BRITNEY NEWS Oh golly, it’s almost as synthetically sweet as a Peanut Buster Parfait. Britney Spears makes a bubbly confession this month in an interview with Elle magazine: The pop princess confirms that she and fellow ex-Mousketeer Justin Timberlake are involved. ”When you’re really comfortable with someone you love, the silence is the best. And that’s how me and J are. When we’re in a room we don’t have to say anything. It’s for real”…. In a recent concert, Marianne Faithfull — once an 18 year old pop queen herself — said she pities Britney when she reads scathing reports about her in the tabs. Though Faithfull’s quick to note that she’s never heard any of Spears’ songs.
AWARDS Normally, we don’t get too excited about arty film festivals. But last year’s winner of the Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award, ”American Beauty,” also went on to sweep that little ceremony we call the Oscars. This sets a nice precedent for director Ang Lee‘s Chinese language epic ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which took the festival’s top prize this year. The martial arts romance — which sets stunning ”Matrix” like fight scenes against the backdrop of Qing Dynasty China and features dazzling performances by Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-fat — was voted No. 1 by the thousands of film buffs who trek to Toronto each year. Second place went to Rob Snitch’s ”The Dish,” about Australia’s efforts to ensure that man’s first traipse across the moon was broadcast worldwide. ”Crouching Tiger” will appear in North American theaters in December.
SPLITS Jack Nicholson and Lara Flynn Boyle (”The Practice”) may have ended their yearlong romance. A source told ”Access Hollywood” the couple — who first made their relationship known at last year’s Emmys — parted ways in August over differences about their future. Spokespeople for the actors have not returned calls for comment.
WEB NEWS Hey, man, punk’s not dead! Not as long as Napster and Internet music downloads are around, at least. The Offspring have announced that they will offer the follow up to 1998’s ”Americana” on their website in late October, despite (or to spite) objections from their label, Sony Music Corp. The group, whose record sales skyrocketed in retail stores after their tune ”Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” became one of the most frequently downloaded songs on Napster last year, insists the move will boost sales of their new release. ”The album is going to end up on the Internet anyway, whether we like it or not,” says manager Jim Guerinot. ”We want to beat [Napster] to the punch and find out who our fans are.” God Save the RIAA.
MARKETING U2 may be a little out of touch with the ‘N Sync generation, but they’ve found a sure fire way to get worldwide attention for their upcoming release, ”All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (due out Oct. 31). Their single ”Beautiful Day” will be featured heavily during this year’s NBC coverage of the Sydney Olympics. ”The lyrics of ‘Beautiful Day’ convey the spirit of the competition, the essence of the games,” says an NBC rep. And the true essence of a clever sales ploy to boot.
CASTING Revolution Studios is prepping for an all star vehicle. Julia Roberts, John Cusack, and Billy Crystal are in talks to star in a comedy entitled ”America’s Sweethearts,” with Catherine Zeta-Jones as a possible lead, reports Variety…. Sandra Bullock is in talks with Castle Rock to star in the thriller ”Murder by Numbers,” according to the daily industry mag…. Ben Affleck and ”Almost Famous”’ Jason Lee may reunite with ABC’s, uh, FAVORITE indie director Kevin Smith. According to Variety, the untitled comedy will, once again, be set in Jersey.
POLITCAL CELEBS Stop the elections! If Bush wins, we may be losing a true national treasure — the Baldwins. Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin have said that they will relocate to another country if the Republican scion takes the nation’s helm. In a recent interview with Focus mag, Basinger said, ”I can very well imagine that Alec makes good on his threats. And then I’d probably have to go, too.” Gore, on the other hand, is, like, a total Baldwin.
DEATHS British TV personality Paula Yates was found dead in her London home this weekend. Scotland Yard says the cause is not yet known. Yates was married to Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof, with whom she has three daughters, and whom she left for INXS singer Michael Hutchence. Yates had a daughter with Hutchence and was involved with the singer when he committed suicide by hanging himself in a Sydney hotel room in November 1997. Since Hutchence’s death, Yates has reportedly attempted suicide and been treated for depression. She was 40 years old.