Robert Downey Jr. may earn his next paycheck costarring with Michael Douglas; Debbie Matenopoulos will leave 'The View'; Disney chief takes a pay cut
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CASTING Robert Downey Jr. may join Michael Douglas in “Wonder Boys,” based on Michael Chabon’s novel. Downey would play a book editor sheparding his famous writer (Douglas), who is having trouble finishing his next novel. “L.A. Confidential” director Curtis Hanson is heading the project…. “Dawson’s Creek” star Michelle Williams and Eddie Cibrian (the hunky masseur in “Living Out Loud”) have joined the cast of Ignite Entertainment’s teen satire “But I Am a Cheerleader,” also starring Natasha Lyonne, RuPaul, and Cathy Moriarty.
SPEAKING OUT Joni Mitchell, Kenny Loggins, and Joe Walsh have provided music for an Ed Asner-narrated documentary protesting DreamWorks‘ proposed studio complex, Playa Vista, which is to be built on one of southern California’s last remaining wetlands. The 56-minute documentary, which premieres Tuesday at L.A.’s Museum of Tolerance, highlights ways to save the Ballona Wetlands from the $200 million studio and other homes and businesses proposed for the site.
OUSTED “The View” scapegoat Debbie Matenopoulos has dished for the last time with her cohosts. Barbara Walters, who is also one of the show’s executive producers, announced on the air Wednesday that Matenopoulos, 24, will be leaving to work on a sitcom and write a book. The show will begin auditioning new women in their 20s next week by having them sit in on actual shows.
FILM FALLOUT A car bomb that slightly injured two people in Johannesburg on New Year’s Day was likely motivated by the Denzel Washington movie, “The Siege,” which opened that day in a theater near the bombing. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack at the tourist area on Cape Town’s waterfront, there had been many complaints by the region’s large Muslim population about what they called the film’s “anti-Islamic propaganda.” Many bomb threats had been made that day to the theater, and a Muslim extremist group had also said it was the perpetrator of a bombing at a nearby Planet Hollywood last August, although it later rescinded that claim.
TIMELY PROGRAMMING Combining its teen target audience with the sexual imbroglio that dominates headlines, the WB has ordered a pilot about young interns in the capitol called “DC.” “Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf is at the helm, and although he says the show wasn’t necessarily sparked by the Monica Lewinsky mess, it will reference it. WB exec VP Jordan Levin says that, “sexual intrigue will, no doubt, be a part of the series.”
SALARY CUT Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner took a cut in pay last year thanks to poor Disney box office, low ratings for ABC, and underperforming video sales. Eisner, who was paid $750,000 with a $9.9 million bonus in 1997, made a paltry $764,423 with a $5 million bonus for 1998. But don’t reserve a spot in the Bowery for him yet: Eisner has a reported net worth of $710 million.
COUNTRY MILESTONES Tanya Tucker, 40, was engaged to songwriter Jerry Laseter. No date has yet been set…. Country crooner Lee Ann Womack gave birth to her second daughter, Anna Lise, on Saturday. Womack, 32, was also nominated for a Grammy this week for her album “A Little Past Little Rock.”
TODAY IN HISTORY In 1970, Max Yasgur was sued by his neighbors for $35,000 in property damages after he allowed the Woodstock Festival to take place on his farm.