Britney Spears is in — and then out — of rehab
The 25-year-old pop star checked into Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Centre in Antigua recently but abruptly checked out the next day and left for Florida, a source confirms to People. Spears has been under fire for her hard-partying ways since splitting with husband Kevin Federline — her longtime assistant, Felicia Culotta, wrote Tuesday on a Hollywood.com blog that she is ”throwing her hands up” over how to help her former employer and friend. Her manager, Larry Rudolph, also told USA Today last month that Spears realizes she’s having a ”rocky moment” but ”knows exactly what she needs to do.” (People.com)
Aaron Eckhart cast in The Dark Knight
The Thank You for Smoking actor is in final negotiations with Warner Bros. to take on the role of Harvey Dent/Two-Face, Gotham City’s district attorney-turned-disfigured villain, in Christopher Nolan’s Batman sequel The Dark Knight. (The character was played by Tommy Lee Jones in 1995’s Batman Forever.) He joins a cast that includes Heath Ledger (as the Joker), plus actors reprising their roles from Nolan’s 2005 Batman Begins: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldham, and Michael Caine. (Hollywood Reporter)
Al Gore plans concerts for global-warming awareness
Grammy winners the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Clarkson, John Mayer, Bloc Party, and Sheryl Crow are among the 100 artists who will play a series of international concerts, Live 8-style, on July 7 to raise awareness of global warming, the former vice president announced on Thursday. ”Live Earth” concerts are already scheduled for Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, and London, with cities in the U.S., Brazil, and Japan to be announced. NBC and its sister networks have the rights to air the event Stateside. (Variety)
Sigourney Weaver joins Avatar
The actress, who starred in James Cameron’s Aliens more than 20 years ago, will re-team with the director for his anticipated 3-D sci-fi flick. Though Weaver is the biggest star cast in the movie so far, she’ll play a supporting role — a mentor figure to the film’s hero (played by newcomer Sam Worthington). (Reuters)
Jerry Bruckheimer to make terrorism tale
The producer and Disney have acquired to rights to make Jihadists, about a real-life terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and one of its notorious leaders, Aldam Tilao. The film is based on an Atlantic Monthly article by Mark Bowden, who will also write the script (his earlier work includes the book Black Hawk Down, the movie version of which was also produced by Bruckheimer). (Variety)
Ryan Murphy strikes $15 mil deal with Fox
Big things for the Nip/Tuck creator: He’s gotten a $15 mil, three-and-a-half year pact to develop new series with 20th Century Fox (while staying on as showrunner of F/X’s plastic-surgery soap). In the meantime, Murphy — who also directed last year’s Running With Scissors, starring Annette Bening — is on board to direct two other Oscar favorites, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, in the big-screen thriller Need. (Variety)
Chris Cornell quits Audioslave
The rocker, formerly the frontman of Soundgarden, cited ”irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences” in his split with the supergroup. The band’s breakup comes as no surprise, though, following disappointing sales of its most recent album and the fact that its other three members — Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk — recently announced they will re-form Rage Against the Machine with frontman Zack de la Rocha for at least one event, April 29’s Coachella festival in California. (Reuters)
Kate Beckinsale cast in Creatures
The actress joins Oscar nominee Forest Whitaker, Guy Pearce, and Dakota Fanning in the film, an adaptation of Roy Freirich’s book about witnesses of a restaurant murder. Rowan Woods (Little Fish) will direct. (Variety)
Fox renews House and Bones
Based on its strong ratings, the hospital drama House (starring Hugh Laurie) will begin a fourth season in the fall. Though the procedural Bones (starring Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz) has weaker numbers, they’re growing enough to satisfy Fox, which green-lit it for a third season. (Variety)
Zooey Deschanel will star in Sci Fi miniseries
And speaking of Deschanels: Emily’s sister Zooey has been cast in the six-hour miniseries The Tin Man, the Sci Fi Channel’s twist on The Wizard of Oz. She’ll play a Dorothy-like character who gets sucked into the O.Z. — the Outer Zone, that is — where dark magic rules. Also cast: Alan Cumming as the Scarecrow-esque character. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Drew Barrymore spotted looking ”lovey-dovey” with director Spike Jonze.
Cindy Adams: Details of the high-def-friendly makeup jobs stars required for the pretaped interviews that will be televised before the Oscars.
Rush & Molloy: The Chicago Tribune misidentifies Serena Williams as Beyoncé, and a new blog reports on the trend of media outlets mixing up high-profile African-Americans.