MUSIC NEWS Madonna and Latin star Ricky Martin, who hit it off at the Grammys, are teaming up for a song for Martin’s next album, due in late May…. Sugar Ray canceled two shows in Canada over the weekend when singer Mark McGrath lost his voice. He recovered in time for Monday’s Portland, Ore., show…. R&B quartet Dru Hill will now have to master three-part harmony: Band member James ”Woody” Green is leaving the band, reportedly to devote himself to gospel singing. The group’s tour — which begins April 4 in Richmond — will go on as scheduled.
HIS HOMETOWN Bruce Springsteen will perform two informal shows in his hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., on Thursday and Friday to warm up for his European tour, which begins April 9 in Barcelona. The surprise shows — which sold out in less than an hour and a half — are being called ”rehearsals” and will only last about an hour each. The proceeds will go to charity.
IDLE CHATTER The New York Post reported yesterday that Heather Locklear, out of a job since the cancellation of ”Melrose Place,” might be drafted by Aaron Spelling to help rejuvenate ”Beverly Hills, 90210” at a paycheck of $250,000 per episode. A Fox representative said ”at this point it’s total rumor.”
CASTING Kevin Bacon‘s motivation for joining ”The Hollow Man” is so transparent: He’ll play a scientist who discovers a way to turn himself invisible, and this power spurs his dark side. Paul Verhoeven (”Starship Troopers”) will direct…. Morgan Freeman will star in ”Chief,” a comedy based on the true story of an African tribal chief’s son who has to return to his father’s side after becoming acclimated to the modern world during an extended stay in America. This episode was originally the subject of a PBS ”Frontline” documentary…. The ubiquitous Olsen twins have signed with Disney to voice and executive-produce a new animated series called ”The Trenchcoat Twins,” based on their home-video series.
REEL DEALS Two entries in last year’s horror boom have inspired follow-ups: ”Urban Legend”‘s middling $38 million gross was enough to inspire the producers to begin developing a sequel. And Universal has a fifth ”Child’s Play” movie in the works. Jennifer Tilly may reprise her role from ”Bride of Chucky.” The writer of all four previous installments, Don Mancini, will script again, and this time he’ll also direct. Director Tom Shadyac (”Patch Adams”) has bought the script ”Karaoke Knight” to produce, with an eye for Ben Stiller to star. The antic comedy centers around a karaoke wannabe with all charisma and no voice…. Michael Cimino (”The Deer Hunter”), who permanently lost his wunderkind status after 1980’s expensive bomb ”Heaven’s Gate,” will take another stab at directorial fame with ”1500.” The movie centers around Portugal’s discovery of Brazil in the titular year.
RESURRECTION WATCH ABC’s ”Sports Night” and the WB’s ”Felicity,” two low-rated but buzz-laden series, have been officially renewed for next season. The WB also gave return engagements to ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” ”Charmed,” and ”7th Heaven.”
LAWSUIT Two former business associates of Muhammad Ali are suing Sony to stop Columbia from making a biopic (being developed for Will Smith) about the boxer’s life. They claim they have the rights to Ali’s story. Ali’s former manager, Jabir Herbert Muhammad, and Jason Marcus Hirschfield, the son of his ex-attorney, say that they had previously formed Muhammad Ali Productions with the former heavyweight champ for the sole purpose of selling his life story, and were talking to other producers before learning Ali had already sold his tale and had shut them out. They are asking for $50 million in damages. Ali’s wife, Lonnie, said the suit was a ”calculated attack on Muhammad personally.”