REEL DEALS Renaissance man Fred Durst will take time off from screaming his larynx out with Limp Bizkit to direct his first movie. The film is called ”Runt,” and it’s about an outcast high schooler who arms himself against his tormentors. We have got to stop our kids from shooting up their schools, because it just inspires our impressionable young filmmakers…. Ron Howard may direct ”A Beautiful Mind,” the true story of John Forbes Nash Jr., the Nobel-Prize winning game theorist who developed paranoid schizophrenia. Tom Cruise has reportedly expressed interested in the lead role…. Frank Darabont (”The Green Mile”) is in talks to direct a remake of ”Forbidden Planet,” which in itself was a remake of Shakespeare’s ”The Tempest,” which in itself is a remake of the caveman classic, ”Get Grog Off This Crazy Island!”
RECORD STRAIGHT No matter where you are in the world, know this: A ”Friends” cast member is watching you. The hosts of BBC radio’s ”London Live” were alleging that the six Friends were negotiating for salaries of $1 million per episode when suddenly David Schwimmer — in London filming a movie — called up to deny the report. ”When I hear figures like that I get a little upset,” Schwimmer told the hosts, who didn’t believe it was really him for the first few minutes. ”It reflects poorly on the cast. People get this idea that we are this group of spoiled actors demanding ridiculous amounts of money. It’s all rumor.” (Although he didn’t elaborate on the raises they were really looking for.) Meanwhile, Matt LeBlanc is monitoring Senegalese radio via short wave to make sure no one there is talking trash about ”Lost in Space.”
ON-SET RAGE Things aren’t all angelic on the ”Charlie’s Angels” set: Variety reports that there was a major dustup between costars Lucy Liu and Bill Murray. Liu reportedly was unhappy with how a scene was written, Murray disagreed, and a heated argument broke out that had everyone else slowly backing away. (There were rumors that Liu threw a punch, but sources say the fight was all vocal.) Shooting was shut down for the day, but after a discussion between the director, McG, and the three Angels (Liu, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore), filming resumed the next day.
‘POTTER’ UPDATE You may want to slip some sedatives into your kids’ milk, because they’re not going to like this news: Warner Bros. may have to delay the release of its planned ”Harry Potter” movie. Although the official word from Warners is that things are still on track, inside sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that the delay in finding a director (thanks in part to Steven Spielberg‘s waffling, so blame him, kiddies!) may make a winter 2001 release more likely.
ROCKERS ONLINE Ever try to get backstage at a Metallica concert, but you just weren’t good-looking enough? Well, now you can get behind-the-scenes access no matter what you look like, with a weekly 10-part documentary series called ”Metallivision” that features interviews of the band and their crew, backstage footage, and rehearsal scenes. The first episode goes up today on Artistdirect.com, and new ones go live every Thursday.
EVERYONE’S INNOCENT Fox was looking for someone to blame for the ”Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire” debacle, but has realized that sometimes bad things just happen to bad programming. After a legal probe, the network has found that the producers at Next Entertainment were faultless, since they hired a private investigator who checked Rick Rockwell’s record, but they never would have found out about his 1991 restraining order since the Fair Credit Reporting Act forbids the disclosure of events that happened more than seven years ago that didn’t end in a criminal conviction, according to the Associated Press. ”Case closed,” said Fox spokesman Jeff DeRome, who said no one would be fired or punished for the show. ”It is clear to us now how it happened and why it happened. I guess everyone involved has learned something.” If that’s true, it will be a TV first.
COURT REPORT A California appellate judge has dismissed Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1996 lawsuit against Warner Bros. and Carl Sagan, in which he claimed a share of the profits from Sagan’s 1985 book and 1995 movie ”Contact.” Coppola maintained that in 1975 he and Sagan had discussed collaborating on a TV show called ”First Contact,” which dealt with Earth’s contact with aliens. Nothing came of the discussions, but 10 years later Sagan came out with his similarly themed book, according to Variety. The judge based his dismissal on the fact that Coppola had waited too long to file his suit. The judge further stated that the director likely only filed to gain leverage in a separate suit against WB (in which he claimed the studio interfered with his ability to move ”Pinocchio” to another studio). Said Coppola’s lawyer, ”We disagree on the statute of limitations ruling and we will appeal.” And if there’s anything we learned from the filming of ”Apocalypse Now,” time has little meaning for Coppola…. Heather Mills, Paul McCartney’s new girlfriend, has just settled her lawsuit over a British motorcycle cop who ran her down in 1993, causing her to lose her leg, for 200,000 pounds (that’s $316,700), according to Reuters. According to British police, the settlement was made with no admission of guilt, as the officer in question had already been cleared of reckless driving charges.
ANOTHER TRY The man whose name was synonymous with ”failed sitcom” last fall — Mike O’Malley, whose self-titled comedy was the first to be yanked last season — may give TV comedy another go: He’s been cast in the CBS pilot ”Yes, Dear” as the reckless influence on his henpecked brother-in-law, played by ”Boston Common”’s Anthony Clark. Considering that O’Malley’s first show lasted only two episodes, if this one makes it to 13 it’ll seem like a ”Cheers” run to him.