Today's News: Our Take


Next Action Star There's only...

Next Action Star
There's only one explanation for would-be action hero Jared's increasingly erratic behavior: The dude has gone completely insane. Week after week of sharing a house with the biggest bunch of reality-TV losers since Average Joe: Hawaii would drive anyone around the bend, and Jared always seemed vaguely unhinged to begin with. I'm seriously expecting him to turn up in the next episode with his head shaved completely bald, muttering something about errand boys and grocery clerks. At least that would give the competition some spice. Somewhere &#252berproducer Joel Silver is desperately rereading his contract, trying to find out how he can get out of having to cast any of these nitwits in one of his movies.

Great Lodges of the Canadian Rockies
This PBS travelogue was fun to watch, if only because it allowed me to play a nifty little game I like to call "If I Could Afford It." As in, if I could affor read more

TOGETHER AGAIN

Their first collaboration hasn't even hit the screen yet, but Frances McDormand is in talks to join fellow Oscar winner Charlize Theron for a second film collaboration, Class Action. The drama is a fictionalized account of the first successful sexual-harassment prosecution case in the United States. McDormand would play an outspoken iron miner who mentors Theron's character. The duo are currently starring together in the live-action version of Aeon Flux, MTV's popular animated spy series that ran in the '90s. read more

Kim Basinger Widowed


A typical novelist might be offended if a filmmaker suggested bringing only half of his book to the big screen. But in John Irving's case, that approach was the primary reason he allowed writer-director Tod Williams to adapt his 1998 best-seller, A Widow for One Year. "I don't feel there's been a film as faithful to me or my writing as this one," the author says of the resulting movie, The Door in the Floor. It stars Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges, and opens today in limited release.

Surprisingly, Irving even includes his own Oscar-winning adaptation of his 1985 novel The Cider House Rules in that assessment. Although Tobey Maguire did a fine job, he explains, "I had to lose so much of that novel by trying to adapt the whole thing. I had to compress 15 years into one. I had to lose a number of characters and a major plotline or two. By sticking strictly to the first 180 pages [of Widow], Tod was able t read more

SUMMER EXTENDED

This season is proving to be a good one for Summerland. WB has ordered 13 more episodes of the beach-set family drama as a midseason replacement. The series, starring Lori Loughlin, follows a thirtysomething single who takes in her sister's children after their parents are killed in an accident. read more

DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

Actor Tommy Lee Jones is making his film-directing debut with his latest drama, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. The award-winning actor will also star in the indie pic, written by 21 Grams scribe Guillermo Arriaga. The story chronicles the journey of a ranch hand, played by Jones, who tries to fulfill a promise for a deceased friend. read more

DARK ANGEL GETS INVISIBLE

Jessica Alba is getting back her superpowers. The Dark Angel alum has been cast as the Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four, 20th Century Fox's adaptation of the Marvel Comics classic. Alba rounds out the crime-stopping quartet, which includes Ioan Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic, Chris Evans as The Human Torch and Michael Chiklis as The Thing. read more

Before Sunset Siren Speaks


Who the heck is Julie Delpy? The French actress had a recurring role on ER as one of Goran Visnjic's lovers. Other than that, she's done lots of indie flicks like Before Sunrise, which barely blipped on America's radar. Of course, that hasn't stopped Delpy — who's also a singer-songwriter — from serenading Ethan Hawke in the Sunrise sequel Before Sunset (now in limited release).

"It is always so dangerous to sing a full song to someone on screen," Delpy says, "but I was very happy. ["A Waltz for a Night"] was the song. It was as though it was written for the film, even though I had written it before."

Songwriting isn't Delpy's only skill. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Sunrise and Sunset, along with Hawke and director Richard Linklater. To sum it up, the first film was about two strangers sharing a too-short 14 hours together. The sequel briefly reunites them nearl read more

Press Tour Diary: Day Four


It's the second and final day of ABC's press-tour pageant, and the roster includes sessions for the Mel Gibson-produced family sitcom Complete Savages, J.J. Abrams' castaway thriller Lost and the sex-crazed teen soap life as we know it, co-starring Kelly Osbourne. Speaking of soap, I just found out that the miniature bathroom accessories I get for free in my hotel room sell for big bucks downstairs in the gift shop. I've got two words for you: stocking stuffers. But enough about that. Let's get to the real point of this trip (wink, wink)...

COMPLETE SAVAGES
9:07 am Mel Gibson's name is all over this comedy about a single dad raising five teenage boys, yet the Passion auteur isn't here to help promote the thing. Interesting. "Mel had a lot of input on the show," insists exec producer Julie Thacker-Scully. "He directed the pilot... We run ideas by him... We pick his brain... " He does read more

ACCESS DENIED

This Pat O'Brien thing is getting ugly, folks. A Los Angeles judge denied NBC's request for an immediate restraining order to keep O'Brien from promoting his new entertainment-news show, The Insider. The Peacock network insists he's still under contract with Access Hollywood until the end of August, while his Insider gig doesn't begin until mid-September. The judge has set a July 23 hearing date to resolve the matter. Despite their contractual tiff, NBC still wants O'Brien to host the first week of its late-night Olympics coverage in August. That's showbiz! read more

NEW RECORD

On yesterday's Jeopardy!, 30-year-old Utah software engineer Ken Jennings officially broke the $1-million mark. So far, the brainiac has correctly given more than 1000 correct answers — in the form of a question, natch — earning him $1,004,960 in prize money. Why doesn't Jennings get off the buzzer and cede the spotlight to some other nerd, you ask? He doesn't have to, since the game show lifted its five-day win limit. "When we changed the rule [last year], we declared that the sky's the limit for Jeopardy! champions," says host Alex Trebek. "Boy, oh boy, has Ken certainly proven that true." read more

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