Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck will costar as lovers, despite their real-life breakup
Plus, Madonna and R.E.M. team up on a soundtrack, Neve Campbell will leave 'Party of Five,' and Britney Spears announces her summer tour
CASTING A little breakup isn’t getting in the way of Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow working together. The amicable exes will costar in writer/director Don Roos’ (”The Opposite of Sex”) new film, ”Bounce.” Their characters fall in love in a complicated plot that involves an airline crash that kills Paltrow’s character’s husband…. Will Smith may team with Nicolas Cage, but they won’t be kicking ass: they’ll be getting married. They’re considering pairing for ”I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny,” a comedy about two firefighters who get married to share insurance benefits. The gags won’t be subtle, if the behind-the-scenes talent is any indication: The script was written by Barry Fanaro, cowriter of ”Kingpin,” and Tom Shadyac (”Liar Liar”) may direct…. Freddie Prinze Jr. has joined Claire Danes in ”Head Over Heels,” and for once he’s not playing a high school student. Prinze is the object of Danes’ affection — even though she suspects he’s a murderer…. Michelle Williams (”Dawson’s Creek”) is joining the cast of the ongoing Broadway play ”Killer Joe,” about a dysfunctional trailer-park family. She starts April 20 and will be joined by Lori Petty (”Tank Girl”)…. Jeremy Piven and Daniel Stern have taken the leads in Barry Sonnenfeld’s (”Men in Black”) new TV pilot, ”Partners,” a quirky detective/buddy show.
SING FOR ME, BABY The original shagadelic rock star, Madonna, will contribute a new song, ”Beautiful Stranger,” to the soundtrack for ”Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” The June 1 album (the movie hits theaters June 11) also features R.E.M. covering Tommy James’ ”Draggin’ the Line,” Mel B (Scary Spice) doing a version of ”Word Up,” and none other than Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil trying his hand at Joan Osborne’s ”One of Us.”
REEL DEAL Courtney Love is following Madonna’s lead and trying her hand at movie mogul-ing. She’s signed with Dimension Films to coproduce the teen comedy ”I Think We’re Alone Now,” according to the New York Daily News.
DEPARTING ”Party of Five” will become a quartet after next season, as Neve Campbell has announced she’s leaving the show when her contract ends. ”April 2000 and I’ll have a life and take time off whenever I want and do movies if I want,” Campbell told Jane magazine.
CONCERT NEWS Britney Spears has gotten her knee back in shape and is ready to head out on tour. The sexy pop singer has announced U.S. concert dates that will last from June 28 in Pompano Beach, Fla., through September…. Details on Woodstock ’99 are official: The Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, and Metallica will headline the 31-act festival, with Sugar Ray, Counting Crows, the Offspring, and Fatboy Slim among the other performers. The concert, to be held at an abandoned Air Force base in Rome, N.Y. (near Albany), will last from July 23-25. Tickets (which include bus transportation) will go on sale April 18, and will start at $249.99.
BACK ON STAGE Larry David (”Seinfeld” cocreator) is working on a special for HBO to air next year. The show will veer between his live stand-up act and interviews with such comedians as Seinfeld and Richard Lewis.
NEW NETWORKS Viacom head Sumner Redstone will develop a new science-fiction cable network to compete with the Universal-owned Sci-Fi Channel. The new station won’t launch for another few years because Viacom signed a noncompete clause in 1997 that lasts until 2001 when it sold its interest in the Sci-Fi Channel. Although Viacom owns the rights to three ”Star Trek” spin-offs, the Sci-Fi Channel owns the rights to the original series — a must-have for any self-respecting futuristic network — until at least 2004…. Disney is planning an all-soap opera network that could launch early next year. The channel would air classic soaps, movies, and prime-time rebroadcasts of current ABC sitcoms that aired earlier in the day. ABC is owned by Disney.
ROBBED Burglars raided the offices of a nonprofit education foundation dedicated to Biggie Smalls, making off with an undisclosed amount of cash as well as a laptop and two plaques commemorating the late rapper’s gold and platinum record sales. Smalls’ mother, Voletta Wallace, who started the Christopher Wallace Foundation (the rapper’s real name), told MTV News, ”I am trying to give, and people are stealing from me.”
OBITUARY Jazz legend Red Norvo passed away on Tuesday at age 91. Norvo, who played with such greats as Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, was hailed as the man who brought the vibraphone to jazz in the late 1920s.