Casting Actress Lili Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol), 28, and singer Melissa Etheridge, 35, will vie for a piece of moviegoers’ hearts in two films about Drano-voiced blues-rock legend Janis Joplin. Taylor headlines TriStar’s authorized version based on the 1992 book Love, Janis, by the late singer’s sister, Laura. Etheridge has the title role in Lakeshore Entertainment’s unauthorized and as-yet-untitled film, being penned by Etheridge’s pregnant lover, Julie Cypher. (Wonder which version will deal with Joplin’s reported lesbianism?) Etheridge will sing the diva’s songs herself, while Taylor will lip-synch to original recordings. Both movies are set to begin shooting in 1997.
Deals Proving it’s not just in business to keep Hollywood’s unemployment office hopping, the beleaguered Sony Corp. announced that John Calley, 66, currently president and chief operating officer of United Artists Pictures Inc., will replace Alan J. Levine, 49, as president and COO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ”Calley has one great advantage going in,” says Kim Masters, coauthor of Hit and Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood. ”It would be hard for things to be worse than they have been.” Sony also announced a senior management restructuring that will see Sony execs Jeff Sagansky, 44, and Masayuki (Yuki) Nozoe, 47, serving directly under Calley as copresident and executive VP, respectively.
Sentenced Micah Papp, 20, a.k.a. Manny the Hippie, David Letterman’s loopy movie reviewer, to 18 months in prison, for violating probation. In March, Papp was convicted in Ohio of selling marijuana. He subsequently moved to California without permission, a transgression Ohio officials discovered after seeing him on TV. Papp’s attorney says chances are good Papp will be freed if he agrees to enter a substance-abuse program.
Births/Expecting Woody Harrelson, 35, and Laura Louie, 30, welcomed 8-pound Zoe, Sept. 22, in Costa Rica. The couple have another daughter, Deni, 3…. Buxom ’70s starlet Adrienne Barbeau, 51, and her husband, TV writer-producer Billy Van Zandt, 38, are expecting twins in April. Barbeau, who says she took no fertility drugs, has a son, Cody, 12, from her marriage to director John Carpenter.