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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   March 4, 2003 at 3:00 AM
ACTRESS NOTES SHORTAGE OF BLACK STUNT-WOMEN

The shortage of black stunt-women who know martial arts meant Gabrielle Union had to do most of her own stunts on "Cradle 2 the Grave."

The 29-year-old "Deliver Us from Eva" and "Bring it On" star told reporters in New York she and the other actors in the high-octane, kung-fu flick were put through rigorous martial-arts training before production.

"You just get put in the harness and they let you go and I landed on the back of my head and neck and it's like, all of a sudden, I couldn't feel my arms, but you don't want to complain because everyone else is like, 'Suck it up, shake it off,' and I'm like, 'I can't feel my arm,' Union said. "The next day, I'm getting a CAT scan and I'm still in physical therapy."

Union admitted she was not as fortunate as her co-star Kelly Hu, who had a stunt double who was one of the top martial artists in Asia.

"(Hu's stunt-woman) was insane and so Kelly would come in and do some stuff and then her stunt double would come in and do all of the crazy stuff. Well, my stunt double is one of the top martial artists in the United States, but she looks nothing like me. She looks more like Halle Berry, on steroids, just diesel, but really, really fair and short, like a lot shorter than me.

"So, they were like, 'This isn't going to work, exactly.' So, I had to do pretty much all of my own stunts. So, when you see me fighting with Kelly, that's really me. When you see me flying across the room, that's me, hanging off the subway, especially that I have scars all over my stomach from that, that's me too. So, it was difficult," she continued.

Noting that there are plenty of black stunt-women who are great drivers and equestrians, Union said there is a shortage of them when it comes to martial arts.

"Cradle 2 the Grave" opened at No. 1 at the box office this weekend.


ARNOLD WARNS AGAINST PRICE OF FAME

Tom Arnold has some advice for people seeking fame by appearing on reality TV shows: think carefully about what you want to be famous for.

Roseanne's ex-husband knows what he is talking about. Although he has proven his own comic talents in film and television, Arnold is best known for his stormy relationship with the diva.

"My only advice to these people is -- being famous -- and I know this from my experience -- you want to really consider what you want to be famous for before you get famous," he told United Press International. "If you want to be an actor, there are better ways to do it than, for instance, the way I became famous, which is by being with someone who is famous. Then to be taken seriously it takes so long. For these people to be taken seriously as an actor it would take a long time. People are always so psyched about being famous and then they're always so disappointed."

Arnold confessed producers of reality TV shows featuring former celebrities have been beating down his door ever since the phenomenon began.

"I get asked to do them all, but the reason I don't do them is because I would like to attempt to be in movies," he said, adding he thinks real actors who appear on shows like "Celebrity Mole," "The Surreal Life" and "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here," are damaging their careers.

Arnold can now be seen in "Cradle 2 the Grave" and on TV's "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."


'CHICAGO' SING-A-LONG PLANNED IN NEW YORK

New York is celebrating the success of that Oscar-nominated Windy City musical by planning a "Chicago" sing-a-long Wednesday night.

HX Magazine is sponsoring the event at Manhattan's Clearview Chelsea 9 theatre.

New York Magazine columnist Marc Malkin will lead the festivities with the help of drag queens Hedda Lettuce and Amanda Lepore. In addition to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" style sing-along, there will also be a contest for best/most outrageous "Chicago" themed costume.


MADONNA PENS CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Penguin publishers has announced it will publish five illustrated children's books written by pop star Madonna.

The first book, called "The English Roses," will be published in hard-cover in September and distributed worldwide, Penguin said.

Chairman and Chief Executive John Makinson promised the books will "touch children of all backgrounds everywhere in the world."


RENOVATIONS DELAY PREVIEWS OF 'NINE'

Renovations at New York's Eugene O'Neill Theatre will briefly postpone previews of the star-studded new production of the musical, "Nine."

Previews of the Roundabout Theatre Company production have been pushed back from March 18 to March 21 with opening night expected to remain April 10.

Starring Antonio Banderas, Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski, Mary Stuart Masterson and Chita Rivera, the first revival of "Nine" has a book by Arthur Kopit, music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, Italian adapted by Mario Fratti and directed by David Leveaux.

Based on the classic film "8 1/2," the original production of "Nine" won five 1982 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. "Nine" is the story of Guido Contini, a film director in the Fellini mold, contracted to write and direct a film but unable to come up with a suitable plot. After a series of box-office failures, he finds himself drifting toward a nervous breakdown. Guido finds himself examining his past flawed relationships with the many women who have come through his life and the struggle to act his mature age of 40 as opposed to 9.

Banderas will make his Broadway debut playing Guido in this limited engagement, which ends June 29. For more information, visit roundabouttheatre.org.

© 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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