Top Story: Sean Penn's Loaded Car Stolen
Sean Penn's car, a black 1987 Buick Grand National, was stolen Tuesday afternoon from a busy Berkeley, Calif., street while the actor was eating lunch at a nearby restaurant, Reuters reports. According to police, the car had two guns inside for which Penn had a concealed weapons permit: a loaded 9-mm Glock handgun and an unloaded .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver. The actor, who lives in nearby Marin County with his wife, actress Robin Wright Penn, and their two children, had been eating lunch with an assistant at the Venus restaurant when the theft occurred. The car had been parked in a metered stall directly in front of a bank. Penn went inside and asked if anyone had noticed his car being stolen but no one reported seeing anything. Police said they will get copies of surveillance photos from the automated teller machine outside.
Jolie Funds Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary
Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider) will give the Cambodian Vision in Development organization $5 million over the next 15 years create a wildlife sanctuary to protect more than 49,500 acres of Cambodian forest in an area once controlled by the Khmer Rouge, Reuters reports. Charity officials said the money would also go toward helping war veterans and amputees rebuild their lives.
Regis Philbin Gets Hollywood Star
Regis Philbin (Live With Regis and Kelly, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), received the 2,222nd star on the Hollywood Boulevard sidewalk Thursday, the AP reports. Disney chairman Michael Eisner, talk show host Larry King and comic Don Rickles were on hand to tout Philbin's achievements during his 40 years in show business.
Schwarzenegger for Governor?
A meeting Thursday between veteran action star Arnold Schwarzenegger and Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, has sparked rumors that the actor may be considering a run for California governor in 2006, but the AP reports that White House officials said Schwarzenegger just came to discuss an after-school program California voters approved last year and to offer his support to U.S. troops overseas.
"Bull Durham" Star Responds to Criticism
Baseball's Hall of Fame recently canceled its tribute for the 15th anniversary of the film Bull Durham because of the anti-war stance of the film's star, Tim Robbins and his longtime partner, Susan Sarandon. Now Robbins is speaking out. "These kind of bullying, intimidating tactics have no place in democracy," Robbins told the AP Thursday, "and certainly no place in baseball. I'm still wondering what kind of message they were sending me and anybody else who happens to disagree with this president."
Fox To Air New Jackson Special
Fox will air yet another Michael Jackson special on April 24 to kick off the next sweeps period, the AP reports. The network said the program, tentatively titled Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies, will offer a peek into the pop star's private home-movie collection and will provide "unprecedented access to thousands of hours of never-before-seen footage revealing his real life, family and friends."
NBC Makes TV Movie About POW
NBC television said Thursday it plans to make a movie about Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old U.S. soldier taken prisoner in Iraq and later rescued, Reuters reports. Details about Lynch's ordeal as a POW are cloudy, and her family has said they're not ready to discuss selling the story, but NBC said it was going ahead with a TV movie regardless.
Apple May Buy Universal Music
Apple Computer Inc. has secretly been in talks for several months with Vivendi Universal to buy Universal Music Group, the world's largest record company, for as much as $6 billion, according to a published report Friday in the Los Angeles Times. Vivendi barely escaped bankruptcy in 2002 and has been trying to sell some of its assets ever since. Representatives for both Apple and Vivendi declined to comment about the possible deal.
Role Call: DreamWorks Joins Superhero Mix, Diesel Considers "Dreadnaught"
Matrix choreographer Yuen Wo Ping has been tapped to direct DreamWorks' new Marvel Comics-derived project The Hands of Shang Chi. Bruce McKenna (Band of Brothers) is writing the script for the pic, which will be set in China. The story revolves around a young kung fu master who learns that his father is the worst criminal in the world ... Vin Diesel and director Dominic Sena (Gone in 60 Seconds) are in negotiations with Columbia Pictures' to take to the high seas aboard a high-tech warship for the maritime epic Dreadnaught. Execs plan a fall start--after Diesel wraps shooting Universal Pictures' The Chronicles of Riddick.
Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) and Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember) are set to star in the romantic comedy Try Seventeen. According to Variety, the film centers on a young man who sets off for college but ends up learning more about life from the eccentric inhabitants of his apartment building. The project will be helmed by Jeffrey Porter and should begin shooting in March.
Kung fu film master Jackie Chan suffered a minor injury while performing a stunt during the shooting of a movie outside Bangkok, but was back on the set Tuesday. The Hong Kong actor bruised his face during the incident Monday, and was kept in a hospital for four hours, the Associated Press reports.
Sigourney Weaver has been cast in director Andrew Davis' (Collateral Damage) next film, Variety reports. Holes, about a young boy falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers and sent to a wayward camp for kids, is based on Louis Sachar's 1999 Newbery Award-winning kids' book. Weaver is set play a juvenile detention facility warden.
Following the lead of many movie and TV productions, NBC has announced that L.A. Law: Return to Justice will be shot north of the border in Vancouver, the L.A. Times reports. Lured by tax breaks and a low Canadian dollar, the L.A. Law reunion project, which brings together the original series cast (minus Jimmy Smits), is the latest Southern California production to be shot in Canada.
The American Red Cross has inducted Jane Seymour, who played a quasi-physician on the long-running series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, into their new Celebrity Cabinet. According to Britain's The Post, Seymour will focus her attention on childhood illnesses, especially measles, which is killing millions of children in Africa.
Proving that she's still "worth it," former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has signed a $1 million deal to feature in a new international poster and TV campaign for cosmetics giant L'Oreal, reports Sky News. Halliwell joins the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Andie MacDowell, Claudia Schiffer and more recently, Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles.
Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer denied Tuesday that an interview with talk show host Rosie O'Donnell had caused a rift between them, AP reports. In the interview, O'Donnell is expected to talk openly about her homosexuality for the first time. Sawyer landed the interview, which is set to air on ABC's Primetime Thursday on March 14.
Hank Williams, Jr. paid tribute to country icon Waylon Jennings, who died last week, during a sold-out Saturday night Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman Auditorium. It was his first appearance on the esteemed radio show in twenty years. In what may be the longest grudge in history, Williams has avoided the Opry not only because of the chilly reception he received the last time he appeared, but because the show fired his father, Hank Williams, Sr., in the 1950s.
Dawson's Creek veterans James Van Der Beek and Kerr Smith are both engaged-and no-not to each other. Van Der Beek, who plays Dawson Leary, proposed to actress Heather McComb, his girlfriend of two years, while Smith asked actress Ali Hillis to marry him. However, according to Ananova, neither of the cuties have immediate plans to wed.
Record labels have tapped into video games--and the latest recruit in this cross-promo trend is none other than pop princess Britney Spears. According to Rolling Stones magazine, interactive entertainment software developer THQ is releasing Britney's Dance Beat, a game where players get to select from a choice of dancers auditioning to be backup dancers on her tour. Get into the groove and you'll score points to move on to more complex tunes.
Oasis will release "The Hindu Times," their first new single in nearly two years on April 15, the band said in a statement posted on their Web site. The group first performed the track at a series of concerts late last year celebrating their 10th anniversary. It's the first song from the band's as yet untitled fifth studio album which scheduled for release in July.
Madonna has been nominated for the Les Paul Horizon Award at the Orville H Gibson Guitar Awards for her guitar playing. The singer is up against John Mayer, Pete Yorn, Michelle Branch and Chris Thomas King. For those of you who didn't know, Madonna actually played the guitar on her Drowned World Tour.
In a blow to small broadcast outfits that fear being squeezed out of the marketplace, the federal appeals court Tuesday threw out the FCC's regulation that prevents broadcast and cable operators from owning each other. The elimination of the TV cap enables companies like AOL Time Warner to acquire a major network like NBC.
Well, Ms.-I'm-not-married-to-Tom-Cruise-anymore is having a banner year, isn't she? First, she separated from what's-his-name in February, which generated just a little bit of a buzz. Uh, right, just a little. With the news of the separation came the release of her film Moulin Rouge, which showed off her singing skills. Coincidence? Hmmm, I wonder. Then she wowed audiences with her performance in the Sixth Sense-ish thriller The Others, which some are saying may get her an Oscar nod.
Now she's looking at her next project, another thriller called The Forgotten for Revolution Studios, where she'll play a woman who joins forces with a man in searching for answers to the unsolved abductions of their children. Yikes. That sounds intense. She's also going to star in Danish director Lars von Trier's Dogville and the big-screen adaptation of Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain with Anthony Hopkins. Hey, it pays to get divorced from a big name star, doesn't it?
Bruce Lee isn't really dead
Somewhere on the site, I've already covered this as a serious news story, but it's worth mentioning again in my column for the pure ridiculousness of it. Seems some bright South Korean filmmakers have decided to digitally bring the very dead kung fu king Bruce Lee back to life to star in a movie called Dragon Warrior, with the blessings of Lee's widow and daughter, no less.
OK, I have to ask the question. Why? Honestly, what's the reason for this? I really can't see one. I mean, with all the martial arts talent we have these days (inspired in part by Lee himself), do we need Lee to come back? I simply have to shake my head at this one. Maybe the good Jet Li and the evil Jet Li should fight the dead Bruce Lee while Jackie Chan supervises.
But, if you thought that was bad...
Rambo vs. Osama. That's right-you heard me correctly. Sly Stallone has decided to resurrect his alter ego to take on the Taliban and is writing a script for a fourth Rambo installment. The story supposedly has Rambo parachuting into Afghanistan and capturing Osama bin Laden alive, according to a news report in the London Times. Stallone has professed in the past that he didn't think he was up to playing Rambo again but apparently has changed his mind since Sept. 11. Harvey Weinstein at Miramax said in March he'd be excited to do a Rambo film. "It's a billion-dollar property," Weinstein said.
Well, sure it is. The movie will probably make a ton of money because if President Bush can't get it done, Rambo will. Thanks, Sly, for pinpointing exactly what the American public wants to see. God bless America!
Carrey in the romantic spirit
Jim Carrey is looking to Universal Pictures/Jersey Films for his next project, starring in an untitled romantic comedy where he plays a man whose dead wife comes back to haunt him, forcing him to confront the "ghosts" in their relationship. Hmmm, sounds a little like the classic Noel Coward play Blithe Spirit, about a man who is haunted by his first wife while married to his second. Or maybe it'll be an updated comedic Ghost, where the guy gets the dead wife back. Who knows? With Carrey starring, it should at least be fun. Production is scheduled for March for a Christmas 2002 release.
Wahlberg and Jackman go for "Glory"
Here's a really different and totally unique premise--ready? Beefy Mark Wahlberg and hunky Hugh Jackman are negotiating to star in Pride and Glory, a "gritty drama set in the New York Police Department." Wow. Never seen that before. They'll play brothers who come from a three-generation family of cops and come to blows when one investigates a case of corruption involving his brother. The Fine Line Features film will be directed by Gavin O'Connor (Tumbleweeds), the real-life son of a New York cop. Sorry, I'm yawning already. Even with Jackman attached, whom I like, this doesn't sound remotely interesting.
The Crocodile Hunter's big moment
I was waiting for this one. Steve Irwin, that wacky Australian zoologist who has a serious death wish wrestling crocodiles, snakes and other nefarious animals on his Animal Planet show, will be getting the big-screen treatment in The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. He and his wife, Terri, will play themselves in a story where they get involved with a CIA's agent search for a missing satellite. And get this--Bruce Willis' company Cheyenne Productions is producing the film. Irwin will be perfect as a movie star; he's such a ham. But someone should tell him the movie industry could be the most dangerous beast in the world. One bite, and you die.