Top Story: Vandross' Condition Improves
Luther Vandross was moved out of intensive care Thursday for the first time since suffering a debilitating stroke April 16, Reuters reports. "I am happy to report that Luther Vandross continues to improve and that he is more and more responsive each day," Carmen Romano, his business manager and longtime friend, told Reuters. "I feel as though I am watching a modern-day miracle," he added.
Eminem's Ex-Wife Busted for Possible Drug Possession
Kim Mathers, former wife of Grammy-winning rapper Eminem, may be looking at drug charges after police found what looked to be cocaine in her car during a routine traffic violation, The Associated Press reports. Mathers was pulled over Tuesday in St. Clair Shores, Mich., for failure to change lanes to move away from an emergency vehicle that was parked on the shoulder, police told AP, and was arrested for driving with a revoked license. She was released pending further investigation, and no formal charges had been filed as of Thursday afternoon, AP reports.
Love Is in the Air
As if we didn't already know, Harrison Ford has officially announced he is in love with actress Calista Flockhart, according to People magazine. "Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love and I think there is potential for it at any stage of your life. I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love, and I wasn't surprised that I did. But I'm very grateful," Ford, 60, told People.The couple met at the January 2002 Golden Globes.
Peck's Spirit Hovers Over De Niro's AFI Tribute
As the American Film Institute honored actor Robert De Niro Thursday with a lifetime achievement award, it was the spirit of film icon Gregory Peck, who had died earlier that day, that permeated the ceremony. Reuters reports as De Niro took the stage to thank the audience and participants for his award, the actor paid simple homage to Peck. "Good night and good night Gregory Peck," De Niro said.
Hawaiian Kudos for Davis, Reiner
Director Rob Reiner and Geena Davis were both honored at the Maui Film Festival Thursday night, AP reports. Reiner's award was given "for his heartfelt professional commitment to making films that matter and his long held personal commitment to work for social justice and the triumph of the human spirit." Oscar-winning actress Davis was presented the festival's Stella Award for selecting roles that show women making choices that empower their lives.
Berry Files Suit Against Former Homeowner
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry filed a $2 million lawsuit against the former owner of her home, claiming the house she and her husband, Eric Benet, recently bought needed more than $1 million in repairs, AP reports. Berry claims they paid more than $2 million for the Beverly Hills house, but found out only after the purchase that it "contain[ed] major undisclosed [geological] defects that would require over $1 million in corrective measures."
Lee Wins Fight Over Name…For Now
Spike Lee was granted a temporary cease and desist in using the name Spike TV. AP reports a Manhattan judge on Thursday granted the 25th Hour director's petition and ordered Viacom, Inc. to stop using Spike TV as the new name for its TNN Network, pending a trial on the issue. The court, however, also ordered Lee to post a $500,000 bond to cover Viacom's losses in case the company wins, AP reports.
Fake Britney Spears Gets Fake Breasts
Reuters reports a waxwork model of the pop princess, to be displayed at Madame Tussauds museum in London, will be equipped with a pair of inflatable breasts that will pulsate in time to her dancing. The museum wants to make its models not just visual but tactile. "Brad Pitt has got a squeezable (latex) bum, but Britney would be the first with heaving bosoms," the museum's spokeswoman told Reuters.
Role Call: Latifah Hails Taxi, Marshall Takes on Geisha
Queen Latifah is set to star in the 20th Century Fox film Taxi. No, it's not a big screen version of the hit TV sitcom but a remake of the 1998 French film of the same name. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story centers on a speedy cabbie (Latifah) who teams up with an eager young cop to solve a series of bank robberies…Chicago director Rob Marshall is poised to helm the film adaptation of the popular novel Memoirs of a Geisha, to which director Steven Spielberg was once attached. Geisha follows the life of a young Japanese girl who becomes a very famous and sought-after geisha.
Top Story: Star Pierce Says Frasier Nearing End
David Hyde Pierce, co-star of the hit NBC show Frasier, believes the series' next season will be its last. In an interview he gave at the Tribeca Film Festival, where he was promoting his upcoming film Down With Love, Reuters reports the actor said, "I think the indications are that it's going to end after this coming season. That's sort of what we've been told. We shoot one more season and that would be it. We all hate to see it go. We all love it. [But] we want it to go out classy." Pierce also admitted he was trying to move away from his TV alter ego, the anal-retentive Niles Crane. "I recognize the power of being the same character on television for a long time and I recognize that I can't just leap into something completely different and expect people to buy it," said Pierce, who wants to return to the New York stage. "I have to make that transition gradually, though the most frequent suggestion from friends is I should really play a psychotic serial killer."
Pacino's the Greatest Film Star
According to a poll of British film fans, The Godfather star Al Pacino was chosen as the greatest movie star of all time, Reuters reports, followed in order by Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, Harrison Ford and Jack Nicholson. The results were broadcast on England's Channel 4 Sunday and Monday.
Tina Fey Gets $2 Mil To Stay with SNL
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey has signed a two-year deal with the show, which will net her nearly $4 million. As SNL's head writer since 1999, Fey is the first woman to hold that post.
Oprah Continues To Talk the Talk
After making it clear last year she wanted to bow out at the end of the 2005-06 season, Oprah Winfrey apparently is changing her mind about wrapping her syndicated The Oprah Winfrey Show and is in negotiations to continue for two more seasons, sources told The Hollywood Reporter. Winfrey has met with King World and the seven ABC outlets that form the backbone of the talk show's affiliate station base.
Buttafuoco and Wife Divorce
Joey Buttafuoco and his wife, Mary Jo, who was shot in the face by 17-year-old "Long Island Lolita" Amy Fisher in 1990, have decided to officially split up after 26 years of marriage, The Associated Press reports. "It's OK. To move on you've got to get a divorce," Buttafuoco told AP.
Copies of New Harry Potter Found in Field
Advanced copies of the fifth Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, were found dumped near a printworks in the small town of Bungay, in Suffolk, eastern England. Bloomsbury Publishing told Reuters it suspected the first editions of author J.K Rowling's latest boy wizard saga had been stolen from a nearby printer. "The matter is currently under investigation, with the suspicion that theft is involved," Rowling's publisher and agent said in a statement.
Role Call, Part I: Honeymooners Gets Director, Knoxville Is One Hot Dog!
Like Mike director John Schultz has taken the helm of the Paramount feature The Honeymooners, based on the 1950s Jackie Gleason classic TV show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps will star in the Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton roles, respectively…meanwhile, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville will star in and produce an as-yet-untitled project about a war between two hot dog vendors in Los Angeles.
Role Call, Part II: Will & Grace Star To Direct Feature
Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame will make his directorial debut on the Disney pic What You Wish For, which he'll also write and star in. "It's about a normal married Midwestern couple whose marriage is turned upside down because of a celebrity sex fantasy," McCormack told Variety. "The idea is, no matter how happy a person is with his partner, there's that one hot actress or athlete you'd allow them to sleep with, knowing it would never happen. Here, it happens."
The sixth annual Hollywood Film Festival Awards dinner attracted some pretty big names Monday at the Beverly Hilton, including Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jennifer Aniston, Harrison Ford, Drew Barrymore, Jodie Foster and Mike Myers. That is quite a feat (or fete?) considering that the gala was put on by the Hollywood Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization that--according to its most recently available tax records--had $399 in net assets, according to Variety. The attendees, however, didn't seem to be bothered by the lack of glitz. Spielberg, who accepted the movie of the year award for Minority Report, commented, "A lot of unusual things happened this year. My Big Fat Greek Wedding outgrossed my big fat Tom Cruise."
Jennifer Lopez may have left her agent at International Creative Management Tuesday, but the question that has the industry buzzing is who dumped whom? Daily Variety obtained an internal e-mail sent to staffers from ICM vice chairman Ed Limato that read,"We have decided that we no longer wish to represent Jennifer Lopez, and we have so informed her manager." But a spokesman for Lopez called the decision mutual, Variety reports.
Rapper Snoop Dogg, who recently wrapped his Up In Smokes tour, is going straight. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Snoop said he woke up one morning and decided he didn't need marijuana anymore, adding that every minute used smoking pot, is "taking a minute off your life that you could have been here doing something special."
Actor Vincent D'Onofrio, who starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in The Cell, was unable to stop the release of Madonna and Guy Ritchie's Swept Away. D'Onofrio claims it was his idea to produce a remake of the 1974 romantic comedy with Madonna in the starring role and wants a producing credit. But a Los Angeles judge Tuesday refused to issue a preliminary injunction stopping the release of the film this Friday, Reuters reports.
Fans of Fox's highly touted drama 24 starring Keifer Sutherland will now be able to catch first-season episodes twice a week on the FX network, Variety reports. FX will repeat each episode of the 24 series twice within a week of its network primetime run, including Mondays at 11 p.m. with second airing Tuesdays at 5 p.m. The originals will air on Fox Tuesdays at 9 p.m.
Warner Bros. Records confirms that "Die Another Day," Madonna's new single and the title song for MGM's forthcoming James Bond film, will be in stores on October 22. The song was to officially debut Oct. 10 but was leaked to radio stations last week. Launch.com reports that Madonna and members of her camp were beside themselves when the song--which they claim wasn't even finished--aired on a pop station in New York City.
Speaking on radio station WBLF in New York, singer Toni Braxton accused Jay-Z and Beyoncé Knowles of ripping off her latest single, "Me and My Boyfriend." "I'm not hating on Beyoncé or anything, but I have kids to feed and this is taking money from their college funds," she said. "Jay-Z and Beyoncé are messing with my money. They're trying to steal my mojo." Both Braxton's song and "Bonnie and Clyde" by Knowles and Jay-Z use samples from Tupak Shakur's "Me and My Girlfriend."
Tom Hanks' son Colin, who starred in the comedy Orange County, is set to make his West End debut Nov.13 at London's Garrick Theater. According to What's On Stage, Hanks the younger is joining the cast of This Is Our Youth, which co-stars Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down) and Alison Lohman (White Oleander).
Though the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony took place quite smoothly on Sunday night, FOX's broadcast of Game 7 of the World Series came out the big winner in the preliminary ratings.
An estimated 40 million people tuned in to the Arizona Diamondbacks' first World Series victory, compared to the Emmys' estimated 17 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research reported. Game 7’s ratings were the highest for any baseball game since 1991's World Series Game 7 between the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins.
"This is the first time since the 1970s that the Emmys have not been on in August or September," CBS spokesman Ed Harrison said. "[The Emmys] have never faced this kind of competition."
In a surprise move, FOX displayed Emmy results at the bottom of the screen during Game 7.
Late-night shows are preparing to return on the air this week, though hosts are finding it hard to bring laughter back into people's living rooms. Rosemary Keenan, a spokeswoman for the Late Show with David Letterman said it would resume taping Monday at the Ed Sullivan Theater, but had no details on their guest lineup. On the same night, CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn will be taped in Los Angeles, but it will not include its comic monologue and will eliminate its satirical "in the news" segment, Keenan said. On Tuesday, Conan O'Brien's Late Night will be taped in New York's Rockefeller Center, and NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno will be taped in Los Angeles.
The New York City Opera opened its season four days late Saturday, playing romantic tragedy and light comedy in hopes of distracting their audience from Tuesday's nightmare. According to The Associated Press, Paul Kellogg, the company's general director, told audiences he hoped that music would provide a "catharsis" for many and encouraged audiences to follow Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's advice on resuming normal schedules once again. The audience paused for a minute of silence before each performance, and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a display of unity.
Maverick Hollywood producer, Samuel Z. Arkoff, known for his low-budget cult movies, died of natural causes at the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif., on Sunday, Reuters reported. He was 83. Among his best-known movies were the Michael Caine thriller Dressed To Kill, The Amityville Horror, I Was a Teen-Age Werewolf, and the Beach Blanket series. A son and daughter, Donna Arkoff, who is married to producer Joe Roth, survive Arkoff.
A recording of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison speaking during a December 1963 broadcast of the BBC's Juke Box Jury has been presented to the British Broadcasting Corporation. A BBC spokeswoman said that although it was not broadcast quality, it would be "marvelous to have'' the tape, Reuters reported. On the show, the fab four reviewed new singles by artists including the Swinging Blue Jeans and their early hero, Elvis Presley.
Edward Norton has certainly scored with his next picture deal.
The Hollywood Reporter reported today that the 30-year-old actor will receive $6.5 million up front plus 4 percent of first-dollar gross to star opposite Robert De Niro in Frank Oz's "The Score," filling in the slot left opened by Ben Affleck after his decision to drop out last month.
The Paramount/Mandalay pic tells the story of a veteran thief whose retirement is infinitely deferred by an upstart ruffian. The flick is slated to go into production in San Francisco in March.
Norton was seen last fall beating up fellow angst-ridden co-star Brad Pitt in "Fight Club." His next project is "Keeping the Faith," which Norton directed, produced and co-wrote. The flick, a comedy about the friendship between a rabbi and a Catholic priest and the woman they both fall for, co-stars Ben Stiller and "Dharma and Greg" star Jenna Elfman.
SPIDERMAN UNMASKED: All interested parties please take note: "Spider-Man" might no longer be soliciting entries to fill the director spot. The Hollywood Reporter reports today that Sam Raimi ("For Love of the Game") is in final negotiations to helm the long-delayed comic book adaptation. No actor has been attached to the project yet. Shooting for the film is scheduled to begin after the completion of Raimi's next project, "The Gift."
FORD CAUGHT IN 'TRAFFIK': Trade-paper reports say that Harrison Ford, among several A-list talents, is eyeing the lead in director Steven Soderbergh's (""The Limey"," "Out of Sight") indie drug war flick "Traffic," set to go in front of the camera in the spring. The coveted drama war revolves around America's war on drugs in Mexico. Catherine Zeta-Jones, a.k.a. the future Mrs.Michael Douglas, is currently in negotiation for the female lead.
A DOSE OF MARTIN: Final negotiations between Steve Martin and Artisan are well under way for the studio's wacky comedy of errors "Novocaine." Martin is set to play a complacent dentist who unwittingly finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. The flick is scheduled to roll in mid-April.
SEAGAL UNDER SIEGE: Steven Seagal proves once again that you can never be too old to kick ass. The 50-year-old martial-arts expert has signed on to reprise his role for the third time in New Regency's money making "Under Siege" franchise. Possible co-financiers for the film include 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., which co-funded the first two installments.
The "Under Siege" concept first materialized in 1992, where Seagal played an unassuming cook who happened to prevent terrorist attack on board a U.S. battleship. The sequel, which came three years later in 1995, once again finds Seagal fighting no-good terrorists but this time on a transcontinental train.