News Roundup: July 12


Top Story

Being a celebrity doesn’t always get you special treatment. Actor Jude Law, who currently stars in the mob drama Road to Perdition, was reportedly involved in a scuffle with a Romanian politician. Senator Dinu Patriciu thought Law was trying to steal his brother’s car and threw a few punches before the actor’s bodyguard intervened. Patriciu was apparently unaware that his brother’s car had been sold to a rental company and apologized to Law, who was not hurt in the tussle. Law–who is in Romania shooting Cold Mountain with Nicole Kidman–did not press charges against Patriciu, reports.


Benicio Del Toro will produce and star in the modern day adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not for Universal Focus, Variety reports. Del Toro will play a Florida Keys fisherman who gets involved with smugglers in order to make some extra cash on the side. Tod “Kip” Williams will write the script and direct the project.

Rod Lurie, who recently helmed the prison drama The Last Castle, will direct the romantic comedy Beat the Eagle, the story of an esteemed two-term president who retires to a small East Coast town to pen a memoir, Variety reports. Lurie, who has carved a niche for himself shooting political dramas, called the project “a big gift.”

Retired Los Angeles Lakers’ star Magic Johnson will executive produce Feeling Aretha, a comedy-drama about a father and son in the world of college basketball coaching. According to Variety, The Woods‘ Rick Famuyiwa will write and directed the pic for Fox Searchlight.


Keeping in step with the times, Sesame Street will soon introduce its first HIV positive Muppet character to children of South Africa, where one in nine people have the virus, Reuters reports. Joel Schneider, vice president and senior adviser to the Sesame Street Workshop, said talks are also under way to introduce an HIV-positive character to U.S. viewers.

The animated feature Lilo & Stitch will be turned into a TV cartoon series to be shown on the Disney Channel. According to The Los Angeles Times, the series will debut in fall 2003–following the release of the film’s straight to video sequel–and will feature the entire Lilo & Stitch cast.


Rapper Fat Joe, whose real name is Joesph Cartagena, has been released without bail following his arraignment on charges that he broke a man’s jaw on May 12 at New York’s B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill in Times Square, The Associated Press reports. Cartagena, who turned himself in to police at the Midtown South precinct at around 1 p.m. Wednesday, faces five to 15 years in prison if convicted.