Today's News: Our Take


2 Fast Director Singleton Shines


2 Fast 2 Furious's $50.5 million debut over the weekend broke all sorts of box office records. For one thing, John Singleton's hit marked the biggest opening ever for a black film director. That trumps the record Keenan Ivory Wayans made with 2000's Scary Movie opening ($42.3 million). Singleton has come a long way, baby.

"I was able to come right out of [University of Southern California] film school at 22 and do my first movie, Boyz N the Hood, a month later," he proudly recalls. "It's been 13 years and I'm 35 now, and I feel like I'm just now getting on a roll. I love making movies."

The success of his speed-driven sequel to The Fast and t read more

EXEC SHUFFLE

The head of cable network FX is defecting to NBC to oversee the network's prime-time development. Kevin Reilly, the man responsible for The Shield, will become second-in-command to Entertainment President Jeff Zucker. Funny sidebar: As USA Today notes, Zucker once referred to The Shield as a show "nobody watches." I bet he feels silly about that now. read more

Justin Guarini's Hair Despair

Every showbiz icon must have a signature look. Elton John has kooky glasses. Tammy Faye has false eyelashes. Last year's American Idol runner-up, Justin Guarini, has his giant fro. Not since Rapunzel — or maybe Felicity's Keri Russell — has a young celeb been so inextricably associated with a larger-than-life hairdo. Now, Guarini tells TV Guide Online, he wants out from under his coiffure's shadow. His self-titled debut album drops this week, while his movie, From Justin to Kelly, hits theaters June 20. But will his name ever be more famous than his tresses? Ah, there's the rub.


TV Guide Online: Why name your album after yourself?
Guarini:
A lot of people come up and say, "You're that guy with the hair from American Idol." We just came up with self-titling it because it gets my name out there.

T read more

THIS SOUNDS DIRTY

John Waters is on the prowl for an actress to play a blue-collar convenience store clerk prone to uncontrollable sexual urges in his latest comedy, A Dirty Shame. "I wish Meryl Streep would do it," he tells Variety, "but I don't think she would." Johnny Knoxville and Selma Blair have been recruited to co-star. read more

How Franky Got to Hollywood


Former bouncer, running back and electronic-poker technician Franky G. had zero films to his credit when he auditioned to play an ex-con in Manito (opening Friday in select cities). And that was a good thing. What helped the 40-year-old Brooklyn native deliver a buzz-worthy performance was real life experience — not to mention a body that won't quit!

"I had a friend of mine who is similar to Junior," he tells TV Guide Online. "He's now a born-again Christian with a wife and a kid and lives in Queens. He showed me some of the Bronx areas where he dealt drugs. He did five years in prison. When I read this script, I thought of him a lot."

Franky guesses his years as a semi-pro football player have given him an edge (and that chiseled physique) in his new career. "The roughness of [football] disciplined me a lot," he explains.

Not that Hollywood has been especi read more

TOY STORY

Those '80s icons known as The Transformers are taking shape as movie stars. According to The Hollywood Reporter, X-Men writer-producer Tom DeSanto is developing a live-action feature based on the classic shape-shifting toys. Can the Smurfs be far behind? I think not. read more

TEEN TRIUMPH

Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" has topped VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years. Michael Jackson had the No. 2 track with "Billie Jean," Eminem's "Lose Yourself" ranked No. 4 and Madonna's "Like a Virgin" came in at No. 10. The countdown will air over five nights, beginning Monday at 10 pm/ET. read more

A PLEA FOR PEACE

Woody Allen has taped a French tourism video urging Americans to go back to eating French fries and sharing French kisses. But maybe not in that order, because that could get messy. read more

BEST SELLER

Hillary Clinton's tell-all tome Living History sold roughly 200,000 copies in its first day of release Monday, according to Simon & Schuster. As a result of the brisk sales, S&S — which paid the former first lady $8 million to spill her guts about Monicagate — is printing another 300,000 copies of the book. read more

OH, BROTHER

The ax is swinging at another David E. Kelley show. The überproducer has fired one of the lead actors from his upcoming CBS drama Brotherhood of Poland, N.H. (Wednesdays/10 pm/ET). Brian Haley, who was slated to play brother Waylon Shaw, is out and a replacement is being sought. A rep for David E. Kelley Productions says the role is "being reconceived," but adds that "Brian's work was exceptional in the pilot, and we hope to be able to bring him back in another role." According to FilmJerk.com, casting agents are looking for someone with a small-town New England feel — accessible, familiar and passionate — to take over the part. Add bitter and hunky and suddenly the role is mine to lose. read more

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