POTTER WATCH The ”Harry Potter” rumor mill can come to rest at last. At 11 a.m. this morning Warner announced that three Brits have been cast in the roles of Harry Potter and his Hogwarts pals Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Eleven year old Daniel Radcliffe will take the lead, with newcomers Emma Watson, 10, and Rupert Grint, 11, playing his wizard sidekicks. While Radcliffe is unknown to Americans, his acting résumé — which includes a starring role in BBC’s ”David Copperfield” and an upcoming appearance in the John Boorman film ”The Tailor of Panama” — has given him minor fame in the U.K. Watson and Grint, on the other hand, have thus far only appeared in ”school plays,” according to a statement on the movie’s official website. Director Christopher Columbus says, ”The process was intense, and there were times when we felt we would never find an individual who embodied the complex spirit and depth of Harry Potter. Then, Dan walked into the room and we all knew we had found Harry.” Author J.K. Rowling apparently approves of the casting. ”Having seen Dan Radcliffe screen test, I don’t think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry,” she says. Radcliffe has yet to comment on what it will feel like to become a model for millions of plastic action figures at the tender age of 11.
UNCOUPLED Just hours after Anne Heche, 31, and Ellen DeGeneres, 43, announced their decision to end their 3 1/2 year relationship, the Associated Press reported that sheriff’s deputies in Fresno, California had taken Heche to a nearby hospital on Saturday afternoon. Heche had apparently parked her car along a rural highway and then walked about a mile to a house in Cantua Creek, where she knocked on the door and made ”strange statements” to the occupants, who called police. A hospital spokeswoman told a reporter for Entertainment Weekly that Heche had not been admitted as a patient. According to wire and television reports, no criminal investigation will be launched, and Heche departed Los Angeles this morning for Toronto to work on a film. Saturday’s New York Daily News broke the story that the Hollywood twosome — whose coming out proved groundbreaking in ostensibly liberal Tinseltown — had decided to part amicably. The actresses collaborated on HBO’s ”If These Walls Could Talk II,” in which Heche directed DeGeneres and Sharon Stone as a lesbian couple hoping to have a child.
LEGALESE Courtney Love is being sued in part over an alleged ”hamburger incident.” According to Allstar, Background productions — the Mexican production team behind Love’s latest flick, ”Beat” (a biopic of poet William Burroughs) — filed a $250,000 suit in L.A. accusing the pop star and her American team, Zuckerman Entertainment, of defamatory insults and bad business practices. Mysteriously, the statement alleges that Love became angry over ”a hamburger incident” in which she accused one of the Mexican producers of being a ”spoiled rich girl, of stealing money, treating her crew badly” and being a whore. Zuckerman and Love have yet to respond to the lawsuit…. Eminem continues to keep the courthouses in business. His mom has filed a second $1 million lawsuit against the shock rapper to go along with the pending $10 mil suit she filed last year, reports Wall of Sound. This time she alleges that Em made false statements about her alleged criminal history to mags Rolling Stone, Rap Pages, and the Source. The chart topper’s lawyer, Peter Peacock, says Em will use the truth as his defense. He’ll also use a lawyer with a funny name.
POLITICAL CELEBS Pearl Jam is trying to get their MTV generation fans to do something extremely radical — vote. The group is offering free concert tickets to volunteers who work in the voter registration booths they’re hosting on their current tour, according to a statement on the group’s official website. The band says ”serious volunteers” must donate three hours to recruiting voters before the start of each show. ”In return, we will guarantee you one ticket,” it says. Those who are interested should send name, email address, and city and date of the show available to work to DigitalKat@aol.com and OfTheSea@aol.com. Anyone going to that trouble will quickly discover that it’s actually more complicated than registering to vote.
WEB NEWS Napster filed a brief late Friday, accusing the federal judge who ruled that the MP3 swapping should be shut down of record industry bias. Lawyer Jonathon Schiller said that Judge Marilyn Patel unfairly assumed that Napster has a detrimental effect on CD sales, and asked the court to permanently dismiss her injunction. Schiller also said that the recording industry had become litigious because it was threatened by the company’s advanced technology. ”As a result of being behind, and in an effort to catch up and eliminate any competitive platform that may be out there, they want to use this decision [to shut down Napster],” he said. The Recording Industry of America could not be reached for comment.
TV NEWS Sisqó‘s sitcom has found a prime time home. According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC has signed a pilot commitment with Big Ticket productions, the company developing a series based around the platinum pop star. Sisqó’s manager expressed his delight with the NBC deal, saying it ”broadens Sisqó’s entertainment career. [Sisqó] wants to emulate Michael Jackson, with a little bit of Will Smith.” Does this mean he’ll start hanging out with Liz Taylor?
CASTING Fresh off his critical bomb ”Autumn in New York” Richard Gere is in final negotiations for his next lovesick flick. Variety reports that the actor may star in French director Claude Chabrol’s thriller ”Unfaithful.” Gere would play a husband who kills his wife’s lover, and, in the process, rejuvenates their dying marriage. If the leading man’s current costar age trajectory continues as is, the little wife should be about 13 years old in this one.