News, April 4: “Matrix” Sequel Debuts at Cannes, Kidman There for Cruise, Tim Story Exits “Barbershop” Sequel, More…

Top Story: “Matrix” Sequel to Premiere at Cannes

The Matrix: Reloaded, the sequel to the 1999 blockbuster The Matrix, will be shown out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, the second day of the festival, The Associated Press reports. The film, which stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss will be released worldwide the same day. The Cannes Film Festival, now in its 56th year, is the world’s best-known film festival and serves as a launching pad for movies that are shown out of competition. The festival runs May 14-25. The original movie won four Academy Awards and grossed more than $460 million worldwide. The third and final film in the trilogy, The Matrix: Revolutions is scheduled for release this November.

Kidman Shared Oscar Glory With Cruise

Nicole Kidman, who won Best Actress for her performance in The Hours, shared her Oscar victory last month with ex-husband Tom Cruise. The actress told People magazine in an interview published Thursday that she called Cruise in New Zealand after she won. “It was so important for me to talk to Connor (her son) and yes, to Tom. We have very different lives now, but as I’ve said to Tom, I will be there for him for the rest of his life, always there,” she said. Kidman and Cruise‘s 10-year marriage ended in 2001 in a bitter divorce.

O’Donnell Demands Retraction From “Enquirer”

Rosie O’Donnell demanded a retraction Thursday from the National Enquirer tabloid, which printed a story on April 15 claiming she and her live-in partner, Kelli Carpenter, were on the verge of splitting up, Reuters reports. O’Donnell‘s attorney Bert Fields said she may proceed with a lawsuit for defamation and other claims–even if the tabloid retracts the story.

Nazi-Era Fund Seeks Spielberg’s Help

Germany’s compensation fund for Nazi-era slave laborers said it will seek assistance from director Steven Spielberg to record the testimonies in an effort to keep alive the memory of surviving victims, the AP reports. Officials said Thursday they would seek Spielberg‘s help for a plan to interview up to 1,000 survivors. Spielberg‘s Shoah Foundation, which was set up after the filming of 1993’s Oscar-winning Schindler’s List, has already videotaped the testimonies of more than 50,000 Holocaust survivors.

John Wayne’s Son Dies

Michael Wayne, the eldest son of late actor John Wayne, died of heart failure Wednesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center following complications from lupus, an immune system disease, the AP reports. He was 68. He headed Wayne Enterprises, which owns many of his father’s films. Among the films Michael Wayne helped produce were The Green Berets (1968), Big Jake (1971), The Train Robbers (1973) and Brannigan (1975).

Did CBS Staffers Bet on “Survivor”?

Costa Rica-based online sportsbook has dropped betting on the CBS reality show Survivor after allegedly finding network employees were wagering on the program–and winning, the AP reports. The players in question opened accounts with BoDog before Survivor: Marquesas, the fourth show, and bet on no other events. BoDog’s Lance Bradley said they wagered correctly on who would be the final two contestants in both the fourth and fifth editions of Survivor. At least two players have been identified as CBS employees and other names may be connected to the network or may be aliases.

Fans Walk Out of Pearl Jam Concert

Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert Tuesday in Denver, Colo., after lead singer Eddie Vedder took a mask of President Bush and impaled it on a microphone stand, the AP reports. Several concertgoers booed and shouted for Vedder to shut up as he told the crowd he was against the war and Bush. During the show, however, Vedder said: “Just to clarify … we support the troops.” Vedder used a Bush mask in Australia and Japan to perform the song “Bushleaguer.”

Role Call: Tim Story Exits “Barbershop” Sequel, Jane Joins “Punisher”

Director Tim Story has dropped MGM’s Barbershop sequel to helm the DreamWorks’ comedy Date School, Variety reports. Story denies money was a factor in his decision and said he was worried about repeating himself too soon … Dreamcatcher star Thomas Jane will play the lead role in Artisan Picture’s big-screen adaptation of Marvel’s The Punisher for writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh. The film, which revolves around FBI undercover agent and tough-as-nails vigilante Frank Castle, is aiming for a summer 2004 release.