Hollywood responds to Katrina
Some stars will soon be stepping up to help fundraising efforts for Hurricane Katrina relief, as they did for tsunami relief drives a few months ago. New York’s WNBC is one of many local TV stations around the country airing impromptu telethons; the station says that some celebrities will appear on tonight’s broadcast and solicit pledges. (It’s not clear if other NBC stations will pick up this broadcast from the flagship, as they did with WNBC’s tsunami telethon in January, or just air their own fundraisers.) Proceeds will go the the American Red Cross. Meanwhile, MSNBC’s Jeannette Walls says music industry insiders and Red Cross officials are talking about a benefit ”mega-concert,” with Willie Nelson being mentioned as a possible participant.
Besides the disaster’s enormous human costs, Hollywood is feeling the effects of Katrina via a number of Louisiana film and TV shoots that had to shut down and evacuate. Among those features affected were Déjà Vu (starring Denzel Washington), The Reaping (Hilary Swank), The Guardian (Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner), and The Last Time (Brendan Fraser and Michael Keaton). Also forced to flee were Lucy Lawless (shooting the TV movie Vampire Bats) and Pat Sajak and Vanna White (Wheel of Fortune had been on a road trip to New Orleans). Along with the countless locals forced from their homes, the Hollywood crews on these shoots may not be able to return for a long time — or ever.