News, May 20: “The Practice” Stars Won’t Be Back, “The Matrix” a Legal Defense? Kidman Would Give Up Acting for Love, More…

Top Story: McDermott, Boyle Aren’t Practice-ing

Six actors–including Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Marla Sokoloff and Chyler Leigh–will not be returning to the Emmy-winning ABC show The Practice for an eighth season, The Hollywood Reporter reports. In an effort to cut down on production costs due to a 50 percent reduction in the license fee paid by ABC, the actors’ options were not picked up by David E. Kelley Prods. and 20th Century Fox TV. “Due to economic and creative realities, many key people will not be returning, including Dylan,” David E. Kelley told The Reporter Monday. “It hurts, professionally and personally. This is perhaps the finest group of actors and people one could ever hope to work with; I hope for all of them to recur if possible, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to work with them on future projects as well. I’m indebted to each and every one of them.”

Kidman Willing To Give It All Up

In Cannes promoting her new film Dogville, a favorite to win the Palme d’Or this year, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman told reporters she would gladly give up the Hollywood life if she met the right person, Reuters reports. “I probably won’t do this for the rest of my life. There are other things to do that interest me and I think that when I fall in love, that’s when I will stop and settle down,” Kidman said.

Bring On The Matrix Defense

We knew the movies were killer, but in the literal sense? Producer Joel Silver is defending The Matrix movies against accusations that they invoke violence, The Washington Post reports. Lawyers for a 19-year-old Virginia man who recently killed both his parents say he believed he was living in the Matrix, an Ohio woman and a San Francisco man both killed their landlords but pleaded not guilty by reason of Matrix-related insanity, and even the boy involved in last October’s D.C.- area sniper attacks has cited the film, Reuters reports. Matrix trilogy producer Joel Silver defended the film’s violence at a press conference in London, reminding fans the movies were just fantasy. “I only can comment that 15 million people have seen the movie,” Silver said.

Rocker Weiland Arrested on Drug Charge

Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland was arrested over the weekend in Burbank, Calif. for possessing cocaine and heroin and released on bail Monday, Reuters reports. Police discovered the drugs during a routine traffic stop of a car that Weiland was riding in shortly before midnight on Saturday. The car’s driver, Jennifer Sires, was also arrested. The rocker’s arrest comes two years after he completed a jail term for violating his probation on the same charges.

Oprah Signs for Two More Years

Ka-ching! Oprah Winfrey has agreed to host her popular talk show through 2008 for an undisclosed amount, inking the deal with Viacom Inc.’s King World Productions, Reuters reports. “It’s fulfilling being able to do this kind of television,” Winfrey said in the announcement, “and I believe continuing to have a voice and a platform to speak to the world is still the right thing to do.”

Jackman To Host Tony Awards

Wolverine a Broadway enthusiast? Apparently so. Hugh Jackman, currently starring in the hit film X2: X-Men United, is set to host the 2003 Tony Awards. The Aussie actor will also make his Broadway debut Oct. 16 playing entertainer Peter Allen in the musical The Boy From Oz. The Tonys air on CBS June 8, live from Radio City Music Hall.

Disney Tests New Home Viewing Technology

The Walt Disney Co. will test two new home viewing options this fall–one enabling consumers to download a movie directly to their televisions, and one where a rented DVD will self-destruct after a period of time, The Associated Press reports. The new technology is being designed to broaden film distribution, boosting profits and taking out the middleman, such as Blockbuster.

Role Call: Scorsese Takes on Dylan, Griffin Voices “Bunyan”

Director Martin Scorsese is set to direct a documentary about folk singer Bob Dylan and how his early music had an impact on the cultural and political landscape, Variety reports. The Oscar-nominated director, who featured Dylan in his screen version of the Band’s The Last Waltz, will have full cooperation from the singer, who’ll give his first filmed interview in 20 years…meanwhile, funny guy Eddie Griffin has inked a deal to provide the voice of Babe the Blue Ox in the live-action/CGI feature Paul Bunyan. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story follows two children spending the summer at their grandparents’ Minnesota farm located near the Dead Forest, where Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox disappeared decades earlier. One of the children stumbles upon a secret underworld where Bunyan has resided in solitude with his ox since their disappearance.