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Late news from Hollywood

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Oct. 25, 2001 at 7:29 PM
LIFETIME AWARD FOR HANKS

The American Film Institute has announced that it will present its life achievement award to two-time Oscar-winning actor-director Tom Hanks.

The 45-year-old actor will join a list of AFI honorees that includes such screen legends as Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon and Barbra Streisand.

He will pick up the award on June 12 in ceremonies at the new Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, which will also be the new home of the Academy Awards beginning next March.

"Tom Hanks is American film's Everyman for a new generation,'' said Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI board of trustees.

In addition to winning best actors Oscars for "Forrest Gump" (1994) and "Philadelphia" (1993), Hanks has been nominated for best actor for his performances in "Cast Away" (2000), "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) and "Big" (1988).


CLASSIC ROCKERS RAISE $1 MILLION FOR TERROR VICTIMS

While concerts in New York, Washington and Nashville, Tenn. garnered most of the public attention, a line-up that included Styx, Journey, Bad Company, REO Speedwagon, Mark Farner, John Waite and Edgar Winter raised more than $1 million at a pair of concerts in Atlanta and Dallas last weekend for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Organizers said the "Volunteers For America" concert at the Hi Fi Buys Amphitheatre in Atlanta on Saturday grossed $454,000, while the concert at the Smirnoff Music Center in Dallas on Sunday took in $387,000. In addition, the sale of merchandise generated $150,000 and some items were auctioned to bring in another $40,000.

Comic actor Drew Carey emceed both shows.

The line-up in Atlanta also featured Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Dallas show also featured performances by Peter Frampton, Kansas, Eddie Money and Survivor.


TV PSYCHIC PLANS TO REACH OUT TO SEPT. 11 VICTIMS

TV psychic John Edward will try to communicate with people who died in the Sept. 11 terror attacks in several episodes of his Sci Fi Channel and syndicated show, "Crossing Over with John Edward."

Anticipating that some viewers might be concerned about the propriety of Edward's plan, an executive of Studios USA, which produces the show, told Broadcasting & Cable magazine that the shows "will be done tastefully ... and won't be exploitative."

The executive said it was not Edward's idea to try to communicate with the souls of terror victims -- it was first suggested by relatives of the victims.

Regardless of whose idea it was, Studios USA and Edward must like it a lot. The episodes are scheduled to run during the November ratings sweeps period.


JOAN WILL BE ON THE RED CARPET AFTER ALL

E! Entertainment Television has announced that its coverage of the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Nov. 4 will include Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers on the red carpet.

The cable channel had decided earlier not to include the mother-daughter commentary from the red carpet before the telecast, after the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences rescheduled the ceremonies from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7, in deference to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

At the time, E! officials felt the often irreverent tone of Rivers' observations would be inappropriate to the occasion. Now, it seems, the idea is to lighten up and present a less serious tone.


NEW 'ANAKIN' REFUSES TO GET CARRIED AWAY

Hayden Christensen knows he's headed for a rocket ride to fame, as the actor chosen to play Anakin Skywalker in the next two "Star Wars" movies, but he seems determined not to get swept away with it all.

"You need to give it the credence it deserves -- which is not too much," said Christensen in an interview with TV Guide. "I just don't take it too seriously. As long as I leave my ambitions where they were before all of this, it'll be alright."

Christensen is currently on the promotional trail, spreading the word about "Life as a House," in which he co-stars with Kevin Kline. It opens Friday.

At 20, Christensen is still a relative unknown -- which he said came in handy when it came to getting the "Star Wars" gig.

He also said he passed on two different opportunities to meet or audition for "Star Wars" director George Lucas -- first because "it seemed too far-fetched," and then because of a scheduling conflict.

The third time Lucas asked for an audience with Christensen, the young actor was told that he would have to make his own way to the director's Northern California production facility, Skywalker Ranch. He got there that time.

"It went well, I guess," said Christensen.


GWYNETH AND THE EXTRA POUNDS

In her new movie, "Shallow Hal," Gwyneth Paltrow appears alternately in her own slim form and covered with makeup and prosthetics to look like a 300-pounder -- and she says packing the extra pounds was "a real eye-opener."

The Oscar-winning actress told "Access Hollywood" she already knew what it was like to feel "awkward and unattractive" long before making the movie with the Farrelly Brothers, because she felt that way most of the way through junior high school, when she was "small for my age and very skinny."

In "Shallow Hal," Paltrow -- in a fat suit that made her look excessively obese -- attracts the passion of Jack Black, after he is hypnotized by self-help guru Tony Robbins to see women for their inner beauty.

"The first time I had it on ... I remember I was knocking chairs over and stuff because I had no sense of where I ended," said Paltrow about the fat suit. "It was a very intense experience. It was very emotional. Nobody would make eye contact with me. People were just very, very different. It was a real eye opener, it really was. I got really freaked out at one point it was so awful."


BRANAGH JOINS CAST FOR SECOND 'POTTER' PICTURE

Kenneth Branagh has joined the cast of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," the second movie based on the popular series of books by J.K. Rowling.

The Irish-born actor will play Gilderoy Lockhart, the vain, self-promoting faculty member who arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Harry Potter's second year as a student there.

Production is scheduled to begin on Nov. 16 -- the same day that Warner Bros. opens "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in 4,000 theaters across the United States. The main players from "Sorcerer's Stone" will return for the sequel.


QUEEN LATIFAH IS 'CHICAGO'-BOUND

Rapper-actress Queen Latifah will join Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger in the cast of "Chicago," the upcoming movie version of the Bob Fosse Broadway musical.

Latifah will play Mama Morton.

Her next appearance in U.S. theaters will be in "The Country Bears," scheduled for release next year. Her résumé includes the features "The Bone Collector" (1999), "Living Out Loud" (1998) and "Sphere" (1998). She is also the host of a TV talk show, "The Queen Latifah Show." She starred in the Fox-TV series, "Living Single," from 1993-98.


J. LO SHOW WILL BE ON DURING 'FAMILY HOUR'

NBC-TV has decided to run "Jennifer Lopez In Concert" -- the first concert special by the multi-platinum singer and Golden Globe-nominated actress -- during the 8-9 p.m. hour on Nov. 20, moving the show to an earlier time slot after originally scheduling it for 10 p.m.

Lopez' first full-scale live concert appearance was taped last month at Roberto Clemente Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


SEARCH RESUMES FOR NEW 'BENJI'

Veteran movie animal trainer Joe Camp is still looking for another dog to play "Benji," now that a top contender for the gig has died.

The 6-month-old pup -- who had been named "Phoenix Benji" and became a media favorite after being discovered at a Mesa, Ariz. shelter last month -- was put to sleep Sunday. The animal had come down with distemper and suffered severe seizures, according to a report in The Arizona Republic.

"He got hit, and he got hit hard," said Julia Hutton, a spokeswoman for Camp. "There was nothing that could be done."

Camp discovered the dog during a recent tour of animal shelters. Hutton had been caring for the dog at her Phoenix home until Camp could narrow the list of contenders.

Camp is still accepting photographs of Benji look-alikes -- but only from shelters, not from private owners.

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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