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New mother Julia Roberts has been given an extra reason to celebrate - she's topped The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of highest-paid actresses yet again. The Oscar-winning star, who gave birth to twins Hazel Patricia and Phinnaeus Walter late last month, pulls in a salary of $20 million per picture. Others named in the Women In Entertainment issue are Cameron Diaz, who also takes in $20 million, and Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, who each earn $15 million. The publication also looks at the salaries of "next generation" actresses, with Kirsten Dunst earning $8 million, Lindsay Lohan pulling in $7.5 million and $3 million being paid to Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore. Sarah Michelle Gellar trails the roster with a salary of $2 million.The top 10 is as follows: 1. Julia Roberts - $20 Million 2. Cameron Diaz - $20 Million 3. Nicole Kidman - $15 Million 4. Reese Witherspoon - $15 Million 5. Drew Barrymore - $15 Million 6. Halle Berry - $14 Million 7. Sandra Bullock - $12-15 Million 8. Angelina Jolie - $12-15 Million 9. Renee Zellweger - $12 Million 10. Jennifer Lopez - $12 Million »
Mark Ruffalo has signed on to play the killer Perry Smith in Warner Independent Pictures/Killer Films' Every Word Is True, about Truman Capote and the writing of In Cold Blood. Ruffalo takes over the part that was originally to be played by Mark Wahlberg. Other cast members include Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow and Toby Jones. Doug McGrath directs. Ruffalo is repped by WMA. »
Hollywood actress Sandra Bullock has been awarded $7 million in damages, after a court battle with a builder she accused of doing shoddy work on her Texas home. Bullock, who left for Los Angeles on Wednesday to work on a film, was not present for the verdict when it was delivered in the city of Austin yesterday. The lengthy trial began in August, with Bullock's lawyers arguing that Benny Daneshjou was responsible for $4 million in repairs needed to the house, a 10,000 square foot mansion which was never finished. Witnesses testified the house had water damage, faulty framing on the roof, wiring within the dry wall that was too small and damage in the masonry. Bullock has never lived in the house. Daneshjou's lawyers said former project manager David Shrum and most of the sub-contractors on the job were to blame. The jury found that Shrum breached his duties but did not hold him responsible for damages. Daneshjou's lawyers say their client plans to appeal. »
Uma Thurman has a new best friend. As Prime started production Wednesday, Thurman has taken over the leading role following Sandra Bullock's departure from the project. And Annie Parisse has joined the cast to play Katherine, the best buddy of Thurman's character. Thurman entered the picture late last month after Bullock withdrew over issues regarding script approval. Thurman plays a woman who falls in love with the son (Bryan Greenberg) of her therapist (Meryl Streep). Ben Younger is directing from his own script. Jennifer and Suzanne Todd, Bob Yari and Mark Gordon are producing, with Universal Pictures distributing. "We are thrilled to have it all up and running," Suzanne Todd said. Parisse most recently shot Monster-in-Law for New Line Cinema and will be seen in the Walt Disney Co.'s National Treasure with Nicolas Cage. She also appeared in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with Kate Hudson. She is repped by the Gersh Agency. »
Screened at the Toronoto International Film Festival
A decade after Rodney King, people of different colors still can't just get along in the ethnically divided city of Los Angeles. That's the message according to director Paul Haggis' debut, Crash, premiered as a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.
This ensemble drama, with stories and characters connected to one another through threads of racial misunderstanding and stupid stereotyping, is a heartfelt plea for tolerance and civil kindness featuring some great work by a huge cast including Don Cheadle, Thandie Newton, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe. Unfortunately, it also feels like another middle-class conscience exercise in multicultural promotion.
That's the bad news. The good news is this kind of white, liberal movie should generate a load of positive reviews and attract a more lucrative mass audience than, say, a racial/political Spike Lee movie. In a slow year, this might even win some Oscar attention.
As the film begins, there's a fender bender on a cordoned road on a hill. An Asian woman starts screaming at the Latin woman she collided with. Later on, a white couple is carjacked by two black kids, an Iranian shopkeeper receives racial slurs from a redneck when he tries to buy a gun to protect himself, and a black TV executive and his wife are roughed up and molested by white cops who've had a bad day.
Each incident triggers further anger and resentment, with victims then perpetrating their own ignorance and stereotype on the next racially different person they encounter. The politics of it all is further complicated as the carjacked white district attorney (Brendan Fraser) and a black detective (Cheadle) struggle between "sending the right message" and "doing the right thing" when a suspected dirty black cop is accidentally shot by a white off-duty policeman with prior similar incidents.
Although you can't argue with the film's earnest themes of collective redemption and forgiveness, it's not a new message.
Haggis is a transplanted Canadian who previously worked on such TV shows as "ER," L.A. Law and "thirtysomething." The idea for the movie also derived from a carjacking he experienced. Perhaps this is why he depicts each scene of racial antagonism with such a dramatic sense of urgent significance. Maybe he never experienced it before he moved south.
But the narrative does feel like territory already covered in TV dramas like NYPD Blue, Third Watch and those Haggis used to work on. The individual stories themselves are not without merit, and one wonders if each character segment would be more effective if it was expanded into its own full-length film.
Instead, focus on the beautiful sheen of the cinematography. Also enjoy the wonderful performances by a cast very committed to the cause. Cheadle is terrific, as usual, as a conflicted cop with a gang-troubled brother and drug-addicted mother. Bullock is shockingly good playing against type as an uptight upper-class housewife who thinks every Latino person is up to no good. Dillon nicely balances sympathy, villainy and arrogance as a cop stressed by his ill father. Also worthy of note is Terrence Howard as the successful black Hollywood exec whose identity as a man and as a black man is questioned after an encounter with LAPD.
On its own, Crash does succeed as a moving reflection of modern social alienation and paranoia. If only it came out 10 years ago, then it could have been called an original and brave work as well.
Bob Yari Productions and DEJ Productions presents
A BlackFriar's Bridge and Harris Company production
An ApolloProscreen production
A Bull's Eye Entertainment production
Director: Paul Haggis
Co-Producer: Betsy Danbury
Writer: Paul Haggis, Bobby Moresco
Director of photography: J. Michael Muro
Production designer: Laurence Bennett
Costume designer: Linda Bass
Editor: Hughes Winborne
Music: Mark Isham
Graham: Don Cheadle
Jean: Sandra Bullock
Officer Ryan: Matt Dillon
Rick: Brendan Fraser
Cameron: Terrence Howard
Christine: Thandie Newton
Anthony: Chris Ludacris Bridges
Peter: Lorenz Tate
Farhad: Shaun Toub
Shaniqua: Loretta Devine
Fred: Tony Danza
Flanagan: William Fichtner
Ria: Jennifer Esposito
MPAA rating: R
Running time -- 100 minutes »
TORONTO -- A flurry of wheeling and dealing marked the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival, with a slew of pacts closing and further features primed to sell in the coming days. Lions Gate Films won a bidding war for the star-studded ensemble drama Crash, while Sony Pictures Classics closed deals on two foreign titles -- Kim Ki-duk's 3-Iron and Jan Hrebejk's Up and Down. Meantime, Palm Pictures targeted the Iraq-set Gunner Palace as the fest' first documentary buy. Other films generating heat North of the Border now include the feature docu Three of Hearts, Ra'up McGee's homage to '60s French film noir Automne and the U.K. import My Summer of Love. As expected, the hotly tipped Crash -- a Los Angeles-set ensemble drama featuring Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, Thandie Newton, Ryan Phillippe, Jennifer Esposito and Larenz Tate -- prompted instantaneous offers from buyers after its Friday premiere in the Special Presentations section. »
Now that Sandra Bullock has stepped away from writer-director Ben Younger's Prime, Uma Thurman has risen to the top of the list of possible replacements for the project, which is set to begin filming Sept. 7. Although no offer has been made yet, Thurman, who most recently starred in the Kill Bill movies, is likely to be paged to play a thirtysomething woman who falls for the son (Bryan Greenberg) of her therapist (Meryl Streep). Bullock has signaled that she will not do the film unless script issues are resolved to her approval (HR 8/26). The film is being produced by Team Todd and financed and executive produced by Stratus Films. Universal and Focus are distributing. »
Two weeks before Prime is set to begin filming, Sandra Bullock has dropped out of the project -- at least for the moment. Bullock was to have starred as a thirtysomething woman who falls for her therapist's twentysomething son in the screenplay by Ben Younger, who will also direct. But according to a representative for the actress, Bullock, who has script approval, was not satisfied with the latest draft turned in early this month. While confirming that Bullock is off the project, the rep said that she still might do the movie if a script can be agreed upon. A source close to the producers indicated that the film had been in preproduction for more than two months, including cast readings and costume fittings in which Bullock fully participated. The producers expect that she will continue to uphold her contractual commitment to the film's Sept. 7 start date. Team Todd is producing, with Stratus Films financing and Stratus principal Bob Yari executive producing along with Mark Gordon. Universal, which has a first-look deal with Stratus, is releasing the picture domestically, with Focus Features handling international rights. It remains unclear what project Bullock might do next if she is no longer in Prime. Warner Independent Pictures/Killer Films is in early negotiations with the actress to star in their upcoming Truman Capote feature Every Word Is True, which is due to start shooting in January. Bullock is repped by CAA. »
TORONTO -- The Toronto International Film Festival today is set to unveil the entire film lineup for its 29th edition, which is shaping up as a battle of bigger movie directors and stars. Toronto is expected to unveil a lineup of around 325 films for its Sept. 9-18 run and said that already in-line to be at the festival are: Sandra Bullock and Matt Dillon to promote Paul Haggis' Crash; Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert, Mark Wahlberg and Jason Schwartzman getting behind the world premiere of David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees; and Charlize Theron in town to plug Head in the Clouds. Other stars confirmed for Toronto include Liam Neeson with Bill Condon's Kinsey and Nick Nolte and Maggie Cheung promoting Olivier Assayas' Festival de Cannes hit Clean. »
Actress Sandra Bullock has entered a Texas courtroom to fight the builder she hired to build her a luxury home, accusing him of constructing an unlivable abode. Developer MB 'Benny' Daneshjou claims the Miss Congeniality star - who appeared at Travis County court Wednesday - owes him money for the work carried out on her Lake Austin house, which he claims is perfectly well built. He filed a lawsuit against the actress but she countersued, claiming the house was defective. Travis County District Judge Paul Davis banned cameras from his courtroom for the trial that's expected to last more than a month, because he doesn't want her celebrity status to make an impact on the case. The actress - who has been entangled in litigation with Daneshjou for several years - was in the courtroom for jury selection as potential jurors were asked if her celebrity would be a factor in reaching a verdict. Bullock laughed when a woman failed to realize she was a movie star, instead believing she was a former wife of late Texas political giant Bob Bullock. The sexy actress, 40, first contracted with Daneshjou in 1997 to build the lakefront house. She also agreed to become a partner with him in a development project. But she now claims the home needed massive repairs and that Daneshjou committed fraud in the development project in which she invested more than $300,000. Opening statements in the case are expected to begin this week. »
Oscar winning beauty Gwyneth Paltrow was so eager to play singing legend Peggy Lee, she offered to work for minimum pay. The Shakespeare In Love actress waived her usual $18 million-per-movie fee because she was desperate to secure the lead in independent film Every Word Is True, which has a budget of just $10.8 million. An insider says, "Gwyneth really wants to do this film. Money is not important." The film is about writer Truman Capote's bizarre friendship with convicted murderers Dick Hancock and Perry Smith, with showbiz sensation Peggy trying to persuade Capote to get away from the pair. Hollywood hunk Mark Wahlberg will play Smith and Sandra Bullock will take on the role of Capote's research assistant Harper Lee. »
Miss Congeniality star Sandra Bullock and her beau Jesse James have sparked speculation they're planning to wed, after they were spotted shopping for diamond rings. Eyewitnesses say the love birds were seen at the Neil Lane store in Los Angeles on June 26, lingering over "a very large cushion cut" diamond engagement ring. Both stars' representatives insist the two were at the diamond store shopping for "gifts". But pals tell America's Star magazine that as soon as James' divorce to porn star Janine Lindemulder is finalized the pair will wed. The marriage would mark the third trip down the aisle for TV tough guy James, while it would be the first for Bullock, who in the past has been romantically linked to Tate Donovan, Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Gosling. »
Scribe Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal is teaming with Sandra Bullock and her Fortis Films on the indie biopic Grace. The project is based on the life of scribe Grace Metalious, whose first novel was the 1956 tome Peyton Place, an inspiration for both a television show and a feature film. The success of such a unique book for the time period brought Metalious many rewards, but it also led to a broken marriage, family problems and alcohol addiction that eventually took her life less than 10 years later. Bullock and her Fortis Films are producing along with Carol Baum. »
Gymnasts, journalists and witches were the only things drawing any kind of crowd on Sunday on the rerun-dominated Big Four networks. CBS' 7 p.m. mainstay 60 Minutes was the most-watched show on a low-rated night overall for the major broadcasters. The newsmagazine averaged 10.9 million viewers and 2.0 rating/7 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. ABC won the night in adults 18-49 (2.5/8) on the strength of its 9-11 p.m. telecast of the 1998 Nicole Kidman-Sandra Bullock starrer Practical Magic (7.3 million, 2.9/8). NBC opened the night with two hours of coverage of gymnastics Olympic trials, which got off to a slow start but built steadily throughout its 7-9 p.m. block to average 5.7 million viewers and 2.0/7 in adults 18-49. Repeats of drama Cold Case and 9-11 p.m. telefilm The Soul Collector kept CBS on top in total viewers for the night (9.7 million), followed by NBC (7.4 million). Fox tied with NBC for No. 2 spot for the night in adults 18-49 (2.4/7) with its regular comedy repeat lineup. »
The Firm has signed Brendan Fraser, DMX and Oscar-winning scribe Ron Bass. Fraser, who continues to be repped by WMA and attorney Patti Felker, most recently finished filming the indie drama Crash opposite Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe for writer-director Paul Haggis. Fraser's other recent credits include Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Quiet American and The Mummy Returns. »
American TV tough guy Jesse James is warning paparazzi to leave him and girlfriend Sandra Bullock alone, because he's prone to get violent. The Miss Congeniality star and her Monster Garage host biker boyfriend have become hunted by snappers ever since they started dating earlier this year - and he's getting sick of the attention. The tattooed tough guys says, "Those paparazzi had better shove to the shopper or they're gonna get the s**t beat out of them - and that's a fact." James, who was a classic car and bike mechanic before he signed up to host his own show about speedy rides, has customized cars and bikes for pals like Kid Rock, Keanu Reeves and basketball legend Michael Jordan. »
Movie beauty Sandra Bullock's unconventional romance with TV actor Jesse James is getting serious - the wildman has had her name tattooed on his wrist. The Speed actress, 39, has been dating 34-year-old Monster Garage star James since December after ending her long term romance with Murder By Numbers co-star Ryan Gosling. And sources close to the couple say they are looking forward to a happy future together, hence the romantic body art. One whispers, "The ink is barely dry." »
Without a Trace star Enrique Murciano is ready to make his mark on the big screen, signing on to star as the love interest of Sandra Bullock's character in Miss Congeniality 2. John Pasquin is directing for Warner Bros. Pictures, with shooting scheduled to start next month in Los Angeles, followed by New York and Las Vegas. The project, a Castle Rock Entertainment presentation in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, stars Bullock as FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart. Bullock's character heads to Las Vegas on a new case with a fellow FBI agent, played by Regina King. Murciano will star as a liaison with the Las Vegas bureau of the FBI who falls for Hart after recently being dumped by his own girlfriend. Heather Burns and William Shatner also star. Bullock produces from a script by Marc Lawrence. Mary McLaglen is executive producing. Murciano is repped by the Gersh Agency. His big-screen credits include Traffic and Black Hawk Down. »
Regina King is in final negotiations to star opposite Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2 for Warner Bros. Pictures and helmer John Pasquin. Shooting starts next month in Los Angeles, followed by New York and Las Vegas. The project, a Castle Rock Entertainment presentation in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, finds Bullock reprising her role as FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart. King will play Samantha, a fellow FBI agent. The duo -- at odds with each other at first -- are partnered up and must head to Las Vegas on a new case they've been assigned. Heather Burns and William Shatner also star. Bullock will again produce from a script by Marc Lawrence, who also penned the original Donald Petrie-directed film. Mary McLaglen is executive producing. Released in 2000, the first installment cleared $100 million at the boxoffice from a budget in the $45 million range. King is repped by the Gersh Agency and manager John Carrabino. She next stars in the features Cinderella Story opposite Hilary Duff and Jennifer Coolidge for Warners and Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story opposite Jamie Foxx for Universal Pictures. »
Universal Pictures has struck a deal for domestic distribution rights for the romantic comedy Prime, starring Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep. Universal specialty arm Focus Features will handle all international sales on the Stratus Film Co. project, which is in preproduction with a fall start planned. Written and to be directed by Ben Younger, Prime centers on a successful thirtysomething woman (Bullock) who inadvertently falls for the twentysomething son of her therapist (Streep). Jennifer Todd and Suzanne Todd are producing, with Stratus' Bob Yari and Mark Gordon serving as executive producers. International sales are being handled at AFM. "We are really excited by this project, and it's great to have Focus on board," Yari said. " 'Prime' combines great comedic writing and a very talented young director with a really, really strong cast. Having both Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep in the same film is about as good as it gets." »
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