Chinese composer Ning Yong has told CBC Radio in Toronto that he is planning to sue Sony Pictures for using his composition, "Camel Bell in Silk Dragon," in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon without his permission. The Canadian broadcasting outlet said that Ning is claiming that while he was paid $600 for use of the piece, he was never contacted directly about it and that the fee was simply sent to him.
The set of Columbia Pictures' Spider-Man has lately been plagued with a run of bad luck, to say the least.
Actually, it's becoming nearly arachnophobic.
First, a construction worker died last month while a crew worked to recreate the top two floors of a 1930s-style building on the set. A crane hauling a large metal case suddenly fell over on its side and the metal case hit the man in the head, killing him instantly.
Then, on Tuesday, star Tobey Maguire's stunt double, Zack Hudson, reportedly fractured his leg while performing one of the hair-raising Spidey maneuvers. Instead of skimming along a brick structure, Hudson smashed into the wall. Information on his condition could not be confirmed by the studio, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Also Tuesday, four red-and-black Spider-Man costumes went missing from the Sony Pictures Studios lot, according to the studio. The Spidey one-piece molded suits have as many as 120 individual silk screens for shading and highlighting.
The Culver City Police Department is investigating the incident.
The studio has set up a hotline number-(310) 244-1044-for any tips about the whereabouts of the costumes and is offering a $25,000 reward.
"We consider these costumes valuable property and we hope this reward will help to get them back," a studio spokesman told Reuters.
What is the potential value of the costumes? According to Sotheby's Auctions, the Batman and Robin costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward on the 1960s TV series sold for a total $68,500.
The highly anticipated film, the first big-screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' famed superhero, may have been cursed from the beginning. It's taken several years to get this film into production, with a legal battle over rights and changing of hands in the talent department - at one point, James Cameron was slated to direct - hindering the film's start.
It finally got rolling in January, with Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead series) at the helm. Maguire (The Cider House Rules) stars as Peter Parker, the nebbish youngster who, after receiving a bite from a radioactive spider, is able to stick to walls and fight the bad guys. Willem Dafoe, off of his Oscar-nominated performance in Shadow of the Vampire, dons more makeup and ghoulish-ness playing the arch-nemesis Green Goblin. Kirsten Dunst (Get Over It) plays Mary Jane Watson, Parker's next-door-neighbor and love interest.
Recent troubles have not delayed production, the studio has said. The film is slated for release May 2002.
The Armageddon that is "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and Regis Philbin has reached its pinnacle. You can play along with the game in your living room. You can get the board game version. You can play it on your computer. And now, for a mere $77.50, you can dress like Regis. Yes, just in time for Father's Day, the King of Primetime has launched Regis by the Van Heusen Company line of monochrome cotton shirts and matching silk ties. (The indefatigable host was on hand at Macy's flagship store in New York Monday to promote the outfits. Right now, the Big Apple store is the only place you can find the goods.)
The bigwigs are talking: "We are thrilled to enter into this monumental licensing agreement with Regis Philbin," reads the credo from Van Heusen honcho Mark Weber. "Regis is one of America's best known on-air personalities and possesses the qualities to make this trend-setting deal."
The masses are talking: "The shirts look beautiful and Regis is fun. He's cute," an adoring fan gushed to Associated Press at the line launch.
And even the big guy himself it talking: "It brings back memories," he told the press as he perused the Regis-themed storefront windows on Monday.
So we decided to hit the streets and see what the hubbub was about. Here's our blow-by-blow account of going shopping for Regis:
As we exit the subway, across from Macy's, we're greeted by larger-than-normal crowds and an unusual neon light reading "Regis" emanating from the store's windows. Upon closer inspection, we discover a giant pictorial chronicling the life of Regis Philbin (from his school days at Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx to his top-rated days on the ABC game show). In front of each said pictorial is a suited mannequin wearing a smiling Regis mask. The window reads: "Who's the best-dressed game show host? A. Regis Philbin B. Regis Philbin C. Regis Philbin D. Regis Philbin." Clever.
We conduct a quick man-on-the-street interview with passers-by: Attractive business-type says he would wear the duds. "I Love New York" T-shirted tourists ask us to take a photo of them in front of the windows. Homeless man says his daily take is up since the windows opened.
We follow the neon light inside the store and head to the lady at the information desk. Yes, lots of people are coming in and asking about the line, she confirms and points us to the men's store. We navigate our way through the throngs of slow-walking tourist, deflect attacks from perfume-wielding sales people and see a stack of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" games on a faraway table. We must be getting close.
We look up and follow even more neon Regis signs to the men's department. (Note to self: Neon sighs didn't look good in 1986, nor do they look good today.) A salesman approaches and guides us to the shrine of Regis. Six-foot stacks of sassy black boxes stocked with shirt-and-tie combos are being vigilantly attacked by Father's Day-seeking wives, daughters and significant others. A 70-something dowager gives us a dirty look when we pick up a box from the pile she's digging through.
Here's the scoop from the sales guy: The cotton shirts and silk ties are packaged together and make fabulous Dad's Day gifts. They've been flying off the shelves since the line was launched. Macy's was more of a zoo than normal when Reeg visited. And, no, the combo pack ain't going on sale any time soon.
As we turn to leave (and realize the entire men's department is full of Regis wear lookalikes for significantly less than $77.50), the sales guy poses one final question: How many boxes would you like?
Someday we'll use the Internet to watch movies just the way we now use the TV, VCR, DVD player, satellite dish and other toys. And if Stephen Dorff can help it, that day is today. Dorff, he of "SFW" fame, can be downloaded (for a $3.95 fee) tonight at 9:01 Pacific Standard Time, along with Fay Masterson, John Cleese and the rest of the cast of "The Quantum Project," which is being hyped as the first movie made specifically for distribution on the World Wide Web.
Movies are nothing new on the Internet; there are seemingly dozens of Websites where you can download shorts, and feature films. This one, say its producers, is different because it was produced and filmed with the Internet in mind. Toolbars appear on the screen during the story, and the characters are steeped in cyber-babble.
"The Quantum Project," which runs 30-1/2 minutes, can be downloaded from the SightSound.com Website.
SKINNY SPICE: Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham was named the ultimate fashion icon in a poll by Channel 4 in London on Thursday, besting supermodel Kate Moss.
WHO WANTS TO BE A REGIS? If you've ever dreamed of fashioning your wardrobe after the host of the world's hottest TV show, dream no more. Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. has struck a deal to make men's shirts and ties bearing Regis Philbin's name. The microfiber shirts and silk ties will sell for $40 and $50, respectively; the designer firm expects to sell $50 million worth of the duds.
KISS KASH: Apparently the guys in KISS weren't kidding when they said their current concert tour will be their last. According to Variety, the rock supergroup will sell off virtually all its touring stuff -- guitars, costumes, platform shoes, capes -- in a multi-million-dollar auction June 24-25 at Paramount Studios' Theater in Hollywood.
It's not easy being the most famous man in the world. Nasty rumors about you are circulated on the Internet. The press watches your every move. Make one stinkin' movie in a third-world country and all of a sudden you're an environmental terrorist.
It's enough to drive a guy to punch a photographer, Frank Sinatra-style. Or, in the case of Leonardo DiCaprio, it's enough to drive a guy to hire his own media. (Heck, at $20 mil per movie, he can afford it).
And when "The Beach" premiered at Mann's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood last week, that's pretty much what happened.
Leonardo DiCaprio, you see, isn't just the most-tracked star on the movie universe -- he's the most "innovative." (Hey, even his own camp says so.)
To be sure, the guy does know a thing or two about the power of, well, power. Word around the campfire was that unless Leo personally OK'd a TV crew, newspaper, magazine or Web site for the red-carpet festivities at the Chinese, the outlet's requisite reporter types weren't invited. (Neither were the environmentalist protesters, of course, but they came anyway.)
Although some media types were shut out of the premiere, the crew from the Official Leonardo DiCaprio Homepage (www.leonardodicaprio.com) was there in full force. Deemed "DiCaprio's personal media" by Variety, the site beamed out live streaming video coverage of the event.
Forget all that silly environmental nonsense, or those stories of barroom fights and late-night carousing with his homeboys, bodyguards roughing up photographers and his friend (rapper Q-Tip) smashing a paparazzo's camera. The Official Leo Homepage people gave the teen-age girls what they want: the baby-faced superstar.
A sample of the hard-hitting coverage: "A football field length of red carpet turned sidewalk into catwalk in front of the entrance to the theater as the press, standing three deep along the rope line, screamed, yelled, cajoled, flashed, filmed, taped and recorded the arrivals of celebrity, cast and crew. ... Appearing relaxed and happy, Leonardo emerged from his limousine dressed in a navy blue Armani suit, dark silk shirt and matching tie. [He] was all smiles and spent a little moment with just about every journalist who shrieked for a little bit of his time."
Manipulative? Perish the thought. Chuck Smith, a rep of DiCaprio's Birken Studios, says the players of Team Leo are "innovators" in movie-star spin control. "We're trying to gain some control over Leonardo's image because of the complete saturation during the 'Titanic' run," he told Variety, failing to mention all the other stuff that's happened since the big-boat movie. DiCaprio's people have been handling the star's hype ever since Leo fired his big-name PR firm, Baker Winokur Ryder, last year.
On the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, the owner of "The Anti Leonardo DiCaprio Revolution" Web site (http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~mberglan/antileo.html), one of more than a dozen DiCaprio-bashing sites on the Net, thinks the star's media games are a joke.
"Journalism coverage should be unbiased, and his power over the coverage obviously compromises that," says Michael Bergland. "To have the actual subject of coverage pick and choose who writes the story is a step too far. They might as well ban the media all together and have Leo issue a press release."
Actually, the most interesting press release issued after "The Beach" premiere at the Chinese wasn't from DiCaprio, or from 20th Century Fox, which released the film, but from the premiere-crashing environmentalists and their group Justice for Maya Bay International Alliance (JUMBIA). Their dispatch not only railed about the environmental crimes allegedly perpetrated by what they call "the bulldozer movie," but took potshots at DiCaprio fans and the Fox spin doctors, as well.
"The premiere attracted only a small crowd of about 150 DiCaprio fans," the bean counters at JUMBIA declared. "Fox agents led them in practice squeals before the heartthrob himself arrived. When the protesters began chanting, distributing flyers, and holding out their signs, every television camera not controlled by Fox agents scurried to film them, and print media reporters asked for interviews."
For the uninformed, the protestors allege that Fox, DiCaprio and makers of "The Beach" illegally filmed on a beach in Phi Phi Leh Island, Thailand, that's designated as a national park, desecrating the local ecosystem. During production of the movie, environmentalists on the Thai island wore DiCaprio masks with bloody fangs in protest.
To be sure, environmental havoc is nothing to pooh-pooh, but Leo's latest publicity snafu seems tame compared to some of his other tabloid-fodder escapades and publicity missteps. He hasn't made a movie in two years, yet he's made so many (oft-unflattering) headlines that it's perhaps understandable if he hates reporters (he does).
It makes a guy want to take a page from Sinatra's book and give those parasites a knuckle sandwich. Oh, wait, Leo's the world's biggest celebrity. He has bodyguards and sidekicks for that.
Smitten by a young woman (Ryder) celebrating her 22nd birthday in his chi-chi restaurant relentless womanizer Will Keane (Gere) sets his sights on this cherubic vision 27 years his junior. Against his better judgment the chiding of his friends and the fact that she's the daughter of a former flame Will invites Charlotte to a reception and sparks fly. The morning after Will recites his "Let's be friends" speech but Charlotte counters with an emotional challenge and a situation that will change his life -- and hers -- forever.
Why these A list stars chose this script might always remain a mystery but to their credit they make this unlikely romance border on the believable. Gere oozing his patented "Pretty Woman" and "Runaway Bride" romantic charm hits every trademark brood squint and exhale in his repertoire. Ryder continues to mine her kewpie doll blank expression punctuating her performance with intermittent anger and puppy dog eyes.
A lot of beautiful fall foliage can make any film watchable and director Joan Chen ("Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl") struggles admirably to construct a silk purse from a sow's ear script. Despite sappy set pieces and some painfully awkward lines Chen manages to exploit the beautiful seasonal locations and cuisine scenes to their fullest proving she can direct a sturdy picture.