News, Dec. 20: Sheen and Richards Expecting Second Child, Producer Sues DiCaprio and Maguire, Children Visit Jackson’s Ranch, More…

Sheen and Richards expecting second child

Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards are expecting their second child, due in June, The Associated Press reports. The couple’s first daughter, Sam Sheen, was born in March of this year. “They are incredibly thrilled and I couldn’t think of a better Christmas present for the both of them and for little Sam,” Richards‘ agent, Chuck James, told People magazine. The announcement comes on the heels of Sheen‘s Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a TV musical or comedy for his hit CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men, which also stars Jon Cryer. Richards, 33, and Sheen, 39, met while shooting the film Good Advice in 2000 and began dating after the sultry actress appeared on guest spots on Sheen‘s former TV series, Spin City. They were married in June 2002. Sheen, the third son of actor Martin Sheen, also has a 20-year-old daughter, Cassandra, from his first marriage.

Producer sues DiCaprio and Maguire

Producer-director John Schindler is suing Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, alleging the two A-list actors blocked distribution of a 1995 indie film they starred in. According to the AP, Schindler claims the stars warned potential distributors DiCaprio wouldn’t work with them on other projects if they released Don’s Plum, a low-budget, black-and-white film about a group of friends hanging out at a diner. In 1999, the two stars settled a $10 million lawsuit with another Don’s Plum producer, David Stuntman, who accused them of using DiCaprio‘s superstar status to prevent the film’s release. The actors have said they made the film as a “favor to a friend” under the agreement that it would never be promoted as a feature-length movie.

Children visit Jackson’s Neverland

Dozens of children visited Michael Jackson‘s Neverland Valley Ranch Friday at the invitation of the pop star, who is currently awaiting trial on child molestation charges. Reuters reports children and parents drove through the gates of Jackson‘s extensive property in the foothills above Santa Barbara, Calif., but it was unclear where the children had come from. A Reuters photographer said the children appeared excited and happy and that one mother said she expected to spend the day at Neverland, which has theme-park style rides, a miniature train and a small zoo. It was not known whether Jackson, 46, was at Neverland at the time. The singer is free on bail awaiting trial set for late January on a 10-count indictment of child molestation. Jackson has pleaded innocent.

DMX charged with speeding

Rapper DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly driving more than 100 mph on a highway in the suburbs of New York City, a week after he pleaded guilty to driving through an airport parking gate while on drugs, the AP reports. Because his license had been suspended after the airport incident, Simmons was arrested on charges of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, police said, as well as with speeding and driving an unregistered vehicle. Simmons also was fined and ordered to forfeit his sport utility vehicle, the AP reports.

Oscar contenders chosen for visual effects race

The Academy Award’s shortlist for the best in visual effects in 2004 has Martin Scorsese‘s reality-based The Aviator up against six fantasy-related films, including Spider-Man 2, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Day After Tomorrow, I, Robot and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Reuters reports. The three finalists will be picked Jan. 25, when the 77th Annual Academy Award nominations will be announced.

Miramax gears up with Oscar slate

Even though rumors are swirling they may be leaving their partnership with Disney, Miramax’s Harvey and Bob Weinstein are mounting their strongest slate of Oscar contenders in years, with heavy hitters such as The Aviator and Finding Neverland. The co-chief executives of Miramax have been locked in contentious talks with corporate parent Walt Disney Co over a renewal of their employment contract which ends next September. Bob Weinstein told Reuters whatever the outcome, he and his brother plan to continue to work together, and said he expected the issue to be solved amicably and quickly. “If things don’t work out and we don’t stay (at Disney), whatever we do, we will do it together and also create a company” to produce movies, Weinstein said.