Stephen King says he's retiring. Plus, news about Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, LL Cool J, Alan Jackson, Christopher Guest, Selma Blair, James Brown, Eddie Murphy, Ana Gasteyer, and others
Stephen King
Credit: Stephen King: Thomas Kristich/Retna

COVER TO COVER The success of this week’s miniseries ”Rose Red” proves there’s still plenty of audience appetite for Stephen King, but the horror honcho tells the Los Angeles Times he plans to quit while he’s ahead. ”That’s it. I’m done,” King says. ”Done writing books.” Of course, he still has five books still in the works: a short story collection coming out in March called ”Everything’s Eventual,” the long-delayed novel ”From a Buick Eight” coming out in the fall, and the last three novels in the ”Dark Tower” series, due out over the next year. Not to mention his fall ABC series ”The Kingdom,” based on Lars von Trier‘s two miniseries about a haunted hospital. Still, King says he feels like he’s repeating himself. ”You get to a point where you get to the edges of a room, and you can go back where you’ve been, and basically recycle stuff,” says the 54-year-old author. ”I’ve seen it in my own work. People when they read ‘Buick Eight’ are going to think ‘Christine.’ It’s about a car that’s not normal, okay? You say, ‘I’ve said the things that I have to say, that are new and fresh and interesting to people.’ Then you have a choice. You can either continue to go on, or say, ‘I left when I was still on top of my game. I left when I was still holding the ball, instead of it holding me.”’

REEL DEALS Those coy old Rock HudsonDoris Day comedies from 40 years ago (like ”Pillow Talk” and ”Lover Come Back”) don’t even register on the pop-cultural radar today. Still, 20th Century Fox thought it would be a good idea to do an homage/send-up of these largely forgotten films. This one is called ”Down with Love,” and it will star Renee Zellweger as a romantic-advice author whose confidence in the rules of love goes out the window when she meets playboy Ewan McGregor. Peyton Reed (”Bring it On”) will direct the film, which will even be set in the 1960s….

Even after MGM has submitted to a court order forcing it to change its ”Rollerball” ads (it was ruled that the studio couldn’t tout the movie as coming from one of the creators of ”The Fast and the Furious” when Universal complained that ”Rollerball” co-screenwriter John Pogue‘s connection to ”F&F” was too tenuous), there’s still something about the posters that sticks out. In the words of Spinal Tap, star LL Cool J looks like he has an armadillo in his trousers. Apparently, it’s not airbrushing or a CGI special effect. ”We took a picture and did nothing to it,” an MGM exec tells TV Guide. ”If there is a protrusion in his pants, then lucky LL. We cannot take credit for anything in LL’s pants. That achievement can only be claimed by LL himself, or his parents I guess.” The actor/rapper himself says, ”All I did was put a pair of leather pants on. From what I can see, [co-star] Chris Klein‘s bulge was bigger.”…

After the cult success of ”Waiting for Guffman” and ”Best in Show,” director Christopher Guest and actor/writer Eugene Levy are teaming up for a third improvisational mockumentary, this one set in the world of folk music. Shooting starts this spring.

SOUND BITES It was a slow week on the Billboard chart, with almost every record in the top 10 holding its place, and with chart-topper Alan Jackson‘s ”Drive” selling about half as many copies (230,025 vs. 423,075, according to SoundScan) as it did during its debut last week. Still at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, were Creed‘s ”Weathered” (119,125 copies) and Linkin Park‘s ”Hybrid Theory” (94.375 units). Switching places were Ludacris‘ ”Word of Mouf” (No. 4, 81,525 sold) and Nickelback‘s ”Silver Side Up” (No. 5, 80,125 copies).

Holding in place were Ja Rule‘s ”Pain Is Love” (No. 6), Nas‘ ”Stillmatic” (No. 7), Usher‘s ”8701” (No. 8), and Pink‘s ”M!ssundaztood” (No. 9). Climbing back into the top 10 was the year-old ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack (No. 10).

Down With Love
  • Movie
  • 102 minutes