REEL DEAL Now that the original director/screenwriter team behind ”The Silence of the Lambs” — Jonathan Demme and Ted Tally — have passed on adapting its sequel, ”Hannibal,” Ridley Scott and David Mamet are in talks to take on the project.
PERFORMANCE WATCH In a teaming of the hottest women on the planet, Jennifer Lopez will perform at the closing ceremonies of the Women’s World Cup (starring U.S. soccer star-cover girl Mia Hamm) on July 10 in Pasadena…. Four new additions to the Woodstock ’99 festival on July 23-25: Insane Clown Posse, Moby, Oleander, and Buckcherry.
LAWSUITS Madonna has filed suit against her former business management firm and an accountant for breach of contract and malpractice, demanding $2 million. The singer, who fired the firm of Padell, Nadell, Fine, Weinberger & Co. in 1996, claims that they botched her taxes in 1992, causing her to have to needlessly pay $2 million in back taxes to the state of New York, according to Reuters. Bert Padell, from the firm, says that her payment was legitimate…. The original producer for female rapper Mia X is suing Master P for $10 million, claiming the No Limit mogul threatened to destroy his start-up record label in 1995 unless he nullified his contract with Mia so she could join P, according to MTV News. A lawyer for No Limit says the lawsuit is frivolous, and pointed out that a New Orleans judge has already ruled out some of Roy Joseph’s claims from his suit, calling them potentially defamatory and scandalous.
CALMING DOWN Eddie Murphy has cooled down and returned to his voice duty on ”The PJs.” Murphy, a cocreator of the animated series, had originally quit because he was angry that Fox had given the show’s second season a midseason debut next year instead of a fall start. The producers had already recorded two of next season’s episodes with a Murphy imitator, and it’s unclear whether Murphy will go back and redo them, according to Variety.
CASTING Chris Rock will host this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, to be broadcast live on Sep. 9. Rock also played emcee at the ceremony two years ago…. More casting on the ”X-Men” movie: Halle Berry will play Storm, who can create gale-force winds and all sorts of precipitation (and apparently can only be foiled by a sturdy raincoat), and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos will suit up as the shape-shifting villainess Mystique…. Freddie Prinze Jr. will star in ”Boys and Girls,” a teenage ”When Harry Met Sally…” about sex and friendship. He’ll work with his ”She’s All That” director, Robert Iscove…. It won’t exactly add to her indie cred, but Parker Posey has joined ”Scream 3”…. Kirsten Dunst has taken the lead in ”Cheer Fever,” a dark comedy about a bunch of plucky cheerleaders…. Rachel Griffiths (”Hilary and Jackie”) and Jonathan Pryce (”Brazil”) have teamed in ”Pavarotti in Dad’s Room,” a comedy about a young British girl who leaves home for the first time when her father gets sick.
GOING ONCE… New Line Cinema is cleaning house: The studio is holding an online auction of props from its recent hit movies, with new items going on the block every week. Currently the bidding is high on two ”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” mementos: As of Thursday morning, Felicity Shagwell’s convertible Corvette was going for $200,100 and the Dr. Evil suit was up to $5,100. Future items up for grabs will be Edward Furlong’s skateboard from ”American History X” and Heather Graham’s roller skates from ”Boogie Nights.”
RING MATCH Move over line-dancing: The Nashville Network has made a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling to air its bouts on Friday nights, starting Aug. 27. The ECW is known for over-the-top violence and sexy situations, even by pro-wrestling standards, but TNN stresses that it will tone down the shows for broadcast.