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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   Feb. 27, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

RATHER INTERVIEWS SADDAM HUSSEIN

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein told CBS's "60 Minutes II" he would refuse any offer of exile, even to avoid a war. Hussein said he would die in his country to "maintain our honor."

Saddam's comments were made during a three-hour interview with Dan Rather. The network, which termed the conversations between Saddam and Rather as wide-ranging, planned to air many of the Iraqi president's comments Wednesday on "60 Minutes II." The network provided excerpts of the interview.

"I have taught my children the value of history and the value of human stands. ... Whoever decides to forsake his nation from whoever requests is not true to the principles," Saddam said after being asked if he would go into exile. "We will die here. We will die in this country and we will maintain our honor."


FOX PLANS 'DAREDEVIL' SEQUEL, SPIN-OFF

Along with a "Daredevil" sequel, the studios that produced the blockbuster plan a film based on Jennifer Garner's Elektra character.

The new Elektra story will be set after the events depicted in "Daredevil," the big-screen actioner starring Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell and Joseph Pantoliano. Garner will reprise the role she brought to life in that film and script development will begin immediately, Twentieth Century Fox and Regency Enterprises have announced.

Elektra first appeared in "Daredevil" comics in 1980 with words and art by comics legend Frank Miller. The character is the daughter of powerful and rich Greek business tycoon Nikolas Natchios and the girlfriend of Matt Murdock / Daredevil. Although she possesses no superhuman abilities, Elektra is a consummate practitioner of the martial arts, and wields a pair of three-pronged daggers.


REPORT: 'BUFFY' STAR TO HANG UP STAKES

Sarah Michelle Gellar is reportedly leaving her popular TV drama, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," to concentrate on her film career.

Word from TV Guide Online is the 25-year-old beauty, who found success as dim-witted Daphne in the big-screen version of the cartoon "Scooby Doo," opted not to renew her contract with the series. That means Buffy will slay her last vampires at the end of this, the show's seventh, season.

The online report leaves some hope for the many rabid fans of the critically acclaimed show, however. Although it looks like Gellar will be leaving the fictional town of Sunnydale for good, some of her fellow evil fighters -- best pal Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and baby sis Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) -- might try to pick up where she leaves off.

It doesn't look likely that rogue slayer Faith (Eliza Dushku) will be taking over for Buffy, however, despite rumors to the contrary.


BERRY NAMED HONORARY CHAIR OF SPIRIT AWARDS

Academy Award-winner Halle Berry will serve as the Honorary Chair for the 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Dawn Hudson, executive director of IFP/Los Angeles.

"Halle Berry has been incredibly generous to independent film with her talent and with her support," Hudson said. "We are thrilled to have her serve as Honorary Chair."

Berry made history when she became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress last year for her performance in Lions Gate Films' "Monster's Ball." She also won a SAG Award, the Berlin Silver Bear Award and was named Best Actress by the National Board of Review in 2002 for that performance.

Celebrity presenters at the March 22 event will be: Berry, Adrien Brody, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert Duvall, Anthony LaPaglia, Carrie-Anne Moss, Mekhi Phifer, Parker Posey, Sissy Spacek, Mena Suvari, and Isaiah Washington and director John Waters will return as the Master of Ceremonies.

The IFP Independent Spirit Awards honors films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards premieres live on The Independent Film Channel at 2 p.m. PST on Saturday, March 22, and is re-broadcast the same day on Bravo at 7 p.m. PST. For more information, visit ifp.org.


JOLIE REMOVES 'BILLY BOB' TATTOO

Stunning actress Angelina Jolie has had that big old "Billy Bob" tattoo removed from her arm.

The "Girl, Interrupted" star announced her relationship with actor-filmmaker Billy Bob Thornton three years ago by showing off the tattoo to fans and reporters at a movie premiere. After a whirlwind courtship, the odd couple married in Vegas, then took every opportunity they had to discuss their wild sex life in public.

Wedded bliss didn't last long for the Oscar-winning pair, however. Shortly after adopting a baby boy from Cambodia, they began divorce proceedings.

She showed up at the BAFTA (British Oscars) Awards ceremony in London earlier this week minus the large tattoo.

"I have moved on -- that's why it's going," she told reporters. "As you can see, it's in the process of being removed from my arm right now. There are just a few laser treatments to go now before it's completely gone."

© 2003 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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