News, March 3: Britney Spears on Fred Durst, Madonna Pens Children’s Books, Anthony Hopkins Weds and More…

Top Story: Britney Spears Responds to Fred Durst’s Comments

Semi-retired pop princess Britney Spears, whom Glamour magazine named woman of the year, has shed some light on her alleged relationship with Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. According to, British Glamour asked Spears if she and Durst really had a thing for each other. “I think him for me, but not me for him.” Spears added that she was ticked off at Durst’s claims on The Howard Stern Show that she tried to seduce him by arriving at his Los Angeles studio in a see-through blouse. In other Britney news, The Associated Press reports a lawyer for the singer’s alleged stalker, 41-year-old Masahiko Shizawa of Yokohama, Japan, argued in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday that his client is simply “an avid fan” and his actions were misinterpreted by the pop star. Spears is seeking a restraining order against Shizawa, claiming he sent her hundreds of love letters and photographs and tracked her to her homes in Louisiana and Hollywood.

Madonna Goes From “Sex” to Children’s Books

Madonna has signed a publishing deal with Penguin to write five children’s books, Reuters reports. Her first book, The English Roses, based on the adventures of a red fox and a little prince, will be published in September. Penguin did not reveal how much it was paying Madonna to write the books, which will feature illustrations by a well-known artist. Aimed at children aged six and over, the books are a stark contrast to Madonna‘s previous publishing effort. In the early 1990s, her book Sex featured the pop star and her celebrity friends, including Naomi Campbell, Vanilla Ice and Isabella Rossellini, in various stages of undress.

P. Diddy Expands Restaurant Chain

Hip-hop entrepreneur Sean “P. Diddy” Combs plans to open a third Justin’s restaurant in four to eight months in downtown Detroit, the AP reports. The original Justin’s–named after Combs‘s oldest son–is in New York with a second location in Atlanta. The restaurants offer soul and Caribbean food.

The Clash Will Not Perform at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

The Clash bassist Paul Simonon said the surviving members of the band will not perform when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this month. Lead singer Joe Strummer died of a heart attack in December and had mentioned performing just before he died. But Simonon said he never got the chance to reply and was actually opposed to the idea. According to Reuters, Simonon told British Broadcasting Corp. radio he thought it would be better for the Clash to play in front of their public audience rather than “a seated and booted (crowd).” The Clash, one of the most influential bands to emerge from the British punk movement of the 1970s, split up in the mid-1980s and never reformed.

Anthony Hopkins Weds Again

Anthony Hopkins, best known as Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter, married antiques dealer Stella Arroyave in a private ceremony, Reuters reports. Hopkins, 65, and Arroyave, 46, tied the knot Saturday in a ceremony in Malibu attended by friends and family. The two had been dating for about two years. This is the actor’s third marriage.

“The Twist” Songwriter Dies

Hank Ballard, the singer and songwriter whose hit “The Twist” ushered a nationwide dance craze in the 1960s, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, the AP reports. Ballard had been suffering from throat cancer. In 1958, Ballard wrote and recorded “The Twist,” which was only released on the “B” side of a record. Chubby Checker debuted his own version of “The Twist” on Dick Clark‘s television show one year later. The song topped the charts and launched a dance craze. Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Role Call: Bonnie Hunt; Johnny Knoxville; “Lupin the Third”

Writer-director-actress Bonnie Hunt will appear on the big screen alongside Steve Martin in 20th Century Fox’s remake of Cheaper by the Dozen for director Shawn Levy. Hunt and Martin are the first two actor deals to close on the project, with production scheduled to begin March 31.
Jackass mastermind Johnny Knoxville, meanwhile, has joined the cast of Hating Her, a $10 million comedy that starts production next month. Selma Blair, Bridget Moynahan, Donald Sutherland, Maura Tierney, Blythe Danner and Logan Marshall-Green are already set to star in the project for helmer Thomas Bezucha. Finally, master thief Lupin the Third, a 1960s Japanese comic book anti-hero, will soon make his Hollywood debut. Gerald R. Molen, producer of the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List, has acquired the movie rights to the work.