Today's News: Our Take


DANCES WITH ELEPHANTS

Kevin Costner is in talks to direct and possibly star in Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived, a film described as a Black Stallion-type love story between a man and an animal. It's rated Ewww.... read more

THEATER NOTES

New Line is producing a remake of John Waters' cult film-turned-Broadway musical Hairspray for release in 2006... A lavish stage version of the 1968 movie-musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is headed to Broadway in April 2005... Hugh Jackman has been tapped to host the 2004 Tony Awards on June 6. Jackman — who emceed the show last year — is a likely nominee for his starring role in The Boy From Oz. read more

AFTER FRIENDS

Paul Reiser is wooing his onetime Mad About You costar Lisa Kudrow to make a guest appearance in a comedy pilot he's producing for NBC. The potential series, My 11:30, stars Jeff Goldblum as a playboy New York businessman who seeks help from a no-nonsense female shrink, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In related news, Kudrow's Friends bud David Schwimmer has signed on to direct and executive produce the Peacock comedy pilot Nevermind Nirvana, which centers on an East Indian guy and his white fiancée. read more

JACKSON JACKPOT

The world's largest collection of Jackson family stage costumes, props, photos and documents reportedly has been sold to an unnamed European buyer, who intends to display the memorabilia in Europe and Japan. Henry V. Vaccaro Sr., a 63-year-old New Jersey businessman, had acquired the stuff — enough to fill his 6,000-square-foot storage room — after nine years of legal tussling with the Jacksons. He says they handed over this collection after agreeing to buy his guitar company years ago, then defaulting on $1.4 million in payments. He wouldn't say what his mysterious buyer paid, but it must be a lotta moolah, since he told The Associated Press, "I don't know what I'm going to do with myself." read more

Survivor: All-Stars The Mogo Mogo...

Survivor: All-Stars
The Mogo Mogo tribe regained its mojo after giving Richard the heave-ho and we have Kathy to thank for putting us out of their misery. With political savvy worthy of Capitol Hill, she organized the delicate coalition that downed Hatch. "Kathy is the biggest power player of all," says Shii Ann. "She's got all of us wrapped around her finger." Nobody was more happy to see Richard go than Susan, still recovering from last week's too-close encounter with Survivor's original flasher-in-the-pan. Initially, she hid her embarrassment and shame by avidly collecting snails, but eventually the hurt feelings surfaced. "Richard — naked — kept flashing through my head," moaned Susan under the baleful influence of the too-much-information side of her brain. "Why did he have to touch me?" Given that he's gay, I'm guessing he's asking himself the same question. At least Richard can take solace in the knowledge Susan read more

MARTHA'S GUILTY

After deliberating for three days, a jury pronounced Martha Stewart guilty of all charges Friday in New York City. The 62-year-old domestic guru — who suspiciously dumped her ImClone stock the day before it tanked in 2001 — appeared to grimace as each of the four counts against her was read in court. Her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, also was found guilty on all charges, except for filing a false document. Will Martha do time? Her charges carry up to 20 years in prison, but experts say she'll likely get a far lesser penalty. We won't find out until sentencing day, which is set for June 17. Meanwhile, in a message posted on her Web site, Stewart said she was "obviously distressed by the jury's verdict but I continue to take comfort in knowing that I have the confidence and enduring support of my family and friends. I will appeal the verdict and continue to fight to clear my name. I believe in the fairness of the judicial system and remain confident that I read more

DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YA

Reality fans were singing "Ding-dong, the witches are dead!" last night when two of the genre's most memorable villainesses — Survivor: All Stars' Sue Hawk and The Apprentice's Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth — climbed back on their brooms and flew off. On Survivor, Sue became the second castaway this season to up and quit after she suffered an emotional meltdown in the wake of her run-in last week with Richard Hatch's genitalia. Omarosa, meanwhile, was fired from The Apprentice after she suffered an emotional breakdown in the wake of her run-in last week with a falling poppy seed. read more

IDOL UPDATE

American Idol viewers voted John Stevens (think Harry Connick Jr. with red hair) and Jasmine Trias (think Mariah Carey, only Hawaiian) into the finals last night. Next week, four wild-card contestants will be chosen from a field of 12 hopefuls — none of whom, I'm sad to report, is Scooter Girl. read more

CASE CLOSED

Alec Baldwin and ex-wife Kim Basinger have resolved their bitter custody battle over their 8-year-old daughter, Ireland. According to Celebrity Justice, the judge ruled in favor of Baldwin, who was seeking "equal share" of parenting with Basinger. read more

BATMAN CASTING

Gary Oldman has joined the cast of Batman Begins, Warner Bros.' new take on the Caped Crusader starring Christian Bale. Oldman will play a detective on the Gotham police force. The rapidly expanding ensemble also includes Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Morgan Freeman and Ken Watanabe. read more

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