,000 New York ballots lacking a signature line and the discrepancies of making New York voters' deadline two days later then the rest of the country. Gilbert was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild on Nov. 2, beating veteran television star Valerie Harper in a bitter contest.
A Happy Place, the 11-month-old production company founded by 'N Sync's Lance Bass, producers Rich Hull and Wendy Thorlakson, music manager Johnny Wright and attorney Joe Anderson, has acquired the romantic comedy Mamma's Boy as their next project. Bass is also taking the starring role for the second time on the big screen. Written by first-time scribe Mark Hatmaker, the film follows the story and misadventures of a young professional who still lives at home with his mother while she attempts to find him a wife.
Everyone is hot on the trail for the new miss thang in Hollywood--Brittany Murphy (Girl, Interrupted). She's got 'em all talking about Oscars and what not, especially in her new movie, Don't Say a Word, with Michael Douglas, in which she once again plays a trouble lass stuck in a mental institution. She's also costarring with Drew Barrymore in Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars with Boys, due in Oct. And now she's signed up to join Mekhi Phifer (O) in The Untitled Detroit Project directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and also starring rapper Eminem, in his first feature film.
This is what I read in the Hollywood Reporter about the film: "An honest and provocative fictional examination of a critical month in the life of a young man named Jimmy (Eminem) as he searches for identity and a sense of purpose. Against the familiar backdrop of indifference and community decay, he learns to express his anger, fears and frustration as he struggles to transcend his bleak circumstances." In other words, Eminem plays a street punk who tries to break out. Why can't they just say that? Geez, they're trying to make it sound like an Ivory/Merchant film. Murphy is going to play Eminem's girlfriend. Lucky girl.
Vin Diesel: Part I
The buff star of The Fast and the Furious is banking some serious bucks lately. He's going to do the sequel to his claim-to-fame film Pitch Black for a reported $11 million. Not bad. The sequel is called The Chronicles of Riddick, in which Diesel will reprise his role as Riddick, a brooding convict who was being transported as part of a space mission that got shipwrecked on a mysterious planet. You remember, where the big bad bug-things came out at night and ate most of the cast? Sure. But Diesel's big payday didn't come easy. Apparently the studio brass had a difficult time shelling out the dough to get Diesel, but hey, he keeps making movies that do well at the box office. So, he's got the clout.
Vin Diesel: Part II
And that's not all Diesel is doing. He's also got a new film starting production in November called XXX. I don't believe there's any porno in it, but I could be wrong. Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations to join the film as a government agent who recruits and trains Diesel's character for an undercover operation designed to infiltrate a Russian crime ring. Apparently, Diesel is playing one tough mother in XXX, a cross between James Bond and Limp Bizkit's lead singer Fred Durst, and will be performing some death defying stunts. And his asking price is only $10 million for this one. OK. Whatever.
Travolta and Jackson's "Basic" instinct
Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson...Pulp Fiction fans have a new reason to rejoice: John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson--who both starred in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 hit--are pairing up again for Phoenix Pictures' new military thriller Basic, set to begin production in November. Hold on-didn't I just say XXX was shooting in November? How is Jackson going to manage that one? Oh, who knows. He's Samuel L. Jackson; he can do anything he wants. In Basic, he and Travolta will play the leads in a drama centering on a Drug Enforcement Agency officer's investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a famed U.S. Army drill instructor and a group of cadets. John McTiernan (The Thomas Crown Affair) will direct Basic based on the screenplay by newcomer James Vanderbilt.
A date with Cool J
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea) and Gabrielle Union (Two Can Play That Game) are going to star in the USA Film's Deliver Us From Eva about three guys who pay a smooth ladies' man (LL Cool J) $5,000 to go out with their meddling sister-in-law, Eva (Union). However, after a disastrous first date, the unlikely pair begins to fall for each other, while the three men are left without much help. Sorry, LL and Gabrielle, you two are interesting up-and-coming actors, but this script sounds pretty lame.
Just a couple of quick tidbits about movie actors going back to the thee-a-tar: First, Jason Biggs, that lovable goof ball from the American Pie series is going to be recreating the immortal Benjamin Braddock in the Broadway stage production of The Graduate. Of course, Ben was brought to life so vividly by Dustin Hoffman in the classic 1967 Mike Nichols' film, so Biggs has some big shoes to fill. Kathleen Turner is taking on the Anne Bancroft role of Mrs. Robinson and Alicia Silverstone will play daughter Elaine Robinson, played by Katharine Ross in the film. This casting choice makes me cringe a little.
And second, the lovely and talented Vanessa Williams (who would have thought a Miss America would turn out so well) will be reviving the role of the witch in an updated stage production of the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The part was originally played by Bernadette Peters in 1987, who simply wowed them as the main foil to the travails of some fairy tale bigshots. But no matter, I'm sure Williams will give it her all.