Imagine wearing the heaviest winter clothing, sitting in the hot tropical sun all day and having very little water. This is the plight of seven polar bears who travel with a circus in Puerto Rico--but not for long, if Scottish actor Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge; Black Hawk Down) has anything to do with it. He has written an open letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton on behalf of the charity People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), requesting the polar bears be transferred to an accredited zoo in the United States.
McGregor became interested in polar bears when he hosted a British Broadcasting Corp. documentary about the arctic animals last year. "Polar bears are intelligent animals who are specially adapted to freezing weather conditions," the actor wrote in the letter.
She knows what she did last summer. Singer/actress Brandy (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer), 23, is expecting her first child with her husband, producer Robert Smith, whom she secretly wed last summer. The baby is due sometime in July.
Comic strip feline Garfield will be staying at home these days. Garfield creator Jim Davis has decided to sell his private twin-engine Dassault Falcon 20F-5 jet since he no longer needs to travel as much as he used to. The jet is being offered for $7.6 million and is advertised as "an aircraft fit for a fat cat."
An unidentified woman decided The Rosie O'Donnell Show was as good as any place to flash her breasts. On Thursday's live show in New York, the woman opened her blouse as the camera panned the audience before a commercial break. When the show resumed, Rosie quipped, "A crazy woman...is now with security, waiting to get into the Montel show."
Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert announced Wednesday he will undergo surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his thyroid. "I am told this type of tumor is slow-growing and not aggressive, and that my prognosis is excellent for a quick and complete recovery," Ebert said in a statement. The movie critic had similar surgery in 1987.
A French court Thursday turned down a Catholic group's request to ban a poster designed by Oliviero Toscani for the independent film Amen. The court ruled the image, which blends a cross with a red swastika, fairly depicts the subject matter of the film, examining how the Vatican's silence during the Holocaust made it partially responsible for the millions of Jewish lives lost.
A Venezuelan actor, Juan Carlos Diaz, who has been harassing singer Gloria Estefan and her music mogul husband, Emilio, for two years, was arrested Thursday for allegedly trespassing on the couple's mansion on Star Island in Miami Beach. As well as trespassing, Diaz has publicly accused Emilio of making unwanted sexual advances toward him, while the music producer, who has denied all charges, has filed a defamation suit against the troubled actor.
The California Supreme Court Thursday overturned the state's "Son of Sam" law preventing criminals from selling their stories for profit, citing its violation to a criminal's state and federal First Amendment rights. This decision came about after Barry Keenan, who kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. in 1963, challenged the law, which was preventing him from selling the rights to his story to Columbia Pictures for $485,000.
British actor John Thaw, best known for playing the gruff Oxford sleuth Inspector Morse in the BBC TV series Inspector Morse, died Thursday in Wiltshire, England, from cancer of the esophagus. He was 60. Sheila Hancock and three children survive Thaw.
George Clooney and Nicolas Cage are getting serious about issues of life and death these days.
Clooney, whose "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is currently in theaters, is in final talks to play the lead in "The Life of David Gale," Daily Variety says. And joining him might be Cage, who is producing the film but also is considering a small but pivotal role.
Directed by "Angela's Ashes'" Alan Parker, the story concerns a professor and capital-punishment opponent who's convicted of murdering another activist and is put on death row.
OOPS! SHE'S DOING IT: Being voted the year's worst dressed performer has certainly done nothing to curb the steam of reigning pop princess Britney Spears.
After numerous offers and much indecision, the crooner will finally make her feature acting debut for "Billy Madison" director Tamra Davis in what's been temporarily called the "Untitled Britney Spears Project," The Hollywood Reporter says.
Budgeted at about $10 million, the film is about three high school friends traveling together across the country. On their way, they meet an aspiring musician who persuades them to go to Los Angeles to compete in a musical contest.
And yes, Spears is expected to sing in the film.
John Cusack 'COSMIC' BALANCE: John Cusack is in all the coolest films in town.
The "High Fidelity" and "Being John Malkovich" guy will star and produce the film "Cosmic Banditos," which chronicles a group of Colombian marijuana smugglers on the run in the jungle, Variety says.
And you guessed it, Cusack will be play one of those bandits dodging the law.
FOLLOWING THE HERD: We don't know about you, but when we think action comedy, we don't come up with a name such as Anthony Hopkins.
Nonetheless, the "Hannibal" thesp has signed on to join Chris Rock in the action comedy "Black Sheep," the Reporter tells us. Hopkins will play a veteran CIA agent who must work with Rock's character, who is enlisted to a covert operation after his twin brother is killed.
LACING UP: Comedian Paul Rodriguez will join the ever-growing cast of "Ali," the biopic of pugilist Muhammad Ali directed by "The Insider" helmer Michael Mann, the Reporter informs. Rodriguez will play an outspoken fight physician.
GOING MAJOR: "Hilary and Jackie" actress Rachel Griffiths might star opposite Dennis Quaid in Disney's "The Rookie," the Reporter also relates. She would play the wife of Quaid's character, a high school baseball coach who makes the major leagues.
Christina Ricci, star of such gloomy fare as "Sleepy Hollow" and "Buffalo '66," will put her experiences to work in her latest project.
Daily Variety says the indie siren has agreed to grapple with depression as the star and co-producer of a big-screen version of "Prozac Nation."
The movie adapts Elizabeth Wurtzel's 1994 autobiographical account of her lifelong bout with the disease. The New York writer graduated from Harvard and became a well-known journalist, but her crippling feelings once caused her to attempt suicide. Prozac, she said, was the lifesaver that helped her reshape her life.
Ricci's interest in the book sparked the development of the project. The film's set to begin shooting May 15 with "Insomnia's" Erik Skjoldbjaerg at the helm.
BOOB TUBE REDUX: Ex-"Roseanne" star John Goodman can't resist a return to sitcoms -- especially when Fox and the producers at Carsey-Werner Co. (his old "Roseanne" home) offered him $4.4 million for 22 episodes' worth of work. According to Variety, the actor has signed on to star as one-half of an "Odd Couple"-like pair of single fathers living together with their teenagers. ("My Two Dads" with more kids?)
LONG LIVE 'KINGS': In the grand tradition of such respectable concert films as Eddie Murphy's "Raw," Spike Lee has signed on to document the popular "Kings of Comedy" tour. The show, which has played to sell-out crowds at Madison Square Garden and the Great Western Forum, features entertainers Steve Harvey, D. L. Hughley, Cedric "The Entertainer" and Bernie Mac.
The film will combine outtakes from the show along with backstage activities and music. The movie's in development at Paramount-based MTV Films, with the network planning a soundtrack that combines the channel's top hip-hop and R&B acts.
MTV Prods. Senior VP David Gale tells Variety promises that the movie "will be pretty racy, but not offensive."
MAN IN BLACK: He's a music legend and an American icon. Next, dark horse Johnny Cash will be the subject of a big-screen movie. Variety says Columbia Pictures has signed filmmaker James Mangold ("Girl, Interrupted") to co-write and direct "Cash," a biopic about the musician's "tumultuous life and profound effect on American music."
Mangold will team with scripter Gill Dennis on the screenplay. James Keach (brother of Stacy, husband to Jane Seymour) is a producer, and a close friend of the legend. Also producing is Sony-based filmmaker Cathy Konrad.