INJURED Kurt Vonnegut was hospitalized for smoke inhalation last night after a fire broke out in his Manhattan brownstone. According to the New York Daily News, the fire was started by a cigarette the author had been smoking while watching the Super Bowl in a study on the top floor of his four-story home. He tried to put out the flames with a blanket, and firefighters who found him had to take him out on a gurney with an oxygen mask. The fire was contained, and though his wife and daughter were in the house at the time, the 77-year-old Vonnegut was the only one hurt. His daughter says that he is fine but will remain in the hospital for a few days.
CASTING The young and old Vito Corleones may finally meet: Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro may team in ”The Score,” a crime drama about a young crook (Edward Norton) who convinces an old-time thief (De Niro) to join him for a last job. Brando would play De Niro’s fence. (And if Tom Sawyer wanted to paint that fence, he’d need more than a few friends. Ba-dum-bum)…. Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially committed to ”Collateral Damage,” about a man avenging the terrorist murder of his family. Arnold’s family was also killed in ”End of Days”: Who’s advising him that the best way to soften his image is to keep slaughtering his loved ones?… Mykelti Williamson (”Forrest Gump”) will take over Tommy Lee Jones’ role as the ever-chasing Lieut. Phil Gerard in the new TV-series version of ”The Fugitive.” He’ll join ”Wings”’ Tim Daly, who was already cast in the Harrison Ford role of Dr. Richard Kimble. Oh, sure those parts are easy: But who will fill the vast shoes of Andreas Katsulas as the one-armed man?
DID YOU SAY ”LIFETIME”? The Spice Girls will receive a lifetime achievement award from the British record industry, making one wonder if the industry is run by mayflies. Thanks to two hit albums, the aged Spices will be honored on March 3 at the Brits, a ceremony where high-selling bands of the year are rewarded. ”We are overjoyed to have been asked to accept this award,” said the Girls in a statement. ”We are still young and have, we hope, many more years to enjoy being part of the great British music scene.” They paid homage to the departed Geri Halliwell (who left when the group was middle-aged, by this award’s timeline), but it was unclear whether she would join them for the ceremony.
AWARDED The Sundance jury announced the winners of this year’s festival Saturday night: There was a tie for best dramatic picture between ”Girlfight,” the story of a teenage girl aspiring to be a boxer (director Karyn Kusama also won best director), and ”You Can Count on Me,” which follows a woman and her ne’er-do-well brother in their small town. Best documentary went to ”Long Night’s Journey Into Day,” all about postapartheid South Africa. The rest of the awards can be found on the official Sundance website.
OFF THE ROAD After being stopped for driving a moped under the influence of alcohol on Australia’s Gold Coast on Jan. 23, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl was fined $400 and had his Aussie driving privileges revoked, according to MTV News. Grohl had been motoring around the area while his band was in town for the Annual Big Day Out music festival, which also featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink 182, and Nine Inch Nails. At least the former members of Nirvana are getting progressively less extreme in their vices from Kurt Cobain’s day: After Grohl’s scooter-riding while buzzed, can we expect to see Krist Novoselic getting busted for doing whippets behind a supermarket?
ON THE FIELD Garth Brooks is trading in his Chris Gaines wig for a Mets hat: He’ll join the New York baseball team for spring training this year starting on Feb. 22, and he may get to play in some of the preseason games. (He trained with the Padres last year.) Hopefully in these games he’ll get a hit, unlike in his Gaines stint.
ROCKING ONLINE The Who and Jimmy Page are both planning to release live albums on the Web, according to Billboard Online. The songs will be available individually and as part of a full compilation through Musicmaker.com within the next couple of months; the Who’s tunes will be from last winter’s reunion concerts, while Page’s music will come from his recent tour with The Black Crowes. If you think that the idea of melding classic rock and computer technology is heresy, the albums will likely be sold on CD later. But if you’re waiting for vinyl, your Luddite ass is probably out of luck.
LOW RATINGS It turns out that when the President isn’t fooling around or bring indicted, no one gives a damn. In the midst of a controversy-free period, President Clinton‘s State of the Union Address Thursday night set a record low for the speech, with 12 million fewer viewers than last year. However, the 31.48 million viewers watching on seven channels still made it the night’s ratings champ.
FILM FOR SALE Universal is trying to ditch the already completed Kelsey Grammer comedy ”New Jersey Turnpikes.” The studio is trying to auction off the mockumentary, which centers around a fictional struggling team in the last days of the American Basketball Association in 1975. It also stars Robert Conrad, Lee Majors, and Jim Brown, which pretty much answers any lingering questions over why it’s being ditched.