Top Story: Peter Jackson Goes Ape-Crazy!
Now that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is behind him, Peter Jackson is moving on to bigger and better things--namely a big monkey named King Kong. The director is fulfilling his childhood dream of remaking the classic King Kong story about a giant ape who wreaks havoc on New York City. "I'm making movies today because I saw this film when I was nine years old. It has been my sustained dream to reinterpret this classic story for a new age," Jackson said in the statement issued on Monday, AFP reports. The new version will be filmed in New Zealand.
Reporter Arnett Fired Over War Comments
NBC and MSNBC has officially severed ties with veteran news reporter Peter Arnett after he told an Iraqi television crew the U.S. war against Saddam Hussein had failed, Reuters reports. "I said in that interview essentially what we all know about the war, that there have been delays in implementing policy, there have been surprises," Arnett told NBC's Today show. "But clearly by giving that interview I created a firestorm in the United States and for that I am truly sorry." The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter became widely known for his dramatic live reports during the bombing of Baghdad on the opening days of the 1991 Gulf War.
David Letterman will return to his popular CBS late-night show this week after fully recovering from a case of shingles, Reuters reports. The 55-year-old comedian has been off the show since Feb. 25 when he complained on air about a visible inflammation of his right eye. The ratings during Letterman's absence--where guests such as Bruce Willis and Regis Philbin took over hosting duties--were spotty but the network hopes for a big tune-in for Letterman's first night back Monday.
South Park Will Go On
Comedy Central has renewed their deal with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for another two-years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pact calls for Parker and Stone to produce 15 episodes per season next spring. Originals will be spread out through the spring and fall. The deal also includes an option for a third year that would take the duo through 2006.
Cher Criticizes Jacko
Cher has had it with Michael Jackson. The singer-actress once hailed Jackson as a "great artist" but now has a different opinion about him personally. "I don't really care what he does to his face. He could just erase it as far as I'm concerned," Cher told TV Guide for its April 5 issue. "But I don't like him anymore. And it's because of his children. I cannot imagine putting my children through what he put his children through."
Diva Ross Wants To Tell It All
Diana Ross plans to write a memoir detailing her most recent woes, including being picked up for drunk driving in Arizona, the breakup of her marriage and her disastrous Supremes reunion tour, The Associated Press reports. Upside Down: Wrong Turns, Right Turns and the Road Ahead is scheduled for release this spring from ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Ross has also agreed to a one-hour interview on Fox, scheduled to air in May.
Playwright Nick Enright Dies
Australian playwright/screenwriter Nick Enright, best known for co-writing the 1993 Lorenzo's Oil for which is he got an Oscar nomination, died Sunday of cancer in Sydney, Australia. He was 52.
Role Call: Scooby-Doo Part II; Bates Joins 80 Days
Ro-boy-o-boy-o-boy! Warner Bros. announced Monday that production on the sequel to their hit Scooby-Doo--with original cast members Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Linda Cardellini and Matthew Lillard--will begin April 14. In the new mystery, Scooby and the gang confront an anonymous villain who is plotting to take over the city of Coolsville by creating Mystery, Inc. classic foes such as Captain Cutler and the 10,000 Volt Ghost...meanwhile, Oscar nominee Kathy Bates has joined the cast of Around the World in 80 Days. Based on the Jules Verne classic, the remake stars Steve Coogan as Phileas Fogg and Jackie Chan as Passepartout, two adventurers on a journey to circle the globe in 80 days. Bates will play Queen Victoria.
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.