News Roundup: Aug. 9


Top Story

Pop princess Britney Spears, who enraged thousands of fans in Mexico City last month when she abruptly walked off the stage after singing only four songs, will be taking a six-month break. Her publicist Lisa Kasteler told Reuters on Thursday that contrary to published reports, Spears is not running home to mama because she is suffering from exhaustion or nursing a broken heart. Rumors that the 20-year-old star was suffering a Mariah Carey-type meltdown first surfaced after Spears flipped the media the bird upon her arrival in Mexico. But Kasteler says that Spears is happy and her time off has nothing to do with the things that have been reported. “She is going to read scripts during the six months. She is going to travel, write music and hang out with her family and friends, who she hasn’t been able to spend any real time with for a long time. It is that simple. There is no drama here,” she said. “The girl works harder than anyone in the business, and she is taking a break.” Spears, whose first film, Crossroads, was released in February, burst onto the teen scene in 1998 with the hit “Baby One More Time.”


The Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane was unanimously voted the greatest film ever made in an international poll of film critics and directors. The film was chosen by 144 film critics and directors polled separately by the British Film Institute. According to Reuters, the critics put Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo in second, followed by Jean Renoir‘s La Regle du Jeu, while the directors’ second pick was The Godfather, followed byThe Godfather, Part II. The BFI polls have been carried out every 10 years since 1952.

The Oscars are not moving to New York, say Academy officials. Rumors of a possible move surfaced Thursday after reported that the New York showbiz industry and political leaders were on the verge of making a serious pitch to bring the Academy Awards to New York. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Executive Director Bruce Davis told Reuters there was no question the show would be held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, but he added that the show could feature a segment from Gotham.

Veteran actor Mel Gibson is scouting Italy as a possible location for his next project, Passion, a film that would explore the life of Christ, Variety reports. Don’t look for Gibson to play the holy role, however. He is looking to produce the project–and possibly direct–and is reportedly in talks with James Caviezel to star in the pic.

Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is in negotiations to star as Jane Whitfield in the action/thriller The Guide for Paramount Pictures. The film focuses on a Seneca Indian (Berry) who has the gift of erasing people’s negative pasts and providing them with brand-new identities. The project originated from a series of novels by author Thomas Perry, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Why be coy about product placement in a film when you can be shameless? Miramax Films has signed a three-year marketing alliance with Coors Brewing Co. that will see Coors brands placed in at least five films by the studio, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Coors will also co-host Miramax premieres and events. Look for a Coors product–Keystone, Zima, Coors or Coors Light–in the upcoming Miramax films Duplex and View from the Top.


The producers behind the hit U.K. reality show Pop Idol and its American counterpart, American Idol, are finalizing plans to create a special series that would pit global winners against one another, Variety reports. A global Pop Idol would feature an international face-off with winners from the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Poland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. The series is being targeted for late 2003.


Carlos Santana‘s follow-up to his hugely successful 1999 album Supernatural is slated for release this fall. Shaman is due in stores Oct. 15 and will feature numerous guest artists, but you’ll have to wait to find out who. The 55-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is keeping mum on the subject. He told Reuters, “It’s not even letting a little kitty out of the bag. It’s a big ol’ cat.”