Madonna's new video is too violent for prime time
Plus, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and others inducted to the Rock Hall of Fame, Eminem settles on a divorce agreement, and more
BANNED Once again, a Madonna video is too hot for MTV and VH1 to handle. Unlike ”Erotica,” ”Justify My Love,” and ”Like a Prayer,” however, the problem isn’t too much sex, it’s too much violence. The video for ”What It Feels Like for a Girl,” directed by Madonna’s hubby, Guy Ritchie, features the singer waving guns (albeit squirt and stun guns), threatening cops, assaulting a man, and apparently committing suicide. The video ”shows my character acting out a fantasy and doing things girls are not allowed to do,” Madonna said in a written statement issued by Warner Bros. Music. ”This is an angry song and I wanted a matching visual with an edgy dance mix.” The song is the third single from ”Music.”
Under post Columbine scrutiny of violence on TV and film, the music channels have decided not to add the video to their regular rotation cycle. However, according to MTV.com, MTV will air the video one time, during a news segment tonight at 11:30 p.m. Is that like having their cake and beating it too?
HALL OF FAMERS Michael Jackson and Paul Simon were inducted for the second time into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday night, joined by first time inductees Aerosmith, Queen, Steely Dan, ’50s group the Flamingos, soul singer Solomon Burke, and the late Ritchie Valens. The ceremony took place at New York’s Waldorf Astoria, culminating with the annual jam session. This year, the inductees joined together for a rendition of Steely Dan’s ”Do It Again” and Burke’s ”Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.”
Jackson, already in the Hall with his brothers for the Jackson 5, is the youngest solo act to receive the honor. He was also the youngest person inducted as a member of a group. Megaselling boy band ‘N Sync was tapped to induct Jackson, who thanked his parents, siblings, and three industry influences — Berry Gordy, Quincy Jones, and his ”second mother” Diana Ross. There was, however, no mention of Liz Taylor or Macaulay Culkin. Jackson, still suffering from a foot injury, did not perform.
Simon surprised the audience when he mentioned estranged former partner Art Garfunkel in his acceptance speech: ”I regret the ending of our friendship and hope one day before we die we’ll make peace with each other,” he said to a reported round of applause, but then added, ”No rush.” ”La Bamba” singer Valens, one of rock’s first Latin stars, was inducted by none other than current Latin sensation Ricky Martin. The Flamingos are best known for their ballad ”I Only Have Eyes for You.” Other highlights of the night included the three remaining members of Queen singing ”We Will Rock You.”
SPLIT Eminem and his estranged wife Kim Mathers have reached a divorce settlement that grants them joint custody of their 5 year old daughter, Hailie Jade. The couple, AP reports, agreed to joint and legal custody of their daughter, but their $450,000 home will belong to Eminem. Mrs. Mathers, however, will receive $475,000 cash to purchase a new house. The two married in June 1999, separated earlier this year, and attempted reconciliation. Kim Mathers, however, filed for divorce on March 1.
LEGAL BRIEF Singer – composer Burt Bacharach filed sued Monday against a company run by multimillionaire Melvin Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers. Bacharach is seeking $15 million, claiming he needed shoulder replacement surgery after falling in a dark ballroom. The lawsuit, Associated Press reports, says the 71 year old Bacharach fell and injured his left shoulder at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis during a sound check on April 5, 2000. Bacharach was scheduled to perform at the downtown venue. Defendants include Simon and Associates, the ballroom’s owner and operator, and Claypool Holdings LLC. A spokeswoman for the Simon companies said they do not comment on pending litigation. According to the complaint, Bacharach stumbled because it was too dark to see a drop in the main floor.
CASTING Peter Gallagher (”American Beauty”) will join Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder in the comedy ”Deeds.” Directed by Steven Brill (”Big Daddy”), ”Deeds” is an update of Frank Capra’s 1936 comedy ”Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” starring Gary Cooper. The Columbia Pictures/ New Line version stars Sandler as the Deeds, the small town man who inherits a fortune and must move to the Big City (i.e. New York). The movie starts shooting next week…. Steven Culp (”Thirteen Days”) and Clea DuVall (”Girl, Interrupted) will star in the HBO/ Cinemax movie ”How to Make a Monster,” the fourth installment of ”Creature Features,” a series of five sci-fi flicks based on Samuel Z. Arkoff’s 1950s films. Tyler Mane (”X-Men”), Jason Marsden (”White Squall”), and Karim Prince (”FreakyLinks”) also appear in the project, which starts production next week.
BIOPIC PICKS Actor – producer Stanley Tucci is ready for another award worthy portrayal. After taking on Walter Winchell in HBO’s Emmy winning movie, Tucci will star as Groucho Marx in a two hour CBS movie called ”Love, Groucho.” Based on the book ”Love, Groucho: Letters From Groucho Marx to His Daughter Miriam,” written by Miriam Marx Allen, the telefilm will focus on the comedian’s relationship with his daughter, as opposed to his partnership with brothers Harpo and Chico.
TUBE NEWS Molly Ringwald is returning to TV with ”Big Time,” a two hour pilot for TNT about the early days of television. Set in 1948 Manhattan, the series will star Ringwald as the network chief’s new wife, who realizes there’s a job for her in the industry. Dylan Baker (”Happiness”) will also star in the drama, which will be directed and coexecutive produced by ”NYPD Blue” veteran Paris Barclay. The period drama is produced by John Wells (”The West Wing,” ”ER”)…. Former ”Hardy Boy” Shaun Cassidy has signed on as showrunner of ”The Agency,” a drama pilot about CIA agents. The CBS project stars Gil Bellows (”Ally McBeal”), Paige Turco (”Party of Five”), and Ronny Cox (”Perfect Murder, Perfect Town”). Cassidy, Variety reports, will also exec produce a drama pilot for USA called ”Wilder,” which is reportedly semiautobiographical, following a former teen idol actor who decides to become a detective with his younger brother. In case some of you are too young to remember, Cassidy was a teen dream in the 1970s, singing such pop hits as ”Da Doo Ron Ron” and ”Hey Deanie.”
THEATER PLANS The West End production of ”The Philadelphia Story,” starring Calista Flockhart as the cynical heiress played in the 1940 film by Katharine Hepburn, will start previews May 21 and open in June at London’s Shaftesbury Theater. Blythe Danner (”Meet the Parents”) also stars in the $865,000 play, which will run at least 10 weeks, depending on ticket sales, reviews, and Flockhart’s ”Ally McBeal schedule. No word yet on who will play the Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart roles.