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'Cold Mountain' hot with eight noms to lead Golden Globes

19 December 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

With a pack-leading eight nominations for Cold Mountain, Miramax Films was in the enviable position of watching history repeat itself as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced nominations for its 61st annual Golden Globe Awards on Thursday morning. Just as Miramax razzle-dazzled the HFPA last year with Chicago, which also earned eight nominations, writer-director Anthony Minghella's epic adaptation of Charles Frazier's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a love tested by the Civil War, which will be released Christmas Day, outdistanced its closest competition -- Focus Features' Lost in Translation and Warner Bros. Pictures' Mystic River, which racked up five nominations each. Among the HFPA's television nominations, the day belonged to HBO's Angels in America, Mike Nichols' six-hour adaptation of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-winning play about AIDS in the age of Reagan, which commanded seven nominations. »

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Zeta-Jones Bond Girl Reports "Totally False"

28 November 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Catherine Zeta-Jones's representative has denied the Oscar-winner will be the next Bond girl. British magazine New! had claimed studio bosses were courting Catherine for the lead female role in the next 007 action film, and she was particularly excited at the prospect of a singing the movie's theme song - and potentially achieving a worldwide hit single. But according to Msnbc website The Scoop, a spokesperson for the Chicago actress has slammed the reports as "totally false". »

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In the Cut

18 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Screened

Toronto International Film Festival

Jane Campion has applied her considerable filmmaking talents to the complex psychological thriller genre with some erotically charged but ultimately disappointing results.

Taking Susanna Moore's 1995 noir best seller as her blueprint, Campion has crafted a female-driven vehicle that doesn't shy away from the darker, not-always-pretty corners of human impulses.

But though she has drawn a couple of admirably courageous performances from leads Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo, In the Cut fails to hit those all-important marks intrinsic to the success of every screen crime thriller.

Serious character credibility issues aside, the tension in the film keeps going slack when it should be winding ever so tightly, while the obligatory twist ending (with a coda that differs significantly from the novel) comes as a major, dramatically limp, letdown.

Those steamy encounters, combined with Campion's own deserved following, should help the Screen Gems picture generate some initial business, but critical word-of-mouth isn't going to be encouraging.

Stripped of nonessential cosmetics as well as her bag of perky acting tricks, Ryan delivers a fearless, emotionally raw performance as Frannie Avery, a single New York writing professor who seems to use her lank, mousy brown hair to shield herself from the city's colder elements.

One such element surfaces in the form of the grisly murder of a young woman that took place near Frannie's apartment, and NYPD Detective Michael Malloy (Ruffalo) turns up to question her in the hope that she might have seen the potential perp.

Frannie has reason to believe that she recognizes Malloy as the man with the odd tattoo on his wrist whom she spied having a quickie encounter with a woman in the murky basement of a local bar.

Although she tries to keep her distance, Frannie finds herself being increasingly attracted to Malloy, and with the approval of her half sister, Pauline Jennifer Jason Leigh), she enters into a sordid relationship with him.

Meanwhile, as the killer continues to go about his business, the whodunit possibilities also mount, and Frannie begins to suspect Malloy. Or could it be her stalker of an ex-boyfriend (Kevin Bacon)? Or one of her more intense students (Sharrieff Pugh), who's writing a paper contending the innocence of serial killer John Wayne Gacy?

Campion, in tandem with cinematographer Dion Beebe (Chicago) and production designer David Brisbin (City of Ghosts), does an effective job of creating the dread-soaked atmosphere. There's a palpable menace lurking around every neon-flickering corner.

She also gets those sweaty liaisons down cold, or rather hot, with a matter-of-fact frankness that might have felt less convincing in the hands of a male director.

But it's the scripting, handled by Campion and Moore, that proves the picture's ultimate undoing. There's nothing wrong with grafting a psychological study of the boundaries of contemporary intimacy onto the thriller framework, provided that all the analysis doesn't interfere with the genre's constantly spinning wheels.

In the end, by not respecting those fundamental rules, In the Cut emerges as a frustrating cop-out.

In the Cut

Screen Gems

Credits:

Director: Jane Campion

Executive producers: Effie T. Brown, Francois Ivernel

Producers: Laurie Parker, Nicole Kidman

Screenplay: Jane Campion and Susanna Moore

Director of photography: Dion Beebe

Production designer: David Brisbin

Editor: Alexandre de Franceschi

Costume designer: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor

Music: Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson

Cast:

Frannie Avery: Meg Ryan

Detective Malloy: Mark Ruffalo

Pauline: Jennifer Jason Leigh

John Graham: Kevin Bacon

Detective Rodriguez: Nick Damici

Cornelius: Sharrieff Pugh

Running time -- 113 minutes

MPAA rating: R »

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CBS pulls 'Reagans' miniseries

4 November 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Following a storm of protest, CBS has yanked its sweep miniseries The Reagans, a controversial four-hour glimpse of the 40th president and his family, sources close to the production said. CBS chief Leslie Moonves made the decision after concluding that the film was unfair to the Reagans and that even extensive edits had not produced an acceptably balanced portrayal. The only question that remains is whether the miniseries will be picked up by the cable net Showtime -- like CBS, a unit of Viacom -- or shelved entirely, sources said. The miniseries was scheduled to bow Nov. 16 on CBS. The Reagans, executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan (Chicago), has been vehemently attacked by critics who complained that early drafts of scripts leaked to the press have included scenes with little or no basis in historical fact. »

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Rob Marshall Hopes To Direct Geisha Film

27 October 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Director Rob Marshall is confident he will win a battle with movie giants Miramax for the right to direct new movie Memoirs Of A Geisha. The Chicago movie maker is at loggerheads with Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein because the film version of Arthur Golden's 1997 novel is being made by rival studios Columbia and Dreamworks - and Marshall is contractually obliged to make his next movie for Miramax. Nevertheless Marshall is optimistic he'll win out. He says, "It's complicated because it involves a lot of different players, you know. "I mean, it's flattering in a way, because you have a lot of people saying, 'We want him to do this picture. No, we want him to do this picture.' I'm anxious to go to work. I believe I need to do this picture. I know it's getting a little sticky, but I do have faith that it will work out. I really enjoyed my experience with Miramax and I'm hoping that they'll find it in their hearts to be generous and let me do this movie. I tend to think optimistically and am hoping this will work out." »

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Richard Gere To Star In West End Musical?

20 October 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood superstar Richard Gere has been offered a part in The Sound Of Music stage show - by musical legendary Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. The veteran composer was so impressed with Gere's performance in movie musical Chicago he wasted no time in pitching his idea when he spotted the actor at an event in London earlier this week. And Gere is said to be interested at the prospect of appearing on London's prestigious West End stage. An insider says, "Lloyd Webber came darting over to Gere and said, 'My wife Madeleine has been a fan ever since she saw you in American Gigolo. She took me along to Chicago and I can tell you I was incredibly impressed. 'You have fantastic pitch. Would you consider playing the lead in The Sound Of Music? I think you would be perfect for the role. I bought the rights to it some years ago and I'm itching to stage it, I'm just waiting to cast the right leads. How about it?'" »

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Streisand To Receive Humanitarian Honor

16 October 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Barbra Streisand will receive a Human Rights Campaign award for her support of gay and lesbian issues, religious freedom, and racial and gender equality. The group, which lobbies on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender people, will present Streisand with its Humanitarian Award on March 6. Elizabeth Birch, the group's executive director, says, "The gay and lesbian community and the nation have been enriched by Ms Streisand. Her passion and leadership are important to all Americans." The group says Streisand, 61, took a stand against an anti-gay rights proposal in Colorado in 1992 and has been a regular financial contributor to the Human Rights Campaign and other gay and lesbian organizations. Also being honored are Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of Oscar-winning movie Chicago. The organization is giving Zadan and Meron its corporate award for their work on projects which positively portray gay and lesbian characters. »

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Key Art trailers join N.Y. museum

14 October 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The Hollywood Reporter said Monday that it is donating the winning movie trailers from its 32nd annual Key Art Awards to New York's American Museum of the Moving Image. The donation, to be celebrated in a special reception and ceremony at the museum Oct. 29, will become part of the museum's permanent archival collection, available for study by students, researchers and film historians. Titled "Behind the Screen," the one-year exhibition features trailers from such productions as Spider-Man, Chicago, 8 Mile and Austin Powers. "We're proud to present these winning Key Art Awards entries to the American Museum of the Moving Image," THR editor-in-chief and publisher Robert J. Dowling said. "These winning trailers exemplify the sometimes overlooked genius of today's movie marketers in attracting filmgoers. We're also pleased that they'll become part of a prestigious exhibition that illuminates the many processes involved in producing, marketing and exhibiting the moving image." »

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Latifah Replaced by Fox in 'Barbershop' Spin-Off

7 October 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Rapper turned actress Queen Latifah has been replaced in the upcoming Barbershop spin-off Beauty Shop by Kill Bill star Vivica A. Fox. Oscar-nominated Chicago star Latifah makes an appearance in Ice Cube's Barbershop 2, where her character was supposed to be introduced to audiences before appearing in her own spin-off movie franchise. But busy Latifah has now been replaced by 50 Cent's reported belle Fox for the film, which goes into production from October 19 in Baltimore, Maryland. »

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Storyline stays at Touchstone

12 September 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Emmy-nominated producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have renewed their vows with Touchstone Television, inking a two-year, seven-figure overall deal for their company Storyline Entertainment that covers TV series and first look for musicals and family-friendly fare earmarked for ABC's Wonderful World of Disney. Following the duo's success with the Oscar-winning musical Chicago, which they executive produced, Zadan and Meron said a lot of people were wondering whether the two would continue to be deeply involved in television, developing primetime series, but the pair didn't even hesitate. "Both Craig and I love the series life," Meron said. "It's very exciting. Your voice is heard as a producer. Series is a great, great business to be in, especially when you have partners like we do at Touchstone. They're just incredible people in comedy and drama, and (president) Stephen McPherson runs a great, great company." »

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Weinstein Holds Onto 'Chicago' Director

9 September 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein has refused to allow Chicago director Rob Marshall to make his next film at rival studio Columbia Pictures. Marshall is desperate to film an adaptation of Arthur Golden's 1997 novel Memoirs Of A Geisha, but is bound by a contract that requires him to make his next flick for Miramax. And the director is less than happy with the situation - especially after Chicago made the studio over $470 million and won it six Oscars. A Miramax spokesman says, "We have a responsibility to our shareholders to realize the benefits of our contractual right to work with the incredibly gifted Rob Marshall. We're sure that Columbia will do a great job with Geisha, whether it's directed by Rob or someone else." But a friend of Marshall has revealed the director is still optimistic. The pal adds, "Rob is still hopeful he can work it out with Harvey." »

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Renee's Fat $3.2 Million Bonus

14 August 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Slimline movie actress Renee Zellweger is reportedly being paid a $3.2 million bonus to pack on the pounds for her reprised role as Bridget Jones. The petite Chicago star is already on a high-fat diet in order to achieve the rounder figure needed for the British singleton - and film producers have guaranteed her $112,000 for every pound out of the 30 she manages to put on. A source tells British tabloid The Daily Star, "Renee's getting nearly £15 million for the sequel and the bonus is on top of that. She hates gaining weight to play Bridget and know's she's going to have a hard time losing it again." Svelte Renee first played Bridget in hit 2001 movie Bridget Jones' Diary but soon lost the weight she gained for the role - with some believing she'd gotten too thin. But the amazing success of the Hugh Grant-starring flick meant Renee was tempted back to the role for Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. However, the actress is having a hard time dealing with her calorie-packed diet. She told a friend, "I'm eating so much I sometimes feel sick. But I might as well enjoy it while I can." »

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Travolta Smarts Over 'Chicago'

18 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood star John Travolta hates anyone mentioning the musical movie hit Chicago - because he's still furious he turned down the lead role. The Pulp Fiction actor was originally offered the starring role in the 2003 Oscar-winning musical, but passed on the chance because he wasn't convinced the ambitious project would be a big screen success. However, with fellow middle-aged sex symbol Richard Gere in to the role, the Rob Marshall directed flick turned into one of the most successful movies of the year. When asked about it in a recent interview Travolta smarted, "You're rubbing salt in my wounds! I'm still angry with myself that I turned down the role of the lawyer in Chicago that Richard Gere then got." »

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Richard Gere Works Hard on Dance Steps

2 July 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Richard Gere is putting himself through a tough regime on the set of his new movie Shall We Dance? - by using every spare moment he has polishing his fancy footwork. The Chicago star, who appears in the flick with Jennifer Lopez, has been brushing up on his ballroom dancing skills on the Canadian set with the help of competition-winning dancers, and his co-star Lisa Ann Walter is astounded with how hard he works. She says, "He's taking over the tile of 'Hardest Working Man in Show Business' from James Brown, I'll tell you.' Whenever there's a break in shooting, Richard runs over to the dance studio to work with our instructors, who are like number one-ranked Blackpool competition dancers. Two nights ago, he was there 'til midnight. He gets this really determined look on his face, which I call 'dance face'. It reminds me of my son Jordan when he was learning to cut with scissors." The anticipated flick also boasts Stanley Tucci and Susan Sarandon among its cast members. »

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Miramax sets stage for 'Pippin' redo

26 June 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

NEW YORK -- In the wake of the success of Chicago, Miramax Films has danced its way to another Bob Fosse project by acquiring feature film rights to the Broadway musical Pippin. The musical -- which debuted on Broadway in 1972 and ran for five years -- follows the story of Pippin, the son of Charlemagne, ruler of the ninth century Holy Roman Empire. After experimenting with sex and politics and experiencing the lessons of war, Pippin learns that the meaning of life lies in true love. "This is a passion project for me, just like 'Chicago, ' " Miramax co-topper Harvey Weinstein said. "I saw this approximately 30 years ago with the original cast and have always wanted to make it into a movie." »

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Travolta for Bridget Jones?

26 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The producers of the Bridget Jones's Diary sequel have turned to John Travolta to provide the romance after George Clooney was vetoed by lead star Renee Zellweger. The Chicago actress told producers their first choice of Clooney to take over from Colin Firth as the love interest was unsuitable because of a previous relationship between the pair. However, the undeterred producers have now approached Pulp Fiction star Travolta to star in the adaptation of Helen Fielding's follow-up novel Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason. »

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Queen Latifah Shrinks Her Breasts

20 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Queen Latifah is delighted to be carrying a lighter load on her chest - now she's had breast reduction surgery. The voluptuous rapper-turned-actress, who most recently unveiled her ample cleavage during her Oscar-nominated turn in hit musical Chicago, has cut her bust size down from an attention-grabbing DD cup to a more manageable C. Her spokesperson Amanda Silverman says, "Queen Latifah did have breast reduction surgery. It was mainly for her health. Queen works with a trainer and does a lot of kickboxing, and working out was difficult for her. She was suffering from back pain and felt this was the best solution. She's absolutely thrilled with the results." The New Jersey native's personal trainer Jeanette Solamos adds, "She's dropped about 40 pounds, but there was nothing she could do to reduce her breast size naturally." Latifah's bounteous bosom made its last appearance at the March 23 Academy Awards, where she graced the red carpet in a form-fitting blue Escada gown. »

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Diaz and Zeta-Jones Battle To Star Opposite Carrey

12 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actress Cameron Diaz has tough competition in her efforts to star opposite Jim Carrey in the remake of Fun With Dick And Jane - from Oscar-winning beauty Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film, which will begin filming this autumn, reportedly has Charlie's Angels star Diaz as hot favorite for the role of Jane, with Chicago star Zeta- Jones also being a strong candidate. No formal offer will be made until the script is ready. The movie follows an upper middle class couple who resort to a life of crime to alleviate their financial woes in the remake of the 1977 comedy starring George Segal and Jane Fonda. Barry Sonnenfeld has been lined up to direct the project, which Brian Grazer will produce. »

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Zellweger: "My Oscar Nightmare"

3 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Stunning actress Renee Zellweger had a traumatic time at this year's Oscar ceremony, but not for the reasons some may think. The Chicago star is the first to admit she was disappointed to lose out to Nicole Kidman in the Best Actress category, but her bad luck didn't end there. As she left the ceremony, Renee's dress got ripped so she decided to call it a night. However, on her arrival at home she discovered she had forgotten a vital item - her house keys. She laughs, "When you're putting on your Oscar dress, you don't think about where the door keys are going to go." Fortunately for the Texan sweetheart, help was at hand. Neighbor Dave Palmer scaled a wall and climbed through a window to let her in. She adds, "He was like Spider Man. After all that happened to me, I didn't feel like putting another dress on and going 'glamorama'." »

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Zeta-Jones Leaves Babysitting Duties To Tee Off

21 May 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Oscar-winning Chicago star Catherine Zeta-Jones left her baby daughter Carys at home in Bermuda to join her husband Michael Douglas in Las Vegas for the lunch of his golf gala. The Welsh actress, who gave birth to her second child on April 20, made her first official public appearance since welcoming in her new family arrival to help the Michael Douglas And Friends MPT-Fun Golf Classic at Caesars Cascata Golf Course, raising $500,000 for the fund. Zeta-Jones teed off the first ball for the bash. And while The Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment failed to hit a hole in one for the $1 million offered by Lexus, he did hit his shot closest to the hole, which qualified him to get free use of a Lexus for a year. But Osment, at the tender age of 15, is too young to get a driver's license. »

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