Gwyneth Paltrow reteams with William Shakespeare
plus, Lauryn Hill collects more awards, and Roberto Benigni brings America another film
CASTING Gwyneth Paltrow is reteaming with ol’ Willy Shakespeare this summer in his original habitat: On stage. She’ll join the cast of his comedy ”As You Like It” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Paltrow’s mother, Blythe Danner, has performed at the festival since the 1970s…. After the erotic ”Eyes Wide Shut,” Nicole Kidman may star in a film about a different kind of twisted marriage: She’s negotiating to star in ”Birthday Girl,” in which she would play a mail-order bride who wreaks havoc on her meek British husband when she arrives with her entire family as part of the package…. Husband-and-wife-to-be team Courteney Cox and David Arquette will pair up on screen in the indie comedy ”The Shrink Is In.” Cox will play a woman who takes over the identity of her psychiatrist and ends up falling for one of her patients (Arquette). The couple met while filming ”Scream”…. Molly Shannon, a five-year veteran of ”Saturday Night Live,” has nabbed the female lead opposite Jim Carrey in Ron Howard’s ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” She will play Betty Lou Who (mother of young Cindy Lou Who), a character invented for the movie…. Take off! Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis will be reprising their roles as Bob and Doug McKenzie, the beer-swilling residents of the Great White North, in ”Home Brew,” a sequel to the 1983 cult classic, ”Strange Brew.” The actors have been rehearsing their Canadian argot in a series of Molson commercials…. Harvey Keitel and Lauren Bacall — the ultimate matinee idol couple for the 40-and-over set — are teaming in ”Presence of Mind,” an adaptation of Henry James’ ”The Turn of the Screw.”
AWARDS In case you thought there were no more prizes for Lauryn Hill to collect, she raked in three more — including Best Album — at the Soul Train Awards. She also shared the ”Sammy Davis Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award” with R. Kelly.
RATINGS BOOST Doomsayers were quick to point out that Jon Stewart‘s ”Daily Show” ratings had dipped from the days of previous host Craig Kilborn. But this month the show has rallied, posting a record average rating of 0.74 (541,000 viewers), which is a 12 percent gain over Kilborn’s old monthly record set in August 1998. Meanwhile, Craig Kilborn settles into his new chair tomorrow night at 12:30 a.m. with CBS’s ”The Late Late Show” (Bill Murray and Heidi Klum guest).
OBITUARY Rapper Freaky Tah (real name is Raymond Rogers) of the group Lost Boyz was shot and killed early Sunday morning. The 27-year-old musician was leaving a party at a hotel in Queens, New York, when a man in a ski mask came up behind him and, without saying anything, fired a single shot into Rogers’ head and then fled the scene.
ITALIAN IMPORT Now that Roberto Benigni has made a lasting impression on America with his seat-scaling Oscar acceptance, Lion’s Gate Films is counting on audiences wanting to see more of him. The distributor is rereleasing his 1994 comedy ”The Monster” on April 16 in New York and L.A. Benigni starred in and directed this comedy about a man mistaken for a serial killer by a policewoman. The film originally grossed a mere $600,000 in the U.S.
ATTACKED Oasis brother Liam Gallagher, who is usually on the giving end of trouble, received some last week when British soccer hooligans threw a brick through the window of his car. He and his pregnant wife, Patsy Kensit, were stopped at a traffic light on Saturday, when a group of drunken sports fans began screaming abuse, and then tossed the brick through the back window of his BMW. ”Patsy’s okay, but a bit shaken up,” said Gallagher. ”I’m fine, but the car is in a state.”
ON THE MOVE…AGAIN After all the beach brawling, ”Baywatch” will be heading to Australia after negotiations to film in Hawaii fell apart on Friday at the last minute. Australia had originally been ruled out when Hawaii offered more incentives, but the head of the Teamsters decided that the union would not work for the promised lower wages, forcing the show to go overseas.