Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International   |   Dec. 3, 2001 at 4:45 AM   |   0 comments

YASMINE BLEETH

Actress Yasmine Bleeth pleaded guilty to cocaine charges Friday in a plea agreement that calls for the former "Baywatch" babe to serve two years probation with no community service.

Bleeth, 33, was charged with driving under the influence of narcotics when she was stranded in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Mich., following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The plea agreement reduced the charge to operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

She also was charged with possession of a controlled substance after police raided her hotel room. That charge was dismissed under the agreement.

Bleeth played Caroline Holden on the television lifeguard series "Baywatch" and later played a character on the short-lived, evening soap "The Titans." In 1995 she was voted one of People's "50 Most Beautiful."

Sentencing is set for Jan. 9.


EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS

Miramax Films took home seven awards from the 2001 European Film Awards for "Amelie," "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Chocolat." The awards were presented in Berlin Saturday.

"Amelie" won a total of five awards, including Best European Film, the People's Choice Award in the category of Best European Film, Best Director for Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the People's Choice Award in the category of Best European Director for Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Best Cinematographer for Bruno Delbonnel.

The People's Choice Award in the Category of Best European Actor went to Colin Firth for his role in "Bridget Jones's Diary." Juliette Binoche won the People's Choice Award in the category of Best European Actress for "Chocolat."


'CLONES' UPDATE

George Lucas reports to "Star Wars" fans that his special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, recently completed work on the 1,000th effects shot for "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones."

"We hit the milestone," said Lucas on the movie's Web site, starwars.com.

"The tendency with other movies," said the filmmaker, "is to do the big push at the very end. It's like a term paper -- you study, you work, you do your research, and you keep putting off the actual writing until it's almost too late. What we've done is gotten half the term paper already written way early, so we have plenty of time to do rewrites and finish the project and have the opportunity to make changes and improve it. It's a great thing to be on schedule."

The movie, due in theaters next May, is still months away from completion.

"Everybody's done just a really great job of staying on schedule and keeping their heads down and really working hard to meet these milestones," said Lucas. He also said ILM has yet to begin to tackle "the most difficult part and the most complicated shots."

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


'HARDBALL' SUIT DROPPED

A federal judge in Chicago has thrown out a lawsuit by a Little League coach who claimed the recent Keanu Reeves movie, "Hardball," defamed him.

Reeve's character starts out as a low life -- drinking, scalping tickets and generally behaving irresponsibly. He finds redemption when he coaches an inner city Little League team.

The movie was based on "Hardball: A Season in the Projects" by securities trader Robert Muzikowski. His defamation suit -- seeking $11 million in damages from the defendants, including Paramount Pictures -- claimed the movie depicted him unfairly. The judge ruled that the character Reeves played in the movie was not necessarily Muzikowski.

(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)


PAGEANT OF PEACE

Actress Shirley Jones will host the Pageant of Peace at the 78th lighting of the National Christmas Tree next Thursday. The ceremony preceding the lighting event begins at 5 p.m. (ET) on the Ellipse between The White House and the Washington Monument.

Other performers will include three-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, mezzo soprano Frederica von Stade, jazz vocal ensemble Manhattan Transfer and country singer Travis Tritt.

A few minutes before 6 p.m., President Bush will deliver his holiday message to the nation and then push the button that lights thousands of lights on the 40-foot Colorado blue spruce.

(Web site: pageantofpeace.org)


BOX OFFICE

The third weekend of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" easily won the nation's box office, raking in a still-impressive $24.1 million at 3,672 theaters during the Friday-Sunday period.

The Warner Bros.' tale of a young English wizard continued to dominate at the nation's multiplexes and pushed its 17-day total to $220.1 million. "Harry" crossed the $200 million mark on Friday, becoming the second-fastest film to hit the double-century milestone after the 13-day record set two years ago by "Star Wars Episode 1 -- Phantom Menace."

"Harry" is already the 26th highest domestic grosser ever, surpassing "Mrs. Doubtfire." However, it may fall out of first next weekend when Warner opens its much-anticipated remake of "Ocean's 11" with Julia Roberts and George Clooney.

20th Century Fox's "Behind Enemy Lines," with Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson, came in second.

The tale of an American fighter pilot, originally slated for release early next year, was moved forward to take advantage of the growing interest in military stories in the wake of September's terrorist attacks.

Finishing a respectable third was Universal's second weekend of "Spy Game," which edged Disney's fifth weekend of "Monsters Inc." Fox's second weekend of "Black Knight" placed fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were "Shallow Hal," "Out Cold," "Domestic Disturbance," "Amelie," and "Heist."

© 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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