Romance can be found in the most unexpected places, even on Death Row, and Billy Bob Thornton is just the man to find it.
Thornton (“Sling Blade”) and Wes Bentley (“American Beauty”) are negotiating to play a father and son team of prison executioners in the new film “Monster's Ball,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film, which will be directed by Marc Forster (“Loungers”), tells the tale of a man (Thornton) living with his son (Bentley) and racist father.
Reportedly, the plot of the film deals with Thornton and Bentley as they prepare for the execution of a black inmate. However, Thornton's character finds himself falling in love with the inmate's widow, who doesn't know about his part in her husband’s upcoming death.
The $10 million “Monster's Ball” has been stuck in development for years, and at one point, the project had attracted such names as Sean Penn, Robert De Niro and Oliver Stone. "The Assassination," set in the last tumultuous years of Trujillo's regime, will be filmed in Puerto Rico. Shooting is scheduled to begin in April.
Backstreet is back … again.
The singing quintet that is the Backstreet Boys were back in the saddle again, kicking off their North American tour of 36 dates in Sunrise, Fla., on Monday, The Associated Press reports. After more dates throughout Europe and the rest of the world, they’ll return for a second stint in the United States in August.
"It's hot in here tonight," Kevin Richardson told the crowd. "It's good to be back in the saddle again in front of all you people, and it's good to feel your love."
The concert went on for about 90 minutes in which the boy band performed to a mostly teenage crowd, some of which brought along their parents.
PUFFY TRIAL DELAYED: The gun-possession trial of rap mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs was suspended Monday after a co-defendant in the case was arrested for allegedly driving with a suspended license, Reuters reports.
Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, 20, was arrested Sunday night in Manhattan after the Mercedes-Benz he was driving collided with another car, injuring two people in the car. Barrow, on trial with Combs and Anthony “Wolf” Jones, is accused of attempted murder and gun possession.
Barrow was arraigned late Monday and released without having to post additional bail. He has been out on $35,000 bail on the attempted murder charge. Jury selection in the case resumes today.
POSH SPICE TRIAL SETTLED: Posh Spice’s luggage swipper has been busted.
Mark Oliver, 20, who was accused of stealing Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham’s luggage from London’s Heathrow Airport last year, was found guilty on two charges of handling stolen goods, Reuters reports. A third charge of theft was withdrawn by the judge after legal argument.
Oliver has had previous convictions for assault, theft, criminal damage and going equipped for theft. The bags he stole from the Spice Girls singer contained designer clothes and a lock of hair from Beckham’s son Brooklyn. Oliver will be sentenced Feb. 16.
GRAMMY NEWS: Grammy nominees U2 and Madonna are set to lend their musical talents when the annual award show airs on Feb. 21 on CBS.
The 43rd Annual Grammy Awards will include 10 to 12 musical acts including the Irish rockers and the Material Mom, Academy President Michael Greene told Variety.
Hollywood.com reported last Wednesday that Madonna will perform at next month's Grammys.
For more music stories and the latest music releases, check out MusicSite.com.
Sean "Puffy" Combs apparently has time to mix business with charges.
While attending the Grammys last week, prosecutors accused the rapper/mogul of trying to bribe his driver into taking the fall for a gun found in his vehicle after a New York club shooting in December. (He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the bribery charges -- just as he had refuted gun possession charges in January.)
Though Combs' exact involvement in the incident is still in dispute, he's definitely hoping to be involved in the indie comedy "Made."
The Hollywood Reporter says he's in final negotiations to play the head of a New York-based syndicate. The fish-out-of-water tale marks the directing debut of actor-writer Jon Favreau. The story has Favreau and "Swingers" comrade Vince Vaughn playing boxers and lifelong pals who get involved in a money-laundering scheme. Combs will be the gun-toting, money-waving heavy (sound familiar?) to whom the boys owe a rather large debt.
"Made" would be Comb's big-screen debut. The entrepreneur was supposed to star in Oliver Stone's gridiron drama "Any Given Sunday," but dropped out due to other professional commitments (although the rumor mill ranges from conflicts with Stone to questions about Puffy's acting ability). His role as a self-centered, controversial quarterback eventually went to less-controversial Jamie Foxx.
Favreau wrote the script for "Made," and will produce with Vaughn. Filming is scheduled to begin next month -- in time for a mid-shoot break for Combs' next court appearance May 16.
BOMBS AWAY? "Armageddon" alum Ben Affleck is in talks to join the uber-producer's latest uber-production, "Pearl Harbor," today's Hollywood Reporter says. Affleck would be the biggest star yet to join Hollywood's biggest-ever budgeted flick.
DENZEL IN 'TRAINING': Denzel Washington, currently in the Best Actor Oscar race for playing boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter in "The Hurricane," will hit the streets again in the Warner Bros.' drama "Training Day." According to trade paper reports, Washington's in serious talks to play a corrupt veteran cop who's assigned to train a rookie on his first day with the LAPD's undercover narcotics unit.
'UNBREAKABLE' PENN: Robin Wright Penn has the right instinct for "The Sixth Sense's" M. Night Shyamalan. The actress is in talks to play the female lead in the writer-director's follow-up project "Unbreakable." Previously, Julianne Moore had made sense until she dropped out to (reportedly) replace Jodie Foster in "Hannibal."
ONE OF THE 'GUYS': Ten years later, "China Beach" Emmy winner Dana Delany has found her way back to the small screen. She's getting set to star in the pilot for the NBC crime drama "Good Guys/Bad Guys."
The series, from "Homicide" creators Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, has been in development for two years. Daily Variety reports that Delany might be paired off with ex-"Homicide" co-star Jon Seda. The pilot involves an FBI agent (Delany) in pursuit of a dangerous Hispanic crime lord (Seda). Shooting's set to begin in Miami next week.
YO NORTON! Art Carney, aka Ed Norton from "The Honeymooners," will take on his beloved alter ego once again in a series of promo spots for cable's TV Land. The hat, the white T-shirt, the vest and of course the 81-year-old Carney himself -- the whole package is set to appear the week of March 13 as part of the network's celebration of the classic series. In the spots, Carney's Norton will dispense advice on everything from finding good Chinese food to getting a job in television.
London real-estate agents, beware: There's a new seller - and buyer - in the market. Madonna ("Evita"), who bought a $6.55 million mansion there a few weeks ago, is putting it back on the market in the wake of ex-Beatle George Harrison's stabbing Dec. 30 at his London mansion. According to the London Times, the Material Girl's security advisers told her that the four-story home she bought in the city's trendy Chelsea district was "perfectly visible from the road" and thereby unsuitable for a celebrity. But Big Ben shouldn't feel shafted; the singer/actress reportedly is back in London today searching for a new home with better security.
WOMEN ACCORDING TO WOOD: In the More Than We Needed to Know department, we find James Woods ("Any Given Sunday"), who likes talking about manhood - his manhood.
In an interview with Movieline, the 52-year-old Woods provides detail - whether you want to hear it or not - on his frisky Viagra tryout with a galpal. "We had sex for six hours, 37 minutes," he blabs. "I'm surprised I didn't die of a heart attack." (Well, we're glad you're OK, James.)
Since he's feelin' so good, Woods also decided to enlighten us with his perspectives on other women in Hollywood:
· Sharon Stone: "She has a bigger [unspecified bleep] than I do."
· Jennifer Lopez: "She always has to play the strong woman, like an FBI agent. If I want to [do a love scene] with an FBI agent, I'll turn gay."
· Gwyneth Paltrow: Would have put the moves on her, but "I acted with her mother [Blythe Danner] and I'd feel like I was robbing the cradle."
· Ex-girlfriend Heather Graham: The twentysomething "It" star supposedly told Woods she didn't want to marry or start a family until she was 40. "[I asked her,] 'How do you know you'll get the same attention from men when you're that age?'"
· Susan Sarandon: "Susan Sarandon ruined the world when she had a kid when she was, like [bleeping] 96 years old. Now every actress wants to have a kid at 90."
· Ex-girlfriend Sean Young, she of some notorious run-ins with Woods: "Most of the …whining and moaning chicks do, I don't really pay much attention to."
· Brooke Shields: "Would you rather go out to dinner with the person you love, or sit and listen to her [bleep] about what happened on the set of 'Suddenly, Susan'?"
Just to show, he thinks about guys, too, Woods had this to say about "Any Given Sunday" director Oliver Stone: "[He] eats Viagra like candy corn."
Again, more than we needed to know, James.
STALKED OUT: Today in Los Angeles, prosecutors declined to file stalking charges against a photographer arrested last weekend for allegedly trailing Barbra Streisand and hubby James Brolin.
According to authorities, Streisand and Brolin were cruising - actually, since it's Los Angeles, the term should be inching --- down Highway 101 on Saturday when they noticed someone following them in a van. Deciding it wasn't the traffic that was keeping the van on their tail, the couple pulled their vehicle into a nearby sheriff's station.
Later, as Streisand and Brolin drove on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, they noticed the same man - and the same van, reports said. Overall, the couple said they were trailed for more than 50 miles through five cities. The driver, photographer Wendell Wall, 28, was held for investigation of stalking on $1 million bail.
NO "GREEN CARD": French-born actor Gérard Depardieu ("The Man in the Iron Mask") has a bone to pick with Americans. (Gee, how unusual for the French.)
"Sometimes they get on my nerves, their way of controlling everything," the actor today told a Warsaw press conference. "Cinema nowadays has become an industry ruled by money and of course the Americans."
In protest of the big, ol' bad United States, the actor has refused an offer of citizenship, something he pursued in the 1990 comedy "Green Card."
"I prefer to remain a citizen of the world," he said.
But strangely, Depardieu's protest hasn't prevented him from cashing in on American cultural domination; Depardieu is set to appear in Disney's "102 Dalmatians."