Plus, news about Bruce Willis, James Gandolfini, Ja Rule, Bob Hope, Madonna, Isaac Hayes, ''The Mole,'' Carmen Electra, and others
Fred Durst, limpbizkit
Credit: Limp Bizkit: Kevin Mazur/

MUSIC NEWS Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst wrote yesterday on the band’s website that the group plans to ”comb the globe in search of the illist [sic] guitar player known to man” to replace founding member Wes Borland, who announced Friday he was leaving the band. The official announcement describes the masked guitarist’s departure after seven years with the group as ”amicable,” but in Durst’s latest statement, he said he and his bandmates were ”shocked” by the news but ”not discouraged.” Borland’s next move is unclear, but earlier this year, he released a solo album, ”Duke Lion Fights the Terror!!”, attributed to Wes Borland’s Big Dumb Face….

ATTACK ON AMERICA A 7-month-old boy, son of an ABC News worker, is the second person affiliated with a New York network news facility to be diagnosed with anthrax. The infant accompanied his mother, a freelance news producer, to the office around September 28, though it’s not clear if that’s where the child picked up the disease. The boy was infected through the skin, as was the assistant to NBC’s Tom Brokaw, who contracted the disease from a letter to Brokaw that she opened around that same time. Both patients are said to be responding well to antibiotic treatment. It’s not yet clear whether ABC will relocate its nightly newscast, as NBC has. At NBC’s Rockefeller Center headquarters, 500 employees have been tested for anthrax, and the third floor studio remains closed indefinitely.

REEL DEALS The war on terrorism may be hurting the box office, not just because moviegoers are leery about seeing certain things on screen or going to the movies at all, but because the studios are having a harder time getting the word out. Studios routinely spend 75 percent of their advertising budget on TV commercials, but those commercials may be scrapped at the last minute when the networks go into all-news mode, as they did during Friday’s anthrax scare. The sudden gravity of television also means fewer promotional appearances by celebrities; neither NBC’s ”Today” nor CBS’ ”The Early Show” have booked movie-star guests since the air strikes over Afghanistan started last week. (Variety reports that some MGM staffers are blaming ”Bandits”’ inability to beat the week-old ”Training Day” at the box office on their suddenly diminished ability to get Bruce Willis‘s face on TV.) The studios may shift more emphasis to newspapers and radio, but that’s difficult as well because publicists are used to reaching those outlets via press junkets, to which many stars and reporters are now reluctant to fly. On the other hand, it may be just as well that celebrities aren’t granting too many interviews in the middle of a war; as one studio insider tells Variety, ”Actors are barely capable of talking for five minutes about anything other than themselves, so do you really want them taking questions about the fighting in Afghanistan when something breaks out during a junket? Who needs it?”…

James Gandolfini was a little unnerved about playing a military prison warden opposite rebellious convict Robert Redford in the upcoming ”The Last Castle.” Not just because, as Gandolfini says, ”He’s done some of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve always wanted to work with him.” But also because ”Robert Redford’s in great shape, isn’t he? And here I am, 20 years younger, and I look like a jelly donut in a camouflage outfit.”…

  • Movie