Today's News: Our Take


SPIDER SEQUEL

Spider-Man doesn't land in theaters for another month, but Columbia Pictures is already hard at work on the sequel. The studio has signed Sam Raimi — who directed the first flick — to helm the follow-up. Spider stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have already committed to the sequel, which will begin shooting early next year. read more

The Shagadelic Andie MacDowell!


With her ladylike Southern drawl and a resume full of tame romantic comedies, Andie MacDowell hardly seems apt to offer lessons on how to "shag." Of course, the British cast and crew of her dramedy Crush — opening Friday — thought of the Austin Powers meaning of the word. But MacDowell only meant to introduce them to South Carolina swing dancing!

Their inside joke gave writer-director John McKay an opportunity to break the ice between MacDowell — a 43-year-old mother of three — and her 27-year-old leading man, Kenny Doughty. "We knew they would be nervous with each other," he recalls, "so every morning, I got Andie to t read more

Is the End of Farscape Near?


Sci-fi fans have spent the past seven months anxiously awaiting the return of TV's most outrageously unpredictable space opera, Farscape. But they may be a tad disappointed in the final four installments of season three — the first of which airs Friday at 9 pm/ET on the Sci Fi Channel. "We wanted to throw a curveball," exec producer David Kemper tells TV Guide Online. "So these episodes are extraordinarily boring. Nothing happens, and the end of the season will surprise people with its lack of emotion, humor and scope."

He is, of course, joking. "Truth be told, I think the season finale might be my favorite one so far — there's going to be a whole mix of emotions being stirred up at once," reveals Kemper, who also penned the episode. "Viewers will be moved, and might even be angry."

Above all, the coming weeks will be filled with surprises, including a wedding, a funeral and a last-minute double-tw read more

DALY NEWS

Carson Daly's days as host of MTV's TRL may be numbered. According to TV Guide's Max Robins, Daly may be replaced as the network's countdown king before his contract expires in mid-2003. Daly has cut back his TRL duties since the January debut of his NBC late-night show Last Call, and the show's ratings have dropped 30 percent from 2001 among its target 12- to 17-year-old audience. For more on the story, pick up a copy of the April 13 issue of TV Guide magazine, on newsstands Monday. read more

SHORT CUTS

Comic Bob Newhart will receive the Kennedy Center's annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 29... ESPN received 25 nominations for the Sports Emmy Awards, the most of any network. read more

Dwight Yoakam: Evildoer Extraordinaire


Judging by his loathsome turns in 1996's Sling Blade and the current box-office smash Panic Room, Dwight Yoakam seems to have this whole thug routine down pat. Still, the country singer-turned-actor admits he doesn't really get why Hollywood continues to peg him as Public Enemy No. 1.

"It's ironic, because if you interviewed anybody that grew up with me, [they'd say I would be] the last person to play the bad guy in movies," the 45-year-old Honky Tonk Man says. "It just wouldn't happen.

"Maybe it's because of that," he adds. "Maybe it's because... I wasn't subjected to that kind of behavior at home. Maybe if you're too close to it you wouldn't be able to play it."

In Panic Room, Yoakam portrays a vicious burglar terrorizing read more

THE WRIGHT STUFF

Robin Wright Penn has been cast opposite Robert Downey Jr. in the upcoming film The Singing Detective, Variety reports. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson — who is producing the pic — has signed on to play a supporting role. read more

LEGAL DRAMA

Liza Minnelli's aging stepmother is suing her for elder abuse and breach of contract. Lee Anderson Minnelli claims the singer tried to evict her from her Beverly Hills home by shutting off the power and firing the gardener and pool man. Court papers say: "While Defendant is honeymooning all over the world, having fed 850 of her closest friends a 12-foot cake, Plaintiff is alone in a cold, dark house at age 94." Liza's spokesperson counters that while she sold the house — where Lee lived rent-free for years — she did offer to buy her stepmom a condo, which was refused. read more

SPLITSVILLE

Pioneering heavy metal band Megadeth is breaking up after frontman Dave Mustaine sustained an injury to his arm and hand — leaving him unable to play the guitar. Bassist David Ellefson, guitarist Al Pitrelli and drummer Jimmy DeGrasso opted not to continue without him. read more

CAUGHT ON TAPE

Today's New York Post features a photo of Harrison Ford and Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart holding hands while shopping in Santa Monica, Calif. — all but confirming rumors that the two are an item. Maybe we should just let them be now. read more

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