Today's News: Our Take


Daniel Day-Lewis: Disappearing Actor


Throughout most of the '90s, you could hardly go a date night without Daniel Day-Lewis horning in on your action at the multiplex. However, after taking home an Oscar for My Left Foot and raking in big bucks at the box office with The Last of the Mohicans, the thinking woman's heartthrob virtually disappeared. In fact, until director Martin Scorsese coaxed him out of retirement to play Leonardo DiCaprio's archenemy Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York (opening Dec. 20), the master thespian seemed determined to become his own "Whatever Happened to.. read more

HER BIG FAT FOLLOW-UP

My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos will co-star in the upcoming big-screen buddy comedy Connie and Carla, Variety reports. Like Wedding, Vardalos wrote the script for the film, which will begin shooting in April. Meanwhile, casting is underway for the pic's other female lead. read more

STAGE FUN

Kevin Richardson — the eldest member of the Backstreet Boys — is Broadway bound: On Jan. 20, the 31-year-old pop star will replace Billy Zane as shady attorney Billy Flynn in Chicago. Other celebs who've recently played the role are Taye Diggs, George Hamilton and Six Feet Under's Michael C. Hall. read more

THE LAW OF LAMAS

So here's the latest soapy dish in the divorce drama of Falcon Crest star Lorenzo Lamas and his fourth wife, Shauna Sand: Lamas has lifted the restraining order against Sand. The actor had accused her of "acting out violently" after he decided to end the marriage. The couple has also agreed on joint custody of their kids, while Sand gets "over 50 percent of [their] remaining assets," according to her lawyer. Merry Christmas! read more

CYBER PEEPERS MUST PAY

Pamela Anderson and ex-hubby Tommy Lee have won their lawsuit against Internet Entertainment Group — the company that marketed their infamous "honeymoon" sex tape in the late '90s. A default judgement forces IEG to pay the duo legal fees, plus the profits it made from selling their sexcapades, which amounts to about $740,000 each. Last year, the Baywatch bombshell settled a similar lawsuit with IEG over her saucy home video with ex-beau Bret Michaels of Poison. Note to Pam: Give your camcorder a rest, hon. read more

We're Taken By This Child Prodigy


In Steven Spielberg's Taken, Dakota Fanning (I Am Sam) plays an adorable alien-human hybrid — whose mental powers have the entire U.S. military crying for Mommy! In real life, this precocious 8-year-old astonished a group of jaded reporters at Taken's press junket: When asked simplistic kiddie questions about her work, Fanning responded with the articulation of a seasoned pro. How did the kid learn so much so fast?

"I'm home schooled, and I have a teacher that goes with me on all my movies," Fanning explains. "She's taught me a lot 'cause I've had her since I was in second grade, and I'm in fourth grade right now."

As narrator of all 10 episodes of the Sci Fi Channel miniseries, Fanning must've had to use her imagination to picture a world invaded by aliens. Er, didn't she? "Yeah, I kind of did," the young lady admits, though she adds matter-of-factly: "I had read some of the earlier scripts, so I knew what was going on." read more

Orlando Jones Takes on Leno and Letterman


Late-night TV is about to get a lot more colorful. Comic actor Orlando Jones confirms to TV Guide Online that he's in serious discussions with the FX network to headline his own after-hours alternative to Jay and Dave. But despite reports, the former 7-Up pitchman insists the project "is not a talk show. We're talking about revamping late night."

Vague on specifics, Jones says the program will be a showcase for "urban" talent much the same way Arsenio Hall's early-'90s yakker was. "I feel like a lot of [African-American] artists don't have anywhere to go," he says. "I don't see Nick [Cannon, his co-star in the upcoming marching-band drama Drumline] sitting comfortably on Leno or Letterman, any more than I see Ludacris fitting into that pantheon."

To be sure, the 34-year-old former Mad TV star isn't dissing his future late-night rivals. "Obviously, they have a specific niche," he says. "I've read more

CAUSE OF DEATH

A coroner's report shows that Who bassist John Entwistle died from taking cocaine which stopped his heart from beating. The 57-year-old was found dead at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on June 27. read more

PR NIGHTMARE

Add Natalie Cole to the list of people who think Whitney Houston made a mistake going toe-to-toe with Diane Sawyer on Primetime last week. "I think the timing was crappy," Cole told Access Hollywood. "The questions were extremely difficult, very invasive, and it's just too hard to do that. I don't even know, as a totally sober person of 20 years, if I would even like answering those questions." read more

BADA-BIG!

Domestic strife paid off big time for HBO Sunday night. The season finale of The Sopranos — which featured Carmela kicking Tony out of the house — attracted a whopping 12.5 million viewers and whacked its competition on the major broadcast networks. It was the mob drama's second most-watched episode ever; the show's season premiere in September drew 13.4 million fans. And despite complaints that the fourth season was a bore, ratings were actually up 22 percent over Season Three. By the way, have I mentioned how freakin' amazing Edie Falco was during those fight scenes with James Gandolfini? Well, she was. Forget Emmy, she deserves an Oscar! read more

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