John Travolta postpones his Mob-singer movie
Plus, George Lucas decides to let fans buy advance tickets for 'Phantom Menace,' and Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi call it quits
ON THE WAIT LIST John Travolta, who seems to announce a new project every week, has run into scheduling problems with ”Standing Room Only,” a biopic of the Mob’s once-favorite lounge singer, Jimmy Roselli. The movie, which was to be directed by Gus Van Sant this spring, has been postponed because the shooting would have run into Travolta’s next commitment, the sci-fi ”Battlefield Earth,” which starts filming in July. ”Standing Room” will reportedly get rolling in October, although Travolta still has the oft-delayed ”The Shipping News” on his to-do list.
”STAR WARS” CONCESSION George Lucas may be loosening up a bit — he’s expected to announce that he and Fox are rescinding their previous ban on advance ticket sales for ”The Phantom Menace.” Now rabid fans may be able to call and order tickets as early as a week in advance, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Perhaps Lucas had pity on the ”Star Wars” acolytes who are already lining up in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater in L.A., six weeks before opening day.
SPLITTING Endless love won’t be the outcome of the lifetime match between Brooke Shields and Andre Agassi, who have announced that they are divorcing after nearly two years. Putting an upbeat take on the split, Shields has said, ”We have the utmost love and respect for each other and will remain the best of friends.” In any case, Shields recently received a bit of happier news: NBC is renewing ”Suddenly Susan” for a fourth season. (In other sitcom news, NBC also slated ”Will & Grace” for a second season.)
BIG SALES Shania Twain‘s third album, ”Come On Over,” was just certified diamond, with 10 million copies sold. This was an especially impressive milestone considering that she’s the first female artist to ever make that multimillion milestone with two consecutive releases: Her last album, 1995’s ”The Woman in Me,” has sold 11 million copies.
AWARDED The BAFTAs — England’s version of the Oscars — were not as one-sided as the U.S. competition this year. ”Elizabeth,” which was largely snubbed at the Oscars, won five awards, including Best Actress (Cate Blanchett) and Outstanding British Film. Meanwhile, ”Shakespeare in Love” won four awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench). Like ”Elizabeth,” ”The Truman Show” performed better across the Atlantic, collecting three awards.
LAWSUIT Barry Levine, head of the New York bureau for the newsmagazine show ”Extra,” was suspended in the wake of a $2.2 million lawsuit filed by Norwegian parachutist Thor Axel Kappfjell. Kappfjell, who has illegally leaped off the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the World Trade Center since October, maintains that ”Extra” producers reneged on a deal to pay him for exclusive footage of his Trade Center jump; he also claims that they turned information of his leap over to the police so they could get his arrest on tape. (The daredevil pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless endangerment, for which he’ll perform seven days of community service.) A source at ”Extra” told Variety that suspending a producer is company policy when it comes to lawsuits.
ROBBED The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, Yusuf Islam, says he was robbed by Macedonian border guards of $33,000 that he was bringing into the country for Albanian refugees. The singer, who was there as part of a humanitarian mission, said the guards wouldn’t let him pass Saturday night until they took his money.