Moore announces Fahrenheit 9/11 sequel
It was bound to happen. Director Michael Moore is planning a sequel to his anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which will be set for release about the time of the next presidential campaign, a spokeswoman for distributor Lions Gate Entertainment said Thursday. Titled Fahrenheit 9/11 and ½, the sequel will revisit the same issues as Moore's original documentary, which the director hoped would sway the outcome of the presidential race against President Bush. The Republican incumbent won the election with 51 percent of the vote to Democratic Sen. John Kerry's 48 percent. "We want to get the cameras rolling now and have it ready in two (to) three years," Moore told Daily Variety's Army Archerd. "Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election), and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth." Moore, whose documentary grossed nearly $120 million at the U.S. box office, added: "The official mourning period is over today and there is a silver lining--George W. Bush is prohibited by law from running again."
Hugh Grant tired of acting
Hugh Grant, who plays heartthrob Daniel Cleaver in the new sequel Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason, told London's Evening Standard's Metro magazine Thursday he considers film acting a miserable experience. "It's so long and boring and so difficult to get right," the 44-year-old actor said. "I am sort of semi-retired. I keep thinking I'm going to write a brilliant script." Grant showed up to this week's London premiere of the film with his new girlfriend, heiress Jemima Khan, but told the magazine he didn't feel pressure to settle down.The Four Weddings and a Funeral star gained international notoriety when he was caught in a car with Hollywood prostitute Divine Brown in 1995. He was dating actress Elizabeth Hurley at the time.
Fans line up for Madonna book signing
Hundreds of Madonna fans lined up for 24 hours outside a central London bookstore Thursday, hoping to get a signed copy of the pop icon's new children's book, The Adventures of Abdi. But according to the AP, only the first 250 hopefuls were allowed into Selfridges on Oxford St. to for Madonna's book reading. The Adventures of Abdi is the fourth book in Madonna's five-book children's series for Callaway Editions. The company has already published The English Roses, Mr. Peabody's Apples and Yakov and the Seven Thieves, while the fifth book, Lotsa de Casha, is due for release next summer. Madonna later gave 10-minute reading to a group of 30 school children from St. Winifred's Catholic Junior School in south London.
Bill Cosby talks race on CNN
Bill Cosby, who has publicly criticized some black children for not knowing how to read or write, told CNN's Paula Zahn in an interview that aired Thursday night his opinions are consistent with what he's done as an entertainer for more than 40 years. Cosby, 67, said that as a young comic in the 1960s, he didn't want to be like other black comedians and talk about race issues. "I don't play that. You're not going to laugh at the color of my skin. You're going to laugh with me at our similarities, and some of our differences," he said. "But I'm not going to have you, because this is not the time in this United States of America, where you're going to laugh at what my people are suffering with."
The life of Blake's slain wife to be Movie of the Week
There's a made-for-television movie in the works on Robert Blake's murdered wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. As the murder trial against Blake proceeds, Dying for Stardom: The Absolutely Unbelievable True Story of Bonny Lee Bakley will tell the story of the woman's turbulent life--but it does not attempt to answer the question of who killed her. "Whether Robert Blake pulled the trigger or whether he had someone pull the trigger ... we leave that up to one's own determination," producer Larry Thompson, who managed Blake in the early 1980s, told the AP. Actor Steve Railsback, who played Charles Manson in the 1976 television drama Helter Skelter, will play Blake. Bakley's role hasn't been cast as yet, nor has an airdate been set.
Eric B. & Rakim album tapped as the best
Eric B. & Rakim's album Paid in Full tops Entertainment Weekly's list of the greatest all-time rap albums, Reuters reports. "Paid in Full made hip-hop a true art form, doing for rap what Bob Dylan did for rock in the mid-'60s," the magazine said of the 1987 album, which it praised for its technical intricacy and poetic metaphors. Coming in second was the 1989 album 3 Feet High and Rising by De La Soul, followed by Ready to Die by Notorious B.I.G. from 1994. Public Enemy and Run-D.M.C. make up the rest of the Top Five.
Jeunet fights for film's French credentials
Despite being set and filmed in France as well as employing French actors, extras and technicians, director Jean-Pierre Jeunet is in court to prove his latest film, A Very Long Engagement, is indeed French. Reuters reports Jeunet is battling a group of by rival producers who want to block his new film from French government subsidies because they say it received U.S. funding. "The producers are obsessed because there's a new studio and they don't want to share the cake," Jeunet said. "It's very cynical, very hypocritical." The film, which stars Amelie's Audrey Tautou, follows a woman who refuses to believe her fiancé was killed in World War I and embarks on a search to find him.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.
Hip-hop guru Russell Simmons said Tuesday he will announce plans this weekend for a boycott against Pepsi, accusing the soft drink giant of applying a double standard, Reuters reports. A few months ago, Pepsi yanked a commercial featuring rapper Ludacris after conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly urged a boycott and accused Pepsi of being "immoral" for using the foul-mouthed rapper to promote their product. Pepsi caved in to the pressure and pulled the 30-second television spot, but recruited potty mouth Ozzy Osbourne for a Super Bowl commercial only months later. A spokeswoman for Simmons said in a statement, "The boycott is being called in response to Pepsi dropping Ludacris as spokesman and subsequently picking up the Osbournes, who are no less vulgar." Meanwhile, a PepsiCo Inc. spokesman told Reuters the Ludacris controversy was an unfortunate experience. "It was our mistake, we learned a lot from it and we've moved on," the spokesman said. "We respect Russell's interest in bringing hip-hop talent to a larger audience and we have worked together to do just that," he added.
Madonna said she has not dyed her hair or started sporting baggy clothes because she is pregnant--and she is striking back at British gossip magazine Heat for saying so. Spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg said Madonna would file a complaint with Britain's Press Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body set up and run by newspaper and magazines, over inaccurate reports that she is pregnant with her third child. "It's not true ... it's not accurate. She dyed her hair brown instead of blond, that does not confirm somebody's pregnant. And she's been wearing baggy clothes for 20 years, so what else is new?" Rosenberg told Reuters.
Brit mag Hello!, meanwhile, told London's High Court Tuesday that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn't complain over the use of unauthorized photos of their lavish New York wedding because they actively sought publicity for the event. The stars are suing the mag for an estimated $800,000 in damages for loss of income, stress and damage to their careers because of the poor quality of the shots, taken by gate-crashing photographer Rupert Thorpe. Hello! published the pics three days before rival magazine OK! hit the stands with official shots secured in a $1.65 million deal with the stars, Reuters reports.
A man who helped steal Nicolas Cage's 1989 Porsche 911 was sentenced to five years in prison Monday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, The Associated Press reports. Michael Gramling, 20, of Arnold, Mo., pleaded guilty last year after Missouri Water Patrol divers found the $100,000 car submerged in 12 feet of water at Lake of the Ozarks. It had been stolen a month earlier from a parking lot in Arnold while in a transport trailer on its way from California to Pennsylvania. Another defendant, Scott Air Force Base airman Robert Clerkin, 21, was previously tried on stealing charges in a military court and sentenced to six months in prison. His sentence includes a rank reduction, forfeiture in pay and a letter of reprimand.
Tickets are on sale now for the Santa Monica Film Festival, which runs Feb. 13-16 at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica, Calif., and features more than 40 independent and short films including Briar Patch (a dark love story starring Dominique Swain and Henry Thomas), Stevie (a documentary by Hoop Dreams director Steve James) and Lost Junction starring Neve Campbell. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are slated to receive the festival's Maverick Filmmakers award at the Feb. 13 opening night ceremony. Tickets and more information are available at www.smff.com.
Miramax offshoot Dimension Films is on board to co-finance the Warner Bros. action comedy Starsky and Hutch, which is based on the classic 1970s cop series. Originally the film was going to be an updated pic set in modern-day Los Angeles but has since been turned into a period piece. Co-financing was needed to cover the rising cost of costuming and set design expenses. Insiders tell Variety the budget for the pic is already north of $60 million. Directed by Todd Phillips, the film stars Ben Stiller as Det. David Starsky, Owen Wilson as Det. Kenneth Hutchinson and Snoop Dogg as their streetwise informant, Huggy Bear.
Director Mathieu Kassovitz, best known for his 1996 drama Hate, will helm the supernatural thriller Gothika starring Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, Variety reports. The film revolves around a criminal psychologist (Berry) who awakens to find herself a patient in her own mental institution, unable to remember a murder she supposedly committed, and victimized by a vengeful spirit in the asylum. Cruz plays a fellow inmate. The film begins production in April and is scheduled for release at Halloween.
AP reports the first new Doors concert will take place on Friday in Los Angeles with a tour planned for later this year, despite a looming lawsuit. Original Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger re-formed the group and renamed it The Doors 21st Century, with Ian Astbury of The Cult on vocals and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. But former Doors drummer John Densmore has now filed a suit seeking a court order prohibiting the band from calling themselves The Doors when they perform without him, and requests that Densmore be paid a share of profits from any shows that have already taken place without him.
As investigators continue to look for the cause that killed Aaliyah in the swampy scrub just 200 feet from the runway at Marsh Harbor, her fans across the country are holding candlelight vigils in her memory.
Ron Stringer, the owner of Justin's Music in Detroit told Reuters fans gathered to buy Aaliyah's records after learning of her death.
"The reaction has been very supportive, very much regret," he said.
Music reps are also mourning the death of the young, rising star.
"[Aaliyah] was like one of my daughters, she was one of the sweetest girls in the world," Grammy-winning producer, arranger and composer Quincy Jones told The Associated Press.
"I think Aaliyah was the next Jennifer Lopez, the next Whitney Houston, the next Madonna, the next Janet Jackson," Emil Wilbekin, editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine told ABCNews.com on Tuesday.
In a recent interview, the singer reflected no her career. "What do I want people to say when I'm long gone? I want people to look at me as a full-on entertainer and a good person."
As fans begin to mourn her loss, U.S. aviation experts joined the investigation into the cause of the crash that killed R&B singer Aaliyah and eight others on Saturday on the Abacos Island in the northern Bahamas.
Bahamian police said the plane apparently had engine problems as it took off for Opa-Locka airport near Miami, Fla., Reuters reports.
The New York Post also reports that the pilot of the Cessna 402 and the singer's video crew got into a heated argument before takeoff over the weight of the equipment and passengers.
The pilot allegedly argued that the chartered plane was overloaded, but eventually took off, fellow pilot Lewis Key told the paper. He also added that the pilot had trouble getting one of the engines started.
Aaliyah is survived by her mother, father and brother.