Top Story: Madonna Launches Tour in L.A.
Madonna launched her global Re-Invention tour Monday at The Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. The 45-year-old pop icon opened the politically charged show wearing a jewel-encrusted corset but changed into combat gear for the tune “American Life,” while dancers dressed in Army fatigues did push-ups and calisthenics to a video backdrop of a war-torn country. Looking more toned than ever, the 45-year old performer belted out a string of her greatest hits including “Into the Groove,” “Holiday,” “Vogue” and “Material Girl,” but no “Like a Virgin.”Perhaps that is part of Madonna‘s new image, which isn’t as sexually overt as it once was. In fact, Madonna‘s bid to reinvent herself translated into lots of Kabbalah-inspired stuff, including un-translated Hebrew text that often appeared in the background of her performances. The Material Girl turned spiritual mom even covered of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which was accompanied by a video of sick and injured children from around the world. An estimated 750,000 people are expected to see 39 shows scheduled for the U.S. and Canada, with fans paying upward of $200 per ticket. Madonna, however, has canceled three Israeli stops on her tour because of violence in the region, The Associated Press reports. The singer told Access Hollywood that her manager wouldn’t let her travel to Israel because of the “attack on the leader of Hamas,” but insisted she would go if the decision was hers.
DreamWorks Greenlights Shrek Sequels
Hot off Shrek 2‘s $129 million take during its first five days across North American theaters has prompted DreamWorks SKG to greenlight two more sequels for the animated pic. Ann Daly, head of DreamWorks animation, told Reuters the studio would move ahead, one at a time, with plans for a third and fourth installment. “It wasn’t really advisable to start working on three and four until we knew that we actually had something in two, and certainly this weekend confirmed that we do,” she said. Daly said DreamWorks was in final talks with the principal voice actors to return, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas.
Snoop Dogg Files for Divorce
Rapper/actor Snoop Dogg has filed for divorce from his wife of seven years, Shante Broadus, citing general “irreconcilable differences,” the AP reports. According to papers filed with Los Angeles Superior Court Friday, Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is seeking joint custody of their children: Corde, 9; Cordell, 7; and Cori, 4. “The only thing I want to say is Mr. Broadus hopes that the divorce can be as amicable as possible,” Snoop’s attorney, Robert Nachshin, told AP yesterday.
David Gest’s Lawyer Quits in Divorce Battle
In music producer David Gest’s attorney bitter divorce battle with Liza Minnelli, Gest’s attorney Raoul Felder has resigned, saying he often had trouble getting his client on the telephone, Reuters reports. “There was no bad feelings. He wants to go in a different direction,” Felder told Reuters on Monday, saying he withdrew from the case two weeks ago in a letter he sent Gest in Hawaii. “I told him I had a great deal of respect and admiration for him in the face of adversity.” Gest, 51, sued Minnelli for $10 million in October of last year, claiming she had beaten him up in drunken rages that left him with permanent facial injuries and unrelenting pain. Minnelli denied the abuse and counter-sued, claiming he had cheated her out of more than $2 million.
No Go on Simpson Sitcom
ABC cut Jessica Simpson‘s sitcom from its fall schedule, AP reports. Simpson, a 23-year-old pop singer known for her ditsy moments on her MTV reality show, had filmed a pilot which featured her as a ditsy reporter on a TV news magazine.
“Bandstand” Makes a Comeback
Dick Clark and the creators of American Idol are teaming up to bring American Bandstand back to television, Reuters reports. “We think there’s a great opportunity to utilize television for the promotion of today’s music and put some dancing in it, and run a competition and hopefully come up with a hit,” Clark told Reuters. Clark, whose company has produced such perennial events as the American Music Awards and the Golden Globes telecast, said on Monday he is shopping an update of American Bandstand to a number of networks, aiming for a summer 2005 debut.
McDonald’s Gets in on DVD Act
McDonald’s is rolling out a DVD rental service that could give rental chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Entertainment a run for their money, Variety reports. Starting in Denver-area outlets, McDonald’s will install automatic kiosks owned and operated by a company called DVDPlay. Units will offer 30-40 popular titles at a rental rate of only $1 per night. The DVD rental machines can hold up to 350 DVDs each. No membership is required and customers can use credit cards to pay for the disc.
Role Call: Damon, Peet Head to Syriana
Matt Damon and Amanda Peet are teaming up in the thriller Syriana for Warner Bros. Damon would play an oil executive who’s in major deal-making mode with a sheik when he and his wife (Peet) suffer a major family tragedy. The story is inspired by real-life CIA agent Robert Baer’s memoirs, See No Evil: The True Story of a Foot Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism. George Clooney, one of the film’s producers, is in advanced talks to play Baer.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.