News, Jan. 20: No Pope Endorsement for Gibson Film, Frances McDormand To Head Berlin Jury, Dan Rather Treated for Skin Cancer, More…

No Pope Endorsement For Gibson Film

Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to Pope John Paul II, said Tuesday
the 83-year-old pontiff never endorsed Mel Gibson‘s The Passion of
saying, “It is as it was,” after viewing the film, The Associated
Press reports. Dziwisz, who has served as the Pope’s secretary during his 25-year term, confirmed that the John Paul II had indeed seen the controversial
film that depicts the last hours of Jesus’ life, but he had made no such
statement that the film is accurate in its
portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus. The Vatican press office has declined
to comment on the Pope’s opinion of the film, stating they do not report on
“the private activities of the Pope.” Gibson has long defended his film as
being faithful to the Biblical account of the crucifixion. Some Jewish
organizations have raised concerns about the film stirring up anti-Semitic
sentiment due to its portrayal of Jewish involvement in the death of Jesus.
The film opens on Ash Wednesday, February 25th.

Frances McDormand To Head Berlin Jury

Oscar winner Frances McDormand will head the seven-member jury at this
year’s Berlin International Film Festival, AP reports. The indie-favorite actress is
currently starring in Something’s Gotta Give which will play at the
festival out of competition. McDormand will join
Italian actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi; Ethiopian director Maji-da Abdi;
Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf; Italian director Gabriele Salvatores;
movie theater director Dan Talbot, and German film producer Peter Rommel to
select, among other awards, the winner of the Golden Bear top award. The festival runs February 5-15.

Dan Rather Treated for Skin Cancer

Dan Rather, longtime anchor of the CBS Evening News, said Monday he
had surgery to remove cancerous cells from his nose, AP reports. Rather has
been absent from the nightly newscast for several nights, but reappeared
Monday and spoke about his condition on the air. Basal skin cancer often
develops after years of prolonged skin exposure, but is highly treatable if
detected early. Rather urged viewers to be examined for skin cancer and said
the whole experience was “humbling.” A full recovery for the 72-year-old is expected.

Moonves Orders More Survivors

In a less than shocking move, CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves has
renewed the network’s contract with Survivor until at least 2005,
according to The Hollywood Reporter. The new deal as well as the
locations of the ninth and tenth editions of the show were hammered out
while Moonves and Survivor creator Mark Burnett rode an escalator in
the hotel where the two are doing press for CBS. In addition to the new
Survivor shows, CBS has also ordered full seasons for freshman shows
Two and a Half Men and Navy NCIS. It was also announced that
CBS’ hit CSI will spin off once again with CSI: New York.
Moonves has been criticized for some of his programming choices recently
namely his decision to pull the Reagan miniseries from CBS The
after the project came under fire. The biopic later aired on
sister pay channel Showtime. The new season of Survivor starring past
winners and popular contestants will begin airing following the Super Bowl
on February 1st.

Nick and Aaron’s Mom Arrested

Jane Carter, mother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and poplet Aaron Carter, was arrested
Tuesday night and charged with battery after breaking into her estranged
husband’s home and attacking his new girlfriend, Launch Radio Networks
reports. Ms. Carter allegedly broke into the house, walked into the bedroom
where Robert Carter and his girlfriend Ginger Elrod where sleeping. Ms.
Carter then allegedly pulled Ms. Elrod out of the bed by her hair and
proceeded to beat her with a remote control. Aaron‘s twin sister Angel was
present during the occurrence and told police she had indeed seen her mother
“physically beating” Ms. Elrod. Jane Carter is already in hot water with
Aaron, who charged that she removed $100,000 from his bank account
without his permission. This disagreement was resolved Sunday. Robert Carter
is now being sued for libel and breach of contract by talent manager Eliot
Weisman, who claims he was cut out of Aaron‘s career only after he had gotten
them representation at the William Morris Agency. Jane Carter’s arraignment
hearing for the battery charge is February 3rd.

Kid’s Choice Awards Nominees Named

Preteen pop favorites Bow Wow, Nick Cannon and Justin Timberlake will be at the
mercy of children when the Kid’s Choice Awards are handed out for best male
singer April 3rd, AP reports. Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti and
Hilary Duff will compete for best female singer. Best song contenders are
B2K for “Bump, Bump, Bump,” Outkast for “Hey Ya,” Beyonce for “Crazy in
Love,” and “Where is the Love” by Black Eyed Peas.

Role Call: Baldwin To Direct Hoodz

Stephen Baldwin plans to make his directorial debut this summer with a project
based on his own idea, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Baldwin
revealed little about the upcoming project except that it will center around
the attempt by a Mexican-American skateboarder to rally his fellow skater
boys and girls to save their local skate park. Baldwin has a television
series in the works and would probably shoot the project, titled Robbin’
, during that show’s summer hiatus. Says Baldwin, “Commercially, no
one has accomplished something that truly speaks to the true subculture of