Plus, Ricky Martin may work with Madonna, Spice Girls deny breakup rumors, Dave Matthews is No. 1, and more

By Sandra P. Angulo
March 12, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Benjamin Bratt: Armando Gallo/Retna

CAST PARTY POOPER Benjamin Bratt may be Julia Roberts’ No. 1 man, but Sharon Stone doesn’t seem to feel the same. According to Variety, Bratt met with Stone last Saturday to discuss the possibility of him starring with her in ”Basic Instinct” 2. MGM, the studio backing the sexy sequel, and the film’s producers have been lobbying for Bratt, but Stone has final approval of her leading man.

Stone, 43, was supposed to yea or nay Bratt by Wednesday afternoon, because Bratt, 37, has other film offers to consider. But the reported deadline passed two days ago, and Stone has yet to make a decision. Variety’s source said: ”Benjamin Bratt is not entirely out of consideration.” Of course, if Stone doesn’t settle on a costar soon, the sequel won’t have time to start production before the possible writers’ and actors’ strikes this summer.

REEL DEAL? Ricky Martin is reportedly in talks with DreamWorks to voice a role in an animated film with gal pal Madonna and Mel Gibson. According to Expressen, a Swedish tabloid, Martin, who is in Sweden on a promotional tour, told a local TV talk show host on Thursday night that he might voice a character in an upcoming DreamWorks cartoon. Martin said no contract had been signed yet, Expressen added.

TOGETHER FOREVER Although Mel C, a.k.a. Sporty Spice, told the press Thursday that she’s leaving the Spice Girls to concentrate on her solo career, the girl band’s spokesman Alan Edwards claims that’s not true. ”Mel C has not left the Spice Girls and the Spice Girls have not split up,” Edwards told Reuters from London. While he admitted that the Girls are on the back burner while its members pursue solo deals, Edwards maintains that the Spice Girls do indeed still exist. He added that Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice) isn’t concerned about Mel’s comments: ”I spoke to Victoria last night — she didn’t stay awake over it.” And believe us, neither will we.

CHART ATTACK The Dave Matthews Band‘s new album ”Everyday” finally bumped Shaggy‘s ”Hotshot” to No. 2. DMB’s acoustic offering sold more than 732,000 albums last week for the top spot on the Billboard charts. ”Hotshot” moved 269,000 copies — the same as last week — for a solid No. 2. DJ Clue debuted No. 3 with ”The Professional 2,” which moved 239,000 albums. Project Pat also cracked the top 10 with ”Mista Don’t Play,” which landed at No. 4 selling 126,000. Dido‘s ”No Angel” was No. 5 with 125,000 sold. Rounding out the top 10 are: The Beatles’ ”1” (No. 6); the ”Save the Last Dance” soundtrack (No. 7); Ja Rule‘s ”Rule 3:36” (No. 8); the compilation album ”WWF: The Music, Vol. 5” (No. 9); and Lenny Kravitz‘s ”Greatest Hits” (No. 10).

CASTING Gwyneth Paltrow will star opposite another blonde actress with a knack for foreign accents, Meryl Streep. The two are attached to play daughter and mother in the drama ”Daughter of the Queen of Sheba,” based on NPR correspondent Jacki Lynden’s 1997 memoir. Matt Williams will direct the true story for Wind Dancer Films. No start date has been set, but I’m sure the Academy has already printed their names on the 2002 Oscar ballots.

And how can one mention Paltrow and Streep without a seamless segue to Snoop Dogg, who continues his contribution to film with an upcoming movie with comedian Cedric ”The Entertainer” (”Kings of Comedy”). Snoop told that the comedy is called ”The Wash” and described it as a ”black ‘Odd Couple.”’ The film is directed by DJ Pooh (who cowrote ”Friday”). According to Launch, the movie is due out at the end of this summer

Gary Anthony Williams (”Malcolm in the Middle”) and Neil Patrick Harris (”Stark Raving Mad”) have joined the cast of Universal’s live action comedy ”Undercover Brother.” Based on an animated comedy series on Urban Entertainment’s website, the comedy follows a man who belongs to a secret all black society that’s always battling ”the Man.” The movie’s director is Malcolm Lee (”The Best Man” — and Spike‘s cousin).

BEST SONG Forget ”Satisfaction” or ”Yesterday,” ”Over the Rainbow” is the best song of the 20th century. According to a survey compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts, Judy Garland‘s classic track from ”The Wizard of Oz” topped a list of the best 365 ”Songs of the Century.” Bing Crosby‘s holiday favorite ”White Christmas” is No. 2; legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie‘s ”This Land Is Your Land” is No. 3; Aretha Franklin‘s remake of Otis Redding‘s ”Respect” is No. 4; and Don McLean‘s rock anthem ”American Pie” rounded out the top 5.

One caveat: The songs were chosen by a mere 200 voters, although more than 1,300 ballots were distributed to musicians, critics, elected officials, and industry execs. It’s possible that the average age of the RIAA’s poll was slightly more geriatric than those who chose Rolling Stone or MTV’s best song lists. ”Yesterday” ranked No. 56 on the RIAA / NEA list, with ”Satisfaction” a more respectable No. 16.

RETURN TO TV ”Seinfeld” vet Jason Alexander will star in an ABC pilot called ”Bob Patterson.” The half hour sitcom will feature Alexander as an outlandish motivational speaker. Alexander is also an executive producer, along with Tim Doyle (”Ellen”). The show is targeted for the fall 2001 schedule, and if ABC decides not to order the series, the network owes Alexander a hefty, seven figure kill fee.

REALITY MADNESS Netlet UPN won’t be left behind. The network is gearing up for its own reality series: ”Chains of Love,” which debuts on Tues., April 17. Each episode in the six week series will show a man or a woman called a ”picker” who is chained to four strangers of the opposite sex for four full days. At the end of the 96 hours, the picker must choose which of the four people is their ideal mate. Hey, if it were THAT easy, we’d all do it.

TUBE NEWS Despite openly decrying CBS’ decision to air the killing of a pig on ”Survivor: The Australian Outback,” vegan actor James Cromwell (”Babe”) has agreed to star in a CBS drama pilot ”The Second Act.” The former Farmer Hoggett will play a retired U.S. senator who returns home and opens a bowling alley. Just kidding — actually, he gets reacquainted with his three grown daughters and their families. CBS has ordered 13 episodes of the drama, which will be executive produced by the producing team behind ”ER”: John Wells and Lydia Woodward. Hopefully the role won’t call for him to bring home, cook, and/or eat any bacon.