Top Story: Another Screener Surfaces on Web
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that a second movie sent to Oscar voters has turned up on the Internet–the Tom Cruise epic The Last Samurai, The Associated Press reports. According to the Academy, Warner Bros. had not identified the source of the Internet copy of the film, which opened in theaters Dec. 5. The finding comes a day after the MPAA announced a probe into an unauthorized copy of Something’s Gotta Give, which surfaced on the Internet some time last week.
Nugent’s Texas Chainsaw Accident
Was Leatherface lurking somewhere on the set of rocker Ted Nugent’s new reality series? The hard-driving guitarist received 40 stitches to mend a gash in his leg that resulted from a chainsaw accident on the Texas set of his new show and has been fitted with a leg brace, the AP reports. Nugent, 55, is currently taping the reality series Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments for VH1. In the show, Nugent invites a group of city slickers to live in the woods outside his sprawling, multi-acred compound just outside of Waco and become rugged outdoorsmen. The top prize is $100,000. Nugent didn’t miss any time on the series, which is scheduled to air in April.
Rosie: Do You Really Want To Hurt My Career?
Taboo, the Boy George musical brought to Broadway by Rosie O’Donnell, will close Feb. 8, the AP reports. The show opened Nov. 13 to largely negative reviews and has since struggled to reach its weekly break-even point, reportedly more than $400,000. According to the League of American Theatres and Producers, Taboo grossed $281,333 last week, filling only half the seats at the Plymouth Theatre. The show also lost all of O’Donnell‘s $10 million investment.
Brittany Murphy Gets Engaged
Brittany Murphy and talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz became engaged Jan. 9 at a silent movie theater in Los Angeles, People reports. According to the magazine, the two started dating after Murphy‘s breakup with her Just Married co-star Ashton Kutcher. The 26-year-old actress also appeared in Girl, Interrupted and Uptown Girls.
Sundance Film Festival Kicks Off
The Sundance Film Festival, which is backed by actor Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute for movies, kicks off Thursday in Park City, Utah. Organizers expect some 40,000 attendees at the fest, which will feature 255 short and feature-length films–including the premiere of Ashton Kutcher‘s supernatural thriller The Butterfly Effect and the smaller-budget pic November, starring Courteney Cox. Sundance 2004 will also feature several films from black directors such as Vondie Curtis Hall‘s Redemption and Mario Van Peebles‘ Baadasssss!, which recounts the making of his father’s landmark 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Sundance’s increasing popularity over the years is attracting big names to the festival, with Nelly, Jason Mraz and Macy Gray expected to perform. Filmmakers, celebrities and industry VIPs in attendance will receive a gift bag valued at $5,000 that includes a Nautica woman’s puffy jacket with fur-lined hood, a Microsoft wireless mouse, Junkfood Heather vintage T-shirts and a one-year membership to Crunch Fitness. The 2004 Sundance Film Festival ends Jan. 25.
OutKast, White Stripes To Perform at Grammys
OutKast, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and the White Stripes are among the first performers confirmed for the 46th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, which will take place in Los Angeles Feb. 8. According to Billboard.com, OutKast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000 will take part in a segment dedicated to funk, which will include George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Earth, Wind & Fire and Robert Randolph & the Family Band. The Grammys will be broadcast live from Staples Center on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed on the West Coast).
Deadline for Oscar Ballots Looming
The deadline is looming for Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Oscar nomination ballots to be submitted. According to Variety, ballots must be received by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company that will tabulate the ballots, in Los Angeles by 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Nominations will be announced Jan. 27. The 76th Annual Academy Awards will be presented at the Kodak Theatre in L.A. and will be televised live on ABC beginning at 5:30 p.m. (PST), with a half-hour arrivals program preceding the presentation ceremony.
CBS Rules in Ratings Again
Once again, CBS ruled in the ratings last week, according to primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research for the week of Jan. 5-Jan. 11. The Top Ten shows, their networks and viewerships were: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS (27.5 million); NFC Playoff Postgame, Fox (27.1 million); AFC Divisional Playoff: Tennessee at New England, CBS (25.9 million); Friends, NBC (25.5 million); ER, NBC (22.8 million); CSI: Miami, CBS (20.4 million); Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS (19.1 million); The Apprentice, NBC (18.5 million); Without A Trace, CBS (18.2 million); and Law and Order, NBC (18 million).
Role Call: Ledger, Gyllenhaal Play Gay Cowboys; Columbus Eyes Dead
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are in negotiations to play gay cowboys in director Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain for Focus Features. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film revolves around two men who meet one summer in Wyoming and form a loving bond that spans 20 years … Harry Potter director Chris Columbus is in talks to helm The Brief History of the Dead for Warner Bros. The project is based on Kevin Brockmeier’s unfinished supernatural love story. The novel tells the story of a blind man who arrives in a new city and tells a story of having traveled across a desert after his death.