News Roundup: July 5


Top Story

Ehhh, what’s up, doc? Warner Bros. is bringing back the cartoon short, which has been absent from theaters now for decades. According to Reuters, the studio is now producing a new series of animated briefs–starring its stable of Looney Tunes characters including Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Foghorn Leghorn–which will run before feature-length family features like the upcoming Harry Potter film. Once a leader in animation briefs, WB has created some the most memorable shorts, including the Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner series. But the resurgence of animated shorts is no happenstance: It coincides with WB’s upcoming live-action pic Looney Tunes: Back in Action, starring Brendan Fraser, which is scheduled for release in November 2003. The studio also plans to launch Baby Looney Tunes, a new TV series on the Cartoon Network.


Actress Shannon Elizabeth, who played the foxy foreign exchange student in the American Pie films, married her longtime beau, actor Joseph Reitman, The Associated Press reports. The ceremony took place June 15 at Hotelito Desconocido in Jalisco, Mexico. It the first marriage for the two stars, who met in an acting class in 1996. They appeared together in Kevin Smith‘s 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

The British Appeal Court has given the owners of a sports memorabilia shop the OK to sue former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham for slander due to her alleged “loud and rude” outburst in their store, the AP reports. Timothy, Glynis and Anthony McManus and their company, GT’s Recollections, claim their trade was hurt after Beckham accused them of selling fake autographs of her husband, soccer captain David Beckham. Her comments were later reported in the press.

A schizophrenic man who broke into George Harrison‘s house and stabbed the former Beatle in 1999 has been discharged from the Scott Clinic secure mental hospital outside Liverpool, England. A lawyer for Michael Abram told Reuters that his client had responded to drug treatment for his schizophrenia and that he had been symptom-free for two years. Harrison survived the stabbing but died of cancer last November.


Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) will helm the virus thriller The Hot Zone for 20th Century Fox. According to Variety, the film is based on Richard Preston’s bestseller, based on the real-life story of an Army SWAT team containing a killer virus that wiped out the primate population at a Virginia research lab in the late ’80s.


A fire forced Tony Bennett to stop a concert in London midway through his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” the AP reports. Bennett, 75, informed the crowd of the fire and asked people not to panic. As the evacuation started, he tried to calm the audience by joking, “I knew I was hot, but not that hot.” The fire was put out shortly after 9 p.m.

British pop group Duran Duran, which dominated the charts in the ’80s with hits including “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “The Reflex” and “Notorious,” announced a worldwide tour Thursday, Reuters reports. The band, whose members are remembered for their kohl-lined eyes and pixie boots, has sold more than 60 million albums since forming in 1978.

Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder–who sued bandmates Don Henley and Glenn Frey in February 2001, claiming he was wrongly terminated–will get his day in court on July 5, Reuters reports. Felder was let go shortly after the Eagles performed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as part of the Millennium celebration. Henley and Frey‘s attorney said the chemistry just wasn’t there.