Plus, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Helen Hunt, John Popper, and more

By Josh Wolk
October 04, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

ALL NATURAL Britney Spears is once again making an effort to stop the gossip that she had breast implants, explaining that her enlarged cup size is simply the result of growing up. ”When I first signed with the record label, we took a lot of photos, and those were the pictures that got used,” she told TV Guide. ”I weighed 105 pounds; I weigh 130 now. I went through a major growth spurt.” We’ll let you insert your own joke here.

IN THE ARMY NOW Did the armed forces brainwash the ”Saving Private Ryan” crew during shooting? One week after news of Steven Spielberg developing a new TV show about Marines in training, Tom Hanks has announced that he will executive-produce a Fox series ”West Point,” all about cadets at the military institution.

MOVING Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have split the difference between Australia and America by purchasing a home in London. Their new nine-bedroom estate is in Dulwich, a suburb of London, and it cost $3.28 million.

CASTING Helen Hunt will star as a grating talk-show host who forces herself back into the life of the daughter she gave up for adoption in “Then She Found Me.” Actor-turned-director Tony Goldwyn (”A Walk on the Moon”) will helm the picture.

SLOWING DOWN John Popper has canceled nine solo tour dates in the Midwest, partly because of his health (his chronic obesity has been giving him heart problems), but mostly because no one was buying tickets, according to Wall of Sound. ”F— it,” Popper said in a statement to press. ”I refuse to have this tour feel like work in any way. If it isn’t fun or useful in even the most remote way, then I got no business being here now, and I got better things to do than talk to your ass.” (Perhaps he’s been using Dennis Rodman as a media consultant.) The struggling tour will pick up on Oct. 20 in L.A., but whatever happens, Popper will have Blues Traveler to go back to. The band has announced that it will go on after the death of bassist Bobby Sheehan, and the remaining threesome will soon hold auditions for a replacement.

OBITUARY Akio Morita, who cofounded the electronics giant Sony in 1946, died in Tokyo on Sunday of pneumonia at the age of 78. Under his leadership, the company invented the Walkman, as well as the Betamax, which — although an infamous failure — was the first home videocassette recorder. Morita had given up his role in the business world in 1993 after suffering a stroke.

LAWSUIT Jazz legend Herbie Hancock has filed suit against Old Navy for federal copyright infringement, claiming that a tune running in the clothing chain’s current ad for track pants sounds ”remarkably similar” to his own ”Cantaloupe Island,” according to Wall of Sound. However, Hancock wants to make it clear that last year’s ”Performance Fleece” ditty has no resemblance to anything he’s ever written.