Director Martin Scorsese will be heading to France next month to join the Cannes Film Festival's short film and Cinefoundation jury, where he'll be awarding the Palme d'Or for short film and three Cinefoundation awards. He'll also be there to support his upcoming film Gangs of New York, where roughly 17 minutes of the film will be screened. Scorsese isn't a stranger to the famed seaside film festival, having won the Palme d'Or in 1976 for Taxi Driver and the director award for After Hours in 1986.
On the injury-plagued set of the new James Bond movie, Die Another Day, Oscar-winning actress and confirmed "Bond" girl Halle Berry was the latest casualty. After she performed a stunt, debris from a smoke grenade lodged in Berry's eye, and she was taken to the hospital for minor treatment--however, returning to the set soon after. Star Pierce Brosnan was also put out of action for a couple weeks in February when he injured his knee. Sometimes it's difficult being a super agent.
Kevin Costner is not afraid to get back in the saddle again. The actor/producer/director will be directing his first feature in five years and guess what? It's another western. The film, Open Range, centers on the day-to-day lives of four men living in the West and will star Costner and Robert Duvall. Costner probably figures if he can win an Oscar with one western (Dances with Wolves), then why not two? Why not, indeed.
Who's your daddy? Eddie Murphy is set to star in Revolution Studios' Daddy Day Care, about a father who loses his job and decides to set up a day care center with his friends. The comedian will team again with producer John Davis, who produced the Dr. Dolittle franchise. Shooting will start in August.
Feature film director Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon) will be trying his hand at game show television. He has teamed with production company Stone Stanley Entertainment (ABC's The Mole) to create a comedic quiz show called The Real Deal, in which contestants compete for cash by correctly determining the origin of popular words, urban legends and superstitions, Variety reports. The Game Show Network is in discussions with the company to develop the series.
NBC's The West Wing characters will pay tribute to their real-life counterparts in a special episode April 24. The special will combine dramatic scenes with the series regulars with commentary from former White House staff, including former President Bill Clinton, his press secretary Dee Dee Myers (who acts as a consultant for the show) and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Spidey is certainly "Livin' on the Edge." The Spider-Man theme song will be getting a decidedly harder edge when rock band Aerosmith records its own rendition for the upcoming blockbuster release. Other artists who contributed to the soundtrack include Sum 41, Nickelback and Macy Gray. Well-known film composer Danny Elfman created the score.
Eminem settled a civil lawsuit with a man, John Guerra, who claimed the rapper pulled a gun on him outside a bar June 2000, after Guerra allegedly kissed Eminem's then wife, Kim Mathers. The singer pleaded guilty to charges of carrying a concealed weapon and is serving a two-year probation. Now, Guerra will receive $100,000 minus lawyer fees.
The Lollapalooza tour will have to wait another year. Organizer and Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell thought to bring back the tour, which features several alternative bands, this summer but has decided to shoot for the summer of 2003.
Star Wars guru George Lucas will be receiving a British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles award for excellence in film. The Stanley Kubrick Britannia award will be presented to him by his good friends Harrison Ford and last year's recipient, Steven Spielberg, April 12 in Los Angeles.
Talent manager Helen Noga, best known for discovering singer Johnny Mathis and crusading for black entertainers to get the same privileges as whites in Las Vegas, has died of heart failure in Los Angeles. She was 88. Noga is survived by her daughter, a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has yet to decide whether to activate a new feature animation category at the Academy Awards in 2002. While 13 submissions have been submitted to the Academy's short film and feature animation branch, entries must now be evaluated to make sure at least eight of them meet Academy stipulations. According to Variety, pictures must be at least 70 minutes in length and be primarily animated. The Academy will announce the category's status on Dec. 11.
Country singer Johnny Cash, 69, was released from Nashville's Baptist Hospital Thursday after a three-day stay where he was treated for bronchitis, Reuters reported. The singer also suffers from autonomic neuropathy, which makes him susceptible to pneumonia.
Tommy Mottola is reportedly reaching out to his ex-wife Mariah Carey. Carey's friend and makeup artists Billy Brasfield told People, "She and Tommy are talking...They're friends. He has been really, really supportive." Only a few months ago, Carey blamed Mottola for her nervous breakdown and claimed on her Web site that Sony Records put her under intense surveillance and pressured radio stations not to play her records.
Madonna is the highest female earner in the UK, with an income of 30 million pounds in 2001, the BBC reported. The 43-year-old pop star is also the highest earning arts and entertainment figure on the list, beating out JK Rowling and Paul McCartney. Madonna qualifies for the survey because she is married to British director Guy Ritchie.
Members of the Los Angeles City Council are considering a proposal to paint the white Hollywood sign red-white-and-blue as a show of support for U.S. troops, Reuters reported. The sign would be changed for 14 days starting on Veterans Day on Nov. 12. Universal Studios has agreed to pay for the cost of painting and restoring the sign.
Monsters, Inc., which raked in $63.5 million in its opening weekend, is making even more in product sales. According to Reuters, Doritos has introduced 3-D Monster Colorz, a corn chip that turns your tongue blue, and Hasbro, Inc. has introduced figures and dolls of characters in the movie.
Nicolas Cage will star in and produce the sci-fi thriller The Volunteer, Variety reported. The story revolves around an Iowa state trooper who becomes a pawn between two alien races in a bid to avenge his daughter's death.
Fox has moved up the released date for Behind Enemy Lines to Nov. 30. The film was originally slated for release on Jan. 18. According to Variety, audiences' positive reaction to the trailer motivated the studio to release the film for the Christmas movie season.
Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) has asked the Motion Picture Association of America to speak with various producers about making a trip to congress, Variety reported. Hyde has voiced concerns over America's image abroad and is hoping Hollywood creatives can change people's attitudes through compelling images and advertising.
Tom Hanks is teaming up with HBO to produce a series on the American Revolution. According to Variety, Hanks' Playtone Prods. has optioned the rights to David McCullough's John Adams, a biography of the second U.S. president.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling said she was reduced to tears after seeing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time at a private screening, Reuters reported. "Dan [Daniel Radcliffe] nailed it--I am really pleased," she said. "I just love his face. He has such an endearing face."
Michael Jackson's album Invincible topped UK album charts this week. According to the BBC, the album beat out the Backstreet Boys, Mis-Teeq and Russel Watson and could be one of the biggest opening week sellers of 2001.
Officially married since last year, Tom Green and Drew Barrymore tied the knot again this past weekend in a private, formal ceremony for friends and family in Malibu, according to Variety.
Hollywood icons Uma Thurman (Actor Award) and Robert De Niro (Bravo Lifetime Achievement Award) will receive "Gothams" at October's 2001 Independent Feature Project's Gotham Awards in Manhattan.
Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and longtime CMA critic Waylon Jennings will lead a lengthy list of inductees this fall into the Country Music Association Hall of Fame.
The Sopranos co-star Robert Iler, 16, has agreed to testify before a grand jury in regard to charges that he and two friends mugged two teenage Brazilian tourists, according to The Associated Press.
Dennis Hopper has agreed to star in TV's Flatland, which the Hollywood Reporter describes as The Matrix meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Australia's animal rights group is seeking footage of last year's Survivor incident where a wild pig was killed to see if the event constituted a crime, reports The Associated Press.
Happy Trails: The Roy Rogers-Dale Evans museum will have to move from its California home due to tax assessments. The likely landing spot is Branson, Mo., according to The Associated Press.
Canadian secretary Sera Kirk won San Jose State's annual Bulwer-Lytton contest for the worst opening sentence of a novel with "A small assortment of astonishingly loud brass instruments raced each other lustily to the respective ends of their distinct musical choices as the gates flew open to release a torrent of tawny fur comprised of angry yapping bullets that nipped at Desdemona's ankles, causing her to reflect once again (as blood filled her sneakers and she fought her way through the panicking crowd) that the annual Running of the Pomeranians in Liechtenstein was a stupid idea."
NBC will proceed with plans to syndicate a daily version of the hit game show The Weakest Link starting in January, now that the show has been sold in the top five media markets--clearing Los Angeles Monday--Variety reports.
"Hey Vern," roll the credits. Jim Varney, the big-nosed, gawky actor who brought empty-headed hayseed pitch-man Ernest P. Worrell to life in a series of popular, albeit arguably annoying TV commercials and then in a skein of kids' movies, died today of lung cancer. He was 50.
Varney, an actor since his teen years, had been in the public eye for more than 25 years. He was a stand-up comic in New York in the early 1970s, and became a regular on the TV variety series "Johnny Cash and Friends" in 1976. He also was a regular on "Fernwood 2-Night," "Operation Petticoat" and other late 1970s TV comedy shows. His (literally) in-your-face TV ads, with his nose pressed against the camera and his incessant "Hey Vern" sales spiels, began airing in 1980.
But it was Varney's "Ernest" movies, with their innocent brand of slapstick, goofball comedy, that endeared him to kids. The movies always featured a story in which Ernest, the idiot savant, helps a group of children out of some problem or predicament. The first of these films was "Ernest Goes to Camp" (1987), followed by "Ernest Saves Christmas," "Ernest Scared Stupid," "Ernest Rides Again," "Ernest Goes to School," "Slam Dunk Ernest," "Ernest In the Army" and others. Some were released theatrically, while others were of the straight-to-video variety.
Varney also did a lot of non-"Ernest" stuff, including "Wilder Napalm" (1993) with Dennis Quaid and Debra Winger. In that same year, he played Jed Clampett in the big-screen version of "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Most recently, he played the voice of Slinky Dog in "Toy Story 2" (reprising the role from the original "Toy Story"). He also had roles in two yet-unreleased movies due out later this year.