Today's News: Our Take


Lopez Responds to Diva Charge


Pop star/actress Jennifer Lopez believes that a diva doesn't necessarily have to be a woman. Still, the Golden Globe-nominated Selena star says it's high time Webster's came up with a word for a male prima donna.

"[Diva] is definitely something that's associated with women, and I guess they should have a man's term for it," says Lopez, whose own rumored antics have led some to slap her with the diva label. "But, we can just use diva for them too."

For her part, Lopez — who next appears opposite Matthew McConaughey in the romantic comedy The Wedding Planner — explains that there are two very distinct types of divas. "A diva [can be] an icon whose had a long, prosperous career and has proven herself over and over," she says. "[Someone] who is a legend in her own time, like Tina Turner or Barbra Streisand. And then it's used in a negative way [to describe] somebody who's demanding and overbearing and obnoxious."

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Sarandon: New Scream Queen?


Susan Sarandon had a nasty role model in mind when she prepared for her villainous turn as Coco La Bouche in the upcoming animated film Rugrats in Paris.

"I'm a big admirer of Cruella De Ville," she says of the 101 Dalmations diva, played on the big screen by Glenn Close. "I think Coco's outrageous audacious wardrobe and her fondness for screaming at the Rugrats puts her in the same club. Coco and Cruella are both completely over the top."

Sarandon's Rugrats alter ego — who works at an amusement park yet hates children — spends most of her time screaming, a fact that took its toll on the actress. "After about five hours your vocal chords are ripped to shreds," she admits. "But it was also therapeutic because I got rid of all my mean thoughts about little kids who misbehave."

Sarandon felt like screaming when the 25th anniversary DVD version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released recently. "I have my lawy read more

BUFFY TO JOIN REAL SCOOBY GANG

Real-life lovebirds Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar are in serious talks to star in the live-action Scooby Doo update. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Prinze would play scarf-wearing leader Fred and Gellar would appear as clumsy babe Daphne. Filming is expected to begin in February in Australia. Raja Gosnell (Never Been Kissed, Big Momma's House) will direct. read more

SHORT CUTS

Johnny Depp has inked a deal to play 16th-century poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe in the $20 million film, Marlowe, The Hollywood Reporter says... The trade paper also reports that Chris Rock is being wooed to star in the Miramax flick Mr. Etiquette, the story of a New York tour guide who tries to win back his girlfriend by embarking on a crusade to transform the city’s rude residents into respectful citizens... The WB has picked up its sci-fi soap Roswell for the rest of the season, Variety reports. — Michael Ausiello read more

HEAVENLY DEBUT FOR ANGELS

Someone tell Bill Murray it's safe to come out of hiding now. The big screen remake of Charlie's Angels — starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Murray — karate-chopped its way to the top of the box office over the weekend, grossing an estimated $40.5 million. The film's blockbuster opening pushed Meet the Parents out of the No. 1 spot, a position it held for the last four weeks. The Robert De Niro comedy slipped to No. 2 with $13.1 million. Robert Redford's feel-good golf drama The Legend of Bagger Vance — which received lukewarm reviews from critics — opened at No. 3 with a somewhat disappointing $12 million. Rounding out the top five were Remember the Titans at No. 4 ($7 million) and the Battlefield Earth of the fall, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, at No. 5 ($5.3 million). The horror-ble sequel saw its audience erode by 60 percent from last weekend. Now that's read more

O'DONNELL RISKS JOB FOR BABS

Talk show host and outspoken Democrat Rosie O'Donnell is expected to air a political speech by good bud Barbra Streisand supporting Al Gore on today's show, despite initial objections from syndicator Warner Bros. Sources told Reuters that O'Donnell threatened not to renew her contract if the studio blocked the airing of the Streisand speech, which was delivered at a Gore fundraiser. O'Donnell reportedly offered to run the pro-Gore endorsement after Friday's 20/20 — featuring an interview with Streisand conducted by Barbara Walters — edited out some of the singer's political views. read more

WHITNEY'S POT FLAP DISMISSED

Whitney Houston is breathing easier after Hawaiian prosecutors said they would dismiss her marijuana possession charge in three months, provided she meets certain conditions. Last January, security at Keahole Kona International Airport found a half an ounce of weed in Houston's purse. The troubled singer was facing 30 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. read more

BATTLEFIELD EARTH — THE CARTOON

From the "some people just don't learn" department: Japan-based Pine Com International is turning Ron Hubbard's sci-fi novel Battlefield Earth into a syndicated animated series to debut as early as spring 2002, the New York Post reports. It's unclear what effect this will have on John Travolta's "planned" Battlefield Earth sequel. read more

STEWART'S BIG PURCHASE

French Stewart is apparently staying put on planet Earth. The 3rd Rock From the Sun star and his wife, actress Katherine LaNasa, have plopped down $2 million for a four-bedroom Hollywood Hills home, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 3,000 square feet pad comes with a media room, sauna, pool and a spa. LaNasa will appear opposite Vicki Lewis and A.J. Langer in the upcoming NBC comedy, Three Sisters. The paper also reports that Oscar winner Nicolas Cage has purchased approximately 400 acres of land in Malibu canyon for roughly $10 million. read more

DOWNEY SINGS FOR ALLY

Look out Vonda Shepard. Reuters reports that Ally McBeal's newest legal eagle, Robert Downey Jr., will sing two songs on the show's new holiday-themed CD, A Very Ally Christmas, due in stores Tuesday. The actor — who signed on to do 10 episodes of the David E. Kelley drama after being released from prison last August — will belt out a cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" and collaborate with Shepard on a duet of "White Christmas." read more

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