Plus, Madonna and Guy Ritchie plan to write their own vows, ''Malcolm in the Middle'' will hit the big screen, and more
CHARTS Eminem hammered children’s cartoon character Bob the Builder for the No. 1 spot on the British pop charts. The controversial rapper’s single, ”Stan” (a favorite among the teen set), topped the singles chart, while Bob’s ”Can We Fix It” (a favorite among the toddler set) claimed the second spot. It’s actually not a first for Eminem, whose song ”My Name” beat out furry puppet Flat Eric’s single ”Flat Beat” last April.
WEDDING UPDATE Not only can she write lyrics, but Madonna is reportedly going to pen her own vows to fiancé Guy Ritchie. According to a Reuters report quoting Church of Scotland victor Susan Brown, who’s performing the ceremony, the couple has decided to compose their own vows for their Dec. 22 wedding at Dornoch Cathedral. We can see it now: I, like a virgin, touched for the very first time…
REEL DEAL Fox has announced plans to develop a big screen version of its Emmy winning sitcom ”Malcolm in the Middle.” After box office success with 1998’s ”X-Files” movie, Fox is ready to turn another one of its hit shows into a feature film. The critically acclaimed sitcom follows Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), one of four brothers in a wacky middle class family. Series creator Linwood Boomer will produce the picture for New Regency and 20th Century Fox, and share writing duties with sitcom vets Jill Condon and Amy Toomin (”Friends”). Although no deals have been made, according to Variety, the intention is to have the show’s actors reprise their roles for the feature adaptation.
AWARDS Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and directors Mike Nichols and Sydney Pollack received awards Sunday at the second annual Directors Guild of America Honors gala. Kennedy was distinguished as a National Honoree for his ongoing support of the National Endowment for the Arts. Nichols (”Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, ”The Graduate”) was given the Filmmaker award, and Pollack (”Tootsie”) was honored for his commitment to artists rights. Guests included Ellen DeGeneres, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, and, always a winner at awards ceremonies, Shirley MacLaine.
HE WILL SURVIVE Castaway Gervase Peterson, whose appeared on ”The Hughleys,” ”Nash Bridges,” and MTV’s ”Say What? Karaoke,” has landed his biggest role to date: the president of the United States. Peterson will play the commander in chief on ”There Goes the Nation,” a new cyber- show on UrbanEntertainment.com. As Darwin Speeks, Peterson will portray a contestant on a ”Survivor” -like show whose celebrity takes him all the way to White House. The show will run Dec. 18 on the Internet. At least somebody gets to play the president.
CASTING Pierce Brosnan is in final negotiations to star in ”Larceny for Lovers,” a romantic comedy for Mandalay Entertainment. No, it’s not the Carmen Electra- Dennis Rodman story; it’s a ”Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” clone featuring Brosnan as a schemer who ends up falling in love with another con artist. The film is being shopped to directors for an early 2001 production schedule. Ben Stiller may replace Mike Myers as the lead in ”Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” a comic biopic based on the memoirs of ”Gong Show” host Chuck Barris. Myers passed on the role this weekend, according to Variety, and now Stiller tops the short list of replacements. The Warner Bros. picture has attracted the interest of everyone from director David Fincher (”Fight Club”) to leading men George Clooney and Sean Penn. Currently, Warner is eyeing Bryan Singer (”X-Men”) to direct. Jennifer Esposito, who costars in Dimension Films’ upcoming ”Wes Craven Presents: Dracula 2000,” has signed on to two more films. The former ”Spin City” cast member will play a cop in ”Don’t Say a Word,” the psychological thriller starring Michael Douglas and Famke Janssen. Directed by Gary Fleder, the film starts production on Friday in New York. For her second role, Esposito chose to play a flirtatious maid in a low budget film called ”Welcome to Collinwood,” starring Vincent D’Onofrio (”The Cell”), Luis Guzman (”Magnolia”), and Isaiah Washington (”Romeo Must Die”). The $12 million indie starts shooting March 21 in Cleveland. Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, who’s currently starring in Ang Lee’s critically acclaimed ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” is in talks to make her North American feature debut in New Line Cinema’s ”Rush Hour 2.” Director Brett Ratner starts shooting today in Los Angeles before moving on location to Hong Kong and Las Vegas. The originals stars, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are back at work for the sequel, which picks up precisely where the last one left off — with Chan and Tucker on a plane to Hong Kong. The sequel focuses on Tucker trying to get used to working in Hong Kong. Zhang will play a villain and will speak only Chinese in the film. An English speaking female lead has yet to be cast. Anthony Anderson (”Me, Myself & Irene”) has joined the cast of Screen Gems’ romantic comedy ”How to Make Your Man Behave in Ten Days or Less” for screenwriter/ director Mark Brown. Scheduled to begin shooting this week in Los Angeles, the movie stars Morris Chestnut (”The Best Man”), Gabrielle Union (”Bring It On”), and Tamala Jones (”Next Friday”).
TUBE NEWS Chevy Chase has enlisted ”Murphy Brown” producers Bill Diamond and Rob Bragin to develop a sitcom à la ”Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” for him. The comedy, which would mark the former ”Saturday Night Live” player’s first attempt at prime time, is set up at Artists Television Group, where Diamond and Bragin have overall deals. The trio is working on the script, which should be finished by the end of the year. The studio then will start shopping the project to networks. Hey, if Mike O’Malley can have a hit show, why can’t Chevy?
LEGAL BRIEF Rosie O’Donnell may add the title of attorney at law to her résumé. The stand up comic turned actress turned talk show host is reportedly planning to go to law school if she doesn’t renew her TV contract, which expires in 2002. According to US Weekly’s Dec. 18 issue, the gab queen wants to dedicate herself to adoption and foster care issues: I’m going to work really seriously to try to change foster care legislation in America. It’s sort of in a shambles, she said. O’Donnell has one other obstacle to becoming a lawyer besides her contract; she dropped out of Boston University one semester short of graduation.