Lucy Liu signs on as Charlie's third Angel
Plus, Jason Alexander, Jewel, Sheryl Crow, Don Cheadle, ''Anna and the King,'' and more
ANGEL NEWS David E. Kelley has decided to share ”Ally McBeal” costar Lucy Liu. He has worked out a deal with the ”Charlie’s Angels” producers to let her star as the third crime-stopper. She’ll split her work week between the two productions…. Don Cheadle will play an angel who helps a frantic businessman (Nicolas Cage) see how idyllic his life would have been if he hadn’t been such a workaholic, in ”Family Man.”
BIG DEAL ”Seinfeld”’s Jason Alexander may return to sitcom-land by the 2000-01 season, thanks to a lucrative two-year deal he signed with Twentieth Century Fox Television. Any show he stars in would earn him $200,000 an episode, and the deal also contains a first-look arrangement for his production company’s other TV, movie, and stage projects. Alexander says he wanted to hold off on another sitcom until at least three years after ”Seinfeld” because ”I felt the audience would need that long to let the whole George thing go,” he told Variety. ”I’m not terribly interested in redoing that kind of character.” Well, if it’s half as effective in erasing his old persona as ”The George Wendt Show” was for the ex-Norm, then… er, uh… so, tell us more about those stage projects, Jason!
CANCELING Alaskans won’t be hearing ”Auld Lang Syne” out of hometown hero Jewel this year. She has canceled her planned New Year’s Eve concert in Anchorage, citing, among other things, her concerns over possible Y2K calamities. (Because nothing kills a good yodel faster than a plane crashing through the roof.) However, there might be more to the back-out than just good old-fashioned technological terror: Only 1,000 of the possible 8,000 tickets have been sold so far, and many locals say they’re not going because of the escalated $65-95 ticket prices. The promoter says this isn’t a factor, because compared to, say, Barbra Streisand’s $2,500 seats at her Dec. 31 show in Las Vegas, Jewel’s concert is quite cheap. Then again… IT’S IN ALASKA.
BANNED Thailand’s censorship board has forbidden the showing of the ”Anna and the King” movie trailer, declaring it ”insensitive,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie (which stars Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat) tells the story of Siam’s 19th-century king Mongkut and his relationship with a British tutor (the same tale retold in the musical ”The King and I,” which has long been banned in Thailand). The Thai government rejected the producer’s requests to film on location last year and has called the drama historically inaccurate. Fox International president Jim Gianopolous told the Hollywood Reporter that the studio still hopes to open the film there next month, and plans to show the board the whole movie in two weeks. ”The film is very reverential,” he says. ”And we are hoping that when they view it in its entirety they will not have any specific objections.” Does ”Get that blasphemous movie out of my country!” count as a specific objection, or would that be more general?
RECORD RELEASE Sheryl Crow will release a CD of her recent live concert in Central Park called, appropriately enough, ”Sheryl Crow and Friends in Central Park,” on Dec. 7. It initially looked like the album was going to be a longer time coming because of the nightmarishly complicated process of getting the rights to performances by Crows’ high-profile guest stars, such as Eric Clapton, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, and Chrissie Hynde, according to MTV News. But this unanimous show of support demonstrates either a newfound dedication to the purity of rock, or that the eyesight of these aging performers’ is fading to the point where they can’t read their contracts’ fine print. Either way, rock and roll forever!
SENTENCED Ol’ Dirty Bastard was sentenced to one year in rehab and three years probation on Friday when he pleaded no contest to his two outstanding L.A. charges: wearing a bulletproof vest (an illegal accoutrement for convicted felons in California) and making terrorist threats to a House of Blues guard. ODB has been in rehab since August, so the 86 days he’s spent so far will be credited to his sentence. Meanwhile, according to Wall of Sound, he still has charges pending in New York for an August drug bust and driving with a suspended license in March. He was also arrested for allegedly shooting at cops in January, but those charges were dropped when the police couldn’t produce the gun. Hopefully the NYPD computers are Y2K compliant, because we’d hate to lose all those memories of ODB’s shenanigans come New Year’s.
DIAGNOSED During ”Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz‘s operation last Tuesday to unblock an abdominal artery, doctors discovered that he has colon cancer. Schulz’s wife told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that doctors were still deciding on the best course of treatment. Schulz (who turns 77 on Friday), has already prewritten enough new ”Peanuts” cartoons to run until Feb. 14.
OBITUARY Gay activist-writer-performer Quentin Crisp died Sunday at the age of 90 of natural causes. Crisp’s 1968 novel ”The Naked Civil Servant” made him an outspoken hero of the homosexual community, and he went on to write such other books as ”Doing It With Style” and ”Resident Alien,” as well as appear in his own Off Broadway show, ”And Evening with Quentin Crisp,” a show he was set to revive in his native England today.