Ryan Phillippe makes his first million
Plus, Omar Epps, Posh Spice, the Farrelly brothers, Goo Goo Dolls, Michelle Williams, ''Real World,'' and more
CASTING New papa Ryan Phillippe has scored the first $1 million paycheck of his career with the MGM thriller ”Anti-Trust.” Phillippe will star as a computer programmer whose Silicon Valley job becomes a nightmare when he uncovers his boss’ dirty secret…. Omar Epps, (”The Best Man,” ”The Wood”) has signed to appear in internationally acclaimed director Takeshi Kitano’s ”Brother” (in which Kitano will also costar). This marks the auteur’s first film not shot entirely in his native Japan. ”Brother,” which has a $10 million budget, is scheduled to start filming Nov. 21 in Tokyo before moving to Los Angeles in January.
SOLO SPICE Newlywed Victoria Adams (Posh Spice, if you really wanna know) has been spending some time at the Spice Girls’ studio in England, writing and recording solo work, but she has no set plans to release anything at this time. However, if her current studio sessions produce anything ”amazing,” you’ll probably see a single (or album) released. Spice fans shouldn’t bring out the Kleenex just yet, though, because all four remaining Girls will be together again in December for an eight-concert tour in England.
BATON-PASSING Longtime assistant director J.B. Rogers has replaced director Peter Berg (”Very Bad Things”) on Twentieth Century Fox’s romantic comedy ”Say It Isn’t So” for producers Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Berg was unable to direct due to scheduling problems. This will be the directorial debut for Rogers, who has worked with the Farrelly brothers before as first AD on ”There’s Something About Mary,” ”Kingpin” and ”Dumb & Dumber.” The comedy, which follows a bachelor who meets his true love but incorrectly believes she’s his sister, will be shot this January.
CHILD-FRIENDLY Someone told the Goo-Goo Dolls how to get to ”Sesame Street.” Next week, the band will tape a segment for an episode of the popular children’s program that will air next year. In the piece, the Dolls sing a duet with Elmo. Finally, an audience that can really appreciate how hard they worked to come up with that cool band name.
MORE SEX? Darren Star, ”Sex and the City”’s creator/exec producer, is returning to network television with pilots for both Fox and the WB. Star, whose best known TV creations are the sex-infused ”Beverly Hills, 90210” and ”Melrose Place,” will executive-produce an hour-long drama for Fox and a sitcom for the WB, while continuing his duties at HBO’s ”Sex.”
STEPPING OFF Director Walter Hill will remove his name from the $60 million MGM release ”Supernova,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The intergalactic action-adventure — about a rescue crew (led by Angela Bassett) that answers a spaceship’s distress call and then discovers a black hole — has had directorial troubles since the beginning, when Hill replaced original director Geoffrey Wright (”Romper Stomper”) two months before principal photography started in April 1998. The megabudgeted thriller’s entire production was reportedly rife with tension between Hill and MGM, culminating in Hill’s decision to make this the latest Alan Smithee film.
REEL DEAL The production company Good Machine has purchased ”Don’t Blink,” a dramatic spec script cowritten by ”Dawson’s Creek” star Michelle Williams (”Dick”). Williams, 19, will executive produce and star in the project, which is searching for a director. The screenplay was cowritten with actresses Amy Danles, 24, and Megahn Perry, 22, who will also star. ”Blink” follows three young women working in a Nevada brothel in an attempt to make easy money. And here we thought easy money was parlaying your successful acting career into a lucrative writing and producing deal.
TV WATCH Most of the original stars of the late great cop drama ”Homicide” will join the cast of an NBC TV movie cleverly called ”Homicide: The Movie.” Thanks to the Emmy-winning show’s executive producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, the telefilm will star Andre Braugher, Ned Beatty, Richard Belzer, and as an added treat, Daniel Baldwin and Jon Polito, who were killed off on the series…. MTV has almost selected New Orleans as ”The Real World”’s next locale. Although the cable channel has not made any official announcements, MTV has conducted several casting calls in Baton Rouge and has reportedly started looking for a host house near Bourbon Street (ahhh, we can see the next intervention already)…. English teachers get out your VCRs: Next month, Showtime will tape the final performance of the Tony-winning Broadway revival of ”Death of a Salesman,” starring Brian Dennehy. The cable network will then broadcast the Arthur Miller play on Jan. 9…. ABC has ordered a full season of episodes of Norm Macdonald’s sitcom ”Norm”. The Wednesday-night comedy is now officially off cancellation watch for the ’99-’00 season.
AILING Johnny Cash is struggling with pneumonia again, only a year after being hospitalized for it twice last fall. Cash, 67, was in serious condition yesterday at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, but a hospital spokesperson said he is not critical.
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