Michael Stipe's status as an alt-rock icon may have waned a bit, but he's not crying in his chamomile tea about it. According to today's Variety, the R.E.M. frontman and his partners have sold a huge stake in their two film-production companies, Single Cell Pictures and C-Hundred Film Corp. (yes, he's a budding movie mogul, too) to RSUB, a New York-based digital entertainment company, which will get the increasingly valuable Internet rights to all movies they make.
Says Michael Simon, RSUB president: "They (Stipe et al.) needed some cash, and now they get financial and digital resources."
LUCASFILM SUES RAP MOGUL: LucasFilm is suing rap impresario Dr. Dre, alleging that the recording star employed Lucas’ trademarked THX Deep Note (you know, that annoying deep note before every movie at the theater) on his album "Dr. Dre 2001," MTV News reports today. Also named in the lawsuit are Interscope Records and Aftermath Entertainment.
LOOKING INTO THE PAST: Director Allison Anders ("Gas Food Lodging") is working on what is her most personal project to date: "Things Behind the Sun," a semi-autobiographical story about a rape she suffered during adolescence, according to the Reporter. The film is slated to begin shooting in Florida in June.
EVEN HE HAS HIS OWN WEB SITE: Action star Steven Seagal has launched his own Web site, StevenSeagal.com, and announced Wednesday that the site will be exclusive home of his video "Aikido: The Path Beyond Thought" before its release in the spring. The site has already received 15 billion hits since this news brief was published.
TOM CRUISE’S PRIVATE PARTS: This breaking item from MSNBC.com: Talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell was "really uncomfortable," according to one avid Rosie viewer, when actress Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn’s daughter (who was on the gabfest to promote her new film "Gossip"), revealed that Tom Cruise ’s private parts can be seen, if freeze framed, in 1983’s "All the Right Moves." Uh, hello?! This "juicy tidbit" is so 1983.
NOT VERY HAPPY: Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft is criticizing her mother’s biographer, saying that Gerald Clarke’s well-received "Get Happy" contains "out and out lies," MSNBC.com reports. Luft is also upset that the biographer never tried to reach her. Poor thing.
Annette Bening SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 26, 2000 -- Ding, ding, ding went Annette? Annette Bening might follow up her self-absorbed "American Beauty" housewife by playing an even more self-absorbed, complex and pathos-ridden woman.
Word comes today, via Variety's Army Archerd, that Bening is the No. 1 candidate to play Judy Garland in "Rainbow's End," a biopic in development at Fox Searchlight.
The movie, to be based on a new book by another Variety scribe, will be no "Wizard of Oz." It's about Garland's over-the-hill days in the early 1960s, when she hosted "The Judy Garland Show," a weekly primetime series. The movie will be executive produced by (get this) Oliver Stone and Garland's ex, Sid Luft.
One question, though: Who's gonna play Liza?
DON'T DO IT! How do you follow up an Oscar for Best Actor? You make an Inspector Clouseau movie, dummy. According to Variety, Kevin Spacey is talking to MGM about stepping into the late Peter Sellers' shoes and reviving the "Pink Panther" movie franchise. Spacey, not exactly known for his slapstick comedy skills, would be treading on shaky ground -- several other actors have tried and failed to resuscitate the character, or a facsimile of it (Alan Arkin, Ted Wass, Roberto Benigni).
OFF-KEY: "American Psycho" star Christian Bale will star with Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz in a WWII romantic drama, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," Variety reports today. Bale plays a Greek fisherman engaged to Cruz. When he goes off to war, she jilts him and falls in love with Cage, who plays an Italian soldier.
DON'T FORGET YOUR PILLS: "Dawson's Creek's" Michelle Williams and Ellen Degeneres' Anne Heche have joined the cast of "Prozac Nation," the big-screen version of Elizabeth Wurtzel's autobiographical novel about depression, which was hot about two years ago. According to Variety, the cast already includes Christina Ricci, who'll play Wurtzel.
IN LIKE FLINT: In an apparent attempt to make Rob Lowe seem cool again, producer Joel Silver has cast the immortal James Coburn opposite the erstwhile 1980s icon in a low-budget ($6 million) action film. In "Proximity," Coburn will play a mob figurehead who puts a contract on Lowe's life.
("Just in Time" "When You're Smiling" "You Do Something to Me" "Let There Be Love" "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You" "You Made Me Love You" "The Trolley Song" "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody" "Swanee" "San Francisco")