News Roundup: April 17


Top Story

Looks like Panic Room director David Fincher has settled on his next movie: the third installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise, according to Variety. The intense Fincher, who also directed Fight Club and Seven, has been palling around with star/producer Tom Cruise in recent months, due to similar interests in the Columbia Pictures WWII project, They Fought Alone. Even though Cruise has since passed on the Columbia film, the two seem to have developed a genuine desire to work with each other. Voila! Mission: Impossible III is born.

The other two Mission movies were directed by Brian De Palma (1996) and John Woo (2000) and grossed $454 million and $546 million worldwide, respectively.


Actor/director and all-around funny guy Ben Stiller and his wife, actress Christina Taylor (The Brady Bunch Movie), welcomed their first child, a baby girl. No word on the baby’s name or weight.

Actress Josie Bissett and her husband, actor Rob Estes–formerly co-stars of the primetime melodrama Melrose Place (boy, we miss that show)–have a new addition to the household: a 6-pound baby girl. Bissett gave birth to Maya Rose Estes on Sunday in Los Angeles, according to her publicist. The couple, who have been married for nine years, also have a 2-year-old son, Mason.

As if we ever had any intention of doing it, Madonna doesn’t want to be called “Madge.” Playwright David Williamson, who is currently working with the diva on the new London West End play Up For Grabs, told The Australian, “The English newspapers call her ‘Madge’ to try to domesticate her, and she hates it.” He added that she has requested all the other actors to simply call her “M.” And we call this news. The play opens in May.

Clint Eastwood has been OK’d. To do what, you may ask? Well, the politically minded Eastwood, who was the mayor of Carmel for a few years, has been appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission by Gov. Gray Davis. The actor/director will sit on a nine-member panel, which meets about six times a year and governs policies for the more than 260 parks in the Golden State.

Casting Call

To the moon, Carmela! James Gandolfini wants to shed his Tony Soprano image for awhile and take on a new role: Ralph Kramden in the big-screen adaptation of The Honeymooners. Variety reports he has put out the word to Paramount and the producers that he is interested, looking to fill up his time during The Sopranos hiatus, which starts in May. The filming for the fifth season of the hit HBO show won’t begin until January 2003.

Forget singing–Destiny’s Child frontwoman Beyonce Knowles has gotten bit by the acting bug. Making her movie debut in this summer’s Austin Powers in Goldmember, Knowles is positioning herself to star in The Fighting Temptations with Cuba Gooding Jr., about a rap producer who has to put together a gospel choir and lead it to success in order to get an inheritance.

Tube News

Viacom’s TNN: The National Network is looking at adult animation to fill up its programming schedule. It is developing a slate of new animated series, including Gary the Rat–about a lawyer who wakes up one day to find out he’s turned into a 6-foot rat–voiced by Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, and Stripperella–about a stripper who moonlights as a superhero–voiced by Pamela Anderson. Now, that’s a show we want to see.

Music News

MTV News reports former Van Halen lead singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar are going on tour together beginning May 29 near Cleveland. “Sammy and I are like fraternity brothers that have been through the same sh—y hazing,” Diamond Dave said at Tuesday’s press conference. “I think this tour is going to last a lot longer than Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love,” who once toured together for nine shows.