Today's News: Our Take


OOPS!... SHE'S OBSESSED

Madonna is coming clean about her fascination with teen pop queen Britney Spears: No joke, she really likes her. "[She] just bowls me over," the newlywed tells Elle. "I love Britney. I want to do nothing but support her and praise her... I mean, she's 18 years old. It's just shocking. I wish I'd had my s--- together when I was 18." Madonna — who just picked up three Grammy nominations for her hit single "Music" — goes on to explain why she wore a Britney t-shirt at her Manhattan concert last year. "I became obsessed with wearing Britney T-shirts," she says. "I slept in them, as well. It was like I felt it would bring me luck — and it did. [She] became my talisman." read more

SISQ&#211'S DANCE CARD FULL

Moments after receiving his first Grammy nominations Wednesday, thong-wearing R&B singer Sisq&#243 revealed on E! that he just was cast opposite Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. in a new Disney film. "I don't know the name of it," he then added, "but it's Cuba Gooding, so I'm feeling kind of good about it." Well, we've got the scoop for ya kid. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the name of the film is Winterdance — an action-adventure based on Gary Paulsen's 1994 book Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod. Also on the chart-toppers plate: His own NBC sitcom. "I get my first script today," he told E! of the series, which is slated to debut this fall. read more

SHORT CUTS

The syndicated reality show HouseCalls — about a problem-solving shrink — has been cancelled, Variety reports. The last episode will air Jan. 19... Roswell's Colin Hanks will star in the Paramount comedy Orange County, about a high school senior dreaming of going to Stanford University, The Hollywood Reporter says. — Michael Ausiello read more

Paymer Won't Hiss and Tell


To play the role of a morally and ethically challenged Hollywood producer in David Mamet's showbiz satire State and Main, character actor David Paymer had a specific exec in mind. But when asked the identity of said industry big shot, Paymer regrettably takes the high road.

"If I answer this totally honestly, then I no longer work for a certain person," hedges the Oscar- nominated star of Mr. Saturday Night. "But the truth is, it's more of an amalgam of people I have run into — and not just producers."

Still, Paymer concedes that he has yet to encounter anyone as flat-out demonic as his State and Main alter ego Marty Rossen — whose crimes include helping cover up an affair between his film's star (Alec Baldwin) and an underage local (Julia Stiles) and berating his leading lady (Sarah Jessica Parker) for not baring her breasts on camera. "I never really have worked for someone as brutal as Marty is to read more

ALMOST A WINNER

The Online Film Critics Society named Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous the best film of 2000. Tom Hanks nabbed best actor honors for Cast Away, and Ellen Burstyn won best actress for Requiem for a Dream. — Michael Ausiello read more

CLAIRE DANES IN LOVE

Claire Danes has been tapped to star in the romantic pic It's All About Love, to be helmed by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg — the filmmaker behind the acclaimed Cannes darling Festen (The Celebration) — Variety reports. Danes was attached to star in the Jodie Foster-directed Flora Plum, but that film is on hold due to Russell Crowe's shoulder injury. read more

Will Coens Return to Fargo?


In the 1996 crime caper Fargo, the writing/directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen took filmgoers on a shocking trip to North Dakota. That excursion — peppered with vivid dialects, colorful characters and bloody doings-in — netted seven Academy Award nominations, including wins for original screenplay and lead actress Frances McDormand (Joel's better half), thus making it the Coens's most acclaimed work to date.

As such, it would seem that, by now, the Hollywood machine would have solicited a follow-up to the profitable original. Yet, admirably, its creators insist they have no plans to revisit any already trodden roads. "You know, we've never been tempted — or interested — in going back to doing a sequel to anything that we've done," Joel tells TV Guide Online, before adding with a sheepish laugh, "It's kind of hard, because usually all the characters are dead!"

Instead, the brothers forge ahead with new stories — or, in a read more

MULDER RETURNS

When David Duchovny returns to The X-Files on Feb. 25, he will have company. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actress Annabeth Gish (Double Jeopardy) is joining the Fox drama for at least three episodes with an option to return as a series regular next fall. Gish will play an FBI agent with ties to John Doggett (Robert Patrick). "She is quite unlike any of the other agents," executive producer Chris Carter says. "She has been neither a firm believer nor a major skeptic, either." Doggett summons Gish's yet-to-be-named character to help on a case connected to the disappearance of Mulder (Duchovny). read more

SHE'S HAVING A BABY

Former Ellen actress Joely Fisher — recently seen as John Goodman's sis on the failed Fox sitcom Normal, Ohio — is expecting her first child with cinematographer-hubby Christopher Duddy in June, Liz Smith reports. read more

Kinnear Helps Creek Cutie Bare All


Dawson's Creek babe Katie Holmes, who goes topless opposite Greg Kinnear in the new psychological thriller The Gift (opening wide Jan. 20), counted on the former Talk Soup funnyman to help ease her through her first-ever nude scene.

"I hadn't been involved in anything like that — and she hadn't either — so I think we diffused it with some good humor on the set," Kinnear tells TV Guide Online. "I think something like that is always percolating at total discomfort. And yet, if you can have at least some sense of the silliness of it, [you] can diffuse it a little bit.

"It was a closed set and it was handled with great dignity, I think, by the crew and by [director Sam Raimi]," adds Kinnear, whose character is engaged in a heated argument with Holmes during the pivotal sequence. "I think we set out to make the scene as impactful as we could, but not make Katie uncomfortable. She read more

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