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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   April 8, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

ELIE WIESEL UPSET OVER HITLER MINI-SERIES

Holocaust survivor and best-selling author Elie Wiesel has written to CBS, voicing his outrage over a new miniseries that purportedly humanizes Adolf Hitler.

TV Guide reports the Nobel Prize laureate is the latest Jewish leader to protest the upcoming airing of "Hitler: The Rise of Evil."

"For the first time in my life, I wrote a letter and I didn't get an answer," Wiesel told the magazine.

Wiesel wrote to CBS President Les Moonves about the two-part Hitler film that chronicles the dictator's teenage years and his rise to power in the early 1930s. Jewish leaders fear the series will try to humanize Hitler and

explain the Holocaust.

Wiesel said he found the network's failure to answer his letter "significant and, of course, offensive."

Moonves told TV Guide at the time he received Wiesel's note he "didn't have anything to say to him," but now that the series is set to air in May he will talk to him.


RUSSELL CROWE WEDS DANIELLE SPENCER

Hell-raising actor Russell Crowe has finally settled down, marrying girlfriend Danielle Spencer on his Australian ranch Monday.

The wedding party, including Crowe and Spencer, dressed in Armani.

In an attempt to avoid a feeding frenzy among waiting paparazzi, Crowe's publicist promised the lensmen free photographs of the event afterwards, but that didn't stop news crews and photographers from trying to sneak a peak at the lavish affair, which included about 80 close friends and family members.

The traditional wedding ceremony capped a weekend of fun events, including musical performances and a cricket match between the two sides of the family.


SMITH CLEARS UP RE-SHOOT RUMORS

Filmmaker Kevin Smith is not happy people are confusing the troubled Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez film, "Gigli," with his own Ben-Jen flick, "Jersey Girl."

Smith, on his Web-site, denies reports he has spent a fortune to re-shoot scenes in his film because Affleck and Lopez, who are engaged in real life, generate no heat on screen.

He writes: "I thought I'd state for the record, that we have not re-shot, nor do we have plans to re-shoot, scenes for 'Jersey Girl.' Ben and Jen's chemistry in the flick is the exact opposite of zero. Both test audiences seemed to get why the two characters were together quite well. And there's no $3 million being spent. There -- you now have it from a credible source."

The filmmaker also says "in her (or his) haste to attack and damn Ben and Jen's relationship in any way possible," MSN's BeatBox Betty has "dragged our flick into a spot of mud, alleging problems where there are none."

"I know she (or he) is only a gossip hound, but I'd ask that, in the future, she (or he) at least try to contact someone involved with a production she (or he) plans to besmirch, rather than lazily take her cues from the likes

of a tabloid," Smith railed. "While I'm at it, though, I'd also like to point out that all this 'Gigli' stuff is crap too. I've seen the flick with a test screening audience, and I haven't heard laughter like that in a movie theater since 'American Pie' (or 'Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back'). And, mind you, the laughter was with, not at, the movie."


MEWES' DRUG LIFE SUBJECT OF HBO DOC

Kevin Smith is concerned about his frequent co-star and longtime friend Jason Mewes' being the focus of a new HBO documentary about heroin addiction.

Best-known for playing a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking slacker in Smith's films "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," Mewes turned himself in and pleaded guilty last week to six counts of violating his probation for a 1999 heroin conviction.

His personal manager, Craig Veytia, who also is producing the HBO show called "Rock Bottom," told the Asbury Park Press he convinced Mewes to do the program so people could better understand his life and drug addiction.

"I'm all for Jay trying to put his life together," Smith told the New York Post. "I've been taking a tough-love approach with Jay, telling him I wouldn't hang out with him or work with him until he cleaned up... If the idea

of a camera following him around impedes his drug use, that's great. But at the same time it does seem kind of exploitative."

Smith also told The Post he hasn't spoken to Mewes in months and now has his lawyer trying to contact Veytia to find out more about the project.

"Rock Bottom" reportedly is slated to air on HBO this summer. HBO officials declined to comment.


PRESTON RECALLS CHILDHOOD IN IRAQ

Actress Kelly Preston describes watching the war in Iraq as "very difficult," revealing she spent some time there as a child.

"It's just very difficult," John Travolta's wife told the New York Daily News at the premiere of her new movie, "What a Girl Wants."

"At the time, I was 5 and I lived in Amara, which is between Basra and Baghdad, in an American compound," she recalled. "(There was) unrest, because it was right after the Six-Day War (in 1967), and there were no diplomatic relations at that time. My father worked for an agricultural firm and he went there to teach them to be self-sufficient and grow sugar cane. I have memories of children there who were my friends. Right now, I just pray

for (the troops) to come home safely, and I pray for peace. I'm heartbroken for the families and for the people there."

Preston also traveled around the Mideast with her parents, according to The News.

"I was actually lost in Beirut. My parents were shopping, and you know how a child will spin around a pole on the street. I was standing with them spinning and spinning and they walked into the store thinking I was with them. And that extra spin, I looked around and they weren't there. Thank goodness, they had the wherewithal to teach me in each different place what my name was, where we were staying, and we would drill that. I ran straight into a woman from the American Embassy. Here I was, with blond curly hair and blue eyes -- not good to be lost in Beirut. She took me back to my hotel."


PATRICK SWAYZE COMEDY COMES TO DVD

"Waking Up in Reno," a new road comedy starring Patrick Swayze, Billy Bob Thornton, Charlize Theron and Natasha Richardson, hits video stores Tuesday.

Directed by Jordan Brady and written by Brent Briscoe and Mark Fauser, "Waking Up in Reno" is the story of two blue-collar couples embarking on their dream vacation -- a road trip to Reno, Nevada, for a monster truck show.

Going in style in a brand new sport-utility vehicle, they check into a two-bedroom suite and live it up, but it's not long before they learn they're sharing more than room service...

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