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News Roundup: Biggie family files new wrongful death suit

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Biggie Smalls’ family files new suit
The family of the late hip-hop artist Biggie Smalls (aka Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace) have filed a new wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, according to documents that surfaced on Tuesday (April 17). The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, makes state-related claims and names two ex-police officers as co-defendants. Big’s mother, two children, and widow, singer Faith Evans, are suing for unspecified general, compensatory, and punitive damages. The family has been trying to pursue a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city since 2005, claiming that a rogue LAPD detective helped orchestrate the rapper’s murder. Biggie was killed in 1997 in Los Angeles. He was the victim of a drive-by shooting while on his way home from an after-party following the 11th Annual Soul Train Awards. The murder remains unsolved. (MTV)

Washington tapped for indie drama
Isaiah Washington will star in the indie drama The Least of These as a priest who returns to the Catholic high school where he was abused as a child. It is his first new role since he used a homosexual slur on camera backstage at the Golden Globes this year and then headed to psychological counseling. Writer-director Nathan Scoggins, a former Christian singer-songwriter and nondenominational Christian worship leader, will make his feature debut on the movie. Scoggins said that his wife suggested Washington for the role and that the subject matter was one of the things that attracted the actor to the project. The movie’s month-long shoot is scheduled to start in June. (Hollywood Reporter)

Owen to star in The International
Clive Owen will star in Columbia Pictures’ thriller The International for director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). The story is about an Interpol agent (Owen) investigating a high-profile and powerful banking institution in an attempt to uncover its role in arms brokering, corruption, and murder who becomes obsessed with the case when he faces resistance by the law enforcement system he serves. John Woo is executive producing with Terence Chang and Jeff Lurie. Shooting is set to start in September. Owen next appears in Shoot ‘Em Up and the Elizabeth follow-up The Golden Age. (Hollywood Reporter)

Dave Chappelle does six-hour set at Laugh Factory
Dave Chappelle went on stage for a surprise set at the Laugh Factory on Sunday (April 15) at 10:36 p.m. and didn’t stop telling jokes until 4:43 a.m. It was the longest set in the 28-year history of the Laugh Factory, clocking in at 6 hours and 7 minutes. Chappelle broke the previous record of 3 hours and 50 minutes, which was set by Dane Cook just days earlier, on April 10. The club’s founder, Jamie Masada, said nearly all of the 150 audience members stayed for the entire set. Chappelle tackled topics ranging from George W. Bush’s lack of intelligence, to Comedy Central’s hyping Carlos Mencia, to Masada’s decision to fine comics who use the ”N-Word” on stage following Michael Richards’ epithet-laden set at the club last year. (Chappelle was fined $2,200 for using the word.) (Variety)

Fox options novel for Ridley Scott to direct
Fox 2000 has optioned Tom Rob Smith’s debut novel Child 44 for a movie to be directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator). Scott’s production company, Scott Free, would also produce the project. The book, which will publish in 2008, is about a secret-police officer in Stalinist Russia who goes on the run with his emotionally estranged wife after being framed by a colleague for treason. He launches his own rogue investigation when he stumbles upon a series of child killings, risking his capture in the process. Scott’s next directing project is Penetration, a political drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio, which starts shooting in August. Scott’s crime drama American Gangster hits theaters this November. (Variety)

Will Ferrell’s new comedy site sees strong launch
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions’ comedy video site FunnyOrDie.com, which launched quietly as a beta release Thursday (April 12), has gotten off to a good start. A two-minute video featuring Ferrell and McKay (the writer-director of Ferrell vehicles including Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby) has received more than 1.5 million page views. The clip, which is titled The Landlord, features Ferrell as an apartment tenant and his angry landlord, played by McKay’s toddler daughter. The site also features user-generated videos, with viewer ratings determining their fate — only the highly rated clips stay on while those with negative reviews are banished to the ”Crypt” section of the site. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC doing Queen Elizabeth special
ABC has acquired a special being described as the real-life, unfiltered version of The Queen. Tentatively titled Queen Elizabeth: The British Monarchy at Work, the two-hour special is being overseen by ABC’s news division and is set to air this fall. The program reportedly draws from hundreds of hours of footage and provides direct access to Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family’s day-to-day life behind the walls of Buckingham Palace. The special also chronicles the family’s massive volume of official responsibilities, which included about 1,250 official meals in the past year, and some 300,000 handshakes. RDF is currently shooting the project, with History Television International producing. (Variety)

Fox acquires fantasy novel for Shawn Levy
Twentieth Century Fox has acquired rights to upcoming fantasy novel The Seems for a movie directed and produced by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum). The Seems: The Glitch in Sleep, which will publish this fall, is the first installment in a multi-book series. The Seems is a parallel world where everything that humans take for granted is manufactured and designed. When a glitch occurs, a young boy is drafted to correct it and save the world. Levy is currently preparing to start production on Hardy Men, which stars Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise. (Variety)

Housewives good, Drive not so good in Sunday ratings
ABC’s Desperate Housewives attracted 16.1 million viewers and a 6.2 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, reclaiming Sunday night’s top show honors for both viewership and the demo. Still, that was up just slightly compared with last week’s Easter Sunday record low of 15.9 million, 6/1/15. Meanwhile, Fox’s two-hour premiere of Drive averaged 6 million viewers and a 2.6/6 in 18-49, coming in third for the demo and fourth for viewers. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lily Allen cancels most of U.S. tour
Lily Allen has canceled most of her May-June U.S. tour, citing fatigue stemming from a rigorous tour schedule over the past year. The singer made the announcement on her MySpace blog, adding that she’s concerned that the fatigue has caused her to deliver subpar performances and that she’s been ”getting really drunk” lately because she’s so worried about doing a bad show. ”I am not falling apart at the seems,” she wrote, ”I am not suffering with exhaustion, I am not pregnant, and I am not going to rehab. I will be here in America, promoting the album and also starting to write the second album, which I am beyond excited about.” Allen will still appear at this year’s Coachella and Bonnaroo music festivals, as well as dates in Los Angeles and New York, among others. (Billboard)

Firth joins cast of Mamma Mia!
Colin Firth (Bridget Jones) will join Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, and Amanda Seyfried in Universal Pictures and Playtone’s movie adaptation of the Broadway musical Mamma Mia!. The story is about a bride-to-be (Seyfried) and her formerly rebellious mom (Streep) who never disclosed the identity of her father. The bride locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding. The musical features 22 ABBA songs. Firth is set to play one of the prospective fathers. It will be the actor’s first musical, though he did sing briefly in The Importance of Being Earnest. (Hollywood Reporter)

Rogue buys romantic comedy spec script
Rogue Pictures bought rights to the romantic comedy spec script B.F.F., written by husband-wife team Chad Gomez Creasey and Dara Resnik Creasey. The story is about a nerdy guy and a popular girl who meet as freshmen and, over four years of high school, eventually fall in love. The Creaseys, currently staff writers on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, say B.F.F. is in the same vein as John Hughes’ teen comedies, with equal time given to the male and female points of view. Beau Bauman’s Tower of Babble Entertainment will produce the project. (Variety)

Fox launches racy tell-all Web show
Fox Reality Channel is producing 30 webisodes of Nightclub Confessions, a racy tell-all series in which clubgoers from bars across Southern California reveal whatever they want in front of cameras. The eight- to ten-minute clips will begin running on foxreality.com starting May 30, and the best confessions will be packaged as a one-hour special, which will run on Fox Reality Channel June 30. The Web material will be racier than what airs on TV, but still edited for mass viewership. Confessions is Fox’s first original online series. (Variety)

Disney picks up comedy pitch
Walt Disney Pictures has picked up Undateable, a comedy pitch from Jack Angelo and Sam Brown based on the true story of Brian Wolf, creator of SettleForBrian.com. Wolf’s site spelled out his pros and cons in an attempt to convince girls why they should date him. Angelo, a former production assistant, and Brown, an actor-turned-writer, wrote Off the Hook for Parent/Stuber. (Hollywood Reporter)

Regis to return to Live
Regis Philbin, 75, says he’s ready to return to his syndicated talkshow, Live With Regis and Kelly, on April 26, some six weeks after having triple bypass surgery. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Britney Spears fired manager Larry Rudolph, blaming him for recent missteps, and re-hired one-time P.R. rep Leslie Sloane-Zelnick.

Ben Widdicombe: Nicole Richie snubbed ex Brody Jenner at a party in L.A. on Friday.

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