SEQUEL WATCH Warner Bros. is talking to the creators of ”The Matrix” about making two sequels to the sci-fi hit with Keanu Reeves and shooting them back-to-back — just like Robert Zemeckis did with the second and third ”Back to the Future” episodes…. A follow-up to ”Men in Black” has come one small step closer to fruition, with Sony Pictures hiring screenwriter Robert Gordon (”Addicted to Love”) to come up with a script. That doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing it anytime soon: Both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are booked for at least their next two movies.
CASTING Sandra Bullock will produce and is considering starring in ”The List,” a romantic comedy about a man who gives his girlfriend a list of demands that he says must be met before he proposes marriage. Ahhh, women’s lib… how far you’ve come!… Andre Braugher and Lou Diamond Phillips will team for ”A Better Way to Die,” a shoot-’em-up about the FBI’s race against the Mob to find an ex-agent who has info that could cripple the crime family.
HITCHED After almost five years of public hand-holding, Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria tied the knot last weekend at their Los Angeles home. They won’t be jetting off for a honeymoon immediately, though, since both of them have acting gigs already scheduled, with Hunt currently filming ”Cast Away” with Tom Hanks, and Azaria just being signed to a TV-movie adaptation of the best-seller ”Tuesdays with Morrie,” opposite Jack Lemmon.
REEL DEAL Steven Spielberg has warmed to a script called ”Hardball,” about an inner-city little-league team in Chicago, and is considering directing. Jim Carrey has been offered the lead role, according to Variety.
EMCEEING They’re the original odd couple! Will Smith and Mike Tyson will team to cohost this year’s Source Hip-Hop Music Awards, to be aired in August, on UPN. Sean ”Puffy” Combs, Nas, and Master P are scheduled to hip and/or hop at the ceremony.
A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE ”ER” usually airs a rerun on Thanksgiving, but NBC is mulling breaking tradition this year by airing an original episode in which Julianna Margulies’ character gives birth to twins (fathered by the now absent George Clooney’s Dr. Ross). According to Variety, Clooney probably won’t return for this episode; he’ll be in the midst of filming the movie version of ”The Perfect Storm.”
HELPING OUT Famed 1970s TV creator Norman Lear has established a scholarship to benefit comedians with physical disabilities. Recipients (the first of which will be announced at the 17th annual Media Access Disability Awards on Oct. 24) will receive cash to help them take comedy classes and fund their touring.
BREAKING RECORDS TLC‘s 1994 album ”CrazySexyCool” has officially become the top-selling hip-hop album of all time, with 11 million copies sold, toppling the previous champ, M.C. Hammer’s 1990 ”Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Them.” And all without a single pair of absurdly baggy pants.
PLAYING HARDBALL Brandy told a group of critics at a press conference that she won’t continue in ”Moesha” after her contract is up at the end of this season unless UPN starts shelling out more cash, according to the New York Daily News. ”UPN, you gotta come up with the cheese if we have to do more shows,” she reportedly said. ”Moesha” is UPN’s highest-rated sitcom.