Plus, George Lucas sets ground rules for 'The Phantom Menace,' and Keanu Reeves hits the gridiron

By Josh Wolk
Updated April 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

TOO RISQUE? Britney Spears says that too much is being made of her sexy pose on the cover of this week’s Rolling Stone magazine. ”Rolling Stone tends to push the envelope a little bit, and that’s cool, because it’s Rolling Stone,” Spears told MTV. ”I wouldn’t do this for any other magazine, but because it is Rolling Stone I think it’s fine and it’s tasteful.” The New York Post reported yesterday that Nestle, a potential sponsor of her upcoming tour, was pulling out because of the risque shots: A record label spokesperson reportedly said negotiations were still alive, while a Nestle rep said that the company had decided to move on, but didn’t specify why.

CLAMPING DOWN George Lucas continues to exert his Force over the movie industry, announcing a list of requirements that theaters must abide by if they want to show ”Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” The rules for the film include: It must play in a multiplex’s largest screening room; it must be booked for 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the city; theaters can’t play more than eight minutes of coming attractions; and no outside advertising can be shown.

CASTING Keanu Reeves will go from running up walls in ”The Matrix” to running across the goal line. He’ll star in ”The Replacements,” a true-life tale of the scab players hired to replace the Washington Redskins during the 1987 football strike. Howard Deutch (”Grumpier Old Men”) will direct…. John Cusack and Steve Zahn (”Out of Sight”) will be jumping off the wagon for the indie dramedy ”Life of the Party,” about a group of men who jet to France to perform an intervention on their alcoholic pal (Cusack). Greg Mottola (”The Daytrippers”) will write and direct…. TNT has drafted some heavy hitters to star in a string of TV movies based on classics. John Lithgow, Isabella Rossellini, and Bob Hoskins will star in ”Don Quixote,” Patrick Stewart will play Scrooge in ”A Christmas Carol,” Sally Field and ”Seinfeld”’s Michael Richards will team for Charles Dickens’ ”David Copperfield,” and Stewart, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Kelsey Grammer will provide voices for a partly animated adaptation of George Orwell’s ”Animal Farm”…. Jennifer Jason Leigh will get some motherly direction in ”Beautiful View,” a thriller written and directed by her mom, Barbara Turner, who also wrote Leigh’s 1995 drama ”Georgia.”

WEDDING Victoria Adams — Posh Spice — will wed her soccer player fiance, David Beckham, on July 4 in Ireland.

SPLIT Sorry if you thought these two crazy — and we do mean crazy — lovebirds were gonna make it, but Carmen Electra has filed for divorce from Dennis Rodman. In her filing, Electra said that the couple had been separated since March 1, some four months after their wedding.

GOING IT ALONE John Popper, Blues Traveler’s harmonica whiz, is currently recording his first solo album, which will likely be released late this year. This doesn’t signify the demise of Blues Traveler, however: Popper is just taking a break to try his own music.

ALL IN THE FAMILY Judge Judy Sheindlin may be competing with her husband, Judge George, in the TV-court game. The producers of ”The People’s Court” have been reportedly talking to George, a retired New York City judge, about replacing Ed Koch as arbiter of that struggling daytime show. Ratings for ”Judge Judy” are currently two-and-a-half times those for ”People’s.” Mrs. Sheindlin had no comment about possibly battling it out with her hubby.