Plus, Marlon Brando will appear in ''Scary Movie 2,'' Elton John loses a $20 million court battle, Lions Gate announces a release date for ''O,'' and more
PROBATION Eminem was sentenced to two years’ probation Tuesday for possessing a concealed weapon last summer. Eminem pleaded guilty February after prosecutors agreed to drop the felony assault charge filed against him for allegedly pistol whipping a man he saw kissing his wife in front of a Detroit area nightclub last summer. Em could’ve been sentenced to five years in prison for the gun charge alone, but prosecutors recommended a lighter sentence of two to three years in prison, considering Eminem had no prior convictions. The judge, however, decided to order Eminem to an extended probation, warning him that any violation could earn him the full five year sentence. ”I consider probation to be punishment. I don’t think it’s a lark, and I don’t think it’s a slap on the wrist,” Judge Antonio Viviano said.
COSTLY CAMEO The one and only Marlon Brando has agreed to appear in what’s sure to be his most prestigious film project: ”Scary Movie 2.” ”In an unprecedented move, Dimension Films has landed movie icon Marlon Brando in a wild, comedic turn,” Dimension Films cochairman Bob Weinstein said in a press statement Tuesday. ”He will join the offbeat comedic genius of Keenan Ivory Wayans [and] brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans,” Weinstein continued. Weinstein said Brando signed on for the role — that of an ”Exorcist” style priest — after Keenan invited the legendary Method actor to his home for a long meeting. According to Variety, Brando will make $2 million for the cameo, which will be shot next week. Now that’s an offer nobody could refuse. And we’re sure the horse head in Brando’s bed had no bearing on his decision.
COURT LOSS Elton John lost a multimillion dollar court battle Wednesday morning. John had sued his former accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London’s High Court for mismanagement of his fortune. Throughout the 43 day hearing, John also accused former manager Andrew Haydon of negligence. The 53 year old singer had claimed PWC owed him $20 million in touring expenses that were improperly billed to his personal account. Judge Andrew Ferris, Reuters reports, said the losses John sought to recover ”could not on any view be recovered by him.” Now, Elton must also pay approximately 8 million pounds in legal costs. There goes his monthly flower allowance.
RESPONSE Fox Broadcasting Co. has officially responded to the copyright lawsuit filed by CBS over ”Boot Camp.” CBS and producer Mark Burnett are suing Fox and ”Boot Camp” producer LMNO Productions, because the series allegedly copies significant elements of ”Survivor.” Fox’s view: ”There is absolutely no basis for the claims made by CBS and Mark Burnett. The shows are very different, and we believe this is a frivolous lawsuit.” According to Variety, Fox reps pointed out that in the past, the shoe was on the other foot. In November, when Fox Family Channel sued CBS over a planned race around the world series, CBS exec Glen Maynard said it was not ”uncommon for multiple networks to be running similar series at the same time.” Maynard went on to compare ”Chicago Hope” to ”ER” — both hospital dramas set in Chicago. ”The prevalence of competing broadcasts of similar series, is, if anything, even greater when it comes to reality based series,” Maynard said at the time.
REEL DEAL Lions Gate Films has picked up North American distribution rights for director Tim Blake Nelson‘s controversial Shakespeare adaptation ”O” from Dimension Films, the two studios announced Tuesday. Lions Gate plans to release the film nationwide in August. ”O,” a high school version of ”Othello,” starring Julia Stiles (”Save the Last Dance”), Mekhi Phifer (”Shaft”), and Josh Hartnett (”Pearl Harbor”), had been in release limbo for more than a year, due to the film’s depiction of school violence. ”’O’ is a compelling, artistically crafted film and we feel the film will fare best in Lions Gate’s hands where it will not be drawn into controversy and debate due to its distributor,” said Lions Gate senior veep Elizabeth Clark.
TUBE NEWS A Michigan man won $2.18 million, the biggest jackpot ever awarded on a TV game show, Tuesday night on ABC’s ”Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.” Kevin Olmstead, a 42 year old engineer from Ann Arbor, correctly answered the final question about helicopter inventor Igor Sikorsky. He was out of lifelines. Olmstead seems destined to be a ”Millionaire”: he won $27,000 on ”Jeopardy!” in 1994, and he is the cofounder of a company that provides questions for academic quiz competition.
TROUBLE Rapper Juvenile is having yet another legal problem. His neighbors in the posh enclave of Mandeville, Louisiana, want Juvenile to get his tour bus out of the gated community. Residents of the Woodville neighborhood where Juvenile, whose real name is Terius Gray, owns a home are seeking a court order to force him to move the bus, which he allegedly leaves parked and running. Apparently parking the bus and dozens of sports cars and SUVs on the street violates strict zoning rules. He was not available for comment. Last year, Juvenile was found guilty of several misdemeanors after chasing five strippers around with an ice pick. Just last month Juvenile was arrested in Florida for allegedly smashing a bottle of champagne over a man’s head and then resisting arrest. Take your own advice Juvenile: ”Back That Thang Up.”
CASTING Sela Ward (”Once and Again”) has joined Billy Bob Thornton and Patricia Arquette in Robby Henson‘s suspense drama ”Behind the Sun.” Ward will play a district attorney and ex-wife of a sheriff (Thornton) who’s investigating a bizarre murder…. The Spanish studio Filmax has cast Oscar winning actress Anna Paquin in a drama titled ”Darkness.” Paquin will play a young woman whose family has just moved into a remote house in the countryside. And like all old remote houses, this one has a horrific past. The movie will be shot in Spain, with Miramax’s Dimension Films set to distribute in English speaking territories…. Rachel Weisz (”Enemy at the Gates”) is in final talks to costar in ”About a Boy,” adapted from Nick Hornby’s novel. Toni Collette also stars in the $30 million comedy, which follows Hugh Grant as a thirtysomething womanizer who targets single women. The Universal Pictures project starts shooting Tuesday in London for directors Chris and Paul Weitz (”American Pie”).
BEST WISHES Brooke Shields (”Suddenly Susan”) married television writer Chris Henchy (”Battery Park,” ”Spin City”) at a private ceremony on Catalina Island off the California coast last Wednesday, a publicist announced on Tuesday. Shields, 35, was previously married to tennis star Andre Agassi, but that union was annulled after two years in 1999.
CONGRATULATIONS Singer Ginuwine and his rapper girlfriend, Sole, are the new parents of a baby girl named Story, who was born last week. Story is the couple’s first child together, but each has a child from a previous relationship, the Associated Press reports. Ginuwine released his latest album, ”Life,” this month. Sole’s second album is due in June.