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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 8, 2002 at 5:25 PM
ATTACK OF THE 'CLONES' TRAILER

The public will get its first complete look on Sunday at the newest trailer for "Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones" when it airs on Fox TV and is posted at the official Star Wars Web site (starwars.com).

The public's first opportunity to see the trailer on the big screen comes next Friday, when it will be shown exclusively in theaters exhibiting the new animated feature "Ice Age." It will be shown later with other features.

"With this trailer, we start to look at the story and the state of the galaxy in Episode II," said Lucasfilm marketing executive Jim Ward. "It sets the stage for what's about to happen and how the characters are involved."

Among other things, the trailer reveals that the Republic is on the brink of war and the Jedi have their hands full trying to keep things from falling apart. Ward said the trailer includes footage of "some of the largest action sequences ever found in a 'Star Wars' movie."

The trailer is scheduled to air between "Malcolm in the Middle" and "The X-Files."


WAS IT SOMETHING THEY ATE?

At least 100 guests at last Saturday's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences technical and scientific awards dinner and ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. got sick following the event -- but no one is sure yet what caused the illness.

Some guests got sick the next day, some didn't get sick for days and some didn't get sick at all.

Los Angeles County Health Department officials said more than 100 people were ill. Academy officials said as many as 200 might have been sickened.

The academy said about 20 of its employees called in sick early this week, including Laura Ziskin, the producer of the upcoming Oscars telecast. Symptoms included vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and fever -- typically lasting for a day or two.

Officials said the food did not seem to be a determining factor in who got sick and who didn't.


CASTING NOTES

John Ritter ("Three's Company") has joined the cast of a comedy pilot based on W. Bruce Cameron's book "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter."

Tentatively titled "8 Simple Rules," the show will feature Ritter as the overprotective father of two teenage daughters and a son.

John Hannah ("The Mummy," "Four Weddings and a Funeral") has joined the cast of "The Oath," a drama pilot about doctors struggling against the frustrations of the health care system.


BRINGING BACK THE CLASSICS

NBC is bringing back classic characters from past network shows for special appearances this May -- as much to celebrate the network's 75th anniversary as to drum up interest for primetime shows during the May sweeps.

George Wendt, John Ratzenberger and Rhea Perlman -- who co-starred with Kelsey Grammer in "Cheers" -- will show up in an episode of Grammer's "Cheers" spinoff, "Frasier." The plotline has Frasier Crane reuniting with some of his old pals on a trip to Boston.

The Tuesday night comedy "Scrubs" will feature appearances by William Daniels, Ed Begley Jr., Stephen Furst and Eric Laneuville -- who starred in "St. Elsewhere." They'll play bickering doctors who fall ill at a medical convention and need to be treated by the "Scrubs" staff.

Jack Klugman -- who starred as a crime-solving medical examiner on "Quincy, M.E." -- will guest-star on "Crossing Jordan" as a distinguished coroner who makes a crucial mistake because of his failing eyesight.

David Hasselhoff -- who made it big on "Baywatch" -- will show up on an episode of "Just Shoot Me," playing himself in a storyline that has him playing Finch's (David Spade) father in a homemade movie.

And Melissa Gilbert -- who has most recently been best-known as one of the candidates in a bitter Screen Actors Guild election struggle -- will guest star on "Providence."


GOLDIE WILL MAKE 9-11 TV MOVIE

Goldie Hawn and the F/X cable network have announced plans for a TV movie about the passengers of United Flight 93, the jetliner that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11 when passengers refused to let hijackers fly the plane to Washington, D.C. to use it as a bomb.

The project will be based on an article that ran in December's Vanity Fair. Writer Bryan Burroughs focused primarily on the interactions between passengers on Flight 93 and their families -- from the time they arose that morning until the plane crashed at 10:06 a.m. Eastern time.

At last count, two other TV movies were also being developed having to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

CBS is working on a project by Lawrence Schiller ("American Tragedy," "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town") that is also expected to focus on the story of Flight 93. The Canada-based Alliance Atlantis is still looking for a network deal for its planned project about the Hamburg, Germany-based terrorist cell allegedly behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

© 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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