Plus: Penn playing gay politician Harvey Milk, Timberlake and Rihanna dominate MTV Video Music Awards, Steers directing Efron in ''17,'' and more...

By Mike Bruno
Updated August 04, 2020 at 11:22 AM EDT
Jennifer Hudson: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Jennifer Hudson joins cast of Sex and the City movie
The Academy Award-winning actress (Dreamgirls) has been cast to play an assistant to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw in the big-screen version of HBO’s hit comedy. The anticipated movie follows the show’s four main characters (Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte) four years after the series ended. (New Line press release)

Penn set to play Harvey Milk
Sean Penn will play gay 1970s politician Harvey Milk in director Gus Van Sant’s long-gestating biopic of the first openly gay prominent elected official. Matt Damon is tentatively attached to play Milk’s assassin, Dan White, who shot the San Francisco city supervisor along with Mayor George Moscone in 1978. After serving five years of a seven-year sentence, White committed suicide in 1985. Michael London and his Groundswell Prods. are financing the movie. Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks are producing from a script by Dustin Lance Black (Big Love). The filmmakers are now in talks with a ”leading specialty division,” according to Hollywood Reporter, to finalize a deal on the as-yet untitled project. Shooting could start by the end of this year. The Penn-directed Into the Wild debuted this month at the Telluride Film Festival and will play at Toronto. He next will be seen in the immigration drama Crossing Over. (Hollywood Reporter)

Timberlake, Rihanna dominate VMAs
Justin Timberlake was awarded four Moon Man statues at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Sunday (Sept. 9) night, including male artist of the year, and quadruple threat, which honored him for music, dance, fashion, and acting. Rihanna’s ”Umbrella” won video of the year as well as ”Monster Single” of the year. Fall Out Boy was named best group for ”This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race,” and Gym Class Heroes won best new artist for ”Clothes Off.” After poor reviews and falling ratings over the last few years, for 2007 MTV moved the VMAs to Las Vegas’ Palms Casino, shortened the show from three hours to two, and focused more on performances than awards. Reviews have been mixed, though everyone seems to agree that Britney Spears’ much-hyped opening performance was a flop. (Variety)

Steers to direct Efron in 17
Director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down) is directing the teen comedy 17, starring Zac Efron, for New Line Cinema. Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, who worked with Efron on Hairspray, are producing through Offspring Entertainment. The story is about a grown man who finds himself as a 17-year-old trying to navigate high school. In addition to writing and directing Igby, Steers has also directed episodes of Weeds, Big Love, and The L Word. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC orders new gameshow Duel
ABC has ordered 10 episodes of the BermanBraun-produced gameshow Duel. The show, based on a hit French gameshow, has contestants compete head-to-head over multiple choice questions, betting a certain number of chips based on how confident they are that they know the answer. If they’re wrong, they?re eliminated, unless they?ve covered themselves by betting enough chips. In order to win, a contestant needs to beat five other players. (Variety)

Sopranos‘ Schirripa gets cooking series
Steven Schirripa, who played Bobby ”Bacala” Baccalieri on The Sopranos, is hosting a new cooking-themed series on Rainbow Media’s free on-demand network Lifeskool. Steve Schirripa’s Hungry will feature the New York native giving a crash course in Italian-American lifestyle and food, and taking viewers on a tour of his favorite restaurants, chefs, pastry shops, cheese stores, and butcher shops in New York. The nine-episode series is set to debut in December on Lifeskool. ”It’s going to be a mixture of comedy, history, and of course the cooking part and the stuff about lifestyle,” Schirripa said. Schirripa hosts Spike TV’s Casino Cinema and is a regular correspondent on The Tonight Show. He also recently signed a development deal with Nickelodeon for an original TV movie based on his book Nicky Deuce: Welcome to the Family and authored the book The Goomba Diet. (Hollywood Reporter)


AP via Yahoo!: Kanye West got upset in front of media and crew backstage at the VMAs as the show was ending, yelling about losing all five categories for which he was nominated. ”That’s two years in a row, man … give a black man a chance,” West said. Kid Rock allegedly walked up to Tommy Lee during Sunday night’s VMAs and hit him, though most reports say that Lee initiated the confrontation by taunting Rock. TMZ reports that police cited Rock for misdemeanor battery.