Hugh Grant signs up for Woody Allen's latest
Plus, Pamela Anderson has her breast implants removed, and Howard Stern wins one in the debate about adult entertainment
CASTING Woody Allen is continuing the cast-a-thon for his next movie: He’s just given roles to Hugh Grant and Jon Lovitz, who will join Tracey Ullman and Michael Rapaport. While Allen is stocking up on actors, he’s also paring down his belongings: The director will be holding an auction on April 24 to sell all of the props he’s collected in a warehouse from his last 10 years of moviemaking. Allen will not be present during the auction, and the proceeds will go to charity…. Oscar-nominated Lynn Redgrave (”Gods and Monsters”) is joining Madonna and Rupert Everett in ”The Next Best Thing,” about the complications that follow when a single woman asks her gay best friend to impregnate her…. Jerry O’Connell (”Sliders”) will join Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins in ”Mission to Mars,” the sci-fi epic about renegade astronauts sent to the red planet on a rescue mission.
ANIMATED TV NEWS ”Futurama” has been improving Fox’s ratings on Tuesdays (although not as well as it spiked numbers on Sunday nights in the slot that ”Family Guy” quickly took over), and the network has rewarded the Matt Groening comedy with a 22-episode order for next year. ”Family Guy” is also likely to be renewed for next year…. The cartoonish French Stewart (”3rd Rock From the Sun”) is developing his own animated show for ABC’s Saturday-morning lineup. The concept hasn’t been completely developed yet, but Stewart certainly has experience in the two-dimensional world: He does a voice for the Disney Channel’s ”Hercules,” and his pipes will be heard in NBC’s upcoming prime-time cartoon, ”God, the Devil, and Bob.”
SHRINKING Journalists writing about Pamela Anderson will have to find a new adjective to replace ”busty”: Last week she had doctors remove her breast implants. There had been no medical problems with the implants, her spokesperson told the New York Post — she simply ”wanted her body to be back to its natural state.”
CONVINCED It’s no wonder Howard Stern is so popular: He’s darned persuasive. Singer/actress Shirley Jones and her husband, Marty Ingels, have parted ways with the conservative media watchdog group the Parents Television Council after Stern convinced them that they didn’t agree with the organization’s goals. The PTV, of which Jones was an honorary cochair, is led by Steve Allen and advocates bringing family values back to television, which means booting programming like Stern’s CBS show off the air. After the lengthy verbal battle with Stern, Jones and Ingels reconsidered the group’s targets and dropped off the advisory board.
TOURING Reclusive ex-Pink Floyd songwriter and singer Roger Waters is heading out on his first U.S. tour since 1987. The shows will begin on July 23 in Milwaukee, and he promises to feature many Floyd classics as well as his solo work.
EXHUMED With the continuing controversy and lawsuits over Tammy Wynette’s death, the country singer’s body has been exhumed and autopsied. Her widower, husband and manager George Richey, requested the procedure following a lawsuit filed by three of Wynette’s daughters, who accused Richey and Wynette’s doctor of being responsible for her death. The women maintain that the physician, Wallis March, was guilty of malpractice by giving the singer powerful narcotic drugs, and that Richey had ”improperly and inappropriately maintained her addiction,” according to a Reuters report. ”I’m profoundly saddened her children are willing to drag their mother’s closely guarded private life into the public, leaving me no choice but to respond,” said Richey. The results from the autopsy will not be available for four to six weeks.
REEL DEALS Wes Craven has sold the movie rights to his debut novel, “The Fountain Society,” and it’s in good hands: his own. The book, about a scientist who becomes the subject of a secret government cloning experiment, will be in stores this fall, and Craven hopes to start directing the film version in spring or summer of 2000, after he finishes ”Scream 3”…. Director Andrew Davis (”The Fugitive”) has bought the rights to the National Book Award-winning novel ”Holes,” and is hiring a writer to script it for him. The book, written for a teen audience, takes place in a juvenile-detention center where the inmates are forced to do nothing but dig holes for an unbalanced warden in search of a mythical treasure…. Sherman Alexie, who was all the rage at Sundance last year with the starless “Smoke Signals,” will have some marquee value for his next film. He has been enlisted to direct “Roustabout,” which will star (and be produced by) Winona Ryder; it’s the tale of a woman who grew up in the circus and tries to find a new life outside the rings.
OBITUARIES Singer/songwriter Anthony Newley died yesterday, at 67, from cancer. Newley’s fame began when he played the Artful Dodger in the 1948 film version of ”Oliver Twist”; he went on to cowrite the musical ”Stop the World! I Want to Get Off” and the lyrics to the theme from ”Goldfinger”…. Bill Wendell, whose voice could be heard introducing David Letterman on his NBC and CBS shows, died yesterday from cancer, at 75. Wendell, who retired in 1995, had also served as a TV announcer for Bob Hope, Jack Paar, and Tom Snyder, and first became nationally known as Ernie Kovacs’on-air sidekick during his 1950s sketch show.