Today's News: Our Take


BRANDO REPLACED

Actor James Woods reportedly has been tapped to take over Marlon Brando's cameo role in the Keenen Ivory Wayans comedy, Scary Movie 2. Brando — who dropped out due to illness — was to be paid $2 million to play a priest performing an exorcism. No word on how much of that jackpot Woods can expect in his collection plate. read more

BEATLE PREVAILS

Ex-Beatle George Harrison is recovering after the successful surgical removal of a cancerous growth from his lung, Reuters reports. Having gone under the knife at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, he's recuperating in true rock star style in Tuscany. read more

REGIS AT WAR

ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire will air three Memorial Day-themed episodes featuring Ben Affleck and other stars from his film, Pearl Harbor, starting May 20, Variety reports. A show rep tells TV Guide Online that celeb contestants' winnings will go to benefit the proposed National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. read more

PLAYER HATERS

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's Los Angeles neighbors have filed a complaint against him, Reuters reports. It alleges that the 75-year-old's frequent parties at his 31-room Playboy Mansion cause too much noise and traffic congestion. Though the city hasn't found Hefner in violation of any laws, he hopes to placate his neighborhood by adding sound barriers and shuttle buses for his party guests. "Hugh Hefner has lived there for a very long time," said a Playboy Enterprises rep. "He wants to be a good citizen." — Daniel R. Coleridge with Michael Ausiello read more

TINA WINS!

Tina Wesson, the 40-year-old working mother of two, hit the jackpot and walked away with $1 million on the finale of Survivor: The Australian Outback. In a close 4-3 vote, she beat out Colby Donaldson, the hunky 26-year-old Texan, who had to settle for the $100,000 runner-up prize. "Tina had a strategy coming into this, and she played it until the end," said juror Alicia Calaway, who picked Wesson to win. During the one-hour reunion special, it was revealed that Wesson was actually not one of the initial 16 finalists. "I was an alternate," she said. Meanwhile, host Bryant Gumbel confirmed that Survivor 3 would take place in Africa. read more

ANOTHER BUFFY SPINOFF?

As if Buffy the Vampire Slayer's move from the WB to UPN weren't jarring enough, the Slayer may be losing her watcher, Giles (played by Anthony Stewart Head). According to Sci Fi Wire, Buffy creator Joss Whedon — who also helms the show's Angel spinoff — is in talks with the BBC to launch Giles in his own British series. "It's not a done deal," said Whedon's co-exec producer Marti Noxon, "but this is in discussion. There's an idea of taking the Giles character and doing a limited series in Britain next year. Maybe just a limited run... like a miniseries, perhaps turning into a series. It would be really awesome if it did happen, and I'm sure there'd be a way that people here [in America] would see it too." read more

Meet Mummy's Invisible Men


WWF superstar The Rock learned to loathe co-star Brendan Fraser while making The Mummy Returns. In the highly anticipated sequel to the 1999 blockbuster (opening tomorrow), the two performers play enemies whose rivalry comes to a head in a climactic battle sequence. Yet despite the violent tug-of-war, the duo never actually came face-to-face during filming.

"I was kicking at thin air," explains Rock, who shot his role as the evil Scorpion King on a separate soundstage. "The director, Stephen Sommers, was yelling things like, 'Remember you hate Brendan Fraser. You didn't even like his last movie.'" Adds Fraser: "Everything was done with special effects and our imaginations."

Incidentally, Fraser points out that not only did he and the 6'5" giant never interact on the set, "I had never even met The Rock until the premiere of The Mummy Returns [last month]. But I knew he'd be a very nice guy because my friends at Saturday Nig read more

TOM CRUISE DENIES GAY AFFAIR

Tom Cruise has filed a $100 million defamation suit against gay porn star Chad Slater (stage name Kyle Bradford) charging that the X-rated performer told the French mag Actustar that he and the Mission: Impossible star had an affair that led to Cruise's split with wife Nicole Kidman. "There is not a germ of truth to this vicious, self-promoting story," the suit said. "While Cruise thoroughly respects others' rights to follow their own sexual preference, he is not a homosexual and had no relationship of any kind with Kyle Bradford and does not even know him." A sloppy message on KyleBradford.com read: "Due to uncontrolable circumstances Kylebradford.com will be unavailable for awhile. We appolagize for any inconvenience this may cause." (They're also sorry for misspelling "uncontrollable" and "apologize.") In a separate matter, Cruise's attorney, Dennis Wasser, said Wednesday that the actor was prepared to provide Kidman "with one-half of read more

CELEB DENIAL NO. 2

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is denying a story in London's Sun tabloid that she underwent eyelift surgery recently. "She has gorgeous eyes, and they're the same as they were," her rep, Cece Yorke, tells Reuters. "It must be a slow week for the Sun." read more

TAYLOR STILL CRITICAL

Supermodel Niki Taylor remains in critical condition at an Atlanta hospital following a weekend car crash. Taylor sustained severe liver and abdominal injuries, which "were life-threatening and remain that way," Dr. Jeffrey Nichols told Good Morning America. According to the New York Post, Taylor spoke yesterday for the first time since the accident. read more

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