REMEMBERING LINDA Paul McCartney and British composer John Tavener will perform today in a London church to launch the release of the new album dedicated to Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998. The classical album, ”A Garland for Linda,” features pieces from 10 contemporary composers, including McCartney and Tavener, and will raise funds for cancer research. The charity album is modeled after ”A Garland for the Queen,” the 10-piece celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. The album is due in stores Feb. 7 .
PRESIDENTIAL CRITIC Even Roger Ebert isn’t above a Sweeps stunt: The President of the United States will guest-star on the syndicated program ”Roger Ebert & the Movies” the weekend of Feb. 5-6. Bill Clinton will talk with America’s largest movie critic about his favorite films, everything from ”Casablanca” to ”The Hurricane.”
LEGAL BRIEF ”Veronica’s Closet” star Wallace Langham, who plays the ambiguously gay character Josh, has agreed to a six-figure settlement with the gay reporter he allegedly attacked last September. Los Angeles prosecutors, however, say they will oppose the deal and hope to take the hate-crime case to trial. Despite the city attorney’s desire for trial, a rep for Langham has announced that the two parties have decided to end the case for an undisclosed sum in exchange for a dismissal of all criminal charges against Langham. If the alleged victim signs the deal, an L.A. judge will then have to approve the settlement next week.
SHOOT TROUBLE Rage Against The Machine caused trouble in front of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday when the group shot the video for their new single ”Sleep Now In the Fire,” with confrontational film director Michael Moore (”Roger & Me”). The video was shot rather calmly in Manhattan’s financial district, drawing approximately 100 spectators. But after Rage wrapped the shoot, the band, Moore, and a camera crew tried to walk into the New York Stock Exchange, located across the street from where they were taping. According to MTV News, the NYSE’s security officers denied entrance to Moore and Rage, and told them to go to the Exchange’s Visitors Center. Rage then began a shouting match with the guards but apparently decided to just leave before the security officers took any further action.
CASTING A month after Ben Affleck dumped the project, Edward Norton is in final talks to join Robert De Niro in the upcoming Mandalay Pictures drama ”The Score,” which Frank Oz (”Bowfinger”) is directing. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Norton will be paid $6.5 million up front plus 4 percent of first-dollar gross to play a young thief who blackmails a veteran con man (De Niro) into one last score. De Niro reportedly penned a $15 million deal in November.
REEL DEAL Universal Pictures is close to greenlighting the Mike Nichols-Elaine May remake of ”Kind Hearts and Coronets,” the 1949 comedy starring Alec Guinness in eight different roles. The original follows Guinness’ character as he attempts to kill eight relatives (all played by him) in order to inherit the family’s fortune. Robin Williams has expressed interest in the lead, but how ’bout considering multiple-role genius Eddie Murphy?… Disney has OK’d the $135 million megabudget for producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s WWII epic ”Pearl Harbor,” which will be directed by Michael Bay (”Armageddon”). The action drama chronicles the lives of two best friends who become fighter pilots and fall in love with the same war nurse. Front-runners for the leads include Wes Bentley (”American Beauty”), Jim Caviezel (”The Thin Red Line”), and Charlize Theron (”The Cider House Rules”). Production should start in April, with a release date scheduled around Memorial Day, 2001.
BOYCOTT NYC firefighters are mad at ”NYPD Blue”‘s producers over Tuesday night’s episode, which featured a firefighter who steals a dead victim’s Rolex watch and gold ring before the boys in blue arrive on the scene. Officials from the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York have called for all firefighters and their families to boycott the Emmy-winning show, claiming the episode ”spits in the face of every firefighter who risks his or her life for the city.” Just imagine how recovering alcoholic cops with large rear ends feel.
SURE THING Contemporary Christian singer Toby McKeehan has been nominated for 10 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, including 4 with the popular trio dc Talk. Nominees for the 31st Annual Dove Awards, which will be broadcast April 20 at the Grand Ole Opry, also include a few non-gospel acts like George Jones, Vestal Goodman, Glen Campbell, and even John Tesh, who is up for a ”best instrumental album” award. And if this isn’t enough to get you to watch, the host is none other than former gospel singer-turned-TV talk mistress Kathie Lee Gifford.