Plus, ''Real World,'' Madonna, Sisqo, DMX, Backstreet Boys, and more
ACCIDENT An ”X-Files” crew member was killed and six others were injured while working in L.A. yesterday. The workers were building scaffolding for a shot when a pipe made contact with an electric wire, sending 4,800 volts of electricity through the metal structure. The seven injured were rushed to the hospital, where 38 year old Jim Engh died. Five others were treated, and one remains in critical condition. Twentieth Century Fox Television and the Fox network released a statement saying that they are conducting an ”intensive investigation into the accident.” ”X-Files” exec producer Chris Carter added his condolences: ”All of us are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Jim Engh. Our hearts go out to his friends and family. He will be deeply missed by all who have known him and worked with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the other crew members who were injured. We wish them a speedy recovery.”
OUSTED Things are apparently far too real these days for the ”Real World”‘s resident Mormon. Cast member Julie Stoffer was suspended from Brigham Young University for violating the school’s honor code by taking up residence with — gasp! — a member of the opposite sex while filming the show. Stoffer says that she is happy to leave BYU and that she is actively searching for a new university.
WEB MUSIC The shadier parts of the Web mill may no longer be required to spin rumors about Madonna‘s upcoming release. Starting tomorrow, legit remixes of the album’s first single will be available for FREE via MTV’s Internet sites — VH1.com, SonicNet.com, and, of course, MTV.com. Users can download Hex Hector‘s, Groove Armada‘s, and Tracy Young‘s takes on the tune.
SIGNED Fledgling actor cum full blown pop star Sisqo is making a move into nonmusic TV. Variety reports that the ”Thong Song” man has inked a deal with Viacom’s Big Ticket Television to develop a network sitcom. ”We feel that Sisqo is poised to become a megastar,” said Big Ticket prez Larry Lyttle. ”He has this incredibly explosive personality and this incredible charm.” Now there’s a success story: All he had to do was work hard, maintain a positive mental attitude, and pay a bunch of women to dance around him in their underwear.
CASTING Sisqo’s not alone. DMX has signed for the lead in the fourth installment of the ”The Crow,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. The rapper will play Lazurus, a musician who abandons his craft for a woman, and is later murdered in a drive-by shooting. As his name might imply, Lazurus returns from the grave to seek vengeance on his killers.
LEGALESE The infamous ”Dieter” dispute may be nearing an end. Variety reports that Mike Myers, Universal Pictures, and Imagine Entertainment are close to a settlement over the breach of contract case sparked by Myers’ decision to stop work on his latest ”Saturday Night Live” spin-off. Steven Spielberg reportedly functioned as a mediator for early discussions — and if a settlement is reached, it could involve DreamWorks.
MUSIC NEWS It’s kind of like Coke versus Pepsi. Just as Britney Spears and ‘N Sync have been hard at work promoting McDonald’s, the Backstreet Boys have taken up with rival chain Burger King. The group has been filming a series of commercials in Toronto and prepping a promotion that includes a 45 minute video called ”For the Fans.” Wonder what would happen if they also included a blind taste test?
REHAB NRA prez Charlton Heston, 76, spent about three weeks in rehab for a drinking problem in late May, his publicist Lisa DeMatteo said yesterday. Heston’s hectic social schedule had exacerbated his drinking, she explained. ”There’s the Hollywood stuff and campaigning for the Republican Party and speaking at various universities, and he would go to these receptions and have a lot of rubber chicken and maybe one too many glasses of wine. It happens.” But the veteran actor quickly ”nipped the problem in the bud,” she added. All right! Give that man a gun.
TOURS With the arrival of the first No. 1 single ”Bent,” Matchbox Twenty announced plans for their North American tour, reports Rolling Stone. The Jayhawks will open the first half of the schedule, while Shelby Lynne is slated to open the second half. The shows kick off on Sept. 9 in New Orleans.
REEL DEALS It seems one teen spoof isn’t enough for the writers of ”Scary Movie.” Variety reports that ”Scary” scribes Phil Beauman and Buddy Johnson have sold a new spec to Columbia Pictures entitled ”10 Things I Hate About Clueless Road Trips When I Can’t Hardly Wait to Be Kissed.” Shooting is supposed to begin in November but no director is attached as yet. No doubt Carmen Electra will be vying for the coveted roll of Exceptionally Clueless Woman With Large Breasts.
CONVENTIONS While Hollywood types tend to favor Democratic Party soirees, the Republican convention is graced this week with its fair share of famous mugs. Folks like Bruce Willis, The Rock, and Rick Schroder are part of the ”unique celebrity lineup that will bridge generations and keep people on the edge of their seats,” according to convention cochairman Andy Card.