LEGAL BRIEF After pleading no contest to leaving the scene of an accident, Halle Berry was fined $13,500 yesterday and placed on probation for three years. The Golden Globe winner was also ordered by the Los Angeles Superior Court judge to perform 200 hours of community service. According to AP reports, Berry said in court: ”Your honor, I would like the court to know that I have taken this matter very seriously from the very beginning….” Berry, 31, was driving a rented SUV on Feb. 23 when she ran a red light and hit another car at a West Hollywood intersection. The actress then drove away, leaving the other driver, Hetal Raythatha, suffering from a broken wrist and other injuries. Raythatha is still suing Berry for unspecified damages.
OPEN HOUSE The Artist is opening his famous Paisley Park Studios near Minneapolis to the public from June 7 to June 12. Fans able to shell out $70 a ticket can take a half-hour tour of the studios where the former Prince has recorded many of his albums and videos. The Artist’s publicist announced yesterday that each night ticket holders can attend parties that will include live performances by ”surprise musical guests.” Attendees will also have the chance to vote for which unreleased songs should be on future albums. Of course, the Artist will not conduct the tours himself.
RECOVERING What a girl wants is a nap and some Robitussin. Pop princess Christina Aguilera has such a severe case of the flu and an ear infection that she canceled a promotional trip to Britain and a performance in Monaco. RCA reps released a statement yesterday saying that Aguilera, 19, is currently resting in Miami after doctors advised her to stay home for at least two weeks. The British release of Aguilera’s third single, ”I Turn to You” has been postponed until the Grammy winning singer feels better. Unfortunately, the World Music Awards in Monaco must go on without ”Genie in a Bottle.”
STILL ON TOP ‘N Sync is unstoppable: The boy band’s record-breaking album, ”No Strings Attached” is No. 1 on the Billboard Charts for the seventh consecutive week, selling more than 190,000 copies. The New Orleans rap group 504 Boyz debuted a strong No. 2 with their album ”Goodfellas,” which moved 139,000 units. Rounding out the top 5 are: Sisqo (No. 3), Joe (No. 4), and Toni Braxton (No. 5).
CASTING Gwyneth Paltrow, Ralph Fiennes, and Aaron Eckhart (”Erin Brockovich”) are in negotiations to star in the period drama ”Possession.” Based on A.S. Byatt’s Booker Prize winning novel about two British academics who obsessively study the romantic relationship of two Victorian poets, ”Posession” will be written and directed by Neil LaBute (”Your Friends and Neighbors”). According to Variety, Warner Bros. made Oscar winning Paltrow a $5 million offer, but she has yet to make a formal commitment…. Johnny Depp has signed on to topline the Disney film ”The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” In this $32 million adaptation of Cervantes’ epic, Depp will play a modern day businessman who’s transported to 17th century Spain, where Don Quixote (played by French actor Jean Rochefort) thinks Depp is his sidekick, Sancho Panza. Depp’s live-in love, French actress Vanessa Paradis, will play Dulcinea…. Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, and David Hyde Pierce will star in the indie feature ”Wet Hot American Summer” for director David Wain (cocreator of ”The State”). ”Wet” is reportedly an absurdist comedy about the last day of a summer camp, Camp Firewood, in 1981…. Adrien Brody has been cast in two projects: opposite Hilary Swank in ”The Affair of the Necklace” for Warner Bros. and as the lead role in the low-budget indie, ”Dummy.” In ”Dummy,” which shoots from mid-June to early July in New York, Brody (”Liberty Heights”) plays a mildly retarded ventriloquist who uses his dummy to communicate. ”Necklace” follows a newly poor aristocratic young woman in prerevolutionary France who schemes to steal an important necklace; Brody will play Swank’s husband. Production starts in Prague this July…. Tom Sizemore is in talks to star in Disney’s ”Big Trouble” for director Barry Sonnenfeld. Scheduled to begin production this summer in Miami, ”Trouble” is based on newspaper columnist Dave Barry‘s best-selling novel. The comedy chronicles how an abandoned suitcase left at the Miami airport changes the lives of everyone who touches it. Sizemore, the first actor to be cast, will play a vagrant who first discovers the mysterious suitcase and thinks it has jewels inside.
CENTERFOLD Darva Conger WILL appear in an upcoming issue of Playboy. According to Reuters, Christie Hefner, CEO of Playboy Enterprises, announced yesterday at a stockholder’s meeting that the former game-show bride has posed for the magazine’s photographers. ”Darva is meeting with Hef right now to work out a schedule for promoting the issue,” Hefner said. Conger, 34, has yet to publicly announce her photo shoot for the men’s publication.
REEL DEAL Franco Zeffirelli (”Tea With Mussolini”) will direct a biopic of legendary opera diva Maria Callas’ last days. Zeffirelli is currently writing the screenplay with playwright Martin Sherman, whose one-woman show ”Rose,” starring Olympia Dukakis, is on Broadway. ”Callas” is budgeted at $12-15 million, and will star opera singer Teresa Stratas in the lead role.
CONGRATS Puerto Rican superstar Marc Anthony and his fiancée, Dayanara Torres, a former Miss Universe, were married Tuesday at a small midnight ceremony in Las Vegas. Twelve friends and family members attended the surprise nuptials, which Anthony had secretly been planning for several weeks. A first marriage for both, Anthony, 31, and Torres, 25, plan to live in Puerto Rico and New York.
GOOD DEED The Who’s Pete Townshend started auctioning several of his favorite instruments and music memorabilia yesterday on the Internet. The charity auction — proceeds will be donated to Oxfam — includes tour T-shirts; gold and platinum sales awards; letters from Paul McCartney and Keith Richards; a 1957 Stratocaster Eric Clapton gave Townshend; and the Spanish guitar he used to compose ”Behind Blue Eyes.” ”Please, if you can afford to, bid generously,” Townshend said in a statement. If you want to bid, check out the eight day sell-off on the auction site.
TV WATCH Della Reese (”Touched by an Angel”) and Rue McClanahan (”The Golden Girls”) are set to star in the CBS original movie ”The Moving of Sophia Myles,” the story of a minister’s widow (Reese) who refuses to move out of the church rectory after her husband’s death.