CASTING Hey, no one in Hollywood is very real anyway. That seems to be the thinking of ”Truman Show” writer/ director Andrew Niccol, who has made the unprecedented decision to cast a computer generated character opposite Al Pacino in his upcoming ”live action” feature, ”Simone,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Niccol decided to go digital only after auditioning several up and coming ingenues for the lead role in his film about a young woman who becomes an overnight success in Hollywood (Pacino plays a producer). Though audiences will get a sample of completely computer generated casting in the July 2001 release ”Final Fantasy: The Movie,” Niccol’s production will be the first in which a CGI is employed in lieu of an appropriate flesh and blood actress. Does this mean that when computer animation becomes less expensive than breast implants and face lifts, thousands more young beauties will be unemployed?
UN-CONVENTION It’s on! Much to the consternation of L.A.’s law enforcement officials, Rage Against the Machine will be allowed to air their beliefs about the corruption of America’s two party system via a protest gig tonight across the street from the Democratic National Convention. Though originally it was believed that the group’s performance would violate local ”noise ordinances,” it turns out that RATM is free to play sans permit in the fenced off zone, because a federal judge approved the area as a demonstration site in July. The group may also be accompanied by rock vet Wayne Kramer, whose band the MC5 performed amid the chaos of the legendary 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. ”We’re gravely concerned because of security reasons — just the large number of individuals that this will bring out,” an L.A. police spokesman told Reuters. Would they have liked it better if Britney Spears were headlining instead of RATM? ”Oops!… The Candidates Are Dorks Yet Again.”
REALITY TV We thought we were kidding when we said the ”Big Brother” house looked like a prison. But ABC seems to have taken the concept pretty seriously. The alphabet has bought exclusive rights to ”Jailbreak”, a reality game show developed by the U.K.’s Channel 5, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The program is centered on 10 ”prisoners” incarcerated in a jail built specifically for the game. The contestants will be surrounded by a maze of physical and mental challenges that they must overcome in order to escape. Like ”Brother,” we’ll be able to watch ”Jailbreak” on TV or via a 24 hour Internet feed. The difference is viewers will also be able to compete for cash prizes by offering to help the contestants. Now, in the immortal words of ”Survivor”’s Colleen, we can all pretend we’re rats in a maze battling for a little slice of cheese.
TV NEWS Sally Field is expected in the emergency room soon, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Oscar winning actress has signed on to guest star in six episodes of ”ER” starting in November. Field will play nurse turned resident Abby Lockhart’s mother. Sure, but will we like her?
REEL DEAL ”Dungeons and Dragons: The Movie” has found a little more financial backing, according to Variety. New Line has purchased distribution rights for the $36 mil adaptation of the classic fantasy game. Helmer Courtney Solomen, who started developing the idea while still in high school, is a rookie director. But its all star cast, including Jeremy Irons, Thora Birch, and ”Scary Movie”’s Marlon Wayans, no doubt encouraged the Warner Bros. owned studio to get in on the game.
MUSIC NEWS Pop singer turned actor/ all-around product endorser Sisqó is planning to reunite with the band that launched his career, according to SonicNet. The platinum blond multiplatinum star will be joined by Dru Hill‘s Jazz and Nokio on his next album, which they are hoping will be out by December…. Gwyneth Paltrow‘s first musical release hits the U.S. airwaves today. The Oscar Winner cum Brad Pitt ex fiancée recorded three songs for her next feature ”Duets,” in which she plays a singer in a national karaoke contest. (The soundtrack is due Sept. 12.) In the first single, Paltrow and co-singer Huey Lewis cover the Smokey Robinson hit ”Cruisin’.” Just call it Huey Lewis and the Matrimonial Blues.
POLITICAL CELEBS It looks like Al Gore has a chance to score points with the MTV set. While campaigning for the Democrats yesterday, Rob Reiner revealed that music video auteur/ ”Being John Malkovich” helmer Spike Jonze has assembled film footage of the candidate on the campaign trail. ”You have to see it!” Reiner gushed. But there is no word as yet on whether Democrats will actually air what’s sure to be an alternative take on politics at the convention this week.
WEB NEWS Oh, the tangled Web. America Online has dropped its Winamp MP3 search engine, because it had apparently become an instrument for copyright abuse. The company said it lacked an ”efficient process” for distinguishing between legal and illegal MP3s. ”Basically, if you did a search it would give you both [kinds of MP3s], a spokesperson told EW.com. Just last year, AOL paid $400 mil for 20 year old Winamp creator Justin Frankel‘s company Nullsoft. Several months later, Frankel went on to develop the controversial file-sharing service Gnutella, which appeared on AOL for a few hours before it was removed. AOL says it does not plan to return the Winamp MP3 search engine until the problem has been thoroughly addressed.
DEATHS Film legend Loretta Young died of ovarian cancer on Saturday. The dazzlingly beautiful actress’ career began during the silent movie era and stretched through the nascent years of television. Young won an Oscar for her performance in ”The Farmer’s Daughter” and starred in 88 films, opposite the likes of Clark Gable, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, and Cary Grant. She was 87.