News Roundup: May 20

Elton John blasted British Prime Minister Tony Blair in an interview with Sky News broadcast Monday, saying the leader should be “thoroughly ashamed” of his Labor government’s record on AIDS funding. “For God’s sake, we live in the 21st century–the trains don’t work, the health service doesn’t work, people are dying from AIDS, what are you doing?” the singer blasted. “Get your act together; it’s a disgrace.” John spoke to SKY News on the sidelines of the Vienna Life Ball, one of Europe’s biggest AIDS charity galas.


Angelina Jolie, who is goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, has donated $100,000 to help train refugees from Myanmar for new jobs, according to Reuters. Jolie is currently in Thailand, shooting her latest film, Beyond Borders.

Billionaire MGM magnate Kirk Kerkorian says he is “amazed and disappointed” at a $1 billion privacy lawsuit filed against him by millionaire movie producer Steve Bing. Bing filed the lawsuit after Kerkorian hired a private detective to steal dental floss from his trash can to obtain a DNA match and prove Bing fathered his ex-wife’s child, Reuters reports. Bing may also be the father of model/actress Liz Hurley‘s child born earlier this year, Hurley has claimed.

‘N Sync singer Lance Bass has undergone a surgical procedure in a Los Angeles hospital to correct an irregular heartbeat, People reports. Bass‘ affliction could have disqualified him from taking a planned Russian rocket flight to the International Space Station this fall, when he could be the third space tourist to blast off.

Casting Call

Penelope Cruz has signed on to star in the French-language remake of the 1952 adventure comedy Fanfan la Tulipe, Variety reports. Cruz will play a gypsy girl who dupes Fanfan, a handsome young peasant, into joining the French army by convincing him he will marry one of the king’s daughters if he does.

Comedian Jamie Foxx is in talks to star in the crime thriller Shade, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Foxx would be joining a cast that already includes Thandie Newton, Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne and Sylvester Stallone.

Heartthrob Josh Hartnett has inked to star in the Lakeshore Entertainment/MGM thriller Wicker Park, to be directed by Paul McGuigan. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film is an intense Hitchcockian psychological drama about a man’s obsessive search for a former love. Wicker Park is slated to go into production in October.

In the Biz

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese showed a 20-minute clip of his upcoming movie Gangs of New York at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday, Reuters reports. The film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz, is scheduled to open wide in December.

Also debuting at Cannes will be Adam Sandler and Emily Watson‘s romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love. The film, by Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson, is about a guy who buys a lot of pudding to take advantage of a frequent flier promotion, The Associated Press reports.

Believe it or not, the 1980s TV series The Greatest American Hero will be hitting the big screen. Disney has hired Paul Hernandez to adapt the series for a feature film, Variety reports. Although the story will deviate slightly from the original series, it will be based on a schoolteacher who becomes a superhero after extraterrestrials give him a suit with special powers.

Music News

Fans will be able to get Eminem‘s long-awaited album The Eminem Show sooner rather than later. According to, the album’s release date has been pushed up from June 4 to May 28 because it has already been leaked for download on the Internet, and bootleg copies have been sold for as little as $5 on the street. Eminem‘s record company, Aftermath/Interscope, announced that the first 2 million copies of the album sold in stores would feature a DVD of exclusive of Eminem performances and interview footage.


Rob Cohen‘s The Fast and the Furious took home five awards, including best work with a vehicle and best stunt by a stuntman, at the World Stunt Awards held at the Santa Monica Air Center’s Barker Hangar in California on May 19. Also taking top honors were Rush Hour 2 and A Knight’s Tale, while Jackie Chan, director Michael Bay and stunt legend Buddy Van Horn were presented with Taurus Honorary Awards.