MGM delays next James Bond movie
MGM announced Thursday it has pushed back its target release date for the 21st James Bond installment from November 2005 until sometime in 2006. A spokesman for the studio told Reuters yesterday failure to line up a director for the film was the reason behind the almost yearlong delay. The announcement comes as a surprise since MGM said in July that a script was finished and the next film was on track to arrive in theaters in November 2005. But for the film to be released in November as planned, production would have to begin early next year, something producers thought was unlikely without a director on board by summer's end. MGM's impending sale to a group of companies led by Sony Corp. is also a factor in the delay, as is the possible casting of a new James Bond, since Irish-born actor Pierce Brosnan told Entertainment Weekly magazine this summer he was through with the franchise. The 51-year-old actor, who has portrayed agent 007 in four films starting with GoldenEye in 1995, has fulfilled his MGM contract but has not been ruled out for a fifth picture. Reuters reports casting decisions will be put off until a director comes on board. Paul McGuigan, who directed Wicker Park and Matthew Vaughn, Guy Ritchie's producing partner for Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels are among the filmmakers being discussed for the job.
NBC picks up Joey for full season
NBC said Thursday it has greenlighted the production at least nine more episodes of Matt LeBlanc's Friends spin-off Joey, Reuters reports. The comedy, which co-stars Emmy-wining actress Drea de Matteo, is the first new primetime sitcom to receive a full-season order. Joey has averaged 16.4 million viewers overall in its first three episodes and is the top-rated new comedy on U.S. television so far this season among NBC's target audience of adults aged 18 to 49. The show, which follows LeBlanc's character Joey Tribbiani trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, debuted in the coveted Thursday night time slot previously inhabited by Friends--just four months the skein ended its decade-long run.
University cancels Michael Moore talk
George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., canceled plans Thursday to have director Michael Moore speak on campus Oct. 28--five days before the presidential election. The Associated Press reports the decision came after a Republican state legislator wrote a letter to the university president protesting the school's plans to pay the Fahrenheit 9/11 helmer $35,000 for his speaking engagement. Moore, however, told The Washington Post he plans to come and speak anyway. "I'm going to show up in support of free speech and free expression," he said. But a spokesman for the school said university officials hadn't discussed with Moore whether they would allow him to speak if he waived his fee.
MTV renews Punk'd for three more seasons
MTV, meanwhile, has renewed Ashton Kutcher's prankster series Punk'd for three more seasons, the AP reports. The first of the hidden-camera prankster show's 24 new episodes will premiere sometime next year. The announcement is a change for the normally guarded host, who in the past has been secretive about the show's plans. In January, Kutcher announced he was shelving the series after only two seasons. "Let's put it this way. I'm getting ready to start shooting two movies, I'm still working on That '70s Show, I'm producing two other shows for MTV and creating a one-hour drama pilot for Fox," Kutcher told the AP at the time. "I don't have the time." But Punk'd returned to MTV three months later.
Shatner pulls prank on Iowan town
William Shatner, aka Capt. James T. Kirk from the '60s series Star Trek, pulled a prank of his own recently. Shatner had been Riverside, Iowa, shooting scenes for what he said was a low-budget sci-fi film. Riverside considers itself the "future birthplace" of Capt. Kirk and holds an annual TrekFest, which includes a parade and public screenings of Star Trek episodes. But when Shatner invited town residents to view scenes he had been directing around town, he instead revealed the filming was for a new reality show on Spike TV about a small town hosting a Hollywood film shoot. The show is set to debut next year. Shatner also announced that he and his co-producers were donating $100,000 to the city to be used for community projects.
Lohan's father ordered to attend anger management classes
Lindsay Lohan's father pleaded guilty Thursday to assault charges and was ordered by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge to attend anger-management classes, Reuters reports. Michael Lohan was accused of beating up a city sanitation worker in December during an argument between the two men on a New York street. According to the criminal complaint, Lohan struck the man "several times about the face with closed fists." Judge Richard Weinberg told Lohan the conviction would be removed from his record when he returns to court Dec. 9 if he completed the anger-management classes successfully. Lohan has also been charged with assault in a separate case stemming from a fight with Lindsay's uncle, Matt Sullivan, on Long Island in May.
Top Story: Splendor Tops Nat'l Film Critics List
The National Society of Film Critics named the cult indie fave American Splendor--a film about the life of file clerk-turned-comic creator Harvey Pekar--as 2003's best picture at its annual best-of Saturday in New York at the showbiz haunt Sardi's, Reuters reports. They also tapped the film's creators Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini as best screenwriters. Bill Murray picked up another award as best actor for his work in Lost in Translation, while Charlize Theron took best actress honors for her portrayal as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Splendor narrowly beat out Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, Reuters reports, but Eastwood took home the best director prize, in a decisive vote that left The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King helmer Peter Jackson and Translation's director Sofia Coppola as runners-up.
In More Awards News…
Meanwhile, the Broadcast Film Critics will give Eastwood a lifetime achievement award at their awards ceremony Saturday in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. Mystic River earned a record eight nominations from the group, including nods for Eastwood both as director and composer. The group will also bestow its Passion in Film Award on Peter Weir, director of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which received three nominations.
In More Spears News…
Pop princess Britney Spears, who isn't in the news enough what with her spur-of-the-moment Las Vegas wedding/annulment, is among the hundreds of celebrities, organizations and companies on the National Rifle Association's roster of entities it considers hostile to gun ownership rights, The Associated Press reports. The Fairfax-based NRA has compiled a 15-page list of supporters of the Brady law--which requires federally licensed gun dealers to do background checks on gun buyers--and other gun control measures. NRA spokesman Ted Novin told AP the list was solely for "informational purposes and that it's nothing new." Others on the list included Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Michael Moore, the St. Louis Rams and Cardinals sports teams, and Hallmark Cards.
Irwin Defends How He's Bringing Up Baby
Steve Irwin, the wacky host of Animal Planet's Crocodile Hunter, snapped back at critics who have accused him of endangering his month-old son's life by holding the baby while feeding a crocodile. Proclaiming he'd do it again, AP reports Irwin told the Australia's Network Nine TV show A Current Affair, "What I would do differently is I would make sure there were no cameras around." Child welfare advocates have said the TV hero endangered his son, Robert, in the incident Friday, drawing comparisons with pop star Michael Jackson who dangled his infant out of a hotel window in Berlin in November 2002, AP reports. "To hear people say that it was a publicity stunt, that I'm just like Michael Jackson, well, it just tears me up. It makes me sick to my stomach to be compared in that way." Irwin told Australia's Sunday Telegraph. Police told AP Sunday that Irwin would not be charged with violating any laws.
And Speaking of Jackson...
Finding a fair and impartial jury of one's peers may prove to be difficult in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson. AP reports that due to the lack of racial minorities being summoned and low response to the jury summonses, Jackson's lawyer may decide to challenge Santa Barbara County's jury-selection process. For example, Hispanics, who work as farm laborers around the Santa Maria, where the case is being tried, do not return jury summons because they can't afford to take time off for jury duty. As well, the problem is compounded by the demographic of Santa Maria, where census figures show blacks represent just 2.3 percent of Santa Barbara County's population. "You wind up with a self-selecting jury pool," Santa Barbara attorney James Herman told AP.
Jolie Donates Money to Cambodian Farmers
Actress Angelina Jolie is donating $1.5 million to a program to help poverty-stricken Cambodian farmers, AP reports. About 300 families will get one cow each to help them earn money and dissuade them from logging and hunting wildlife for a living. The program is being organized by the Cambodian Vision in Development in its efforts to protect the environment.
Singer Hospitalized After Accident
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield, best known for his dance album Gotta Get Thru This, is in stable condition after his car rolled off a rural road Friday in a remote area near Whangarei, New Zealand, AP reports. "He won't be well enough to travel, so he'll be recuperating in New Zealand for two or three months," Alison Lees, a Whangarei Base Hospital spokeswoman told reporters. "He's damaged vertebrae in his neck but it hasn't affected his motor or sensory capabilities. He's a fairly lucky guy." Bedingfield was driving back from a music festival in Whangarei, AP reports.
Southwest Airlines Subject of New Reality Show
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a popular airlines? A&E Network thinks enough people do to justify Airline, a new reality show which gives audiences an inside look at Southwest Airlines, following employees as they deal with weather delays, blackouts and passengers who are running late or too drunk or too smelly to board the plane, AP reports. "Everyone…wants to share their travel stories--the love-hate relationship we have with air travel," Nancy Dubuc, vice president of documentary programming at A&E, told AP. "It's that common connection." The show begins Monday night on A&E, which plans to air 18 half-hour episodes.
If you think you saw the last of the Cruise/Kidman train wreck, think again.
Cruise will be in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday to promote his new film, Vanilla Sky, alongside co-star and girlfriend Penelope Cruz. Problem is: Nicole Kidman will also be in Sydney--her hometown--on that day, attempting to enjoy the holidays with her family.
Regardless, Cruise is not concerned about bumping into his ex.
"I'm looking forward to it," he told Reuters. "It's a place where my children live. My children are half Australian.'' Cruise and Kidman have two adopted children: Isabella, 8, and Connor, 6. They have agreed to jointly raise the kids.
According to Variety, Universal Pictures is planning to produce a biopic about the life of Joseph Greenstein, the 5' 4" Polish wrestler who came to fame as a circus sideshow freak in the 1900s. A producer of the film, Ed Saxon, is calling the story a combination of Forrest Gump and MTV's stunt show Jackass.
The Fast and the Furious star Rick Yune is being cast as the next villain in the James Bond series of films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Yune will play a man who becomes disfigured after using a new facial-mutation device. John Cleese is slated to reprise his role as R, as Judi Dench is in the role as M.
According to CNN, Bulgaria's The Naked Truth--a news program launched last week featuring female anchors who strip down to their panties while reading the day's headlines--has already received higher ratings than any other news program in the country.
For the first time in over three months, Paula Poundstone--who pleaded no contest to charges of felony child endangerment on Sept. 12--performed a comedy routine Friday at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, Calif. "This is my first night performing since I've been a criminal," joked the self-deprecating comedienne.
Almost three years since they separated, Garth Brooks and wife Sandy have finalized their divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
LeAnn Rimes' official web site has revealed that the 19 year old is now engaged to dancer Dean Sheremet. Rimes' spokespeople were not available for comment on Monday, says The Associated Press.
On Monday, ex-heavyweight fighter Mitchell Rose filed a complaint with police in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, claiming that Mike Tyson began an unprovoked brawl with Rose on Sunday morning outside of a local eatery. Tyson's spokespeople deny the allegations. No charges have been pressed against either party, PageSix.com reports.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, who was charged with assault while drunk aboard an airplane in April 2001, is to be tried for his actions in a London court in March, 2002, according to People magazine.
Starsky and Hutch star David Soul won his libel suit against theater critic Matthew Wright of London's The Mirror newspaper. According to People, Soul was awarded $29,000 in the suit, which he brought against Wright for making derogatory comments about Soul's performance in a 1998 play--a play that Wright did not even attend.
Actor James Cromwell (L.A. Confidential) is now banned from Wendy's restaurants in Farifax County, Va. for one year. The ban stems from Cromwell's no contest plea in a Va. court on Monday in which he was charged with trespassing while attending an animal-rights protest at a Fairfax County Wendy's in July.
The artist and writer who co-created the Casper, the Friendly Ghost franchise, Seymour Reit, died on November 21, The Associated Press revealed on Monday. Reit was 83.
Actor James Cromwell was arrested Tuesday during an animal rights protest in Fairfax, Va., that targeted the Wendy's fast food chain, according to The Associated Press.
Police arrested five people during the protest calling for customers to boycott Wendy's, AP said. The 51-year-old Babe star and three officials from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested after they allegedly refused to leave a Wendy's restaurant, police said. A fifth person was arrested after he allegedly climbed onto the restaurant's roof with an anti-Wendy's banner.
The hour-long protest, which attracted 350 people, was held to stop Wendy's from allegedly "confining sows to stalls so small that the animals cannot turn around and buying chickens with broken bones caused by mishandling," according to a statement on PETA's Web site.
Cromwell was released five hours later, AP said.
"After Babe, people recognized that pigs and other animals abused on factory farms are sensitive, gentle animals. It is high time that big corporations like Wendy's stopped treating these wonderful animals like meat machines," Cromwell said in the PETA statement.
A Wendy's spokesman could not be reached for comment.