24 March 2006
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Director Richard Fleischer Dies at 89
Director Richard Fleischer
, a prolific filmmaker who helmed such movies as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
, Fantastic Voyage
, and Soylent Green
, died Saturday of natural causes in Los Angeles; he was 89. The son of pioneering animator Max Fleischer
(one of the men behind famed characters Betty Boop and Popeye), Richard joined RKO's New York branch in the early 40s as a writer and producer for the studio's Flicker Flashbacks
series and won an Oscar for the documentary Design for Death
. By the end of the decade was ensconced in Hollywood, directing a number of low-budget noir thrillers, one of his most famous being the train-set The Narrow Margin
, one of the first films to use a handheld camera and filmed in only 13 days; it was later remade in the 90s. In 1954, Fleischer got his big break courtesy of Walt Disney
(his father's rival), who tapped him to direct the big-screen adaptation of Jules Verne
's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
starring Kirk Douglas
and James Mason
. Disney's first entire live-action movie made in the United States, it became one of the studio's most famous and well-known films, inspiring attractions at Disney's theme parks that utilized versions of the Nautilus
submarine and the famed battle with a giant squid. Fleischer's career was marked by forays into numerous genres, with some of his more notable movies being The Vikings
(1958), Fantastic Voyage
(1966), The Boston Strangler
(1968), Tora! Tora! Tora!
(1970), Soylent Green
(1973), and the Neil Diamond
version of The Jazz Singer
(1980). He also directed some of Hollywood's most well-known flops, including the Oscar-nominated musical Doctor Dolittle
, the biopic Che!
and the slave drama Mandingo
. Throughout the 80s, Fleischer worked on a number of modern-day B movies, including cult faves Conan the Destroyer
(starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Grace Jones
) and Red Sonja
. He is survived by his wife, Mary, three children and five grandchildren. --Prepared by IMDb staff
Jackson's Snake Film Creates Huge Buzz
Samuel L. Jackson
's new mile-high thriller Snakes On A Plane
has created such a buzz among internet film fans, movie bosses have called for re-shoots - to give the film a tougher rating. The film, which stars Jackson as an FBI agent trying to keep a federal witness alive onboard a plane full of snakes, wrapped last September - but went back before the cameras earlier this month for five days of additional shooting. Film bosses at distributor New Line Cinema opted to add new scenes to the film to take the movie from PG-13 into R-rated territory, according to industry magazine The Hollywood Reporter. They claim the second round of filming became necessary after intense and growing fan interest in the film, which is scheduled to be released this summer. Among the reported additions to the film is a foul-mouthed rant from Jackson in which his agent character bellows, "I want these motherf**king snakes off the motherf**king plane!" The line is expected to take on cult status. The film-makers have reportedly added more gore, more deaths, more nudity and more snakes to the finished product.
Cruise Reenacts Oprah Moment
Mission: Impossible III
star Tom Cruise
reenacted his sofa-jumping escapade on The Oprah Winfrey Show
when he appeared at Yahoo's Influential Speakers showcase on Tuesday. The Jerry Maguire
actor took to the stage in Sunnyvale, California, with the internet company's chief executive Terry Semel
and answered questions and had an impromptu arm wrestle before pointing fun at the way he expressed his love for fiancee Katie Holmes
last year. Cruise then brought his pregnant wife-to-be onto the stage and kissed her in front of the audience.
Pitt's Publicist Slams Bruise Reports
Actor Brad Pitt
's publicist has slammed reports that there is anything wrong with the handsome actor's face, after he reportedly showed up at an elegant Paris, France, restaurant with bruises and a swollen lip. The Fight Club
star was spotted at the posh L'Avenue restaurant on Monday, where patrons claim he looked a little worse for wear. A fellow diner at the restaurant tells American magazine In Touch, "He had a nasty bruise on his face, a swollen lip and eye." The star spent most of the night at the pricey restaurant, enjoying a four-hour dinner with a friend. Pitt's publicist Cindy Guagenti
claims, "There is nothing wrong, he does not have any bruises or cuts."
Willis Retracts Colombian Drug Rant
Hollywood hardman Bruce Willis
has apologized to Colombia after blaming the nation for America's drug problems. The Die Hard
star now insists the US is as much to blame for the prolific trade, and confesses he didn't mean to single out any one country as the supplier. He tells the New York Daily News, "I spoke to the Colombians. It's fine. I get passionate sometimes. I said Colombia because it was the first country to come to mind. (The drug problem) has as much to do with what's going on in this country. If there wasn't a demand, there wouldn't be a supply." The actor was dubbed "ignorant" and "ungrateful" by the Colombian president for his comments earlier this month, and advised not to base his arguments on "Hollywood clichés."
Sheen Airs 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Actor Charlie Sheen
refuses to accept the official explanation behind the terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001, and believes the US government covered up what really happened. Conspiracy theorist Sheen claims New York City's Twin Towers fell as the result of a "controlled demolition." Talking on US radio program The Alex Jones Show
on the GGN network, he said, "It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box-cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 per cent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions. A couple of years ago, it was severely unpopular to talk about any of this. It feels like from the people I talk to, and the research I've done and around my circles, it feels like the worm is turning." Sheen also cast doubt over the plane that smashed into the side of the Pentagon in Washington DC. He added, "Just show us how this particular plane pulled off these maneuvers... It is up to us to reveal the truth. It is up to us because we owe it to the families, we owe it to the victims, we owe it to everyone's life who was drastically altered, horrifically, that day and forever. We owe it to them to uncover what happened."
Herzog Hails Bale
German director Werner Herzog
has hailed Christian Bale
one of the greatest actors of his time. The pair worked together on prisoner-of-war thriller Rescue Dawn
, but the 63-year-old film-maker insists he spotted Bale's prodigious talent long before they met on set. Herzog says, "I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman." In the film, based on true events, Bale's character gets shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War and must hatch an escape plan when he is captured and tortured.
Murray Dating Another Co-Star
One Tree Hill
star Chad Michael Murray
has hooked up with another beauty from the hit TV show - an extra who has just turned 18 years old. The 24-year-old Freaky Friday
star - who split from co-star Sophia Bush
last September after just five months of marriage - is reportedly now dating Kenzie Dalton, who plays a cheerleader on the teen drama. The actress, who is also a model, confirms the relationship saying, "We've been going out since December." The couple have largely kept their relationship out of the limelight, because they started dated when Dalton was only 17 years old. She explains, "Chad and I just hang out. We don't really go out at night." Life on the set of the teen drama is understandably tense, with the ex-couple still working together and Dalton has a frosty relationship with Murray's ex-wife. She says, "Sophia and I don't talk, but she is aware of our relationship."
Hilton Chasing Two New Beaus
Socialite Paris Hilton
is hunting for the perfect guy after reportedly dumping boyfriend Stavros Niarchos at a recent party at Los Angeles' Roosevelt Hotel. The Simple Life
star, who told Newsweek magazine last year she plans to start a family in 2007, has narrowed her chase for her next boy toy down to two - winter Olympian-turned-American football hopeful Jeremy Bloom
and her ex, model Jason Shaw
. Friends now confide that the hotel heiress, 25, has been chatting with her first fiance, Jason Shaw
, while making a subtle play for Bloom at Hollywood parties. At last week's EA/Paramount Pictures launch of Godfather: The Game
at Los Angeles hotspot Privilege, Hilton spent the evening asking organizers when hunky Bloom was arriving. A party planner says, "Paris kept asking about him, claiming that a friend had a crush on him. But all her girl friends said it was really Paris who had a crush on him. Jeremy was not able to attend at the last minute due to other responsibilities. After missing out on Jeremy, Paris was overheard asking her friends, 'Are there any hot guys here? I need a hot guy.'" She might not have got her man, but Paris still left the party in style - showing off her brand new $450,000 Mercedes Benz McLaren to pal and fellow party-goer Snoop Dogg
Crow Makes First Public Appearance Since Cancer Operation
Rocker Sheryl Crow
made her first public appearance on Monday since undergoing successful treatment for breast cancer last month. The singer ventured out to see her friend Chrissie Hynde
perform with The Pretenders at the Rock and Republic fashion show in Los Angeles. Crow braved torrential rain to get to the event saying, "That's some serious dedication right there." The 44-year-old underwent a minimally invasive procedure to remove a lump and is receiving preventative radiation therapy. She adds, "I'm the walking poster child for mammograms. I'm just taking care of myself right now. I'm really dedicating my life to getting back on my feet, living in a really healthy way and appreciating life."
Ford Dismisses Retirement Rumors
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Movie veteran Harrison Ford
has refused to retire any time soon, although he will be a senior citizen in just two years time. The 63-year-old, who did his own fight scenes in recent thriller Firewall
, insists he's still fit enough for the big screen. He says, "The notion of retirement is that you have outlived your usefulness and I'm still working. I'm not sitting on the front porch." Last week, Ford confirmed he will reprise his role as swashbuckling adventurer Indiana Jones in a long-awaited sequel.