News Roundup: March 19


Top Story

Liza Minnelli and her new husband, producer David Gest, are already planning to adopt four children, the Associated Press reports. The couple was quoted as saying in Britain’s Daily Express that they wish to adopt children “of all different races.” Minnelli, 56, met Gest last year when she appeared on his television special Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special. “Liza is going to be the best mother in the world,” Gest, 48, was quoted as saying.

In General

Billy Joel and Elton John were forced to postpone the rest of their U.S. concert dates after Joel suffered from an inflamed vocal cord and upper respiratory infection, the AP reports. The shows affected on the Face to Face tour include Monday night’s performance at Madison Square Garden; the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on March 20, 22, 28 and 30; and at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J., on April 4, 8 and 11. The shows are expected to be rescheduled in the next day or so.

Britney Spears will be the co-owner of a new restaurant in New York tentatively called Pinky, the AP reports. The moderately priced American bistro, which will be run by restaurateur Bobby Ochs, is scheduled to open in May on East 41st Street. Pinky, for those not in the know, is Spears‘ nickname given to her by Justin Timberlake.

Charlotte Ross, who plays Detective Connie McDowell in the police drama NYPD Blue, is the latest star to bare it all for a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign. According to PETA’s Web site, Ross will pose naked holding a white bunny, with a slogan reading, “I’d rather show my buns than wear fur.” Ross will be following in the footsteps of former PETA models Pamela Anderson, Sheryl Lee, Dominique Swain, Kim Basinger and Christy Turlington.

Harry Belafonte was presented with the Distinguished American Award at the John F. Kennedy Library Friday for his lifelong work as an advocate for human rights and racial equality, the AP reports. Belafonte, who starred in the 1954 film Carmen Jones and sold a million copies of his album Calypso, refused to perform in the South from 1954 through 1961 because of racial segregation.

Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, whose film All About My Mother won an Oscar in 2000, is stirring up controversy with his latest film Talk to Her, which premiered in Spain this week. According to Reuters, the film is about a male nurse who falls in love with a comatose patient while striking up a friendship with the boyfriend of another comatose patient–an injured woman matador. Spanish animal-rights activists complained of cruelty during shooting of the film’s bloody bullfighting sequences, but Almodovar contends he was filming an already scheduled bullfight.

Eddie Murphy is in talks with The Lion King director Rob Minkoff to star in Disney’s Haunted Mansion. According to Variety, the film is based on a popular Disney attraction. Murphy is set to play a father who visits a haunted house and encounters a ghost that spooks him into a greater understanding of the importance of family.

Johnny Depp will star as Peter Pan author Sir James M. Barrie in Miramax Films’ Neverland. The film, which begins shooting in June in London, will be directed by Monster’s Ball director Marc Forster, Variety reports.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Royal Tenenbaums have won best movie costume awards from the Costume Designers Guild, Reuters reports. Because members of CDG are often also members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the awards are seen as a predictor of the Best Costume Design award for the Oscars.

Brass Eye, the controversial British satire on pedophilia, has been nominated for two British Academy Television Awards, including best innovation and best comedy program or series, Reuters reports. The show was widely criticized last July after it failed to sufficiently warn viewers about its content.

George Michael is speaking out about his 1998 arrest for lewd behavior. Michael said the incident, which occurred in a park outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, forced him to come out publicly as a gay man. “Suddenly,” he said, “it was a way of making my life about me. And for six months, it worked.” Michael‘s new single, “Freeek,” was released Monday in the U.K.

Revlon is spending somewhere between $3 million and $7 million, a larger part of its daytime TV ad budget, to co-star on the ABC soap opera All My Children. According to Variety, Revlon will be featured as the archrival to Erica Kane’s (Susan Lucci) Enchantment cosmetic company. Because ABC is the only network to own all of its soap operas, the product placement sell is an important source of revenue.

Beloved late comedian Lucille Ball, whose cremated remains are with that of her mother’s at a cemetery in Los Angeles, could be going to Jamestown, N.Y., the AP reports. Her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, said she would like to see the remains of both women moved to a cemetery in Ball‘s hometown. Arnaz is currently scouting a location in Jamestown to expand the Luci-Desi Museum.