News Roundup: June 6


Top Story

Celebrities showing up at congressional hearings have practically become commonplace these days, making Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, pretty angry. Julia Roberts, Christie Brinkley and Michael J. Fox have all appeared before Congress recently. Now the Backstreet Boys’ Kevin Richardson is scheduled to appear before a Senate Environment and Public Works subcommittee to testify against mountaintop removal mining. “We’re either serious about the issues, or we’re running a sideshow,” The Associated Press quoted Voinovich as saying. “Certainly, members of the entertainment community have expertise on many issues that are important for Congress to consider,” he said. “This isn’t a case like that.”


Writer/director David Twohy, who helmed the sci-fi horror Pitch Black, has signed on to direct at least two more installments of the saga for Universal Pictures, Variety reports. Vin Diesel has already signed on to the project in the recurring role of the antihero Riddick. Twohy said the number of sequels, which could go as high as three, will depend on the bankability of the second offshoot, The Chronicles of Riddick.

MGM is in talks to pick up the horror picture House of 1000 Corpses, written and directed by Rob Zombie. According to Variety, the picture was originally slated for release last summer, but Zombie was forced to buy it back from Universal Pictures after studio executives refused to release it. After viewing a rough cut of the film last year, studio president Stacey Snider said the film had a “visceral tone and intensity that we did not imagine from the printed page.”

Artisan Pictures has acquired the urban comedy script Don’t Get It Twisted by Friday scribe D.J. Pooh and Marcus Morton. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film centers around twin brothers who were separated at birth and raised at opposite ends of the socioeconomic ladder. They meet up later in life and trade places. Pooh is also attached to direct.

Warner Bros. Pictures and Gaylord Films plan to make a live-action family feature of the Hanna-Barbera characters the Wonder Twins, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Wonder Twins–Zan and Jayna–first appeared on the 1977 Saturday morning cartoon The All-New Superfriends Hour as two young trainee aliens from the planet Exxor.

Music News

Grammy-winning rapper Eminem‘s long-awaited third album, The Eminem Show, sold an astonishing 1.3 million albums in its first week, the AP reports. The album’s release date was pushed up from June 4 to May 26 because it was being heavily bootlegged before release. “Without Me,” the album’s first single, climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this past week.

Limp Bizkit’s tour manager Chris Gratton told an inquest yesterday that concert organizers were to blame in the death of a 15-year-old girl who died when a crowd rushed the stage during a concert at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last year. According to the AP, Gratton said concert promoters had failed to control the “absolute crowd mayhem” and could have prevented the girl’s death if they had stopped the show.

The seven final shows of the heavy-metal tour OzzFest in Europe have been canceled, reports. While the North American OzzFest tour is still scheduled to start on July 6 in Bristow, Va., shows in Russia, Portugal, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland have all been scrapped. No explanation has been offered for the tour’s continental cancellation.