Plus: 'Sunshine,' 'Departed,' win top screenplay prizes; battle over Anna Nicole's baby and mansion heats up; Lucy Lawless and other TV casting news; and more
King, Queen win big at BAFTAs
Awards season royalty Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren continued their seemingly inevitable march to Oscar glory at Sunday’s Orange British Academy Awards (BAFTAs) in London. The most honored films were The Last King of Scotland and Pan’s Labyrinth, with three prizes each. Scotland earned a Best Actor trophy for Whitaker and the prizes for Outstanding British film of the year and Best Adapted Screenplay, while Labyrinth took awards for foreign language film, costumes, and hair and makeup. Top prize, Best Picture, went to The Queen, which also earned Mirren a Best Actress trophy. Little Miss Sunshine won prizes for Best Original Screenplay and for supporting actor Alan Arkin; Best Supporting Actress went to Dreamgirls‘ Jennifer Hudson. Paul Greengrass (United 93) was named Best Director. (Hollywood Reporter)
Sunshine, Departed earn top screenplay awards from WGA
In another ceremony that may presage Oscar victory, the Writers Guild of America awarded its top prizes Sunday night to screenwriters Michael Arndt and William Monahan; the former earned the award for Best Original Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine, while the latter won for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Departed. (Hollywood Reporter)
More vie for Anna Nicole’s baby, Bahamas mansion
There are now four paternity claims over the late Anna Nicole Smith’s five-month-old daughter, Dannielynn. In addition to previous claims from her lawyer/companion Howard K. Smith and former boyfriend Larry Birkhead, Prince Frederic von Anhalt (who is Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband) claimed on Friday that he may have fathered the girl during what he says was a decade-long affair with Smith. The fourth possible father, according to Smith’s half-sister Donna Hogan, is Smith’s late tycoon husband, J. Howard Marshall II; Hogan says Smith harvested and froze Marshall’s sperm before he died in 1995. Meanwhile, a battle looms over Smith’s mansion in Nassau, The Bahamas. Another former beau, G. Ben Thompson, says he owns the house and loaned it to Smith, but Stern claims it was a gift. He and the baby took residence in the house on Sunday, three days after Smith’s death. (Associated Press)
Lucy Lawless cast in ABC’s Football Wives
Former Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless has been cast in the pilot for Football Wives, ABC’s version of the hit British series Footballers Wive$. In the primetime soap, Lawless will play the wife of a gridiron star, a woman who’s sexy but not as worldly as she imagines herself to be. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)
More pilot season casting
The networks are busy assembling casts for the fall season’s potential series. Among the deals announced Monday: Sarah Clarke (24 villain Nina Myers) will join an untitled NBC procedural drama as the sister of the main character, a cop played by Famke Janssen. Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is joining the cast of ABC’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith as a promiscuous neighbor to the married assassins (Jordana Brewster and Martin Henderson, in the roles played in the movie by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt). After playing a naïve teen on Freaks and Geeks and a naïve apprentice chef on Kitchen Confidential, John Francis Daley will play a naïve paramedic in ABC’s Scrubs-like comedy The Call. CSI costar Louise Lombard has landed the lead in Judy’s Got a Gun, an ABC procedural about a suburban single mom who solves bizarre crimes. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)
YouTube, Digital Music sign deal to stream classic TV shows
Some 4,000 hours of video content, including episodes of such classic TV series as I Spy and Gumby, will become legally available for viewing at YouTube, thanks to an agreement between the video clearinghouse site and rights holder Digital Music. According to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube has agreed to share ad revenue with Digital Music and to block the unauthorized posting of songs to which DM holds the rights. (Reuters)
Too much torture in primetime TV, says human rights group
Advocacy group Human Rights First says that there has been a dramatic increase in incidents of torture depicted in primetime TV since 2001, and that American interrogators are started to emulate the brutal tactics they’ve seen on shows like 24, Alias, and The Shield. The group is urging TV writers to create more non-violent, psychological interrogation scenes, using information-gathering methods it claims are both legal and more effective than torture. (Associated Press)
Children’s book The Coram Boy to hit Broadway, big screen
The Coram Boy, Jamila Gavin’s novel that follows British orphans on an epic adventure set in 1741, will become a Miramax movie, to be executive produced by literary-to-screen adaptation expert Scott Rudin. The Whitbread Children’s Book Award winner already has been adapted into a hit stage play in London; that version is coming to Broadway in May. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Did Diddy’s people beef with the Grey’s Anatomy cast at Rolling Stone‘s pre-Grammy party?
Rush & Molloy: Red Hot Chili Peppers’ frontman Anthony Kiedis battled an addiction to Internet porn.
Gatecrasher: Jon Bon Jovi denies grumbling about bandmate Richie Sambora’s girlfriend, Denise Richards.