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By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   Jan. 31, 2002 at 3:55 PM   |   Comments

REV UP THE OLD CHAINSAW

According to a report in Daily Variety, "Pearl Harbor" director Michael Bay's new low-budget production company is making plans to update Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror cult-classic, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" -- with Hooper and his original co-writer, Kim Henkel, working on the screenplay.

Before Freddie Kruger caused nightmares on Elm St., before Michael Myers tried to kill his sister on Halloween, and before Jason made Friday the 13th really unlucky for the counselors at Camp Crystal Lake -- Leatherface was terrorizing five hippie kids en route to visit grandpa's grave.

It doesn't matter that relatively few people have ever seen the movie -- most American movie fans instantly recognize the image of Leatherface with his grotesque mask and butcher's apron, gunning the chainsaw motor as he and his family of cannibals prepare to sit down to a hearty meal.

Variety reported the Bay has shot a three-minute reel to use as a sales tool, as his representatives try to generate interest in the project as the upcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif.

Bay will have an audience in the tens of millions for his current project this Sunday, when his commercial for Killian's beer appears during the Super Bowl telecast.

Like so many other feature film directors, Bay is an accomplished TV commercial director, so this is nothing new for him. It will, however, mark the acting debut of super model Ingrid Seynhaeve. She plays a woman who gets ogled on a golf course.


BLACK WOMAN TO JOIN U.S. SUPREME COURT

Diahann Carroll has joined Sally Field and Pat Hingle in the cast of "The Court," the upcoming ABC drama set at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Carroll will play a liberal associate justice. Miguel Sandoval and Chris Sarandon also appear as justices. Hingle will play the chief justice.

Carroll made her feature film debut in the 1954 drama "Carmen Jones." In 1959, she played Clara in "Porgy and Bess," and in 1967 she appeared in "Hurry Sundown."

From 1968-71, she starred in the groundbreaking NBC comedy "Julia" as a young nurse who starts a new life after her husband is killed in Vietnam. It was the first time a black woman starred in a comedy series without appearing as a domestic, such as "Beulah" -- the '50s comedy starring Ethel Waters as a black maid who was constantly bailing her not-too-smart employers out of some jam or another.

Carroll appeared in the TV miniseries "Roots: The Next Generations" and the TV movie "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," both in 1979. From 1984-87, she played Dominique Deveraux Lloyd on "Dynasty."

In 1999, she co-starred with Ruby Dee in the TV movie "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years," based on the best-selling book about Sadie and Bessie Delany. The daughters of the first black Episcopal bishop in the U.S., their personal histories provided something of a time line for the changes experienced by American blacks across the 20th century.

Her most recent project was the NBC TV movie "Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story." In 2001, she toured the United States in "Almost Like Being in Love -- The Lerner & Loewe Songbook."


CRUISE TAKES SCIENTOLOGY CASE TO U.S. EMBASSY

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Tom Cruise paid a visit to U.S. Ambassador to Germany Dan Coats while he was in Berlin promoting "Vanilla Sky," and urged the ambassador to stand up for Cruise's fellow Scientologists in a dispute with German authorities.

The government in Germany regards Scientology as something other than a legitimate religion. Scientologists say German government policy discriminates against them unfairly.


ALEXANDER, SHORT REPORTED READY TO 'PRODUCE'

According to gossip columnist Liz Smith, Jason Alexander and Martin Short are just about all signed up to star as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in the upcoming Los Angeles production of the Broadway smash, "The Producers."

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are nearing the end of a year-long run in Mel Brooks' Broadway musical concoction, based on his 1968 movie, "The Producers."

Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder originated the roles of the conniving producer and his enabling accountant -- who discovered that they could make more money by putting on a flop than they could by trying to produce a hit show.


MCGREGOR'S, ZELLWEGER'S NEXT

According to published reports in Hollywood, "Moulin Rouge" and "Black Hawk Down" star Ewan McGregor will join "Bridget Jones's Diary" star Renée Zellweger in a romantic comedy that's being described as an homage to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedies of the '50s and '60s.

"Down With Love" is being produced by Dan Jinks and Dan Cohen, who brought the Oscar-winning dark comedy "American Beauty" to the screen. It's being directed by Peyton Reed, who is also lined up to direct a movie version of the comic book series, "Fantastic Four."


STARS COME OUT FOR OSCAR NOMINATIONS

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Thursday that Marcia Gay Harden, who won the supporting actress Oscar last year for "Pollock," will join academy president Frank Pierson to announce this year's Oscar nominees on Feb. 12.

Harden won the Oscar for her portrayal of Lee Krasner, the artist wife of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, in Oscar-nominated actor Ed Harris' feature film directing debut.

The 74th Academy Awards will be handed out on March 24 at the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, in ceremonies to be telecast by ABC.

© 2002 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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