Today's News: Our Take


Guests at Academy Award winner Ingmar Bergman's 86th birthday party yesterday could have saved themselves a whole lot of grief by buying the living legend a retirement gift at the same time. The Fanny and Alexander director announced he was giving up the theater — and, in fact, considered a 2002 production of Ibsen's Ghost to be his last. Gee, thanks for telling us so promptly, dude! read more


Yesterday, Actors' Equity and the League of American Theaters and Producers revealed details of the new contract that will keep the lights of Broadway turned on for the next four years. In addition to a three-percent raise for Great White Way performers, the pact ushers in an "experimental touring program," which, as close as we can figure, means that folks working on hit road shows will get paid more than those working on flops. Ingenious, no? read more


Sadly, no, that's not who this item is about. But another Denver billionaire, Philip Anschutz, has made a deal with 20th Century Fox to bankroll five movies, four of them based on kids' books. Again sadly, not one is going to be How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head. read more


Hoping to convince us that eating its healthy sandwiches will keep our kids from answering to the name Porky, Subway unveiled a new ad campaign yesterday starring its, ahem, biggest diet success story, former spokesman Jared Fogle. Of course, now the company's Madison Avenue braintrust has to worry that we'll equate Subway with not only a loss of weight but also a loss of cool. read more


Eat your heart out, Kurt Loder! In music news, a rapper with the highly unlikely name of Lloyd Banks held onto the top spot on this week's U.S. album chart (no doubt causing 50 Cent to consider rechristening himself Marvin Smith). Elsewhere in the Top 40, soulful chanteuse Angie Stone's Stone Love disc made the week's highest debut, at No. 14. Not bad, considering how many of us are just finding out who she is. read more


Next time Quentin Tarantino has a love scene to write, chances are he'll have to look no further for help than the other side of his bed. The Kill Bill auteur and unlikely babe magnet has a new girlfriend — Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola. Says the power couple's publicist: They "enjoy each other's company." Uh-huh. Right. Call us when their Oscars start sharing shelf space. read more


As if the world doesn't have enough pretty idiots in it! Low-wattage pop tart Jessica Simpson and hubba-hubba hubby Nick Lachey are thisclose to starting a family, they tell Us Weekly. They might even adopt a child from an underprivileged country, which, by Simpson's definition, means Chino, Calif. read more

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

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

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)...

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

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