Today's News: Our Take


Benicio Del Toro Born Again


If Benicio Del Toro had had his way, his latest movie 21 Grams would never have been an ensemble vehicle. "I tried to muscle my way in and tell the director, 'This is my movie,'" jokes the Oscar-winning actor. Obviously he didn't try hard enough, but that's probably for the best. After all, if he had succeeded, he wouldn't have had the chance to act opposite fellow powerhouses Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

In the film, which opens in limited release on Nov. 21, Del Toro plays Jack, an ex-con turned born-again Christian, who undergoes a crisis of faith when he's involved in a terrible automobile accident. It's another intense, challenging role for the actor who has made a career out of playing lost souls.

While he and Watts shared little screen time together, Del Toro had several scenes with Penn, read more

IT'S A BOY!

David Letterman and longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko celebrated the birth of their first child, son Harry, just before midnight on Monday. Letterman broke the news on Tuesday's Late Show. "First thing I took him home and dangled him over the balcony," joked the 57-year-old funnyman, who named his first-born after his late father. Naturally, Letterman used the birth as fodder for his top 10 list. Among the reasons the late-night vet was excited to be a dad: "There is now tangible evidence I have sex." Eh, I'm still not convinced. read more

THEY'RE BACK!

It's official: Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will return to Broadway's The Producers from Dec. 30 to April 4. Tickets for those performances go on sale Nov. 16. In related news, the Tony-winning musical Urinetown will close Jan. 18 after nearly 1,000 performances. read more

OVER THE HILL

The WB has picked up freshman drama One Tree Hill for the entire season. After a slow start, the teen soap has seen its audience grow by 1 million viewers. The Frog net has yet to decide the fate of Tarzan, which Sunday drew less than 3 million viewers. Translation: Travis better get naked, like, quick. read more

WHERE THERE'S A WILL...

Alias hunk Bradley Cooper will reprise his role as Sydney's best bud Will in the Dec. 7 episode, TV Guide Online has learned. Word has it, Syd retrieves Will from witness protection and the two go on a big adventure together. Oooh, maybe they're gonna decapitate Lauren! read more

GRACE BABY UPDATE

It's not Will & Grace & Child for a reason, folks. An NBC spokesperson tells TV Guide Online that Debra Messing's recently-announced pregnancy will not be written into the show. (Good, because that would have been a disaster.) read more

FULL MONTY

Note to NYPD Blue butt barer Dennis Franz: You're off the hook. Danny DeVito will guest star on Friends this February as "an over-the-hill stripper" who performs at Phoebe's bachelorette party. In the same episode, Donny Osmond will play himself when Joey appears as a celebrity contestant on Pyramid. read more

LIVE WIRE

Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton will host Saturday Night Live on Dec. 6. Pink's the musical guest. read more

MEL GETS SMALL

Mel Gibson has a new passion: TV. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Oscar winner is developing two projects for the small screen — an ABC comedy series inspired by his life as a father of six boys and a CBS coming-of-age drama titled The Clubhouse. read more

SIMPLE RULES

More than 20 million viewers tuned in last night to watch the Hennessy family grieve the loss of John Ritter's patriarch on ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. The special hour-long episode helped ABC win the night among total viewers and adults 18-49. read more

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