Today's News: Our Take


SHORT CUTS

Famed Hollywood makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin died in May from an addiction to painkillers, not a pituitary condition, New York magazine reports... Fox will release the entire first season of 24 on DVD Sept. 17... Conan O'Brien's Late Night bandleader Max Weinberg is taking a leave of absence to go on tour with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band... Fresh off the success of Band of Brothers, Steven Spielberg is reteaming with HBO for a big-budget miniseries about the life of King Arthur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. read more

LOVE AND MARRIAGE

The upcoming fourth season of HBO's The Sopranos — slated to kick off Sept. 15 — will delve into Tony and Carmela's dysfunctional relationship. "This year focuses on Tony and Carmela as a couple, on their marriage," series creator David Chase told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Friday. Chase also confirmed that next season — the show's fifth — will be his last. HBO, however, could continue on without him. "I wouldn't say it's irrevocable. If [HBO execs] decide to go on, from a business standpoint, they could." That's unlikely, considering that James Gandolfini (Tony) wants no part of a Chase-less Sopranos: "I started with him, I'd like to finish with him." Added co-star read more

OH, BROTHER

Believe it or not, CBS's premiere of Big Brother 3 edged Fox's summertime smash American Idol in the ratings Wednesday night. Brother averaged 9.2 million viewers to Idol's 9 million. But among adults 18-49, both shows — which won't air head-to-head after this week — tied with a 4.1 rating. read more

SHORT CUTS

Screenwriter Ivan Moffat, 84 — who got an Oscar nod for the 1956 classic Giant — died of a stroke on July 4. Giant was James Dean's final film and co-starred Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor... Wrestler-actor The Rock is attached to star in an untitled film for Columbia that The Hollywood Reporter describes as a comedic take on Harrison Ford's 1985 drama Witness. read more

Busta Rhymes: Halloween Hip-Hopper


Look out, Michael Myers! Badass rapper Busta Rhymes is "about to Picasso a whole new picture for you" in Halloween: Resurrection. He was thrilled to face off with the masked slasher in the eighth Halloween movie — which co-stars Tyra Banks and scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, who launched it all back in 1978.

"Personally, I don't remember any black actors in [old] horror flicks to begin with," Rhymes says. "So for one, that's a cool thing. Secondly, it's a cool thing that the black guy could be the hero."

However, Rhymes — who's previously starred in Shaft and Finding Forrester — insists he wo read more

TEACHING KIDS ABOUT HIV/AIDS

Sesame Street is addressing the AIDS crisis in South Africa, where one in nine people is HIV-positive. Takalani Sesame — the show's name there — soon will introduce its first HIV-positive Muppet character, Reuters reports. The female character has no name or form yet, but will have "high self-esteem" and "be fully a part of the community." Sesame is considering bringing a similar character to its U.S. audience. read more

Will Smith: Born Again?


Will Smith confirms to TV Guide Online that he may headline yet another remake of the 1937 classic A Star is Born. "We have a treatment for a project," he reveals, "but it's been done well quite a few times, so it needs to be perfect."

To that end, a lot of energy has been put into finding the quintessential starlet to play Esther Blodgett to Smith's Norman Maine. Of all the names being bandied about, Jennifer Lopez and R&B superstar Alicia Keys have emerged as early favorites. "Jennifer loves the concept, [and] Alicia really likes it [too]," Smith says. "What I like about Jennifer is that you could go Latin. The music and the environment could be the Latin world, which would be different from all of the other [versions].

"I think it needs to be different," read more

Reign of Fire Starlet Burned By Co-Stars


Swedish model-actress Izabella Scorupco joined a testosterone-pumped production when she was cast in the dragonslayer flick Reign of Fire. She clearly wasn't prepared for the 24/7 toughness of her Method-acting co-stars, Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. They treated this lady — who plays a daring helicopter pilot — just like one of the guys, but the former Bond girl longed to try a little tenderness between takes.

"There was never chit chat or joking between scenes," says Scorupco, best known as the stunning medic in Vertical Limit. "They are both very demanding read more

LIVING IN SIN

How's this for a Fear Factor? The new NBC reality series Love Shack has singles moving in together before the first date. Here's the sitch: A man and woman "shack up" in a Southern Calif. mansion to date — and ditch — their various houseguests. (Kinky!) At the end of six episodes, the winning couple gets a one-year lease on the posh digs. Shack debuts Aug. 26. read more

ENRON: THE MOVIE

CBS has tapped director Penelope Spheeris (Wayne's World) to helm its Enron TV pic, The Crooked E: The Inside Story of Enron. The film — which is slated to air sometime next season — is based on Brian Cruver's upcoming book Anatomy of Greed. Brian Dennehy will star. read more

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