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Entertainment news for May 22, 1998

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OFFICE MATES

It’s official: Daniel Stern will be the voice of Dilbert in UPN’s upcoming animated series based on Scott Adams’ office geek. So what does that mean for the poor schmo who’s been providing the cubicle king’s voice in those Office Depot ads? Don’t worry, he has a day job: The actor, Dan Castellaneta, is also the voice of Homer Simpson. In fact, he says that although his agent told him Columbia TriStar was holding auditions for the Dilbert series, which will also feature Suddenly Susan‘s Kathy Griffin and The Naked Truth‘s Chris Elliott, he was too busy to go. No word yet on whether Castellaneta — whose Depot spots began last November — will get to keep his commercial gig once Dilbert debuts, probably in January. ”We have not made a decision as to whether the voices [will] match,” says Lisa Woods, associate director of broadcast productions for Wyse Advertising, which produces the Depot ads. ”There could be some weirdness if we have conflicting voices. Ultimately, it’s Scott Adams’ decision.” Even if Castellaneta loses the job, it’s not likely to be a problem. Now that he’s earning —50,000 per Simpsons episode, he’s probably set with d’oh.

ETC.

Disney’s animated film Mulan, due June 19, may be based on a traditional Chinese legend, but there’s nothing traditional about the lead role. Or so says star Ming-Na Wen. ”I play a very subversive part,” says Wen. ”It’s about a happy Chinese cross-dressing girl who saves the guy — I mean, c’mon.” According to Wen, even some of the working relationships were a little out of the ordinary. The character of Shang, Mulan’s love interest, was ”a hunk,” she says — referring not to actor B.D. Wong but to the ‘toon himself. ”I’m sorry, I sort of like had a little turned-on experience when he took off his shirt.”… Someone get Ally McBeal‘s producers some Excedrin. Not long after working out the hair-pulling logistics of a crossover episode with The Practice, McBeal‘s producers had to work out a shooting schedule for star Calista Flockhart that enabled her to jet over to Italy for her role as Helena in the upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The agita was caused after Dream‘s production start date was moved up to fit star Kevin Kline’s schedule. Why were the TV folks being so accommodating? Maybe because Flockhart’s Midsummer costar is none other than Michelle Pfeiffer, wife of McBeal creator David E. Kelley.

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