Mimi Farina, a singer and social activist, died of cancer Wednesday at her home in Marin County, Calif., at the age of 56. Like sister and fellow singer Joan Baez, Farina was a member of "folk royalty" in the 1960s, but she left her music career to devote herself to charitable work.
Actress Katharine Hepburn was admitted to a hospital in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday, Reuters reports. James Battaglio, a hospital spokesman, said Hepburn is in stable condition and seems quite comfortable, but did not say what the actress was being treated for. The 94-year-old actress has won four Academy Awards in a career that has spanned five decades.
Singer Janet Jackson has postponed yet another date in her problem-plagued tour. Just hours before showtime in Milwaukee, concert promoters told disappointed fans at the downtown Bradley Center that Jackson was postponing the concert because she had suffered an injury that required emergency dental surgery, The Associated Press reported. The accident occurred sometime Wednesday afternoon. Promoters told concertgoers to keep their tickets in the hopes that the concert could be rescheduled.
The Deftones have canceled Friday's performance at the San Diego Sports arena because lead singer Chino Moreno is suffering lingering effects of a vocal chord injury, Launch.com reports. The group also canceled Wednesday's show at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif. This will be the fourth cancellation due to Moreno's injury. The doctor treating Moreno said the singer was under "strict vocal arrest".
British politician and novelist Jeffrey Archer was jailed for four years Thursday after he was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice over a 1987 libel case that centered around allegations he had sex with a prostitute, Reuters reports. He was acquitted of one of the perjury charges. The prosecution said Archer faked two diaries that he presented during the trial to back up some false alibis. Archer, whose best selling novels include Kane and Abel and Honor Among Thieves, was forced to withdraw from the 1999 London mayoral race and was suspended from the Conservative Party for five years, putting a dent in his political career.
Escaped convict Kevin Jerome Pullum spent his first weekend of freedom with his girlfriend in downtown Los Angeles, just blocks from the county jail that he had fled. As sheriff's deputies were conducting seven wristband counts and six jailhouse searches before finally announcing on July 9 that he had escaped, Pullum was enjoying a romantic stay with his girlfriend, Carmen Ford, who said she was unaware he was on the lam, the Los Angeles Times reported. Pullum, a so-called third-strike convict, faces up to life in prison. He reportedly escaped by making a fake identification card using a picture of Eddie Murphy from Dr. Dolittle 2. Pullum continues to elude authorities, despite a large-scale manhunt.
Two officers from the Australian police have flown to Los Angeles, California to interview management and members of Limp Bizkit about the death of a 15-year-old, who was crushed at their concert in Sydney, Reuters reports. The interviews were part of a coroner's investigation into the death of Jessica Michalik, who is believed to have suffered a heart attack after getting caught in a concert crowd surge. Several other fans were injured at the concert and organizers accused the band of having a cavalier attitude toward fan safety.
Robin Williams is praising U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong for winning the 10th stage of the Tour de France, Reuters reports. Armstrong hinted that after his victory that he had bluffed his opponents into thinking he was hurt. Williams, who is a fan and a friend of Armstrong, suggested the cyclist should receive an Oscar for his performance. The actor also said he has no doubts that Armstrong will rack up his third consecutive Tour victory this year.
Revolution Studios have made a deal that will pair Jet Li and Jackie Chan in a film together for the first time. A script is now being written by Robert Mark Kamen, Luc Besson and Li, who will also co-executive produce the project with Chan.
Actor Richard Dreyfuss is declaring neutrality in the upcoming Screen Actors Guild elections, Variety reports. The retiring president William Daniels said last week that Dreyfuss endorsed Valerie Harper. Apparently there was a misunderstanding. Dreyfuss said he does not endorse any candidate, but does support common sense, civility and the membership of the guild. Harper and Melissa Gilbert announced their candidacy last week, as well as Eugene Boggs.
All the glamorous Catherine Zeta-Jones has to do is tap her heels three times and, just like that, she's returning to her humble homeland of Wales to do the independent film Coming Out. Under the direction of another Welshwoman, Sara Sugarman, Zeta-Jones will produce and star in the film about a Welsh rugby team whose coach unexpectedly dies. Their only hope is to rely on the deceased coach's gay son to "choreograph them to victory." But don't think Zeta-Jones is bowing out of the limelight forever. Oh, no, she wants that Oscar. So, Zeta-Jones also will star with her equally famous husband Michael Douglas in Smoke and Mirrors. The period drama follows the efforts of a French 19th century illusionist, along with his female sidekick, to expose a sorcerer who is inciting anti-colonial revolution. Production will start mid-fall.
Roberts' Atlantic crossing
Julia Roberts, following the leads of Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones's Diary) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Sliding Doors), will most likely have to take some serious dialect lessons to perfect a British accent for a new untitled film (the one she had in Mary Reilly doesn't count). She will take on the real-life role of a Yorkshire woman whose murder led police on one of their biggest manhunts, followed by one of the most controversial miscarriages of justice in the United Kingdom. Roberts will play Wendy Sewell, whose gravitation towards elicit sex gained her the nickname "The Bakewell Tart," London's The Observer reports. Sewell was murdered in 1973. Maintaining his innocence, 17-year-old Tim Downing was convicted of killing Sewell. Local newspaper editor Don Hale spent six years trying to clear the young man's name. Interesting. Let's see what the Oscar-winning actress dishes up.
Hallstrom and DiCaprio play "Catch"
Speaking of more true stories, director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat) is in final negotiations to direct DreamWorks' Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio, who certainly has taken the heat off himself in the last few years, attached to star. This is based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., the only teen to ever make the FBI's 10 most wanted list for impersonating several hundred different people and writing bad checks between 1964 and 1966. Abagnale Jr. passed himself off as a Pan Am copilot, a chief resident pediatrician and an assistant attorney general. He had written $6 million in bad checks in all 50 states and 26 foreign countries by the time he was caught. That's one busy bee. And with Hallstrom and DiCaprio together again, after their other quirky but compelling film What's Eating Gilbert Grape (DiCaprio was nominated for an Oscar), Catch might one to watch out for.
Allen looking at the stars … again
Hey, why mess with a good thing? Tim Allen is no dummy. After his success in 1999's comedy hit Galaxy Quest, Allen is in talks to star in Paramount Pictures' comedy StarChild, about another romp with aliens--Roswell aliens, to be exact. A socially challenged CIA agent is assigned the task of getting a young Roswell alien back home before interplanetary war erupts on Earth. Peter Segal (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps) will direct. Think about this one carefully, Tim.
"I know nuuuth-ting!"
But we do. Looks like the brainy fellows at Revolution Studios have decided to bring the wacky and popular '60s and '70s TV sitcom Hogan Heroes to the big screen. We'll get to see all the shenanigans of Hogan (maybe Tim Allen should think about this one instead) and his oddball band of World War II POWs, as they run an underground Allied base of operations at the camp while pulling a fast one on the incompetent Col. Klink and his sidekick, Sgt. Schultz (Chris Farley would have been great). And why not? The studios haven't completely tapped out the arsenal of old TV shows as possible movie material. Ironically, the original series' star, Bob Crane, is having his own life brought to the big screen by director Paul Schrader. The film, Auto-Focus, highlights the sordid details of Crane's life after Heroes that ultimately led to his brutal murder in 1978.
Court TV makes movies
Court TV, which owes its popularity to the sensational trials of O.J. Simpson and the Menendez brothers, has decided on its first original movie. It is a project on the aftermath of the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, during which four black girls were killed. The case made headlines recently when an Alabama jury convicted Thomas Blanton of the crime. Blanton is the second man brought to justice in this case after the 1977 conviction of Robert Chambliss. Tentatively titled A Bombing in Birmingham, production will start in the late summer for a 2002 airing. Not sure, though, if anyone can outdo Spike Lee's extraordinary Oscar-nominated documentary on the same subject, 4 Little Girls. That's a hard act to follow.
The power of three
Indie gal-pals Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey and Fairuza Balk will star in Enter Fleeing for writer/director Rebecca Miller. Based on Miller's collection of short stories, Personal Velocity, the film tells the tale of three women-Greta (Posey), Delia (Sedgwick) and Paula (Balk)-who each struggle to flee from the men who confine their personal freedom. Sounds like the ultimate chick flick--an empowering chick flick, the best kind. Shooting begins this week in New York.
Rap Queen large and in charge
Rap singer/actress/talk show host Queen Latifah is in negotiations to star and executive produce the comedy In the Houze for Disney and Hyde Park Entertainment. A man takes to the Internet to find a date but ends up embarking on an online relationship with a convict (Latifah) who makes up several stories about herself. When she's finally released, she seeks out the guy and wreaks havoc on his upper-middle-class life. This will mark the versatile Latifah's first starring role in a film, having played mostly supporting characters in films like The Bone Collector and Living Out Loud.
Billy Crystal has said that he won't return to hosting the Oscars this year, but one thing is for sure: Gilbert Cates will reprise his role as producer of the awards telecast.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Robert Rehme announced today that Cates will produce the this year's Oscar telecast. This would mark the 10th time that Cates has served in the post, the most ever for anyone in the awards history.
"There won't be much of a learning curve for him," John Pavlik, the Academy's communications director, told Hollywood.com. "[Gil] knows what to do and how to do it. It's just a matter of plugging the right elements in for him."
The 73rd Annual Academy Awards will be held at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium on March 25.
GOLDEN GLOBES NEWS: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced today that a total of 179 feature films, 110 television series, 77 miniseries and 41 foreign language films have been qualified for this year's Golden Globe Awards consideration.
Nominees for the 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards will be announced on Dec. 21, and the ceremony will take place on Jan. 21.
Let's hear it for the old guy who in this movie comes off sexier than his buff young accomplice (Dermot Mulroney). OK the old guy happens to be the gracefully aging icon Paul Newman -- as a feisty heistmeister who dodges a long prison sentence and then teams up with his equally conniving rest-home nurse (Linda Fiorentino) on a bank job gone wrong. "Where the Money Is" is breezy suspenseful and as much a love story as anything else -- if you call mentoring a new life in crime a kind of love. The mission-improbable caper is no more or less entertaining than a "Rockford Files" rerun but the film's swerving joyride takes its real thrills from the great escape that Fiorentino's Bonnie Parker makes from a dead-end life in the married lane.
Newman still hasn't lost it and as Henry Manning he doesn't miss any nuances in the edgy balance between streetwise wariness and amiable rapport with his sultry new colleague. The steam-powered Fiorentino has forged her career by making danger look casual and this is her most alluring work since "The Last Seduction" added another zero to her salary. Her chemistry with Newman a flirty twist on the idea of honor among thieves is really what makes this movie worth seeing. Mulroney is serviceable as the dim but lovable hubby a supporting role that's more foil than fully etched character.
We can all thank director Marek Kanievska for deciding not to have the May-December duo end up in the sack and leaving them simply professional cohorts. The director's admirable sense of comic timing works all the better by not letting the laughs get in the way of his leads' exploration of their characters -- although there's no denying the limits of this frothy genre. Perhaps Kanievska's greatest feat here is allowing Newman to retain his dignity in close-up.