Today's News: Our Take


THEATERGOERS IN A PANIC

Instead of hunting colored eggs this weekend, it appears folks raced to see Panic Room. The Jodie Foster thriller took the top spot and had the biggest Easter holiday film opening ever, taking in $30.2 million. The animated Ice Age characters held on to their No. 2 spot, grossing $18.6 million. Dennis Quaid's newest flick, The Rookie, slid into the No. 3 spot with $15.8 million. Rounding out the top five: Blade II (No. 4 with $13.2 million) and Clockstoppers (No. 5 with $10.1 million). The new dark comedy Death to Smoochy, starring read more

SHORT CUTS

Prolific science-fiction novelist Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) will receive a star (No. 2,193) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today. Actor Charlton Heston is expected to attend the ceremony... British comedian Barry Took, who helped produce such shows as Monty Python's Flying Circus, died yesterday in London at the age of 73. read more

Robin Williams Joins the Dark Side


A new day has come for Robin Williams. But not the sunny sort you hear Celine Dion singing about! Switching career gears, the funnyman is coming out with a string of nasty new film roles — in the just-opened Death to Smoochy and the upcoming Insomnia and One Hour Photo. "For me, it is like Picasso's blue period," he muses in a dopey French accent. "I do a dark period now. I'm going into my orange period next..."

But seriously, folks. "These have been dark movies," Williams says. "I asked my agent to look for one — he found three. Three really strange, bizarre pieces that are dark. I think they work on that level where people think, 'Oh, that's that nice man' and then it turns creepier, stranger and more disturbing."

Has Williams turned to the Dark Side to shed the residual schmaltz from his "feel-good" flick read more

Jacqueline Bisset Goes to Sleep


Acclaimed actress Jacqueline Bisset's new film The Sleepy Time Gal — debuting Friday on the Sundance Channel — took more than two years of on-and-off shooting to finish. Instead of being annoyed at the time consuming process, though, she feels it helped her get closer to her terminally-ill character.

"I was able to get perspective on different times of her life," the 57-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "I was able to work physically on myself to get some of my energy back for the 'well' parts — and then lose it for the 'tired' parts.

"What was great about it," Bisset adds, "was that each time we started to work, I felt really fresh, rather than get worn out on the shoot and [feel] harassed by the production to hurry up and shoot, shoot, shoot. Which so often happens. We had these intense little periods where we'd arrive and attack [a specific] section. I liked it."

read more

SHORT CUTS

Randy Castillo, the drummer who replaced Tommy Lee in M&#246tley Cr&#252e, died of cancer Tuesday night in Los Angeles. He was 49... Rodney Dangerfield is finally getting some respect. The 80-year-old comic received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday... Lisa Nicole Carson has been approached about reprising her role as Calista Flockhart's roommate on Fox's Ally McBeal, the New York Post reports... ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos and his wife, actress Alexandra Wentworth, are expecting their first child in September... Singer Lyle Lovett faces six months of rehab after being read more

DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH?

Liza Minnelli is setting the record straight about her new hubby, David Gest: She insists he's not gay! "I know many of my husband's ex-girlfriends will agree that if every man was as good in bed as David, there would be a lot of happy women in the world," she tells the New York Post. "We moved in together one week after we met, that says it all." Actually, that says way too much. read more

NEVER AGAIN

Sadly, this was as inevitable as death and taxes: ABC confirms that it has cancelled the low-rated Once &#038 Again — the final episode is April 15. In a statement, creator Ed Zwick thanked fans for their "outpouring of support," adding: "We're grateful that ABC has given us the chance to create a final episode that does justice to those who have been so loyal to the series." read more

END QUOTE

"When I was younger, the great excitement in pursuing women was the sense of seduction and romance and chase. But when you are a celebrity, you discover that you are no longer the pursuer, but the pursued." — Hugh Grant, on how the dating scene has changed since his split with Liz Hurley, in an interview with London's Daily Telegraph. — Michael Ausiello read more

Jodie Foster's Plum Role


Jodie Foster is so over Russell Crowe. Back in September 2000, Foster was all set to direct the Beautiful Mind troublemaker in the trapeze romance Flora Plum, when he sustained a shoulder injury during rehearsals. Crowe was forced to drop out, leaving Foster — and the film's star, Claire Danes — breathing fire.

Now, nearly two years later, Foster appears ready to rejoin the circus, but she's looking for a new freak. "[Russell's role] will be recast," reveals the two-time Oscar winner. "He cannot put his arm up, let alone put any weight on it, for a year. So, he's definitely not in the picture.

"Times have changed," she adds. "Russell has gone on to do other things, and he's not necessarily  read more

HAPPY EASTER BUNNY

Fox's Greg the Bunny hopped off with decent ratings during its Wednesday night debut. The puppet comedy averaged 10.2 million viewers and built on its lead-in, The Bernie Mac Show. Over at ABC, the premiere of The George Lopez Show attracted an estimated 10.4 million viewers, off 13 percent from its lead-in, My Wife and Kids. Translation: Not bad, but it could have been better. read more

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