Leave it to Hollywood to try to fool audiences into thinking that Walter Matthau and any woman could produce offspring in the form of Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Meg Ryan.
The three actresses, who, uh, aside from their gender have nothing but blond hair in common, co-star in Columbia Pictures' "Hanging Up" (opening today) as sisters dealing with an aging father (Matthau).
"Hanging Up" The Pointer Sisters they are not. How do three kids -- who in flashbacks appear close in age -- grow up into a mismatched trio wherein Keaton suddenly looks (at least) 15 years older than Ryan and Kudrow? Welcome to Hollywood-style gene splicing.
"Hanging Up" is just the latest example of mismatched sibling combos. Consider:
-- "Little Women": The lack of family genes is very obvious in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 remake featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Winona Ryder. Ryder is but one of the four sisters; cast as her siblings are Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Trini Alvarado. At least Ryder and Alvarado have the same hair color, but the fair red-headed Danes and dirty blond Dunst are off in left field, and on opposite ends at that.
-- "The Brothers McMullen": Actor-writer-director Edward Burns, Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone could never pass as brothers. In fact, Burns and McGlone, who reunite in the "Brothers McMullen" follow-up "She's the One," look absolutely nothing alike. Well, unless they had different fathers and mothers.
-- "Family Business": In this little-seen 1989 Sidney Lumet bomb, a son (Matthew Broderick) estranged from his father (Dustin Hoffman) enlists the help of his career-criminal grandfather (portrayed by a very Scottish Sean Connery) to pull off a heist. Broderick, Hoffman and Connery are never believable as family -- of this Earth, anyway. Connery begat Hoffman begat Broderick? Forget genetics, this is perhaps the most egregious example yet of star packaging gone awry. Speaking of Connery, witness the familial casting insanity in 1998's "Playing by Heart." Connery is married to Gena Rowlands, and their daughters are Gillian Anderson, Madeleine Stowe and Angelina Jolie. Uh, OK.
The problem also affects TV shows. Consider:
-- "Sisters": In this touchy-feely 1991-96 series, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz and Julianne Phillips (Bruce Springsteen's ex-wife, the one with really full lips) are about the funniest mismatched trio on television since "The Three Stooges." The dark-haired Ward, who in her small cameo role at the beginning of the Harrison Ford starrer "The Fugitive" looks oddly like ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, would never be mistaken for the redhead Kurtz. Actually, does anyone in Hollywood resemble Kurtz?
"Eight Is Enough" -- "Eight Is Enough": Poor Adam Rich. He looked nothing like his non-mop-topped siblings on this 1970s show, and they looked nothing like him. (Which, at least, was consistent. The other faux siblings -- particularly the five actresses cast as the five Bradford sisters -- looked nothing like each other, either.) Apparently eight was not enough. "The Cosby Show" and even "The Brady Bunch" did it better.
-- "Family Ties": "I bet we've been together for a million years." So says the theme song from this 1982-89 sitcom, but take a look at the original Keaton siblings (Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers) and you know that "Family Ties" even a million years couldn't make these three (later, four -- when Brian Bonsall joined the cast) look like family. Fox and the little Bonsall could pass as brothers. Heck, even Fox and Bateman could pass as siblings with a little stretch of the imagination, but where did Tina Yothers' Jennifer Keaton come from, with her big '80s blond hair? The adoption agency?
But fear not, for all is not lost. Casting directors have made some uncannily good decisions for siblings. Julia Roberts and Kyra Sedgwick work as sisters in "Something to Talk About." So the potential is out there.
And those Baldwin brothers sure do look a lot alike.
Peanut butter and jelly aren't the only things that go together for Edward Burns. The actor-writer-director can't resist casting his latest ingenues in his latest projects.
First there was Maxine Bahns in "The Brothers McMullen" and "She's the One." Then there was the interlude with Jim Carrey's ex, Lauren Holly, in "No Looking Back." Up next: current galpal Heather Graham in his new romantic comedy "Sidewalks of New York."
The indie project, set in New York (obviously), interweaves several modern love stories. Co-stars include actor-filmmaker Stanley Tucci, "Light It Up's" Rosario Dawson and "Girl, Interrupted's" Brittany Murphy. In his standard do-it-all fashion, Burns serves as the director, writer and producer.
Daily Variety reports that shooting will begin Wednesday in Gotham.
Burns, 32, and Graham, 30, began dating in 1998.
THE CONTENDERS: "The Insider's" Michael Mann may have the skinny on the director's chair for the planned big-screen Muhammad Ali biopic.
Columbia Pictures and producer Jon Peters have met with several A-listers to direct the Will Smith-toplined project. Variety says the contenders are Mann, Spike Lee and Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential").
A final decision is expected soon. The studio has been looking for a candidate since "Wild Wild West" director Barry Sonnenfeld exited last fall. The story follows the pre-Ali days when the fighter was simply an up-and-coming buck named Cassius Clay.
Mann's name comes into play just days after he earned three Oscar nominations for directing, writing and producing "The Insider." Also on Mann's list of possible projects are a few other box-office heavyweights. He's met with Brad Pitt about "Shooter," a story that follows a sniper lured out of retirement and then betrayed; and he's developing a Howard Hughes biopic with Leonardo DiCaprio. (Leo's also attached to Mann's cops-and-corruption tale "The Inside Man.") Plus, there's an epic Mann's producing with Tom Hanks about Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great -- two dead Roman leader guys.
FLOATING ON 'FEATHERS': New sensation Jude Law won't be resting on that Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for long. Variety says "The Talented Mr. Ripley" co-star has committed to the lead role in "Four Feathers," a project that begins shooting in July.
"Elizabeth's" Shekhar Kapur will be at the helm for the Paramount/Miramax co-production. The movie's a remake of the Zoltan Korda tale about a British officer who resigns before battle and is given four white feathers by his fiancŽe and friends to remind him of his cowardice.
Law's also looking to position himself as "The Good Shepherd" in an MGM pic to be directed by Robert De Niro. The actor recently read for the Erich Roth script, about a CIA agent recruited during the agency's early World War II-era days. Over time, the responsibility of being a secret agent begins to take its toll on his family life.
"Shepherd" would preoccupy the actor's time come early 2001.
Charlize Theron's looking to reunite with her "Devil's Advocate" co-star Keanu Reeves.
Daily Variety reports that the actress is in negotiations to co-star in the Warner Bros. pic "Sweet November." That would mean that her heart's no longer set on producer Jerry Bruckheimer's "Pearl Harbor." That Michael Bay-helmed actioner is to be filmed over a five-month period.
As for "Sweet November," "Circle of Friends" filmmaker Pat O'Connor is set to direct the tale of a businessman (Reeves) who falls in love with a cancer-riddled woman (Theron).
PACINO'S 'OEDIPUS' COMPLEX: "Godfather" Al Pacino is getting back to the family roots as doomed Theban king Oedipus Rex (aka the guy who killed his dad and married his mom).
Pacino will star in the New York stage-bound production for director-actress Estelle Parsons. The A-list ensemble includes Mary Beth Hurt, Dianne Wiest and Edward Hermann. Variety reports that the director plans to open the show at an Off Broadway venue in a couple of months.
HE'S WITH THE "BAND": Former pop star-turned-actor Donnie Wahlberg (brother of rapper-turned-actor Mark Wahlberg) has signed on with a new group in the form of HBO's $120 million, 13-hour miniseries "Band of Brothers."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wahlberg -- late of New Kids on the Block -- will play Cmdr. Lipton in the war tale based on a nonfiction book by Stephen Ambrose. The project follows the adventures of a group of 101st Airborne soldiers from basic training to their capture of Hitler's Eagle Nest at Berchtesgaden, Germany.
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are the miniseries' executive producers.
'KNIGHT'-HOOD: "Terminator 2" tyke Edward Furlong, now 22, takes a step in the action-hero direction as the lead in the indie film "The Knights of the Quest."
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Furlong will star for Italian director Pupi Avati as Simon of Clarendon, an 11th century hero who sets out to inform a French king about a sacred relic.
The $15 million to $18 million project is set to begin shooting March 27 in Scotland, Italy, France and Tunisia. The film's being financed by the Italian government and Antonio Avati (Pupi's brother). The project's still looking for a domestic distributor.
'PICNIC PLANNING': Columbia TriStar Television thinks it's high time for another remake and has placed a new version of the 1955 movie "Picnic" on its telefilm development slate.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the remake will star Josh Brolin, Gretchen Mol, Mary Steenburgen and Bonnie Bedelia. Based on William Inge's play, it's the story of a drifter who stirs up a small town after falling for an old buddy's fiancŽe.
READY FOR 'KISS': Actor Danny Nucci, Leonardo DiCaprio's steerage-class buddy from "Titanic," is close to landing the lead in the CBS pilot "Kiss Me Guido." Variety reports that Nucci will star as Frankie, an Italian-American playboy who ends up with a gay roomie after misreading a classified ad. The series is based on the 1997 Paramount film.
'HAPPINESS' IS A NEW DEAL: Todd Solondz, director of the lightly titled, heavily weighted dramedies "Happiness" and "Welcome to the Dollhouse," has been joyously embraced (no irony here) by New Line Cinema. Daily Variety reports that the studio has acquired the distribution rights to the filmmaker's untitled next project, which will be produced by Gotham-based Ted Hope and Christine Vachon.
After catching her live-in boyfriend in a compromising position Amanda sets out to find a new place to live. She ends up rooming with four supermodels (Shalom Harlow Ivana Milicevic Sarah O'Hare and Tomiko Fraser) whose apartment has a great view -- especially of Jim the "perfect guy" across the way. When Amanda in a "Rear Window"- type scenario witnesses Jim committing what she thinks is a murder she sets out to prove that he did it. However to her surprise she ends up falling head over heels (literally a lot of the time) for him instead.
The chemistry between Prinze and Potter is near perfect. Potter does a great job of playing a klutzy girl who can't seem to stay on her feet long enough to have a conversation with Jim. But then again who could? Prinze exudes his usual charm and winning smile while at the same time showing great comic timing. The more pivotal moments with the four models who are "struggling " as they like to say are well done and surprisingly hysterical. Who needs a drama when you can have four models who are actually funny?
Director Mark S. Waters and Prinze Jr. are together again after their 1997 film "The House of Yes." "Head Over Heels" is a cross between "Fatal Attraction " "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "There's Something About Mary " which means it's a bit muddled in its direction. Waters tries a little too hard for the shock value while at the same time trying to convey romantic comedy elements almost overshadowing the performances of the actors. But hey then again we get to see supermodels covered in poop. Priceless. Still the fairly clever and darker script plus the winning chemistry between the lead actors makes it worthwhile.
When gullible small-town square Paul (Biggs) gets a scholarship to a prestigious New York City university he's ripe for the plucking from the likes of his spoiled rich roommates (Zak Orth Tom Sadoski Jimmi Simpson). Meanwhile Paul's classmate Dora (Mena Suvari) tries to balance schoolwork off-campus jobs and a covert relationship with her world lit professor (Greg Kinnear). Will Paul and Dora two very different breeds of social outcast find a way to hook up? You don't need SAT scores in the 99th percentile to figure that one out.
Biggs' natural goofiness and Everyboy likability go a long way toward making "Loser" watchable but there's little the talented young actor can do with the lifeless increasingly predictable storyline. Suvari who functioned well enough as "American Beauty's" teen lust object ranges from weak to downright awful trying to navigate a lead role in this vastly inferior film. Kinnear lends a piggish charm to his people-using misogynist prof easily the film's most entertaining character.
Writer-director Amy Heckerling who so successfully mined the comic potential of '80s and '90s youth culture in the genre classics "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless " scores surprisingly few laughs in moving her act to an institution of higher learning. To its credit "Loser" shows more respect for the audience's intelligence than the average campus comedy fare taking the time to delve into a few real issues (teacher/student relationships inequalities between rich and middle-class students) along the way but the results simply don't generate the sparks Heckerling's earlier high school films did.
Brolin and Driver to wed
Jews are angry
Smile, Mrs. Dirty Harry
Moore birthday bash
Pryor turns street
Beastie Boys are back
Brando takes ill
Brolin and Driver to wed
Actor Josh Brolin (Hollowman, The Mod Squad) and actress Minnie Driver (Return To Me, Good Will Hunting) are engaged to be wed, People magazine reports.
This is the third wedding for Brolin, who was married previously to Deborah Adair. Brolin's first wife, Jane, died in 1995. Brolin has two children, Trevor, 12, and Eden, 8.
This will be the first trip down the aisle for Driver, who previously dated Matt Damon and John Cusack.
Brolin -- son of famed actor James Brolin and stepson of Barbra Streisand -- and Driver became romantically involved when they costarred in Slow Burn.
"It's obvious they are very much in love," Danny McKeever, Brolin's auto-racing instructor, told reporters.
No wedding date has been set yet, People reported.
Comic strip "BC" defames Jews, says Jewish group
The Simon Weisenthal Center, a nonprofit Jewish civil rights organization, is asking newspapers that carry the syndicated comic strip BC not to run Sunday's cartoon.
The strip portrays a Menorah, a Jewish symbol, in the first panel, under a quote by Jesus: "Father, forgive them: for they know not what they do." Succeeding panels then show the Menorah morphing into a cross, with more of Jesus' last words atop each panel. The final panel's quote, "Do this in remembrance of me," frames a picture of a cave, presumably Jesus' final resting place.
The founder and director of the Weisenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Heir, said that newspapers have a duty not to run the strip, as it describes Judaism being "subsumed" or encompassed by Christianity, Reuters reported. The strip "will promote hatred rather than tolerance and diversity," Heir said.
A statement released by Johnny Hart, creator of BC, defends his work, saying that during a week that is holy for both Christians and Jews this year, he was trying to honor both.
The Simon Weisenthal Center, located in Los Angeles, is named in memory of Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal.
Dirty Harry's wife on "Camera"
Smile, you're on Candid Camera.
Dina Ruiz Eastwood, wife of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, will be saying that more often, having joined Candid Camera's team as the show's co-host.
Starting with the new fall season, Eastwood will co-anchor the show with Peter Funt, The Associated Press reports. Eastwood will take over for Suzanne Sommers, former star of Three's Company.
The Eastwoods, who appeared together in True Crime, have been married since 1996. Prior to taking her new gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif. Prior to taking the gig as Camera's co-host, Eastwood was a news anchor for KSBW-TV (NBC) in Salinas, Calif.
Candid Camera airs Sunday evenings on Pax TV.
Former "Survivor" contestant gives deposition
America hasn't heard the last from the first season's cast members of the TV hit Survivor.
As part of ex-cast member Stacy Stillman's $70,000 lawsuit against CBS, fellow South Pacific islander Dirk Been delivered a videotaped deposition -- six hours in length -- to lawyers, according to a report by People magazine. Been's deposition will remain under wraps due to confidentiality agreements that each cast member signs before taping begins.
Stillman contends that the TV series rigged the vote that kicked her off the island. Stillman reportedly asked the questions during Been's deposition.
"We're very pleased with what Dirk said today," Donald Yates, Stillman's lawyer, told the New York Post.
For its part, CBS filed a counter-suit against Stillman, claiming she broke her nondisclosure agreement when she brought her suit against Survivor last February.
Moore to celebrate birthday with TV bash
To celebrate Dudley Moore's 66th birthday, his family and friends are throwing him a small party -- at Carnegie Hall.
Michael Caine and Julie Andrews will chair the televised event, An All-Star Tribute To Dudley Moore, People magazine reports. Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, Amy Irving, Lauren Bacall, Eric Idle, Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon and Bo Derek are scheduled to give praise in person, while Robin Williams and John Cleese have taped video messages for Moore.
Dudley Moore, star of such films as 10, Arthur, and the original Bedazzled, suffers from a rare brain disorder called Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a relative of Parkinson's disease. The ailment has severely limited Moore's ability to work as Moore is confined to his wheelchair. Moore has curtailed his public appearances.
Net proceeds from the evening go to two of Moore's pet charities, Music for All Seasons and the Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP. The tribute will take place on Monday.
Pryor's name to headline street sign in Illinois
Peoria, Ill., will try for the second time to honor hometown hero, comedian Richard Pryor, USA Today reports.
Peoria City Council members rejected on March 27 the renaming of South Sheridan Street in honor of Pryor, but that apparently did not sit well with certain council members. The proposal has reappeared on the docket, and the council will once again vote on the matter in two weeks.
Councilman Eric Turner said that the city has received a black eye for failing to honor Pryor. According to Turner, he and Pryor were childhood friends while growing up on the south side of Peoria.
Pryor is a controversial choice for such an honor, given his past penchant for profanity-filled routines and his well-documented battles with drugs. In 1980, Pryor nearly killed himself accidentally in a fire related to his freebasing cocaine.
Pryor, currently living in California, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.
Beastie Boys' Grand Royal reappears
Out of print since 1997, the Beastie Boys' cult magazine Grand Royal has been licensed by Harper Collins to reappear in the guise of a coffee-table book. The book would comprise the best of the old magazines and incorporate fresh new articles, according to a story filed by online portal Yahoo!
The Beastie Boys produced just six editions of Grand Royal, from 1993 to 1997, which were all instant hits. The magazine, which linked skateboarding and politics and music and pop culture, sold out three of the six print runs. The magazine featured articles with then-obscure musicians, such as a Kid Rock interview in the fourth edition.
According to the report, Josh Behar, a senior editor at Harper Collins, said that the Beastie Boys "really love this project. Their dedication is amazing." Beastie Boy Mike D is working closely with Behar to finish the book. The book is scheduled to appear in bookstores in April 2002.
Actor Steve Buscemi reportedly knifed in fight
Actor Steve Buscemi has flown from the North Carolina set of Domestic Disturbance to his home in New York to recover from knife wounds, according to The Associated Press.
Police arrested a local man and will charge him for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill after allegedly stabbed Buscemi in the head, throat, and arms, AP said. Buscemi was released from a local hospital and flew home to recuperate.
The fight happened early Thursday at the Firebelly Lounge, a local bar, in Wilmington, N.C.
Domestic Disturbance costar Vince Vaughn also was arrested for his alleged involvement in the fight. AP said Vaughn was trying to come to the aid of Buscemi.
Buscemi's agents, the William Morris Agency, said they had no information at this time. Domestic Disturbance's studio, Paramount Pictures, refused to comment.
John Travolta and Teri Polo also star in the film.
Marlon Brando hospitalized
Screen legend Marlon Brando, 77, has reportedly been hospitalized for pneumonia, days before he was due to shoot the opening scene for the upcoming comedy Scary Movie 2 this week.
The actor is said to be undergoing treatment at a Los Angeles-area hospital. Neither Brando's agent, Dimension Films nor Scary Movie 2 producer Brillstein-Grey Entertainment have commented on details about his illness, or how long he is expected to be in the hospital.
The filmmakers still want Brandon to be in the film and, even though production wraps this month, his scenes could still be filmed after he recovers, according to Variety.
Scary Movie 2 is the sequel to last year's summer blockbuster directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans. It costars Chris Elliot, Tim Curry, Tori Spelling and Andy Richter.
The sequel, also directed by Wayans, is due in theaters for the July 4 holiday weekend.
Brando's next project is working alongside Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton in the crime drama The Score.