Today's News: Our Take


Ed Burns Returns!


Having starred in big-budget studio films like Saving Private Ryan and 15 Minutes, why would actor/writer/director Ed Burns want to nickel and dime his way through his own indie flick? As he puts it: "I'm sticking to lower budgets so I can maintain [creative] control."

In Sidewalks of New York, Burns takes a documentary-style look at six strangers looking for love (and sex) in all the wrong places. And by using a little directorial ingenuity, he pulled it off for under a million bucks. Recalls Burns: "The idea came out of working on Private Ryan, which was all done with handheld cameras and available light. I was sitting there in one of the foxholes one day, and we were banging out scenes and getting so much work done. I thought, 'If I use nothing but [these meth read more

Carrie's Mother on Law &#038 Order: SVU!


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit scored a November sweeps coup by casting three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie in tomorrow's episode, "Care" (airing 10 pm/ET on NBC). Best known as the psycho mama to Sissy Spacek's psychic teen in Carrie, she'll play an earthy grandma caught up in a murder investigation on SVU.

"I always like to do new things — it keeps me alive and on my toes," the L&#038O fan tells TV Guide Online. "I'm even happy that they used such an unforgiving lens on me and [no] makeup! It's not flattering, but I think it adds to the character."

As in Carrie, Laurie also played a crazy shrew in the cult phenom Twin Peaks. "It's great release and great fun to be bad," she enthuses. read more

Al Roker: He Loves NY!


When it comes to the extra-tight security at Thursday's 75th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al Roker is taking a decidedly hands-off approach. "I'm sure there are [added precautions], but I'm not aware of them," admits the Today show weatherman, who will host the NBC telecast (beginning at 9 am/ET) alongside his morning show cohorts, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. "If you really start thinking about that, it takes away from... the parade.

"There are people who are much better at worrying about that stuff than I am," he continues. "Just like the Today show, people always [ask], 'Are you worried for your safety out there [on the plaza]?' I don't think about it. Now, if I see a guy with red tubes strapped around his waist... and wires coming out of his chest, I might shy away from him. But otherwise, you do what you do."

This much seems certain: In light of the ongoing war on terrorism, safety will be a top priority at t read more

Carrie's Mother on Law &#038 Order: SVU!


Law & Order: Special Victims Unit scored a November sweeps coup by casting three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie in tomorrow's episode, "Care" (airing 10 pm/ET on NBC). Best known as the psycho mama to Sissy Spacek's psychic teen in Carrie, she'll play an earthy grandma caught up in a murder investigation on SVU.

"I always like to do new things — it keeps me alive and on my toes," the L&#038O fan tells TV Guide Online. "I'm even happy that they used such an unforgiving lens on me and [no] makeup! It's not flattering, but I think it adds to the character."

As in Carrie, Laurie also played a crazy shrew in the cult phenom Twin Peaks. "It's great release and great fun to be bad," she enthuses. read more

Richard Harris: Grumpy Old Man


Veteran actor Richard Harris has starred in more than 70 films to date, but don't ask him which one he thinks he's best known for. "I'm not interested in reputation or immortality or things like that," snaps the grumpy 71-year-old, who's currently entertaining the masses as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. "I don't care what I'm remembered for. I don't care if I'm remembered. I don't care if I'm not remembered. I don't care why I'm remembered. I genuinely don't care." (But do you care?)

Harris — who earned Oscar nods for 1967's This Sporting Life and 1990's The Field — also isn't a big fan of reminiscing about his storied career. "Once [a film is] over, it's over," he says. "I always say to the cast, read more

Al Roker: He Loves NY!


When it comes to the extra-tight security at Thursday's 75th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Al Roker is taking a decidedly hands-off approach. "I'm sure there are [added precautions], but I'm not aware of them," admits the Today show weatherman, who will host the NBC telecast (beginning at 9 am/ET) alongside his morning show cohorts, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. "If you really start thinking about that, it takes away from... the parade.

"There are people who are much better at worrying about that stuff than I am," he continues. "Just like the Today show, people always [ask], 'Are you worried for your safety out there [on the plaza]?' I don't think about it. Now, if I see a guy with red tubes strapped around his waist... and wires coming out of his chest, I might shy away from him. But otherwise, you do what you do."

This much seems certain: In light of the ongoing war on terrorism, safety will be a top priority at t read more

Brad Pitt: That's What Friends Are For


Ever since Brad Pitt was spotted breathing the same airspace as Friends star Jennifer Aniston, rumors swirled that the movie hunk would make a guest appearance on her NBC comedy. Now, more than three years since the couple's courtship began, Pitt is finally delivering on the hype: This Thursday, the Oscar nominee will play an old high school pal of Monica's (Courteney Cox Arquette).

So, naturally, when Pitt showed up at a weekend press conference to promote his role in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming remake of the Rat-Pack classic Ocean's 11, TV read more

Hagrid Confesses: Regrets, He Has a Few


Since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone enjoyed the biggest opening weekend of all time, Robbie Coltrane has little to worry about careerwise except donning his giant Hagrid costume and make-up for the sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which already has begun production.

"[The process of getting transformed into Hagrid is] horrible," the actor grouses to TV Guide Online. "Big and sticky, and took one and a half hours in the morning. The costume weighed about 140 pounds.

"[But] it looked good — that's the main thing," he concedes, adding with a chuckle, "It's a fashion thing, too — 'the Hagrid look.' Armani's going with it for the winter. The leather jerkin, the leather boots... they're everywhere, up and down Fifth Avenue. Simply everybody's wearing them."

Of course, looking the part isn't all that matters t read more

Dawson's Hunk: "Me Tarzan?"


Since Smallville — the WB's serialization of Superboy's beginnings — has taken off faster than a speeding bullet, the network has gone ape to bring to the small screen another man of steel... or at least another hero with buns of steel: Tarzan.

While the proposed program only recently reached the script stage (meaning that the earliest that it could swing onto the schedule is fall 2002), at least the Frog won't lose any time casting the lead role of a teenager monkeying around in the jungle. Chad Michael Murray — Rory's smitten tormentor, Tristan, on The Gilmore Girls last season and Jen's two-timing lover, Charlie, on Dawson's Creek this year — has a holding deal with the WB that all but guarantees him a show of his own.

Still, whether that regular gig will turn out to be Tarzan remains to be seen. "I know of [the pro read more

Question: I was talking about ...

Question: I was talking about this with my girlfriend and could swear I read somewhere that Family Ties was originally supposed to be about the parents but ended up being about the kids when they become popular. Truth or urban legend? Thanks and keep up the good work. — Peter B., Coeur D'alene, Idaho

Televisionary: Not only is it true, Peter, it was foreshadowed by Michael Gross, who played man of the house Steven Keaton, though he probably didn't know it at the time. In 1982, while shooting an episode of the series in which Keaton kids Alex (Michael J. Fox), Mallory (Justine Bateman) and Jennifer (Tina Yothers) run amok when Steven and wife Elyse (Meredith Baxter Birney) are away, the actor engaged in a bit of unintentional soothsaying. "Maybe after several episodes Meredith and I will die, and then the series could really take off," he joked to TV Guide. "We could be killed in a car wreck, and the kids would conti read more

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