Plus, Kid Rock, Jet Li, Liam Neeson, Steven Spielberg, Candice Bergen, and more
CHARTS He’s loud, crude, and controversial, but Eminem can move records like no other rapper. In its fourth straight week at the top of the charts, ”The Marshall Mathers LP” secured its status as the fastest selling rap album in history. At number two was Britney Spears‘ ”Oops…I Did It Again,” followed by the B.B. King and Eric Clapton‘s ”Riding With the King,” which debuted this week at number three. Just how heavy was Mr. Mathers’ influence on record buyers? His latest release (on Aftermath/Interscope records) sold 519,000 copies — more than the number two and three albums combined. ”Shaft” may be the man in movie theaters, but the soundtrack from the number one movie in the nation hit the album charts at number 22. The funk-influenced compilation features tracks by Isaac Hayes and R. Kelly.
GREAT DEFENDER Kid Rock, whose ”The History of Rock” dropped to the fourth slot, used a June 20 appearance on Canada’s MuchMusic channel to defend fellow Detroiter Eminem. Speaking of Eminem’s recent brush with the law (the rapper is accused of pulling a gun on his wife and an amorous male friend), Kid said, ”If my girlfriend or my wife — I’m not married but God forbid I was — (if) my wife was kissing somebody, I’d shoot him, too. I’m not condoning it. I’m just saying that I understand. That’s what I would do. I’m not saying it’s for everyone.” If his career as a public apologist doesn’t work out, Kid’s got something to console him: He recently completed work on his film debut, ”The Adventures of Joe Dirt,” starring David Spade, Roseanna Arquette, and Christopher Walken. Kid plays a Trans Am driving local bully.
KICK START Jet Li will star as Kato in ”The Green Hornet,” reprising the role originated on TV by Bruce Lee. The Hong Kong born Li, who starred in ”Romeo Must Die” and ”Lethal Weapon 4,” will earn $5.2 million for his high-kicking work. Before Li can go ”Green,” he’ll have to finish his next movie, a martial arts epic directed by Luc Besson (”The Fifth Element”) and decide if he’ll be in the upcoming sequels to ”The Matrix” with Keanu Reeves.
BUSY How many movies can Steven Spielberg make in one lifetime? Earlier this week, EW Online reported the Oscar-winning director would oversee ”Jurassic Park 3.” Now Variety and the Hollywood Reporter say that he’s talking to M. Night Shyamalan (”The Sixth Sense”) about writing a fourth Indiana Jones movie. Spielberg wouldn’t be able to direct the fourth installment in the archaeology-adventure series until 2002. The London Daily Express says today that Spielberg is also looking to acquire the movie rights to ”Anne Frank: The Whole Story,” a biography by Melissa Muller.
WEDDING Candice Bergen, who lost her husband, French director Louis Malle, to cancer in 1995, got married again this weekend. The five time Emmy winning actress tied the knot with her real estate developer boyfriend, Marshall Rose, of New York City.
CASTING Natasha Richardson is set to star in ”Haven,” a CBS World War II-era miniseries about Ruth Gruber, a Jewish American government official who helped Jewish refugees find refuge in the U.S…. Martin Scorsese’s ”Gangs of New York” may have another member. Richardson’s husband, Liam Neeson, is in talks to join Leonardo di Caprio, Willem Dafoe, and Cameron Diaz in the planned story of Irish hoods in early 1900s Manhattan.
CRUISING He looks like Tom Cruise! He’s related to Tom Cruise! And now he’s signed a deal with — you guessed it — Tom Cruise! William Mapother, who played a daringly coifed hacker henchman in ”Mission: Impossible 2,” will rewrite the comedy script ”In the Bedroom” for his more famous cousin’s Paramount based production company.
TAKE THE MONEY Woody Allen has signed a $100 million deal with VCL Film+Media AG, a German licensing and distribution outfit, which will finance his next three pictures.
WEB FLICKS Seems like just yesterday that Oscar organizers were talking about dropping the ”Best Short Film” category. Now that sub-feature length movies are a hot commodity on the Web, the people who make them want to force the Academy to pay attention. Though Web-only flicks aren’t eligible for Oscars, the Internet film portal IFILM will get around that rule by screening its catalogue of shorts at a monthly theatrical film festival. The IFILM@AMC film series debuts in July in Los Angeles.