Plus, Will Smith, David Letterman, Korn, Calista Flockhart, and more
SAYING HIS PIECE Ricky Martin has a meeting scheduled this week with President Clinton to protest the U.S. test bombing on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, according to MTV News. The U.S. Navy owns two thirds of the small island, and has been using it as a test site for years. ”Puerto Rico is united in this cause, and I’m part of it,” Martin told P.R.’s El Mundo newspaper. See how easy it is to meet with the President? Maybe if the American farmers learned how to swivel their hips and got themselves a hit single, they’d make better lobbyists.
BACKING OUT Will Smith will be neither floating like a butterfly nor stinging like a bee. Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld have dropped out of the Muhammad Ali biopic that they had been planning to do after ”Wild Wild West.” (A movie which would dampen anybody’s enthusiasm for a reteam.) Sony, which was sponsoring the film, says that it will still pursue the project with another star and director.
FRIENDS AGAIN All is forgiven between David Letterman and NBC. The talk-show host’s old favorite whipping network has ordered a pilot of the sitcom ”Stuckeyville,” produced by Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants. The comedy, about a man who returns to his small Ohio hometown after being fired from his big-city job and cuckolded by his wife, was passed on by CBS.
FREE MUSIC You can download Korn‘s new single, ”Falling Away From Me,” via MP3 on their official website for free — an offer the band says it’s making contrary to the wishes of its business managers. ”The attorneys and the corporate establishment, who are so afraid of the Internet, said ‘no way,”’ says a statement on the site. But Korn don’t listen to no suits! The band also writes that it wants everyone to email its statement with news of the free tune to 10 friends, and for every person it reaches, Korn will donate 25 cents to charities benefiting kids living on the street.
ON STAGE Calista Flockhart is bringing her role from last summer’s Off Broadway production of Neil LaBute’s ”Bash” to L.A. She’ll perform the trilogy of one-act plays for four weekends (starting Nov. 27) with her original costars, Paul Rudd and Ron Eldard, at Los Angeles’ Canon Theater.
REEL DEALS ”Shakespeare in Love”’s John Madden may have selected his next project: ”Silk,” a drama set in the 1860s about a love affair between the rich daughter of a Japanese mogul and a French silkworm merchant. Ooh, fabric-expelling insects, the ultimate aphrodisiac!… If you think that the main thing wrong with movies today is that there aren’t enough lovable monkeys, take heart. Imagine Entertainment and Universal are hiring ”The Iron Giant” director Brad Bird to develop a movie based on the Curious George children’s books…. Sidney Lumet will direct the Holocaust drama ”The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenmann,” based on the best-seller about a Polish Jew who uses her blond hair to try to pose as a gentile to escape from the Warsaw ghetto.
LAWSUIT It’s been another troublesome breakup for David Lee Roth. He’s suing his ex-manager, Edmund Anderson, claiming he was selling Roth memorabilia over the Internet without the singer’s permission, according to the Associated Press. In happier days, the two had set up a website where fans could buy Van Halen souvenirs and mementos from Roth’s solo days (40,000 remaindered copies of ”Crazy From the Heat,” anybody?), but when he severed ties with Anderson in February after 10 years together, Roth asked him to take it off line. According to David Lee, Anderson later reactivated the site and continued the sales. Roth is asking for damages of at least $100,000, and Anderson had no comment.
INTERNATIONAL HONOR Spain has already selected Pedro Almodovar‘s ”All About My Mother” as the country’s representative for the foreign film Oscar category. Almodovar won best-director honors at Cannes for the film, which opens in America on Nov. 19.
MADE FOR TV The nonfiction best-seller ”Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls” is being made into an ABC TV movie. The telefilm will be based on one of the book’s case histories, in which a group of teenage girls go out on an adventure course and learn very special lessons about body image, sex, friendship, and the correct grammatical construction of ”I Luv ‘N Sync 4-eva!”
OBITUARY The guitarist and pianist for the psychedelic rock group Tripping Daisy, Wes Berggren, was found dead on Wednesday in his Dallas home by his wife, Melissa, according to MTV News. Authorities have not yet disclosed the cause of the 28-year-old musician’s death, but said they don’t suspect foul play.
MICKEY’S GRIP TIGHTENS Finally, the people of China will get what they’ve always wanted: No, not democracy, silly… a Disney World! The Oriental Daily News has reported that the Hong Kong government has signed a deal with Disney to open a new theme park in the Chinese city that will break ground next April. The government will spend $2.6 billion on the project, and varying reports has them owning a stake of between 50 and 55 percent of the park.