Today's News: Our Take


COLD CASTING

Star Wars babe Natalie Portman is in talks to co-star in the ensemble historical drama Cold Mountain, joining a cast that already includes Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Giovanni Ribisi. The pic is based on the best-selling book by Charles Frazier. read more

TRIAL, INTERRUPTED

Talk about a lucky break. A judge delayed Winona Ryder's preliminary hearing on shoplifting and drug charges after the actress allegedly re-injured her right elbow while pushing past reporters outside court. Ryder fractured her right arm while filming the upcoming Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds. The case is expected to resume on Thursday. read more

SHORT CUTS

Scorpion King star Kelly Hu has joined the cast of X-Men 2 playing mutant villain Anne... Melrose Place alum Jack Wagner will host a new golf-themed interview show for ESPN titled Off Course. It debuts June 11 at 7:30 pm/ET. read more

Michael Chiklis: Emmy Long Shot?


With Sopranos kingpin James Gandolfini ineligible for Emmy consideration this year, we've got just the candidate to fill the best actor race's token creep-with-a-conscience slot: Michael Chiklis, who plays rogue cop Vic Mackey on FX's acclaimed serial thriller The Shield. For his part, Chiklis admits he's more than happy to invade Tony Soprano's turf.

"I've always been a person to honestly say, 'Oh, I never think about that,'" he tells TV Guide Online. "But in this case, it would be great. I would love to see that happen — I'd be a liar if I didn't say that."

However, as a realist, the 38-year-old actor knows the TV Academy is typically slow to recognize new programs  read more

THE BOSS RETURNS

Bruce Springsteen will release The Rising — his first studio rock album since 1992 and his full collaboration with the E Street Band in 18 years — on July 30. There's no word if The Boss will tour with the album. read more

Meet Ben Affleck's New "Bride"!


Talk about a loser in love! Actress Bridget Moynahan has suffered her share of failed onscreen couplings: She was Mr. Big's jilted wife on Sex and the City and the fiancée John Cusack ditched at the altar in Serendipity. Now, she's the future Mrs. Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) in The Sum of All Fears — but this time the lady won't get dumped.

"Finally!" Moynahan happily tells TV Guide Online. "And there's a future. I know where Anne Archer" — the actress who played Mrs. Ryan opposite read more

HITTING THE ROAD

NBC News is sending anchor-in-waiting Brian Williams to New Delhi for a series of reports on growing tensions between India and Pakistan. The first of the reports will air tonight on Nightly News. read more

PAPA DIDN'T PREACH

Madonna's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg is flatly denying reports that her client is pregnant. The Material Girl's dad, Tony Ciccone, reportedly told a British newspaper over the weekend that his superstar daughter was expecting her third child, but Rosenberg insists that such an interview never took place. read more

FILM TITAN DIES

Famed movie mogul Lew Wasserman — who is credited with building Universal into the mega-conglomerate it is today — died Monday at his home in Beverly Hills of complications from a stroke. He was 89. "Wasserman was the last of the founding fathers of the entertainment industry," Variety editor Peter Bart tells USA Today. read more

HARD BARGAIN

That Sharon Osbourne is one tough kooky. MTV president Van Toffler reveals in the current issue of Newsweek that Ozzy's bride was a real handful during recent negotiations for a second season of the network's reality smash — demanding everything from a new house to free psychotherapy for her dogs (she got neither). "What you see on television, that's the way Sharon is," he says. "She is affectionate and loving one moment, and the next she's calling you every name under the sun. It was the most trying negotiation we've been through." Well, in the end, it all worked out: Season No. 2 kicks off this fall — and there's talk that one of the 20 new episodes will be shot live. read more

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