Today's News: Our Take


AUGUSTUS GLOOP ALERT!

Warner Bros. has tapped Tim Burton to direct its long-gestating remake of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston will produce the pic under their newly formed partnership with Brad Grey (The Sopranos). read more

GET A LOAD OF THIS...

The Matrix Reloaded continues on its record-setting pace. As of today, the mega-sequel has taken in $151.9 million — the biggest first-week tally in box office history. That breaks the record set last summer by Spider-Man, which grossed $151.6 million in its first full week. read more

Michael Douglas: Family Man


With The In-Laws (opening Friday), Michael Douglas takes a break from serious fare like A Perfect Murder and Traffic to yuk it up with Albert Brooks. Doing this movie, as well as It Runs in the Family with dad Kirk Douglas, suggests he not only wants to show off his sense of humor, but also his more family-oriented side.

"[Brooks and I] both talked about it and said, 'Thank God we have families,'" admits Douglas, 58. "I don't know what anyone would do as an actor our age, who is out on his own or divorced. It would be depressing if you were to focus only on your career. So you work on things, but the big change in my life is having a wife [ read more

Scott Bakula's New Enterprise

As UPN's Enterprise wraps Season Two — the finale airs tonight at 8 pm/ET — the Star Trek prequel takes a bold new direction. Alien freaks called the Xindi zap Earth, Vulcan vixen T'Pol gets emotional, and best of all, Trekkers have the solace of knowing the fun isn't over, it's just beginning. Here, TV Guide Online opens hailing frequencies to debrief Capt. Archer himself! Um, that just means we rang actor Scott Bakula on his cell phone.


TV Guide Online: Were you ever really worried Season Three wouldn't happen?
Bakula:
I don't think you can count on anything in my business anymore. Witness Becker and other [recently cancelled shows] like that. It's good to hear officially that you're going to be back, and we're excited about it.

TVGO: With T'Pol (read more

RAYMOND SOARS

Everybody Loves Raymond ended its season on a high note. Monday's wedding-themed season finale attracted nearly 23 million viewers, making it the night's top-rated program. NBC also got solid results from its Martha Stewart telepic, which averaged 14 million viewers and ranked as the season's No. 1 TV movie among adults 18-49. And believe it or not, some 17 million Clay/Ruben fans sat through Monday's dull American Idol profile special. read more

TICK, TOCK...

It looks like time finally ran out for President Palmer. On last night's riveting 24 finale, one of the evildoers behind last season's assasination attempt against Dennis Haysbert's commander-in-chief resurfaced during the final moments to finish the job. Shortly after Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) successfully averted World War III, Palmer became the victim of a (seemingly lethal) bioterrorist sneak attack. (Let's hope his final act as president will be to give Jack's demon-spawn daughter a big wet kiss.) The kicker climax apparently sets it up so Season Three will cover the day after this season's — in other words, 48 consecutive hours. That's gonna really suck for Jack. For Matt Roush's take on the episode, click here. read more

Meet Niles's New Flame


Good morning kisses from Ewan McGregor and sisterly advice from Renée Zellweger. After facing her initial fear of a visit from the "acting police," you could say filming the over-the-top, '60s sex romp Down with Love was easy for Sarah Paulson.

But landing her role — a book editor whose latest find (Zellweger) encourages women to behave like men — definitely wasn't. Because the movie was shot during summer months, when sitcom actors are on hiatus, entire casts of TV shows went in to read for her part. "Anybody that's on any popular show was there," Paulson says. "It just seemed like the most implausible notion that I would get this job, because the list of names was ridiculous."

And then there's read more

STILL THE (CHOSEN) ONE

In the last couple of seasons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has had bigger problems than blood-suckers and demons. (Humorless scripts? Scary!) But in last night's series finale, creator Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed, completely redeemed himself. By the end of the hour, Willow's witchcraft had turned the potentials into Slayers; Buffy had told Spike that she loved him and hinted that she still hoped to grow old with Angel; Spike, Anya, Amanda and preacherman Caleb had bought the farm (so, that's why Whedon lied to me about Spike going to Angel ); and, best of all, the Scoobies had begun to resemble the gang with whom we fell in love. Oh, and do we really need to mention that they saved the world? Thought not. For Matt Roush's take on the episode, read more

TREE PEOPLE

Ashton Kutcher, Kirsten Dunst and Joaquin Phoenix are in talks to star in The Woods, the latest spooky feature from M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic is set in 1897 and revolves around a close-knit community and the mythical race of creatures that resides in the woods around them. Let me guess: They're blue, stand three apples tall and reside in mushroom houses. read more

SHORT CUTS

Reese Witherspoon has signed on to star in Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a big-screen mother/daughter saga based on NPR correspondent Jacki Lyden's memoir of the same name. Meryl Streep has expressed interest in playing her manic depressive mom... Lily Tomlin has been named this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for humorists... Rapper Camoflauge was fatally shot Monday while walking with his toddler son outside his Savannah, Ga., recording studio. He was 21. No arrests have been made. read more

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