General News

QUICK TAKES: Hogan contests new "Dundee" screenplay credits

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Apr 26, 2001 | 3:28pm EDT

Paul Hogan, whose third Crocodile Dundee yarn will open April 20, is disputing a Writers Guild of America decision to award the film's writing credits to Matthew Berry and Eric Abrams, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Hogan said he wrote the original screenplay, invented the characters and developed the jokes for Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, a far cry from the "characters created by" credit the WGA awarded him.

"I have an ongoing problem with the Writers Guild because I am also the producer," Hogan told the Hollywood Reporter. "The producer is the natural enemy of the writer."

In Hogan's corner: Simon Wincer, who said that he directed a script written by Hogan.

The guild considers "any challenge a good-faith disagreement" and would prevail should Hogan sue, a WGA spokeswoman told the Hollywood Reporter.

Drescher to write about fight against cancer

Fran Drescher will receive $1 million from Warner Books to pen a memoir chronicling her battle against uterine cancer, according to Variety.

Drescher, whose CBS sitcom The Nanny ended in 1999 after six years, managed to beat the cancer because of an early diagnosis. She discussed her fight in an interview in the May issue of Rosie, the new magazine published by talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell.

Drescher also wrote about her career in Whining.

Ex-Beatle may sell mansion because of 1999 attack

George Harrison has told friends that he may sell the 120-room mansion where he was attacked and stabbed in December 1999 by an intruder, according to Britain's The Mail on Sunday.

The ex-Beatle's 34-acre estate, in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, could be placed on the market for 15 million pounds ($21.56 million). He purchased the mansion in 1970 for 135,000 pounds ($194,000).

Harrison almost died when Michael Abram punctured his lung with a knife. Harrison's wife, Olivia, saved him by striking Abram with a poker. He is now serving an indefinite term in a psychiatric hospital.

Rosie O'Donnell calls on friends to host show

Talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell will continue to recuperate this week after undergoing a medical procedure related to a previous injury, according to the New York Daily News. O'Donnell has called on Barbara Walters, Meredith Vieira, Caroline Rhea and Kathy Griffin to guest host her talk show.

Last week, O'Donnell had a wound on her left hand drained. She cut herself in August when she removed a price tag from a fishing pole belonging to son Parker.

Gandolfini makes Rutgers an offer it can't refuse

Mess with Rutgers University's besieged football team and you could find yourself sleeping with the fishes.

Alumnus James Gandolfini has filmed a morale-boosting commercial for the team, which endured a 3-8 record last season. Gandolfini, who displays his prolific powers of persuasion as The Sopranos' mob boss, appears in the commercial with new coach Greg Schiano.

De Niro to Lopez: "Love Me or Leave Me"

Jennifer Lopez may string Robert De Niro along in a remake of the 1955 romance, Love Me or Leave Me, for Warner Bros., according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The original starred Doris Day as an up-and-coming singer who woos Chicago racketeer James Cagney purely to advance her career.

Unlike the original, the proposed remake would not be based on the real-life story of 1930s singer Ruth Etting.

De Niro and Lopez would each likely squeeze another film into their schedules should they decide to make Love Me or Leave Me. De Niro's slate includes sequels to Analyze This and Meet the Parents; Lopez recently dropped out of the Francis Ford Coppola-produced biopic of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo to negotiate a $10 million paycheck for Taking Lives, a thriller Tony Scott may direct.

Roberts' "Sweethearts" dances against De Niro's "The Score"

Better scratch plans to spend Independence Day with Julia Roberts.

Sony has pushed back the Oscar winner's new comedy, America's Sweethearts, from July 4 to July 13, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Roberts will go head to head with MGM's just-confirmed Legally Blonde, a comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, and Paramount's The Score, a heist flick headlined by masters of method acting Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton.

Rather than compete against itself, Sony also has moved its expensive CGI-animated epic Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within from July 13 to July 11.

MGM also announced it will release the oft-delayed Original Sin, a steamy period thriller pitting Antonio Banderas against Angelina Jolie, on Aug. 3 and its Rollerball remake possibly on Aug. 17.

Besson loses "Yamakaso" lawsuit

French director Luc Besson's production company must pay $50,000 to writer-director Julien Seri, who sued after being fired from the Besson-produced thriller Yamakaso, according to Variety.

The French labor court, ruling in Seri's favor, dismissed a suggestion by Besson's production company, LeeLoo, that Seri had been asked to resign.

Seri and Yamakao co-writer Phillippe Lyon recently lost their legal bid to halt the release of the film, which hit French theaters Wednesday.

Universal snaps up EMusic.com

Universal Music Group will purchase Web song-swap service EMusic.com for close to $23 million in cash, EMusic.com announced Monday.

Universal will pay 57 cents for each outstanding EMusic.com share.

The service, founded in 1998, first operated on a fee-per-download basis. It began offering a subscription service as an alternative to Napster, which allowed users to download music for free, in most cases without the music industry's permission.

EMusic also operates such sites as RollingStone.com and DownBeat.com.

"EMusic represents a tremendous group of assets that appeal to a wide range of music fans, including the popular RollingStone.com and DownBeat.com brands and a deep catalog of digital music," said Larry Kenswil, president, eLabs, Universal Music Group, in a statement posted Monday on EMusic.com. "We feel that EMusic complements Universal's other digital and Internet initiatives and we look forward to joining with them to offer music lovers more and more compelling online destinations and experiences."

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