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News, July 11: Marvel Ditches Princess Di Comic Series, Tom Cruise Praises Scientology, Elvis' Tooth Up for Auction, More...

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Jul 11, 2003 | 1:07pm EDT

Top Story: Marvel Ditches Plan for Princess Di Comic Series

Marvel Enterprises Inc. has decided to drop plans to reincarnate the late Princess Diana as a mutant comic superhero this fall. According to Reuters, the five-series storyline, titled "Di Another Day," was to feature Princess Diana as one of a team of superpowered mutants. Earlier this week, however, Buckingham Palace called the idea "utterly appalling" and a "cheap attempt to cash in on Diana's fame and the tragic circumstances surrounding her death." Marvel said in a statement that "upon reflection" it will remove Diana and all references to the royal family in its upcoming X-Statix monthly comics.

Tom Cruise Says Scientology Helped Him

In the July 21 issue of People magazine, Tom Cruise says Scientology helped him overcome a learning disability. "When I was about 7, I had been labeled dyslexic," he told the magazine. "I'd try to concentrate on what I was reading, then I'd get to the end of the page and have very little memory of anything I'd read. I would go blank, feel anxious, nervous, bored, frustrated, dumb." Shortly after the release of Top Gun in 1986, Cruise, 41, discovered the "Study Technology" method developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard in the 1960s. "I realized I could absolutely learn anything that I wanted to learn," Cruise said. The actor is a founding board member of the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project, a nonprofit group that uses Hubbard's teaching techniques in a secular setting.

Elvis' Tooth on Auction Block

A tooth allegedly pulled from Elvis Presley 's mouth at a dentist's office, a lock of his hair saved from his haircut upon joining the military and a gold record for his hit single "Love Me Tender" are on the eBay Internet auction block, The Associated Press reports. The tooth and the other items have been on display at a Fort Lauderdale hair salon for about 10 years. As of Thursday morning, there was one bid for $100,000. Anthony DeFontes, curator of and spokesman for the collection, said most bizarre bid so far was from an anonymous European company that was interested in extracting DNA from the tooth, but DeFontes said the tooth's owner "is not interested in that." Get your bids in now, the auction ends July 18.

Maguire Brags About Spider-Man II

Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire promised Thursday that the sequel to that 2002 box office hit will be even better than the original. "I'm really happy with it," Maguire told reporters at a news conference for upcoming film Seabiscuit. It's going to be better than the first one. The story is a lot better." The actor said filming for Spider-Man II was about two-thirds complete but declined give any details about the plot, the AP reports. The first installment was one of 2002's biggest hits, raking in $806 million at global box offices.

Humanitas Awards Prizes to Fisher, Kelley

Screenwriter Antwone Fisher, TV producer David E. Kelley and Whale Rider director Niki Caro all picked up Humanitas prizes Thursday for their contribution to the film and TV industry, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Gordon Rayfield, meanwhile, received the TV award in the 90-minute or longer category for Showtime's Our America, and Larry Wilmore, Teri Schaffer and Steve Tompkins took home the 30-minute television category for the episode of Fox's The Bernie Mac Show titled "Sweet Home Chicago, Part 2." Established in 1974, the award recognizes television and motion picture writers whose work honestly explores the complexities of the human experience and sheds light on the positive values of life.

Glover Returns to Black Panther Film Fest

Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover will return to the third annual International Black Panther Film Festival as its honorary chairman, the AP reports. Glover, 55, who is now on Broadway in a revival of Master Harold ... and the boys, was the festival's honorary chairman in 2001. The festival was founded in 1999 by Black Panther members Kathleen Cleaver and Jamal Joseph and "emphasizes films that convey the spirit of resistance that the youthful Black Panthers and the Young Lords symbolized." The festival runs July 31 through Aug. 4 in Harlem, N.Y.

MTV To Document Newlyweds Lachey and Jessica Simpson

Husband-and-wife pop singers Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson will let MTV cameras record their first year of marriage in the new series Newlyweds, set to bow Aug. 19 at 10:30 p.m. EDT. "Nick is a complete neat freak, he's the woman of the relationship, and I am a total disaster," Simpson told the AP. "He's very good at ironing clothes and doing laundry and cleaning toilets, stuff that he won't let me hire a housekeeper to do." Lachey, the 29-year-old member of the boy band 98 Degrees, and Simpson, 23, married in October 2002."A lot of people are going to be able to see we're just normal people, normal newlyweds living a new kind of life together," Lachey said.

Boondocks Comic Strip Gets TV Deal

Aaron McGruder and partner Reggie Hudlin, the creators of the edgy comic strip The Boondocks seen in 350 newspapers nationwide, will write a pilot script and an animated feature treatment for Sony Pictures TV, Variety reports. The Boondocks revolves around two inner city kids, Huey, named after Huey P. Newton, and Riley, a wanna-be gangsta, who move to the suburbs with their slightly out-of-step grandfather. The TV and feature projects will introduce new characters and settings that haven't been seen in the comic. Sony hopes to shop the project to networks this development season for a 2004-05 season launch.

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