Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, the latest installment of George Lucas‘ sci-fi prequel trilogy, opens wide in U.S. theaters next week, but its creator won’t be there to witness the pandemonium. The Associated Press reports that Lucas will be at the Cannes Film Festival instead, where the film will be screened using digital projectors rather than standard 35mm format.
Actress Julia Roberts took on a more serious role Thursday at a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee in Washington. Holding back tears, an emotional Roberts appealed for more money to research Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects about 200,000 girls and women worldwide, the AP reports.
Richard Gere‘s alleged stalker is being held on a $5,000 bail after being charged with stalking the actor, the AP reports. Ursula Reichert-Habbishaw of Kassell, Germany, was arraigned on charges of harassment, aggravated harassment and stalking after supposedly calling Gere as many as 1,000 times during the past year.
The new PlayStation 2 video game which features pop star Britney Spears is now available nationwide. In Britney’s Dance Beat, players audition to be a backup dancer on the singer’s virtual concert tour, gaining points along the way for each correct move.
Samuel L. Jackson has been cast as a Los Angeles police chief in Columbia Pictures’ S.W.A.T., according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the film, Jackson leads a SWAT team that arrests a drug kingpin. Clark Johnson, who plays Detective Meldrick Lewis in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, is in talks to direct.
Director Barry Levinson will direct Ben Stiller and Jack Black in the DreamWorks comedy Envy, Variety reports. The film’s story line centers around two best pals whose friendship is tested when one of them (Black) becomes filthy rich by selling inventions, which causes the other (Stiller) to go crazy with envy.
In the Biz
On Thursday a federal judge threw out a lawsuit by the family of late fishing boat captain Frank William “Billy” Tyne Jr., who claimed the film The Perfect Storm depicted him in a false and unflattering light, the AP reports. Judge Anne C. Conway explained that the First Amendment protects the film, and the Supreme Court has given filmmakers broad leeway in portraying people and events.
The world’s most infamous houseguest, Brian “Kato” Kaelin, has shot a pilot episode for a reality TV series entitled House Guest. Kaelin described the premise of the show to Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20 Wednesday, saying he goes across America knocking on doors of unsuspecting families and invites himself to spend a weekend with them.
The concept was fun while it lasted, but former President Clinton said it is unlikely he will host a television talk show. In a National Public Radio interview scheduled to air Friday, Clinton, who met with NBC executives in Los Angeles last week to discuss the possibilities of a show, said he didn’t think it was going to happen, the AP reports.
Ozzy Osbourne is on a roll. Following the success of MTV’s hit reality series about his family, The Osbournes, getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and signing a book deal, the self proclaimed “bleeping Prince of Darkness” scored a Prism Award Thursday in Hollywood for his accurate depiction of drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction in his new single “Junkie,” Variety reports.
Veteran Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel cleaned up at the annual Billboard Latin music awards Thursday night in Miami Beach, winning four out of his five nominations. Gabriel won awards for best songwriter, Latin track and Latin pop airplay track for his single “Abrazame Muy Fuerte.” He also won the Latin vocal duo track award with compatriot Nydia Rojas for “No Vale la Pena, ” Reuters reports.