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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Oct. 25, 2002 at 6:23 PM   |   Comments

PRODUCER ADDRESSES POTTER RUMORS

Harry Potter producer David Heyman says he has no idea why the media has been reporting there might be an eighth book about the boy wizard when the author of the popular series has always vowed to stop at seven.

"That rumor is not true. (Author J.K. Rowling) always said that (she would stop at seven.) She'll write other things. We'll enjoy Joe's writing," Heyman told United Press International.

Heyman says as a fan of Rowling's four previous Potter books, he has not given any thought to how he will feel when the series concludes.

"I haven't really thought about it in those terms. There are going to be seven. I can't wait to read the fifth next year. I want to read the sixth and seventh, after that, new horizons," he admits. "In terms of films, at the moment, I'm concerned with the release of 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and the pre-production of 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.' I don't look much beyond that. If we're fortunate enough to get to book seven, fantastic. I think that Joe knows the end of her story and I know it will be the right ending and I'm working on other things as well."

Screen legend Richard Harris, who starred in both Harry Potter films and is expected to return for the third installment of the series, recently was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.

Heyman, who is Harris's godson as well as his producer, reveals he learned of Harris's illness about eight weeks ago.

"It was kept quiet for a long time. I visited him in hospital a few weeks ago. He has lost some weight but he hasn't lost any of his fighting spirit. He said, 'I'll be there,' so I'm hopeful that he will be," Heyman says. "He's fantastic. He's a legend -- as an actor and as a hell-raiser, and as a godfather. He's fantastic and he's a very generous actor. Great to work with."


CELEBRITY COURTHOUSE

After numerous postponements, the shoplifting trial of actress Winona Ryder finally is under way in Los Angeles.

The "Mr. Deeds" star was arrested after she allegedly stole nearly $5,000 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue last December.

Ryder faces three years in prison if convicted of the charges of grand theft, second-degree burglary and vandalism. Her trial began Thursday.

Also in trouble with the law is 61-year-old "Prince of Tides" star Nick Nolte, who was charged by police in Los Angeles last month with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

On Wednesday, prosecutors filed two misdemeanor counts against Nolte. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to six months in jail.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, says test results show Nolte had elements of the banned depressant gamma hydroxybutyrate, also known as a "date-rape" drug, in his system at the time of the incident.


SECOND SEASON FOR ANNA NICOLE

Anna Nicole Smith's hit reality show is coming back for a second season, according to E! Entertainment Television.

There still are two more original episodes to air from the first year of "The Anna Nicole Show," with the penultimate installment premiering Sunday and the season finale scheduled for Nov. 3.

Production on the second season will begin next month and the 13 new episodes will be unveiled sometime in early 2003.

"'The Anna Nicole Show' has been a huge success for E!," says Mark Sonnenberg, E!'s executive vice president of entertainment. "Viewers are captivated by Anna Nicole's surreal world. They are rooting for her to turn her life around, get back into shape and revitalize her love life."

The 34-year-old Texan is a former Playboy Playmate and occasional actress who inherited millions of dollars when her elderly husband died several years ago. "The Anna Nicole Show" follows the real-life adventures of Smith, her teen-age son, her interior decorator and her lawyer.


'MAMMA MIA!' CD MOVING UP THE CHARTS

Two years after its release in the United States, the original cast recording of the smash hit musical "Mamma Mia!," based on the songs of ABBA, remains the only cast recording on any Billboard chart.

After a long run in the Billboard Top 200, the recording of the West End company of "Mamma Mia!" debuted on the Billboard Catalogue Chart at No. 29 this week. The cast recording joins the phenomenally successful ABBA "Gold" on the long-run chart, which this week marked 309 weeks at No. 12.

Best-selling records automatically switch to the Billboard Catalogue Chart two years after release.

Currently playing to sold-out houses at the Cadillac Winter Garden Theatre in New York, "Mamma Mia!" has played 1,500 performances in London's West End, 1,000 performances in Toronto and is breaking attendance and box office records on two tours across the United States, with a further production in Sydney, Australia. Next week, the first foreign language production of "Mamma Mia!" opens in Hamburg, Germany, and the following month the show debuts in Japan.

"Mamma Mia!" will open at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in February 2003.

© 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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