News Roundup: Sept. 18


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These days, it seems that as one film festival comes to a close, another one gets underway. On the heels of the Toronto and Venice film festivals comes the 46th annual London Film Festival, which runs Nov. 6 through Nov. 21. This festival, however, is different because it does not award prizes. Executive director Adrian Wootton told The Associated Press that the festival’s noncompetitive nature is intentional and here to stay. “The world is drowning in prizes that don’t mean anything,” he said. The festival generally features more films than most and this year is no exception. A total of 179 films are expected to be shown from more than 48 countries. American selections include Shekhar Kapur‘s The Four Feathers, Curtis Hanson‘s 8 Mile and Denzel Washington‘s directorial debut The Antwone Fisher Story.


Rosie O’Donnell has announced she is breaking all ties with the publishers of Rosie magazine because the publication no longer represented her vision and ideas. Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, O’Donnell said she was promised editorial freedom from publisher Gruner + Jahr USA when the publication launched 18 months ago, but that the company had moved to take that control away in the past two months. Without O’Donnell‘s influence, J+G say the publication will just be another woman’s magazine and are considering legal and publishing options, Reuters reports.

A judge has ordered Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to pay $2.45 million to a man who claims he was beaten by bodyguards the rap mogul hired to protect singer Mary J. Blige in 1995, the AP reports. According to the suit, Cederick Bobby Lemon claims he suffered a broken right ankle and was punched and kicked in the back by guards trying to clear the area for Blige to leave following a concert in North Carolina. The judge ordered the payment on Sept. 10 because Combs did not answer the allegations within the 30-day time limit, but a spokeswoman for the rapper said the lawsuit had no merit and steps would be taken to have it dismissed.


Director Steven Soderbergh is planning a sequel to Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon in talks to reprise their roles. “I know we can make a better film. I know we’ll shoot in Europe and that all the actors are in on it,” Soderbergh was quoted as saying on If the cast agrees, filming will reportedly begin in 2004.

A week after Kelly Osbourne dropped out of Disney’s remake of the 1976 comedy Freaky Friday, which starred Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster, Annette Bening has now followed suit. The reason for Bening‘s departure remain unclear, but Variety reports sources indicate the project is still going forward. The film, directed by Mark S. Waters, is about a teen who constantly quarrels with her mother. The two suddenly exchange bodies when they their reveal desires to escape their situations.

Paramount Pictures is hoping to launch a film series based on the real-life character and adventures of Robert L. Ripley, founder of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ripley first created the Believe It or Not cartoon in 1918 for The New York Globe, where he worked as a sports cartoonist. The strip quickly grew into other categories and Ripley eventually embarked on a worldwide search for the unusual. The feature films would revolve around his encounter with the bizarre and strange.


Shock rocker Marilyn Manson is planning his first gallery exhibition at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions gallery beginning Friday, the AP reports. The exhibit is titled “The Golden Age of Grotesque,” the same name of his upcoming album. All of the 50 pieces, described as watercolors and mixed-media as “grotesque images” painted with “pretty colors,” will be for sale.

The two daughters of singer James Brown have filed a $1 million lawsuit against the Godfather of Soul, seeking back royalties and damages for 25 songs they say they co-wrote, the AP reports. Deana Brown Thomas and Dr. Yamma Brown Lumar say their father withheld royalties because of a family grudge. According to the suit, Brown “vowed to the media that his daughters will never get another dime form him” after Thomas had him committed to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for addiction to painkillers. Brown’s daughters were children when the songs were written–3 and 6 when “Get Up Offa that Thing” was a hit in 1976.