News Roundup: August 1


Top Story

Josh Randall, who plays Dr. Mike Burton on the NBC TV series Ed, was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly smoking crack cocaine in a Brooklyn park, The Associated Press reports. According to police, Randall was smoking crack with a homeless man in a park near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Police say they also recovered a small quantity of crack at the scene. The 30-year-old actor has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. But his lawyer, Ken Glassman, said the allegations are a misunderstanding and are unsubstantiated. In a statement released Thursday Glassman said Randall asked a homeless man for directions to the bus, and the homeless man asked him for money. “Josh, who is not a New Yorker, was taking a walk in Brooklyn and got lost,” he said. “Josh gave him $20–at which point he was arrested. Josh has committed no crime.”


A spokesperson for the Osbourne family told USA Today that matriarch Sharon is in “very good spirits” following her first session of chemotherapy. The treatment is the first step of a three-month course in her battle with colon cancer, which will be shown on the second series of MTV’s hit reality show The Osbournes.


New Zealander Andrew Adamson, who co-directed DreamWorks’ animated feature Shrek with Vicky Jenson, has signed on to shoot the live-action feature adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. According to Variety, writer Ann Peacock will adapt the C.S. Lewis novel for Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz’ Walden Media, which hopes to have the film in theaters by mid-2004. No distributor is attached yet.

Emmy-nominated actress Jennifer Aniston (Friends) will team up with funnyman Jim Carrey for Universal Pictures’ spiritual comedy Bruce Almighty. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan Freeman is in final negotiations to star. Directed by Tom Shadyac, the project is expected to begin production Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry has signed on to star in Nappily Ever After, a film about a black woman’s journey to self-discovery–including the decision to stop processing her hair and cut it short, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But the project just got an added boost: Scribe Tina Chism (Drumline) has signed on to do the screenplay based on Trisha Thomas’ novel by the same name.

Director Paul Schrader (The Comfort of Strangers) is in negotiations to helm the untitled prequel to The Exorcist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Schrader is taking over the reigns from the late John Frankenheimer, who died one month after voluntarily stepping down from the project. The film, which stars Gabriel Mann, Liam Neeson and Australian actor Billy Crawford, is expected to begin shooting in the United Kingdom and Spain in November.


The fifth upcoming season of the hit NBC comedy Will & Grace is heating up to be a good one. According to The Hollywood Reporter, crooner Harry Connick Jr. will be joining the cast as a new love interest for Grace, while Jack gets hired as a personal assistant to Kevin Bacon, who will be playing himself. The new season of Will & Grace debuts Sept. 26.


Rapper P. Diddy and Shakira have joined the lineup of performers for MTV’s 2002 Video Music Awards, which will take place Aug. 29 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Previously announced performers include Pink, Eminem and Bruce Springsteen. Britney Spears, Nelly, B2K, Bow Wow and Elton John will help hand out the awards, reports.