Sopranos's Falco beats breast cancer
Edie Falco, best known as the tough-as-nails Carmela Soprano on HBO's The Sopranos, has successfully completed treatment for breast cancer and has gotten a clean bill of health, Falco's spokesperson told The Associated Press. The 41-year-old Emmy-winning actress, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, apparently continued to work on the hit HBO show while undergoing treatment, but the spokesperson wouldn't comment on whether she had surgery or chemotherapy, AP reports. Falco will soon begin rehearsals for Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, 'night, Mother, also starring Brenda Blethyn, which will open on Broadway in November.
Pam Anderson a novelist
With a little help, that is. Former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson has written a novel Star with the help of a ghostwriter. "The first meeting we knew it was magic," Anderson told AP about her not-so-invisible ghostwriter Eric Shaw Quinn. Anderson and Quinn were introduced by Anderson's publisher after she decided not to write an autobiography. The book is a semi-fictionalized version of Anderson's life filled with steamy sex scenes, based on the actress' real-life relationships with celebrities Scott Baio and Kid Rock.
Brandy engaged for second time
After defending reports that she and record producer Robert Smith, the father of her 2-year-old daughter, Sy'rai, were never married, Brandy is now engaged to pro basketball player Quentin Richardson, who just signed a deal with the Phoenix Suns. In an interview with Us Weekly, AP reports the 25-year-old pop singer said, "This time, I want so badly for my marriage to work out. If it doesn't, I don't ever want to date again. I'll be a nun, raise my daughter and make albums." Smith had said their supposed marriage was a ruse to protect the image of Brandy, who was then pregnant, but Brandy declared that she and Smith had secretly wed in 2001; "The truth is that we didn't have a traditional marriage," Brandy told Us Weekly. "We had an understanding--I dedicated my life to him and he dedicated himself to me. No, we didn't have a minister officiate, but in our hearts, we lived as a married couple." Smith and Brandy broke up in early July of last year and Smith has filed for custody of their daughter.
Will Smith gives impromptu free concert
At the London premiere of his new sci-fi flick I, Robot, Will Smith delighted fans with an outdoor concert, AP reports. Accompanied by DJ Jazzy Jeff, Smith performed for about 3,000 people Wednesday outside the Odeon theater in London's Leicester Square. The set included hits "Summertime" and "Men in Black," and Smith's latest single, "Switch." "When you have these kind of events everybody can't get in. I wanted to give the people who came to support me a little treat out here," the 35-year-old actor-rapper said.
Hepburn's home is sold
Katharine Hepburn's waterfront home in Old Saybrook, Conn., has been sold to a neighbor who plans to renovate the property, Hepburn's real estate agent told AP. Frank Sciame, a New York City-based architect signed a contract to buy the home, but the real estate agent would not disclosed the sale amount. The 8,000-square-foot brick house, which sits on 3.3 acres and overlooks Long Island Sound, has nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms and five fireplaces. Hepburn died June 29, 2003. She was 96.
Legendary French photographer dies
Dubbed "the eye of the century," French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the great photographers of the 20th century and a founder of the Magnum picture agency, died in the south of France, Reuters reports. He was 95.
Spanish-language reality show
A Spanish-language reality TV show is offering contestants the services of immigration lawyers for one year to guide them towards a permanent residency in the U.S., the AP reports. Gana la Verde (Win the Green), a Fear Factor-type show that challenges contestants to do things like swallow down live tequila worms and jump between two speeding 18-wheelers, began airing daily last month in Los Angeles, also airs in San Diego, Houston and Dallas stations. The show's winner receives a year's worth of help from attorneys to expedite the residency process-without the guarantee of a green card. Many of the contestants on the show, which has consistently reached an average of 1 million Hispanic households and last week was No. 2 among 18-to-49-year-old Hispanic viewers, have student or work visas or have applied to become residents.
Top Story: Pitt To Host BBC Radio Documentary
Brad Pitt will host a music documentary on the late British singer-songwriter Nick Drake for BBC Radio 2, Reuters reports. Drake, who died of a drug overdose in 1974 at the age of 26, is regularly cited as an influence by some of Radio 2's core artists, including REM, Paul Weller and Badly Drawn Boy," said Lesley Douglas, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music. "I was introduced to Nick Drake's music about five years ago, and am a huge admirer of his records," Pitt said in a BBC statement. "When Radio 2 approached me to get involved in this project, I was delighted to be asked." The program, which airs on May 22, includes a Norah Jones version of Drake's song "Day is Done."
Queer Eye Aims at Straight Girls
Bravo has greenlit 13 episodes of their newest reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, which spins off their hugely successful Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. "It's something our female fans have been requesting since Queer Eye became a hit," Bravo topper Jeff Gaspin told Variety, adding that he isn't concerned the channel would be overpowered by the franchise. " Straight Girl goes on the air a year and a half after the original launched, so I think enough time will have passed," he opined. Variety reports a new team of gay lifestyle coaches will come to the aid of frumpy femmes. Casting is under way for a debut next year.
Limbaugh's Appeal May Keep Him Out of Court
Rush Limbaugh's attorney will argue before an appeals court in Florida Wednesday to keep Limbaugh's medical records sealed, citing patient/doctor confidentiality, in the criminal investigation currently brewing against the conservative radio host, AP reports. Limbaugh, 53, who sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers late last year, has been accused of illegally buying prescription drugs by "doctor shopping" or visiting several doctors to receive duplicate prescriptions of controlled narcotics, AP reports. Limbaugh--who believes he is being pursued by Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer, a Democrat, for political gain--has not been charged with a crime as yet and if the appeal goes through, the investigation against him could be stalled for good.
3000 Degrees Gets Cold
The production start on Warner Bros.' fire disaster flick 3000 Degrees, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson, has been indefinitely put on hold, Variety reports. The film, which centered on the real-life 1999 blaze at the Worcester Cold Storage warehouse in Massachusetts that claimed the lives of six firefighters, had been strongly opposed by relatives of some of the victims and firefighter groups in Worcester. But Variety reports the studio finally nixed the production when the International Assn. of Fire Fighters, the union that represents 85 percent of all firefighters in North America, told producers that out of allegiance to those families, its members would not assist the film's production, in effect denying production crews access to fire stations, fire trucks, other equipment and technical consultation services to ensure the accuracy of the film.
Motown Special To Air
The taping of ABC's television special Motown 45, which will air in May, featured the talents of Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Ritchie and Cedric the Entertainer, commemorating the label's legacy, Reuters reports. Performances taped on Sunday also included Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland teaming with Supremes' Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong on a Supremes medley and with Richie on "Endless Love," Michael McDonald covering Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and Nick Lachey and Jermaine Jackson dueting on "I'll Be There." Click here to see the photo gallery!
Stone Speaks at Tribeca Film Festival
Actress Sharon Stone is scheduled to take part in panels during next month's Tribeca Film Festival, joining other distinguished celebrities such as director Martin Scorsese and news anchor Peter Jennings, The Associated Press reports. Stone, known for sexy turns in films such as Basic Instinct, will discuss the evolution of sex in the cinema along with John Cameron Mitchell, the director, co-writer and star of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Scorsese, who helped found the festival with Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal of Tribeca Films, is set to talk about the use of music in his movies, while Jennings will moderate a discussion on "Jesus as Celebrity." Tribeca Film Festival will run from May 1-9.
Role Call, Part I: Fantastic Four Gets Director, John Woo Gets Metroid
Barbershop director Tim Story has been tagged to direct Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox. The film will follow follows the exploits of venerable Marvel Comics characters Reed and Sue Richards, Benjamin Grimm and Johnny Storm--better known to comic fans as Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Thing and the Human Torch. No cast has been set as …Director John Woo (Mission: Impossible 2) has optioned Nintendo's best-selling video game franchise Metroid for the big screen. The movie will center on the origins of the game's female protagonist, sexy bounty hunter Samus Aran, and relate her adventures battling the insidious life-sucking Metroids and their controlling force, Mother Brain.
Role Call, Part II: Diane Lane is Fierce, King's Men Remake in Works
Diane Lane has set her sights on Lions Gate's thriller Fierce People as her next project. The film revolves around a woman (Lane) who tries to start anew with her son after his brush with the law, when she is attacked and her new life is shattered…Schindler's List writer Steven Zaillian will direct a remake of All the King's Men, with Sean Penn being touted for the lead. Based on Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the story follows the rise and fall of populist Southern poli
It's a weekend of questions at the box office.
Will "Hollow Man" leave audiences feeling empty? Will "Coyote Ugly" be sitting pretty? Will "Space Cowboys" get stuck at the launchpad due to arthritis?
Or will "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" feast upon moviegoers' money for the second weekend in a row?
None of this weekend's newcomers appears to have the mass appeal needed to crack the $20 million mark, which seems to be the prerequisite for a No. 1 opening these days. That might leave Eddie Murphy's flabby comedy as the big winner; if so, it'll be the first film to top the box office heap for two consecutive weekends in two months.
Here's a brief overview of this weekend's openers:
"Hollow Man" HOLLOW MAN (See the trailer) The Skinny: Kevin Bacon is a nutty scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility. Not content to merely be a see-through dude, Bacon uses his new power to terrorize everyone. Cool. The Upside: Bacon doesn't become invisible all at once; he vanishes in layers, so you can see his skin and organs, then his skeleton, then poof! Nothing. The Downside: Once he's gone, there's nothing left to this flick.
"Coyote Ugly" COYOTE UGLY (See the trailer) The Skinny: A coming-of-age story about a small-town girl (Piper Perabo) trying to make it as a songwriter and bartender in the big city. The Upside: Good lookin' women. Lots of 'em. With tight clothes. The Downside: It's "Valley of the Dolls" without the pills, sexism and, unfortunately, the campy fun.
SPACE COWBOYS (See the trailer) The Skinny: Four old ex-pilots are launched into space to repair a broken-down Russian satellite. Little do they realize the true purpose of their mission. The Upside: Clint Eastwood is one bad dude, even in his autumn years. The Downside: Donald Sutherland and James Garner are not bad dudes; Tommy Lee Jones is a bad dude, but he's curiously younger than the rest of these geezers.
Meanwhile, don't forget "What Lies Beneath," "X-Men," "Scary Movie" and "The Perfect Storm," all of which ain't dead yet.
Hollywood has finally figured out how to make a successful Kevin Bacon movie: Keep his name small in the ads and make him invisible for most of the film. Despite critics' complaints that it's empty at the core, "Hollow Man" had a full weekend at the box office, easily slipping past all competition.
"Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" dropped nearly 60 percent in its second weekend but still held on to the No. 2 spot, while the geezers-in-orbit flick "Space Cowboys" and the girl-comes-of-age yarn "Coyote Ugly" both did well, landing at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
And when all's said and done (meaning, when the weekend estimates are finalized Monday), a couple of new records might be set. "Hollow Man" is looking like the biggest August opener ever (surpassing "The Sixth Sense"), and "Space Cowboys" is Clint Eastwood's biggest opener.
Here's a rundown of this weekend's Top 10:
1. "Hollow Man" ($26.8 million, opening weekend) 2. "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" ($18 mil, $76.5 mil total) 3. "Space Cowboys" ($17.6 mil, opening weekend) 4. "Coyote Ugly" ($17 mil, opening weekend) 5. "What Lies Beneath" ($13.9 mil, $95.2 mil total) 6. "X-Men" ($6.1 mil, $135.6 mil total) 7. "Scary Movie" ($4.2 mil, $140.1 mil total) 8. "The Perfect Storm" ($3.8 mil, $165.4 mil total) 9. "Disney's The Kid" ($2.9 mil, $58.2 mil total) 10. "The Patriot" ($2.3 mil, $105.7 mil total)
Just when you thought the "Batman" franchise had left superhero movies creatively bankrupt, caped crusaders and masked villains are invading Hollywood once again.
This summer's release of "X-Men" promises to be the first in a long list of big-budget comic book adaptations. Many of these were on the back burner for several years but have been making headlines in recent weeks, ever since it was announced that Sam Raimi will likely be the director of Sony's long-awaited "Spider-Man" movie.
"The Greatest American Hero" The latest, and perhaps most bizarre, project announced is a big-screen version of "The Greatest American Hero," the early 1980s TV show that starred William Katt as bumbling superguy Ralph Hinkley (the character's surname was changed to "Hanley" after John Hinckley's attempted assassination of President Reagan). Space aliens give Hinkley a superhero suit and an instruction manual, but he loses the manual and must learn how to harness the powers of the suit on his own, with zany, madcap results. The show, which also starred Connie Sellecca as Katt's girlfriend and Robert Culp as his boss, is probably best remembered for its scenes of Katt learning how to fly and for its zippy theme song. According to Daily Variety, Touchstone Pictures has bought the rights to make a film about the knight-errant man in red tights and has hired two screenwriters to put the project in motion. No word yet on whether the "hero" will turn in those tights for 1990s-style body armor a la Batman.
While the "Greatest American Hero" news came from out of the blue, other super-duper movies have been eagerly awaited by comic geeks, studio licensing executives and toy manufacturers for most of the 1990s. Finally, just last week, Variety reported that the "Fantastic Four" movie, with its long and tangled history, might finally get off the ground with director Roger Donaldson ("Dante's Peak") at the controls. It's a merchandiser's dream -- four superheroes, plus the villains! -- and it's been in the works since 1994, when Marvel Comics made legal maneuvers to prevent director Oley Sassone from releasing his $2 million feature film version of the classic comic.
It's not that Sassone's version wasn't licensed by Marvel, but the comics publisher had received a bigger, better offer from producer-director Chris Columbus ( "Bicentennial Man") to do a first-class job; thus, the cheap quickie was never released and has been relegated to grainy bootleg videotapes sold on the underground. Now Mr. Fantastic, The Thing, the Invisible Girl and Human Torch, not to mention their nemesis Dr. Doom will probably command a $100 million budget if they ever make it to the screen.
The "Fantastic Four" news comes after word that several other Marvel properties are also moving from the back burner to the front. Last week, the trades reported that Columbia Pictures is close to hiring director Mark Steven Johnson ( "Simon Birch") to write and direct "Daredevil," the story of a blind criminal defense attorney by day who dresses up like a demon by night and stalks the city for criminals using his radar-like, radioactivity-enhanced senses to detect danger and evil-doers. Then there's "Dr. Strange," which writer-director Chuck Russell ( "Eraser") has recently been hired (also by Columbia) to develop. There's no speculation yet as to who'll play the young, crime-fighting psychiatrist Stephen Strange, who was known to utter strange incantations such as "By the hoary host of Hoggoth."
While Marvel Comics has the lion's share of superhero movies in the works (studios are also working on adaptations of "The Silver Surfer" and "The Incredible Hulk," although those two projects have been stuck in development hell for some time), rival publisher DC Comics isn't out of the picture, not by a long shot.
Apparently not even George Clooney and Joel Schumacher could succeed in killing Warner Bros.' "Batman" franchise. The studio is reportedly talking to "Pi" director Darren Aronofsky about making "Batman 5," and the studio's highly anticipated "Superman Reborn," once known as "Superman Forever," is said to be gearing up again now after being shelved two years ago when Tim Burton walked away (or was fired, depending on what you believe).
Warners is said to be pleased with the new "Superman" screenplay by Bill Wisher, and the candidate for Most Unlikely to Direct is ... Oliver Stone. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stone is the No. 1 candidate for the job, and the studio wants to take a nontraditional approach to America's most traditional superhero, "sans the tights and more 'Matrix' like." Did Lex Luthor kill President Kennedy? Stay tuned.