Today's News: Our Take


BIBLE STUDIES

Dust off your old textbooks for this one: Braveheart director Mel Gibson is planning on filming his next project entirely in Latin and Aramaic, reports Variety. His upcoming feature The Passion, about the final hours of Jesus Christ, is set to star Frequency's James Caviezel, who will be performing in the two dead languages. Gibson also hopes to release the final version of the film without subtitles. Yikes! read more

GOOD HAIR DAY

Barbershop cut through some tough competition to stay at the top of the box office for a second week in a row. The Ice Cube comedy grossed $13.3 million and beat out newcomer The Banger Sisters, which opened at No. 2 with $10.3 million. My Big Fat Greek Wedding slipped down one spot to No. 3, but brought in another $10 million. The new Antonio Banderas action flick Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever debuted at No. 4 ($7.11 million) and snuck in just ahead of Heath Ledger's new war epic The Four Feathers (No. 5 with$7.10 million). And read more

SHORT CUTS

Ron Eldard (Black Hawk Down, ER) will star alongside Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley in House of Sand and Fog, according to The Hollywood Reporter... At age 66, Luciano Pavarotti is about to come a proud papa again. Pavarotti's girlfriend, Nicoletta Mantrovani, 33, is pregnant with twins. The tenor has three daughters from a previous marriage... Yoko Ono is in court today, reports the Daily News. Ono is set to testify against the man she alleges stole memorabilia belonging to her late husband read more

RATINGS ROUNDUP

Fox's John Doe got off to a good start on Friday with 9.6 million viewers, according to Variety. The mystery series won its timeslot while its lead-in, Firefly — from Buffy creator Joss Whedon — finished third. The WB premieres of What I Like About You and Greetings from Tuscon brought in the best ever Friday night ratings for the network. read more

Leo to Play Bisexual Emperor?


It looks like Leonardo DiCaprio is playing gay for pay again. The upcoming Gangs of New York star — who canoodled explicitly with David Thewlis in 1995's Total Eclipse — is in talks to portray Alexander the Great in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming big-screen epic. And according to screenwriter Ted Tally, the movie will take full advantage of the young conqueror's sexually adventurous side.

"[Alexander]'ll be bisexual," the Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs scribe tells TV Guid read more

REUNITED

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are together again — sort of. The onetime Hollywood super duo have joined forces to file a lawsuit against cosmetics chain Sephora USA, alleging it used their images without their consent. The suit claims ads in 2001 for Sephora's "Celebrity Scents" created the misleading impression that the couple "used, preferred, endorsed or sponsored Sephora's products." They seek $15 million in damages. read more

Curb Star Pumps Up the Volume


If you thought the blowhards on ABC's The Practice engaged in far too many shouting matches, you should check out HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David and his band of grumpy sidekicks do so much screaming that it's amazing they have one voice box left among 'em. (Unlike The Practice, however, Curb isn't all bark and no bite.)

This Sunday's Curb episode features several Excedrin moments, the most notable of which involves comedian Wanda Sykes (playing herself) accusing the Seinfeld creator of adding a few extra dollars to a black man's tip — a practice she hysterically dubs "tip profiling." "It's just one of those stereotypes that hangs out there, although I haven't experienced it myself," the Comedy Cen read more

COLBY, EMPLOYED AT LAST

Survivor: The Australian Outback alum Colby Donaldson finally has landed an acting gig. The Texan dreamboat has been cast in Time and Again, a PAX movie about ageism in the TV news biz. (Surprisingly, Colby's not playing a hunky anchorman, but a newswoman's hubby instead.) His co-stars include Dick Van Patten, Sally Kirkland and thirtysomething's Mel Harris. read more

THAI FOOL

As expected, Mark Burnett threw a curve ball at viewers Thursday night during the premiere of Survivor: Thailand. In a break from tradition, producers didn't divide the 16 contestants into two teams. Instead, that job was left to the two oldest members, who alternated between men and women until everyone was picked. One thing that remained the same: Someone was voted out. In this case, it was 40-year-old pastor John Raymond. "Well, I get the distinguished honor of being the first one voted out," he later said. "This is quite a surprise for me. I didn't think there were any alliances on the team, but I guess there was, and I just wasn't a part of it." Smart cookie this one was. Meanwhile, there's clearly still a lot of life left in the Survivor franchise. Thursday's debut averaged 22 million viewers — on par with last season's two editions. And among young adults, it was up 16 percent over the premiere of read more

GOLF DUSTUP

CBS will televise the Masters golf tournament in 2003, despite pressure from women's groups to drop the broadcast altogether. Augusta National — the private club which holds the Masters — refuses to allow women to be full-fledged members. In response to threats of advertiser boycotts, the club has agreed to sell no commercial airtime for this year's broadcast, picking up the entire tab on its own. read more

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