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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 3, 2003 at 3:37 PM
PIRACY FLOURISHES DURING HOLLYWOOD AWARDS SEASON

Once again, the Hollywood awards season is lucrative for pirates, who have flooded the market with copies of studio "screeners" issued to promote Oscar campaigns.

According to a report in Daily Variety, DVDs put out by the studios have been offered for sale on eBay and have also been the source for pirated copies that are being sold on the black market.

Variety said a recent search of "screener DVD" on eBay turned up dozens of DVDs, including "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" -- which has not been released on video anywhere in the world -- selling for $30. "Adaptation" and "About Schmidt" were being offered for $70 and $87, respectively, said Variety, in eBay listings that identified them as Academy screeners.


WAYNE BRADY WILL PLAY JACKIE WILSON

Wayne Brady will shake a tail feather when he plays soul legend Jackie Wilson on the NBC drama "American Dreams" later this month.

Brady -- who has been nominated for an Emmy Award twice for his work on the ABC comedy improv series "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" -- will sing Wilson's hit "Baby Work Out" in an episode titled "The One," scheduled to air on March 16.

According to NBC, Wilson's daughter Sabrina Wilson attended the filming of Brady's number on the re-created set of "America Bandstand" and said it was like watching her father perform again.

"Wayne really did a great job imitating his song, moves and mannerisms," said Sabrina Wilson. "It was amazing to witness."

Brady joins a growing list of performers who have appeared as musical legends from the '60s -- including Michele Branch as Lesley Gore, Ashanti as Dionne Warwick, Vanessa Carlton as Dusty Springfield, Usher as Marvin Gaye and India.Arie as Nina Simone.

The show will feature a segment with LeAnn Rimes as Connie Francis on March 30.


'2' IS NO. 1

The new DMX-Jet Li action-thriller "Cradle 2 the Grave" came out on top at the U.S. box office in its first weekend, with an estimated gross of $17.1 million.

The raunchy Luke Wilson-Will Ferrell-Vince Vaughn comedy "Old School" was second with $13.9 million, while "Daredevil" was third with an estimated $11 million. The Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" came in fourth with $10.1 million.

"Chicago" -- which was chosen as best picture of 2002 by the Producers Guild of America on Sunday -- was No. 5 with $8.1 million. It has grossed more than $105 million in 10 weeks in release.

February turned out to be a record-breaking month for U.S. box-office grosses. The total of $652.9 million -- up 7 percent from February 2002 -- was the highest total ever for February.


STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS

Producer Gil Cates announced Monday that Oscar-winner Ben Affleck will be a presenter at the 75th Academy Awards in Hollywood.

It will be Affleck's fourth appearance as an Oscars presenter. He won the Original Screenplay Oscar in 1997 with co-writer Matt Damon for "Good Will Hunting."

Affleck -- currently starring in "Daredevil" -- recently finished filming on "Gigli" and "Jersey Girl," co-starring in both with his fiancée Jennifer Lopez.

The Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.


BONNIE HUNT JOINS STEVE MARTIN IN REMAKE

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bonnie Hunt will join Steve Martin in a remake of the 1950 Clifton Webb-Myrna Loy family comedy "Cheaper by the Dozen."

The movie was based on the book by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, who raised 12 children. Gilbreth was a pioneer in the study of motion and efficiency who tried to apply his theories to child rearing -- while the kids had ideas of their own.

The movie was set in turn-of-the-century Providence, R.I. The updated is being directed by Shawn Levy, whose resume includes last year's family comedy "Big Fat Liar" as well as in the cable TV series "The Famous Jett Jackson," "The Journey of Allen Strange" and "The Secret World of Alex Mack."


HARRISON FORD FAVORS REGIME CHANGE

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Harrison Ford favors regime change in Baghdad -- and in Washington.

The paper reported Monday that Ford -- through a publicist -- contradicted reports in December that he was a supporter of Bush administration plans to invade Iraq. Ford spokeswoman Patricia McQueeney said the star of "Air Force One" and the "Indiana Jones" trilogy was appalled by the suggestion that he supports war with Iraq -- and that President George W. Bush's military strategy is "exactly the opposite" of what Ford thinks.

"What I'm for is a regime change on both sides," said Ford, through McQueeney.

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