CASTING Brad Pitt backed out of the action comedy ”The Criminal” last year along with his ”Fight Club” director David Fincher, but now Julia Roberts has been showing interest in the film and Pitt may come back on to join her, according to Variety. The movie deals with a low-level thief who is pressured by his girlfriend to steal an ancient cursed pistol. This pairing could be helpful to both, since Pitt is in need of a hit, which Roberts usually provides, and Roberts is in need of a love interest 20 years younger than Richard Gere.
REEL DEALS Will Smith‘s production company is developing a remake of the 1981 French thriller ”Diva,” with Whitney Houston attached. Although the title would suggest it’s Houston’s autobiography, it’s really about a messenger who gets embroiled in a political scandal after he illegally records an opera singer’s concert…. Instead of using the time freed up from ”Snoops”’ cancellation to eat and sleep, David E. Kelley has developed a new series for Fox to debut next fall. ”The Faculty” (a tentative title, and not related to the Elijah Wood horror film of two years back) centers around the staff of a New England high school. Social studies lesson plans, lunchroom duty, trying to figure out whether that kid in the back is stoned or just a dope… forget detectives and lawyers, THAT’S the stuff of high drama!
AWARDS The Screen Actors Guild awards nominations were announced, and two familiar productions led the pack: ”American Beauty” got four nods (for Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, and an ensemble award), and ”The Sopranos” got five (for James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Nancy Marchand, and the ensemble). Other nominees in the various movie and TV categories were Russell Crowe, Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Julianne Moore, and Tom Cruise…. Billy Crystal and Jamie Lee Curtis will be this year’s recipients of Harvard’s Hasty Pudding awards. Honor away, you smarty-pants, honor away!
RECOVERING ”Ally McBeal”’s Lisa Nicole Carson has been released from the hospital after two weeks, where she was treated for… well… something. Her publicist would not say what her ailment was, only that it was a ”medical condition.” A statement also said that ”[Carson] hopes the media respect her privacy and allow her to focus her energies on recovering as quickly as possible so that she can get on with her life.” It better not turn out to have been an infected bunion, because, man, will that have been a lot of mystery for nothing…. Rockabilly hall-of-famer Jerry Lee Lewis was hospitalized in Memphis for a night after he had an allergic reaction to the nerve-numbing drug lidocaine. Lewis had cut himself with a knife, and had a ”bad reaction” from the lidocaine his doctor used while giving him stitches, according to Reuters. He was expected to be released today.
ENGAGED Four years after splitting with hubby Michael Jackson, Lisa Marie Presley has announced her engagement to musician John Oszajca, according to Reuters. Oszajca, 25, has a solo album coming out this spring, and the 31-year-old Presley is also working on a record with no due date. The wedding hasn’t been scheduled yet, but guests are looking forward to a Presley ceremony where the couple’s kissing doesn’t provoke a mass shudder.
FREE AT LAST Stone Temple Pilots will play the South by Southwest festival this March in Austin, Tex., with the newly freed Scott Weiland, and a reunion tour is likely to follow. Weiland, now out of the halfway house he stayed in after his five-month jail sentence, wrote on the band’s website that ”I want to thank all of you for the endearing support of me and the rest of the band during this turbulent time. I believe that at times one has to suffer through hardships to fully appreciate the gifts of life. I appreciate these gifts.”
OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT Sorry, fashion fans: Naomi Campbell says she won’t be doing runway shows in New York or London anymore. ”I find it really stressful… doing 16 shows and then having to do fittings and dress rehearsals,” she told the Associated Press. ”I’m not saying poor me… I want to chill out a bit more, so maybe it’s about doing less.” She won’t be retiring from runways entirely; she says she’ll likely just do one show in each country.