Plus, Robert Iler apologizes, Aborigines sue ''Survivor,'' and more

By Gillian Flynn
Updated July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Christina Aguilera, MTV Movie Awards 2002
Credit: Christina Aguilera: Lisa O'Connor/Zuma Press

CHRISSY HIDES Christina Aguilera fans are about to hear a voice from her past. Specifically, Aguilera’s. The 20-year-old Grammy winner has reached a settlement with New York’s Warlock Records, allowing the label to release an album she recorded when she was but a wee diva of 14 and 15. Financial details were not disclosed, but Aguilera has reportedly agreed to lend her name and likeness to the CD, as long as Warlock includes her statement about ”Just Be Free”’s origins. ”At that young age, I made the recordings…just so that I could get my foot in the door of the music business,” Aguilera says in her message. ”I have not updated or finished the versions recorded in my childhood and they are being released ‘as-is,’ although I tried to prevent the release for several years. The recordings do not in any way reflect my current musical taste and where I am as an artist.” And that, for some folks, is a selling point right there.

THE SON ALSO APOLOGIZES Now apologize like good mobster spawn! ”The Sopranos”’ Robert Iler, 16, who plays Tony’s son on the HBO series, issued a sorry statement Thursday after his July 4 arrest on robbery and drug possession charges. ”I feel terribly embarrassed,” Iler said through a spokesman. ”I never ever would or did rob anyone in my life. I know that the events of the past two days have been extremely difficult for my family and friends and for that I am sorry.” Wait ’til Tony finishes leafing through those military-school pamphlets.

SOUR NOTES Someone forgot to review their didgeridoos and didgeridon’ts. A group of Aborigines are suing Mark Burnett and ”Survivor,” Australia’s Herald Sun reports. The group is alleging that the creators of the CBS reality series used tribal music for the recent Outback version without paying or crediting the tribe.

BUT NONE FOR YOU There were some sorry Canadians last night, as Janet Jackson postponed the Vancouver opening of her world tour until Monday, blaming shipping delays of her stage equipment. The mix-up means Jackson’s All For You tour will officially kick off in Portland, Ore. On Saturday, and a July 10 concert in Edmonton, Alberta, will be scotched altogether.

PHONE-A-DEITY? Sure, Reege can be a tad wearisome, but this? The world’s oldest Islamic university, Al-Azhar in Egypt, is not charmed by the ubiquitous ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The Grand Mufti, the highest authority at the institution, has deemed the ABC game show un-Islamic. He says the Regis Philbin-hosted program is a form of gambling — a practice forbidden in Islam — because viewers who phone in to try to earn cash are charged a fee. ”Anyone who calls in — whether they win or not — is participating in gambling since phone-call revenues go towards the winner’s prize,” he said in a statement. He asked ”the media to abide by God’s jurisdiction and cancel the shows.” Which would be His final answer.

SLOW AND STEADY… And the race is…off. Aardman Animations, the British team behind last year’s fowl flick, ”Chicken Run,” has suspended production on their DreamWorks follow-up, ”The Tortoise and the Hare.” The Bristol-based firm has announced a six-month hiatus and laid off 90 of its 172-person crew in order to doctor the script. Original writers Mark Burton and Karey Kirkpatrick (the latter a ”Chicken Run” scribe) will be joined by new scripters, who the company declined to name. The $40 million dollar clay-animation movie, directed by Richard Goleszowski, began shooting earlier this year. Just remember, it took that turtle a while to get moving too.

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