CASTING The search for the star of the next big Marvel comics flick, ”Spider-Man,” has finally ended. Variety reports that ”The Cider House Rules”’ Tobey Maquire is likely to sign a $3-4 mil contract to play Peter Parker, the humble photojournalist who is transformed into a wall crawling superhero by a radioactive arachnid. Columbia execs had reportedly been reluctant to cast the angel faced actor until they saw his newly pumped up form in full Spidey regalia. Expect to see Maquire’s ”How to Look Like a Radioactive Mutant in 10 Short Weeks” diet tips on bookstore shelves soon.
NAPSTER It’s back! Um, well, actually it never went away. Shortly before its designated cutoff time on Friday night, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Napster a temporary stay, delaying an injunction that would have effectively shut down the 20 million user strong service. Napster chief Hank Barry says that the reprieve gives the song swapping service a chance to set up crucial settlement discussions, according to the Hollywood Reporter. ”It seems like record companies are only interested in killing off technology,” Barry said. ”We can’t go along with that. So, anything that has the effect of keeping the community going is going to be OK with me.” As Napster downloads soared to an all-time high in the days before the stay was granted, the company asked its users to support the service by participating in a ”buy-cott” in which fans would only purchase albums by Napster-friendly artists like Limp Bizkit and Chuck D. But even strong sales for those acts aren’t likely to move the RIAA, which sees the trading service as a locus for flagrant copyright abuse.
LEO He hasn’t lost it yet. The man last seen mumbling to himself in the box office flop ”The Beach,” has already found a follow-up to his next flick, Scorsese’s upcoming ”Gangs of New York.” Leonardo DiCaprio will star in DreamWorks’ fact-based drama ”Catch Me If You Can,” a film adapted from the memoirs of Frank Abagnale Jr., the youngest person ever to make the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. Abagnale apparently cashed some $6 million in phony checks between 1964 and 1966 while successfully impersonating an airline pilot, a doctor, an assistant attorney general, and a history professor. Hey, maybe after showing that kind of versatility DiCaprio could get in on ”Nutty Professor 3.”
UNIONS It was announced, widely reported, and — what do you know? — it happened. Jennifer Aniston, 31, and Brad Pitt, 36, tied the knot yesterday at a quiet service in Malibu, Calif. The paparazzi-free ceremony and reception were attended by such celebs as Ed Norton and his steamy date Salma Hayak. It was the first marriage for both actors and cost the couple an estimated $1 million. Poor Aniston — she’ll have to work an extra week and a half this year to make up for that.
WEB NEWS Starting Sept. 1 Confrontation Camp, the latest project from Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Professor Griff, will release a new, politically charged song each month via their website, according to SonicNet. The group (whose album, ”Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear,” will be released Aug. 8) says that distributing songs via the Internet gives the members a chance to stay on top of events that affect the nation. Not only will users have a chance to hear a new rap each month — the first is a tune called ”Son of Bush” — they will be encouraged to submit their own cover of each song. The best remix wins a prize, and possibly a recording session with the band. ”We want to put out songs that give our fans information — more than they can get in 60 seconds of news,” says Griff. Does that mean they’ll include a weather report, too?
AILING The Beastie Boys’ Mike D won’t be taking the stage anytime soon. D goes under the knife today for an operation on a shoulder that was severely dislocated in a bicycle accident last week. Afterward, he’ll undergo six weeks of rest and intense rehabilitation. Needless to say, plans to reschedule the much anticipated Rhyme and Reason tour have yet to be finalized.
DISPUTE An unknown poet from West Sussex, England, is claiming to have written most of the lyrics of David Bowie‘s 1977 hit single ”Heroes,” reports Rolling Stone. The longtime fan says the tune’s well known chorus — ”We can be heroes/ Just for one day/ I/ I will be king/ And you/ You can be queen” — was part of a three page poem she sent to the singer in 1973. She also claims to have evidence of her authorship in her diaries from that year which are currently being investigated by forensics experts. Bowie responded to the allegation, ”Absolute tosh! What a silly girl.” Though the woman says that she had originally hoped to become Bowie’s songwriting partner, she apparently forgot about her contribution until she heard ”Heroes” in a recent Microsoft commercial. ”As the lyrics to the song clearly suggest, I really believed that with our combined talents we could be king and queen [of pop music]. We are collaborators, but now I have to expose him,” she said. Oh good! Here’s another thing we can blame on Microsoft.