William Keck and Gregory Kirschling
August 15, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

MOVIES Get ready for the mother of all EW exclusives! Tina Turner is coming out of semiretirement to sing and dance — on the back of a tiger! Wait — in a Merchant Ivory movie! We are not making this up! Producer Ismail Merchant (Le Divorce) tells us the film is called The Goddess, he will direct it next spring in India, and James Ivory adds that Turner is going to play the goddess Kali, ”one of the main Hindu goddesses, sort of a recycler of souls, a destroyer as well as a creator who wears a necklace of men’s skulls,” and who — oh yeah — sings and dances on the back of a tiger! Turner’s ”dying” to do it, Ivory says. Clearly, it will be the best Merchant Ivory movie of all time…. Meanwhile, Le Divorcee Naomi Watts says she’s confirmed for the Ring sequel. ”I had never said I wasn’t going to do it,” she insists. ”I said I wasn’t sure, but now I’m feeling pretty good about it.”… Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts’ 12-year-old niece (and Eric’s daughter, let’s not forget), will star as an Oregonian in Daisy Winters. Rachel Weisz (About a Boy) costars.

TELEVISION Charles Manson is coming back to TV. CBS has said yes to a remake of Helter Skelter, the 1976 TV movie about the Manson Family murders. Producers are looking for someone to play Manson, a role that made Steve Railsback, well, not that famous back in ’76.

BOOKS Hot off the upcoming Human Stain adaptation, great American novelist Philip Roth is on a movie roll. Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American) has just signed up to direct the author’s American Pastoral for the big screen…. Ed Harris (Milk Money) will play the lead in Empire Falls, an HBO movie based on Richard Russo’s Pulitzer-winning novel and costarring Paul Newman, Helen Hunt, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. A great cast, a great book, and a great day in cable history.

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