General News

Jason Priestley's "Barenaked" Success

By:
Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Finally some good news for Jason Priestley.

The ex-"Beverly Hills 90210" star's directorial feature debut, "Barenaked in America," a documentary about pop-rock's Barenaked Ladies ("One Week"), has been selected to play the Slamdance Film Festival.

"Barenaked in America" is one of six films chosen to play the Special Screenings section of Slamdance, the chief alternative venue (and Park City, Utah, neighbor) to Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival. Slamdance is scheduled to run Jan. 22-29. (Sundance will play Jan. 20-30.)

Whether Priestley is able to attend his own screening may depend on what happens in a Los Angeles courtroom. The actor turned director is facing felony drunken driving charges for a Dec. 2 crash that trashed his Porsche and left his passenger with a broken arm. Priestley is currently free on $50,000 bail. He pleaded innocent to the charges Dec. 21.

Priestley's car misadventure came just days after the 30-year-old star revealed he had separated from his wife, makeup artist Ashlee Peterson, after less than one year of marriage.

"Barenaked in America" premiered in September at the Toronto Film Festival.

Also in today's news:

FUN-COUPLE WATCH: Is Jerry Seinfeld inching closer to the aisle? Today's Daily Variety says the 45-year-old comedian will wed fiancée Jessica Sklar, 28, "between Christmas and New Year's." The two, who announced their engagement Nov. 9, began dating in 1998 shortly after Sklar, a public-relations executive, returned from her honeymoon with another man (theater scion Eric Nederlander).

JAMES BOND'S GOOD KNIGHT? Oscar-winning actor Sean Connery may finally be able to add a new line to his resume: British knight. The 007 screen veteran, 69, was up for the honor two years ago when his ties to a political party group that campaigns for an independent Scotland (the actor's beloved homeland) reportedly doomed the bid. The actor also came under fire for his supposed tax-exile status. (Connery lives most of the year outside the United Kingdom.) At the time, Connery termed critics' barbs a "character assassination." Fellow U.K. celebrities to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth include Elton John, Anthony Hopkins and John Gielgud.

MASTERFUL: Hopkins, meanwhile, has been tapped to receive the lifetime-achievement award treatment in the form of the Modern Master Award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 2-12 in California. The 62-year-old star will next be seen on screens in the Shakespearean drama "Titus," opening Christmas Day.

THUMBS DOWN: Just what box-office dud "Anna & the King" needs -- fewer potential moviegoers. An official for Thailand's film board tells Reuters it's "unlikely" the film based on the 19th century tale of an English schoolteacher imported to tutor the children of Siam's king will be allowed to play in the country. Censors have found "several inappropriate scenes" involving Jodie Foster as the teacher and Chow Yun-Fat as the monarch. "Anna & the King" opened to just $5.1 million business in theaters last weekend.

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