Plus, Beck demands his last album back from his label, and Drew Barrymore: Rap star?

By Josh Wolk
Updated May 11, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

THE SHOW GOES ON Contrary to published reports, the WB WILL air the two-part finale of ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The New York Times had written that the network was considering yanking the shows because they dealt with high school students arming themselves for doomsday, and anything involving kids and guns is very sticky subject matter post-Columbine. But the WB is airing the season enders as planned, even though it did pull an April 27 episode of ”Buffy” that dealt with a group of students’ plan for mass murder.

LEGAL WRANGLING In the wake of his suit against Geffen Records, in which he’s asking to be released from his contract, Beck is seeking an injunction against the label to stop distributing his last album, ”Mutations.” Beck claims that he let the execs listen to the album, not intending for it to be released right away, but Geffen did just that without his permission. No one from Geffen was able to respond by our publication deadline.

CAMEO Drew Barrymore is making a cameo appearance on De La Soul’s next record, ”Art Official Intelligence.” Barrymore will likely provide the voice for one of the between-the-songs skit. Isaac Hayes and Al Green are also making guest appearances on the album.

CASTING Antonio Banderas will get holy in ”The Body,” playing a priest deputized by the Vatican to investigate an archaeological find which could be the bones of Christ. Banderas will receive $12 million for the movie, his highest payday yet…. Jeffrey Tambor ”Hey now!” Hank from ”The Larry Sanders Show”) may play the mayor of Whoville in ”How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” with Jim Carrey.

RATINGS BOOST Thanks to a cameo appearance by Monica Lewinsky, last weekend’s ”Saturday Night Live” earned its best ratings of the season. In fact, the show earned the best numbers of the night, including all prime-time programming, a rare feat. Is it too late to get her on ”NewsRadio”?

COMEBACK After a long semiretirement from the screen, Elizabeth Taylor has announced that she may be ready to come back to the set. (Her last role was in 1994’s unmemorable ”The Flintstones.”) ”Charity work and creating perfumes have been keeping me busy,” Taylor told Variety, ”but the positive reactions I’ve received from my recent public activities make me want to get back to work.” The actress hasn’t signed on for anything, but she has hired a new manager, attorney, business adviser, and publicist.

LAWSUIT Dennis Hopper was ordered to pay Rip Torn $475,000 in punitive damages for Torn’s defamation suit, the exact same sum Hopper was charged last April in compensatory damages for the same suit. Torn sued because of an anecdote Hopper told on ”The Tonight Show” in 1994, in which he claimed that Torn pulled a knife on him back in the late ’60s when the two were discussing Torn’s role in ”Easy Rider.” (A role that eventually went to Jack Nicholson.) Hopper’s lawyer said the actor was ”greatly relieved it was over, and the amount of the punitive damages is certainly manageable.”

CROSSOVER If you avoid country music because you don’t want to hear Garth Brooks, he’s coming after you on the pop charts. He is recording a 14-song concept album called ”In the Life of Chris Gaines” with a mixture of country rock and alternative sounds. The record is designed as the Greatest Hits collection of a fictional rock star, who is the main character in a movie Brooks will start shooting next summer called ”The Lamb” about a world-famous pop icon (Gaines) being stalked by a killer. The new album will be released in October.

OBITUARY Shel Silverstein, whose poetry and drawings were a staple of every child’s bookshelf, was found dead on Monday, at the age of 66. His kids’ books ”Where the Sidewalk Ends” and ”A Light in the Attic” were both best-sellers, but he also wrote adult plays and cartoons for Playboy.


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