News, Aug. 4: Britney Could Be Next Daisy Duke, Vince Neil Facing Battery Charge, William Friedkin To Helm “Skulls,” More…

Top Story: Britney Could Be Next Daisy Duke

Teen pop idol Britney Spears could be the next Daisy Duke–tiny shorts and all. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Spears has been mentioned as one possibility to play Daisy in Warner Bros.’ big-screen version of The Dukes of Hazzard, based on the hit TV series that ran from 1979 through 1985. Other actors who have expressed interest in the project include Ashton Kutcher for the role of Bo Duke, Paul Walker as Luke Duke and Anthony Anderson as Boss Hogg. There is no word, however, on who might portray Roscoe P. Coltrane. Although there are no details on scribe Jonathan Davis’s screenplay, reports say it will have Coltrane and his dog chasing ‘dem Duke boys while Boss Hogg plots to get their land with a scheme involving out-of-town businessmen. Daisy, in her little shorts, will most likely serve as a distraction as the Dukes vindicate themselves–all in the name of moonshine.

Joaquin Phoenix Defends Buffalo Soldiers

Joaquin Phoenix said his latest movie, Buffalo Soldiers, has nothing to do with the conflict in Iraq. In the film, which has been criticized for its negative depiction of American soldiers, Phoenix stars as a battalion supply clerk stationed in Germany at the close of the Cold War who runs every racket imaginable at the base, including black marketing Mop & Glo and cooking dope. But Phoenix said he does not think the movie, written and directed by Australian Gregor Jordan, is a critique of the U.S. military. “It’s more of a statement film and kind of a cynical statement at that,” told the Boston Globe Sunday. “It explores the idea that war is inherent in man, and there’s a seeming desire for conflict. It could be applied to any situation and any military.”

Box Office Nose Dives in July

July proved a disappointing month for the North America box office as theater admissions fell below the $200 million mark for the first time since 1997. According to The Hollywood Reporter, estimated admissions for July were $194.1 million, down 4 percent from the $202.5 million tallied during the same time last year. Ticket sales were up slightly–2 percent–compared to last year, but the increase has been attributed to a rise in ticket prices rather than the number of tickets sold. Of July’s 13 wide releases, as compared to 12 in July 2002, only two films grossed more than $100 million each as opposed to three in 2002.

“Iron Mike” Tyson Knocked Out by Finances

Boxing champ Mike Tyson, once estimated to be worth at least $300 million, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan Friday in an attempt to bring some order to his finances, Reuters reports. Tyson blames his financial woos on boxing promoter Don King and has a $100 million lawsuit pending against the ring promoter, claiming he was cheated out of millions when he went back to fighting for him after his release from prison in 1995. Last year, Tyson also claimed lack of funds prevented him from paying estranged wife Monica Turner Tyson $10 million in a divorce settlement.

Jackie Chan in TV Spot To Boost Hong Kong Tourism

Veteran action star Jackie Chan is starring in a TV commercial in a bid to revive tourism in Hong Kong after the SARS outbreak, The Associated Press reports. Hong Kong business leaders estimate the SARS outbreak earlier this year cost the city between $4-6 billion in retail trade and airline and hotel businesses. In the ad, to be broadcast in 30 cities around the world, the Hong Kong-born star will simply greet potential visitors in several languages. TV viewers in the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada as well as mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia will see Chan‘s commercial in the coming weeks.

Ex-Motley Crue Singer Charged with Battery

Former Motley Crue singer Vince Neil has been charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly attacking a prostitute at a brothel last month, the AP reports. According to the criminal complaint, the 42-year-old singer allegedly grabbed prostitute Andrea Terry by the throat and threw her against a wall July 10 at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch just east of Carson City, Nev. Brothel owner Dennis Hof told the New York Daily News that Neil and Terry got into an argument because he did not want to have sex with her. Neil had stopped by the brothel following a July 9 concert in Reno with 1980s metal bands Poison and Skid Row. If convicted, Neil could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Tupac’s Hummer on eBay Auction Block

A woman who won a 1996 Hummer that belonged to the late rapper Tupac Shakur in a Black Entertainment Television sweepstakes will auction the vehicle on According to, the black SUV is said to be in mint condition and loaded with Shakur‘s personal items including an invite addressed to him dated September 1, 1996. Shakur was killed following a drive by shooting on September 7, 1996. Bidding begins August 13 at $500,000 and is scheduled to end on August 23. The owner says she plans to use the money for an educational fund for her children.

Role Call: William Friedkin To Helm Skulls

The Exorcist director William Friedkin will helm The Book of Skulls for Paramount Pictures. According to Variety, the story, based on Robert Silverbur’s novel, centers on a quartet of collegians who discover an ancient book containing the secret to eternal life and the high cost attached. Friedkin received an Oscar nom for directing the 1973 horror thriller The Exorcist–just two years after winning the Best Director Oscar for The French Connection.