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The Newsdesk 03.19.09 – R.I.P. Natasha Richardson; More Missions for Cruise

Natasha Richardson died at the age of 45 after suffering a head injury during a skiing lesson in Canada. Star of stage (Cabaret), and screen (The Comfort of Strangers, Evening), Richardson married Liam Neeson in 1994. She was the daughter of acting legend Vanessa Redgrave, and the late director Tony Richardson.

Tom Cruise is planning to do another Mission: Impossible movie. Ah, is Tom jealous of Jason Bourne getting all the attention?

• Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones will join Ben Affleck in John Wells’ corporate drama The Company Men. Costner, Jones, and the producer of E.R.? This is shaping up to be the hot film of 1997!

• Spike Lee’s documentary on Kobe Bryant, Kobe Doin’ Work, will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

• The husband of late actress/filmmaker Adrienne Shelly (The Waitress) plans to develop and produce a screenplay she left behind

Brian Grazer will produce Merman, a comedy about a merman who comes to land to win back his mermaid fiancee. This should really be a Splash sequel.

• Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman will star in an adaptation of Leanne Shapton’s book 
Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan
and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry
. Fit that on a marquee!


Industry donating big to USC expansion

from Hollywood Reporter by By Jay A. Fernandez

With the 80th anniversary of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts
imminent, industry benefactors have been lining up to support the institution’s

MPTF Or USC School Of Cinema: Guess Which Fast-Tracked H’wood

from Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke

Interesting how the same Hollywood moguls who say the
necessary millions can’t be raised for the expansion and modernization of the
Motion Picture & Television Fund’s acute care hospital and longterm care
nursing home are instead meeting lofty fundraising goals for the expansion and
modernization of the USC School Of Cinematic Arts.

Lionsgate, Icahn battle heating up

from Hollywood Reporter by Staff report

The dance between Carl Icahn and Lionsgate continued Tuesday
as reports surfaced that the studio hired a law firm to defend itself against
what could turn into a proxy battle or hostile takeover.

Joint Cable Channel Epix Debuts October

from Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke

Remember that big announcement about a new premium cable
channel starting up by Viacom, Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate? Well, on
Wednesday, Viacom prez/COO Philippe Dauman said at the McGraw-Hill
Media Summit that “Epix” was on track for an October launch.

Ousted Doug Allen Joins SAG Actors Rally

from Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily by Nikki Finke

SAG rank-and-file and/or board members Tony Danza, Frances
Fisher, Anne-Marie Johnson, Ed Asner were among the 100 actors at the
rally joined by ousted SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator
Doug Allen Wednesday outside CBS Television City “to defend our residuals,
pensions, health care”.

Underwrite Films, Some in Narrowest Release

from NYT > Movies by By MICHAEL CIEPLY

Under an unusually aggressive program of state film incentives
that began in April, nearly two dozen feature-length movies were shot in
Michigan last year.


Pixar’s ‘Up’ to open 62nd Cannes Film fest

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

PARIS (AP) — This year’s Cannes Film Festival will have an
animated opening.

SXSW Roundup: Panel Reports, Movie Reviews and Video Interviews
From Around The Web

from indieWIRE News

“This isn’t where we are going to be making money now,”
“Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock told a large crowd on Monday at SXSW.
“If you are looking to pay your rent, not so much, if you’re looking to pay
your phone blll, you have a chance.”

The indieWIRE Guide to Film Festivals

from indieWIRE News

The following is a list of 2009 film festivals, by month,
with links to ’08-’09 iW coverage.

It’s No Secret: Linklater Channels ‘Welles’

from The Wrap RSS by admin

No SXSW Film Festival can do without Richard Linklater. The
Austin-based filmmaker routinely appears at the fest each year, whether or not
he has a movie in it. This time, the program technically contained no Linklater
movie, but he managed to slip one in, anyway.


TV Academy honors 8 programs with a `conscience’

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 … by By LYNN ELBER

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The TV Academy will honor eight programs
that are examples of “television with a conscience,” including a
“Brothers & Sisters” episode about same-sex marriage.


Daily Box Office: Tuesday, March 17, 2009

from Box Office Mojo – Current Box Office Results

Race to Witch Mountain tops Tuesday’s box office with $1.9


‘Slumdog Millionaire’ to hit Chinese screens

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 … by By MIN LEE

HONG KONG (AP) — Academy Award-winning “Slumdog
Millionaire” has secured a coveted slot as one of 20 major foreign movies
that China will import this year, a distributor said Wednesday.

The Creatures That Jumped Off the Screen

from NYT > Movies by By BROOKS BARNES

The story of how “Monsters vs. Aliens” went from two
dimensions to three.

Animation’s A-List Actors

from Media News by Lauren Streib

Meet the 10 most successful actors at getting audiences to
tune into ‘toons.

First Look! Drew Barrymore’s Gardens Party Poster

from E! Online – Movie News

It may be called Grey Gardens, but HBO’s upcoming film based
on the classic 1970s documentary is anything but grey.

Brad Pitt And Natalie Portman: Onscreen Lovers

from Entertainment on by The Huffington Post
News Team

Paramount Pictures has attached Brad Pitt and Natalie
Portman to star in a film based on the new Leanne Shapton book “Important
Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold
Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry.”


from Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzbaum

Mission: Impossible 4 Being Prepped?

from /Film by (

Aint It Cool News have run a story from one of their
readers, reporting that Tom Cruise has appeared on Japanese television
and revealed plans for the 4th Mission: Impossible film.

I Love You, Man

from Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman

The Great Buck Howard

from Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman

EXCLUSIVE: ‘X-Men 3 Director Brett Ratner Says ‘There’s Nothing Left’ In Comics For Him
To Adapt

from Splash Page by Casey Seijas
He’s the rumored front-runner to call the shots on a “Conan” revamp, he’s officially onboard
to produce and direct an adaptation of Rob Liefeld’s “Youngblood,”
and he already has one financially successful comic book adaptation under his
belt (2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand“), but Hollywood heavyweight Brett Ratner
isn’t done with comics. In fact, he wants to do more movies based on them.


Justin Long is ‘Going the Distance’

from – Film News

Film News: Adam Shankman producing New Line comedy — New
Line is “Going the Distance” with Justin Long, tapping the thesp for
the lead role in its romantic comedy to be directed by Nanette Burstein.

X-Men 2 Screenwriter Dan Harris To Adapt Dante’s Inferno

from /Film by (
In November, Universal Pictures won a bidding war to develop a big screen movie adaptation
of Dante’s Inferno, the yet-to-be-released video game from
Electronic Arts. Variety reports that Dan Harris, screenwriter of Superman
and X2: X-Men United, has been hired to pen the adaptation.


Sin Nombre

from Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman

Lionsgate Premieres Crank 2 Poster on Twitter

from /Film by (

Lionsgate has released the outdoor poster advertising for Crank:
High Voltage
on Twitter,
making them the first studio to premiere exclusive content on the
micro-blogging platform.

EXCLUSIVE: Watch Paul Dano Fall For Zooey Deschanel In

from MTV Movies Blog by Brian Jacks

One of the quirkiest romantic films of the year, “Gigantic”
stars Paul Dano as a high-end mattress salesman from a dysfunctional family,
who falls for a customer played by the always lovely Zooey Deschanel.


Obama to appear on ‘Tonight Show’

from – Entertainment

Guests on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” usually
appear to promote a movie, TV show, book or album, but President Obama will
visit the NBC show Thursday to make the case for his financial rescue plans.

Access to Obama-Leno show stirs controversy

from Television

President Barack Obama is hoping to use comedian Jay Leno’s
late-night show to add a light touch to his work getting the economy on track.
But news photographers who cover the White House aren’t laughing.


‘Dancing With Stars’ Tops Monday Night

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

MINNEAPOLIS ( — Genres reflecting their relative
ratings popularity told the tale of Monday night’s — and all season’s —
ratings race. Reality TV led ABC to a first-place 4.6/12 rating and share in
the ad-centric 18-to-49 demographic, as “Dancing With the Stars”
shone as TV’s top-rated show Monday night, with a 5.3/14. “Dancing,”
however, had 13% less spring in its step than last week’s program premiere, but
the news was better for ABC at 10 p.m., with new drama “Castle,” which
eroded “only” 3% from last week, to a 2.9/8.

Where Did All the Broadcast Viewers Go Tuesday Night?

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

MINNEAPOLIS ( — Maybe Americans were so mad about
the song and dance from AIG’s CEO that they tuned out the song-and-dance
reality shows designed to get away from the world’s woes. Whatever the reason,
both Fox’s “American Idol” and ABC’s “Dancing With the
Stars” results show — as well as NBC’s weight-loss reality show “Biggest
Loser” — lost viewers last night. But then again, so did CBS’s dramas,
which returned from two weeks of repeats and delivered their lowest
original-episode ratings this season.

VH1 resuscitates ‘Behind the Music’

from Hollywood Reporter by By James Hibberd

VH1 is reviving its former signature series “Behind the
Music,” with Lil Wayne and Scott Weiland signed on to participate in the
documentary program.

NBC tuning up singing competition series

from Hollywood Reporter by By James Hibberd

NBC is launching a singing competition series destined to
draw comparisons to Fox’s “American Idol.”

NBC’s Zucker Defends Network’s New Programming Schedule

from Advertising Age – MediaWorks

NEW YORK ( — NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker tried
to put the best spin possible on the media industry’s increasing woes, saying
during a question-and-answer session today that he was placing faith in his
company’s cable assets while NBC and others attempt to figure out how to
monetize TV and other programming in an increasingly digital world.

`The Colbert Report’ set for USO Persian Gulf tour

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stephen Colbert is taking his Comedy
Central show to the Persian Gulf.

Ask Ausiello: State of (Seattle) Grace

from Today’s Latest Headlines by Michael Ausiello

Michael Ausiello has ”Grey’s” scoop — some engaging, some

CBS renews `Two and a Half Men,’ `Big Bang Theory’

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — CBS says it’s reached deals to keep the
comedies “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” on the
air for several more seasons.

Bravo to air ‘Housewives of New Jersey’

from Entertainment News –

NEW YORK, March 19 (UPI) — Bravo has announced plans to air a new reality show
called “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Locklear not returning to ‘Melrose’

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, March 19 (UPI) — U.S. actress Heather Locklear
has opted not to appear in the updated version of her 1990s TV series
“Melrose Place,” a source says.

‘Life on Mars’ to wrap up next month

from Entertainment News –

NEW YORK, March 18 (UPI) — The series finale of the
1970s-set, sci-fi New York cop drama “Life on Mars” is scheduled to
air next month, ABC announced.

Joss Whedon says ‘Dollhouse’ has hit its stride

from L.A. Times – TV News

Show’s creator says it’s a turning point for the series this
week with ‘Man on the Street.’


‘Wanted’ is No. 1 on the U.S. album chart

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, March 18 (UPI) — Kelly Clarkson’s “All I
Ever Wanted” is No. 1 on the U.S. album chart, reported

New Jonas Brothers album due June 15

from The Hollywood Reporter – Music by By Gary Graff, Billboard

The Jonas Brothers are nearing completion of their fourth
album, due out June 15, which the trio says will take the band in some new
sonic directions.

Mac’s Buckingham, Nicks still have sparks

from – Entertainment

Most musicians don’t like doing interviews at their homes.
It’s much too private. Stevie Nicks, however, has no problem inviting
journalists to her big colonial house in Pacific Palisades, half a mile above
the California coastline.

West charged in paparazzi fracas

from Entertainment News –

LOS ANGELES, March 18 (UPI) — Hip-hop artist Kanye West was
charged Wednesday in Los Angeles with misdemeanor vandalism, battery and grand
theft in a paparazzi incident, officials said.

New York Dolls reunite with Rundgren for new album

from Reuters: Entertainment News

LONDON (Billboard) – Veteran rock act the New York Dolls
will issue its fourth album, “Cause I Sez So,” on May 5 in the U.S.
and a day earlier in the U.K.


Family devastated by Richardson’s death

from – Entertainment

Natasha Richardson, a film star, Tony-winning stage actress
and a member of the famed Redgrave acting family, has died after suffering
injuries in a ski accident. She was 45.

Heath Ledger-directed music video set for release

from AP Top Entertainment News At 11:05 …

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Modest Mouse music video directed by
the late Heath Ledger is set for release this year.

Broadway thriving despite recession

from Reuters: Entertainment News

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – If this is how a recession
affects Broadway, well then, bring it on!

Obama signs deal for post-presidency book

from Life – Top Stories

President Barack Obama already has a job lined up after his presidency: writing another book.

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