JAILED Robert Downey Jr. is headed back to prison. Because of his admission in June that he had been missing drug tests ordered by his probation, a Malibu judge has sentenced him to three years, minus 201 days of time served, according to the Associated Press. Downey asked the judge to consider keeping him in rehab (where he’s been since June) instead of sending him to jail, but he conceded his recurring problem by saying, ”It’s like I’ve got a shotgun in my mouth, with my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.” His lawyer, O.J.-vet Robert Shapiro, decried the verdict (that’s why they pay him the big bucks), saying, ”It is wrong, it does not serve justice. Mr. Downey was on the road to recovery.” The judge will decide which prison to send the actor to next month, and no movies will have to be canceled because of it, because Downey isn’t presently committed to any projects.
CASTING Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci are reteaming after this winter’s ”Sleepy Hollow” for ”The Man Who Cried,” a drama about a young German woman trying to flee her country during World War II. This pair is becoming today’s Tracy and Hepburn of the Goth set…. Helen Hunt is set to star in ”From Alice to Ocean,” the true story about a woman who crossed the Australian Outback solo…. Elizabeth Taylor is dipping her toe back into acting, signing on for a guest spot on the upcoming NBC animated show, ”God, the Devil, and Bob,” providing the voice for God’s ex-girlfriend. Baby steps, Liz, baby steps.
BEST OF THE BEST ”Psycho” was chosen as Alfred Hitchcock’s all-time greatest film by a panel of top directors, including Martin Scorsese, in a poll conducted by Sight and Sound magazine for the 100th anniversary of Hitchcock’s birth. Gus Van Sant shouldn’t hold out for the same results on his 100th birthday.
LAWSUIT Fox News’ threatened lawsuit against Paramount TV for ”Entertainment Tonight”’s alleged filching of footage of JFK Jr. at a family barbecue has been settled for an undisclosed amount. Fox had originally demanded $500,000 and an apology.
TAKING A BOW Geena Davis continues to choose her projects in an odder and odder fashion: She is currently competing to join the U.S. Olympic archery team. She ain’t bad with a bow, either, considering she’s now in the finals, ranking as one of the top 32 competitors. ”She just wants to keep a low profile,” said a National Archery Association spokeswoman. Perhaps she should have taken that approach at the Oscars this year.
LIVE SWEAT Magic Johnson is taking Billy Blanks’ Tae-Bo craze on the road: Johnson, a diehard follower of the fitness fad, is producing a three-month stage tour where Blanks will visit 28 cities and lead audiences in a two-hour workout. Maybe THAT was the problem with Magic’s talk show: Not enough jumping jacks.
REEL DEAL Jerry Zucker, who went from directing wacky comedies like ”Airplane” to helming dramas like ”Ghost,” is now going for laughs again. He’s in negotiations to take on ”Rat Race,” a manic ”Cannonball Run”-like yukfest about a cross-country race to win $2 million.