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Madonna pairs with Noel Coward for her next role

Plus, ‘N Sync, ”The X-Men,” Beck, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, and more

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CASTING Madonna is continuing her acting frenzy: She’ll star in ”Quadrille,” an adaptation of the Noel Coward play about a British woman and an American magnate who, when chasing after their two spouses who are having an affair, fall in love themselves. This is the perfect draw for those who want ”Random Hearts” without that downer of a plane crash…. There’s finally a new movie in the works that may rival ”Scarface” for most cocaine per frame. ”Blow” will dramatize the true story of how coke first became a hip drug in the 1970s, and Johnny Depp will star as legendary dealer George Jung, one of the biggest drug traffickers of the time. James Gandolfini (”The Sopranos”) and Penelope Cruz (”All the Pretty Horses”) will costar…. Meg Ryan will pocket $15 million to headline ”Proof of Life,” a drama about a woman who falls for the hostage negotiator trying to free her husband. Awww, isn’t that the very definition of a ”meet cute”…. Jennifer Tilly and Daryl Hannah will team for the strip-club-set ”Dancing at the Blue Iguana,” to be directed by Michael Radford (”Il Postino”).

THE JIG IS UP ‘N Sync were mobbed when they arrived to shoot what was supposed to be a top-secret cameo on ”Touched by an Angel” in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, some radio DJs announced their location, and teens stormed the set, although it is possible that they were there to mob Della Reese and the popsters just got in the way.

DECLAWED? Just when ”The X-Men” was finally ready to roll, there may be last-minute casting trouble. Variety reports that Dougray Scott (”Ever After”), who was set to play Wolverine, may have to back out because his shoot for ”Mission: Impossible 2” is running long. Fox is trying to make it happen, but if nothing can be worked out this week, a new actor will have to be found.

ROCK CONTEST You can star in Beck‘s new video, and you don’t even need a SAG card, let alone two turntables and a microphone. He is holding a contest on his official website where one winner will get to appear in the video for the second single off his new album, ”Midnite Vultures,” which will be in stores Nov. 16. The contest ends on Oct. 14.

OFF THE AIR One teen show down, 436 to go: ”Manchester Prep”, the Fox TV drama based on ”Cruel Intentions,” has been canceled even before its premiere, after network execs all the way up to Rupert Murdoch himself were made uneasy by the dirty-talking high schoolers, according to Variety. Don’t feel bad: The show had been scheduled to air opposite ”Friends,” so you wouldn’t have seen it anyway.

BACK FROM THE DEAD ”Um… things that are old… things that are an easy buck… things that are rehashed!” That’s right, the game show resurrection will continue with VH1’s ”Rock & Roll Pyramid,” based on Dick Clark’s classic ”$10,000 Pyramid.” There have also been rumblings that other networks want to nab the concept for a ”$1 Million Pyramid,” in an ingenious monetarily creative leap from ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

HONORED Proud Tina Turner was given a lifetime-achievement honor at Britain’s Music of Black Origin Awards. The prize originated four years ago because the organizers felt black performers deserved their own show since they accounted for 40 percent of all singles sales and 21 percent of album sales in England.

GREED RUMORS DEBUNKED Those rumors that you too can be buried next to Jimi Hendrix were untrue: You’ll have to spend eternity next to non-guitar heroes like the rest of us and like it. When Hendrix’s family recently announced that they had bought a 60-plot site to which they would move the late musician’s grave, an unofficial fan site posted a notice that the other 59 plots would be on sale to fans. In a statement setting the record straight, Hendrix’s father Al said, ”Fans have always asked me why Jimi’s grave is muddy and hard to find, and after winning back Jimi’s legacy, I discussed it with the rest of the family, and we felt that Jimi should have a new memorial with benches and more room for the fans to visit. This decision was made from love, not for profit or gain, and I’m deeply hurt by the suggestion that I would have thoughts like that.” The erroneous webmaster has apologized, and has shut down her site.

ANGER-MANAGEMENT TIME ”As the World Turns” star Nathaniel Marston, 24, was arrested in Manhattan yesterday for allegedly beating the hell out of an ATM machine. He was charged with criminal mischief, and an official said that after punching the machine, he ”ripped [its] facade.” Perhaps the up-and-coming actor was angered by the intrusive ATM security camera: Damned paparazzi!

OBITUARIES Jazz legend Art Farmer died on Monday from a heart attack at the age of 71. Farmer played trumpet and flugelhorn with such artists as Lionel Hampton and Horace Silver, and in the 1990s he merged his two instruments into his own invention, the flumpet…. All capes will be flying at half mast: Wrestling giant Robert ”Gorilla Monsoon” Marella died of a heart ailment at 62. Marella started in the ring in 1960, and was a commentator for the WWF in the ’80s, sometimes teamed with Jesse ”The Body” Ventura.

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