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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 8, 2003 at 6:17 PM   |   Comments

SPIELBERG IS NO. 1 ON HOLLYWOOD POWER LIST

Steven Spielberg is No. 1 this year on Premiere magazine's 2003 Power List of the 100 most influential people in Hollywood.

The director of "Catch Me if You Can" knocked off AOL-Time Warner honchos Richard Parsons and Robert Pittman to finish on top of this year's list, moving up from No. 6 last year. The rest of the Top 10 are all producers, including George Lucas -- who last year directed the fifth "Star Wars" movie.

"Spielberg is the Tiger Woods of the movies," said Premiere's Editor-in-Chief Peter Herbst, "the guy who's so talented, smart, and hard-working that he seems to be playing a different game than everyone else."

The most bankable movie stars in Hollywood right now, according to Premiere, are Tom Hanks (No. 13), Tom Cruise (No. 14), Mel Gibson (No. 15) and Julia Roberts (No. 16).

Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman jumped from No. 83 to No. 31, and Oscar-nominated actress Renée Zellweger went from No. 97 to No. 63. The biggest jump of all was Reese Witherspoon, who went from No. 96 last year to No. 32 on this year's power list.

Jack Nicholson came in at No. 74, after not making the list at all last year. Some newcomers to the list include Tobey Maguire ("Spider-Man"), director Rob Marshall ("Chicago") and writer Charlie Kaufman ("Adaptation"). Colin Farrell ("Minority Report," "Daredevil") also made the power list.

Halle Berry made the list, but only came in at No. 96 -- after a year in which she won a Best Actress Oscar and scored a blockbuster hit, co-starring with Pierce Brosnan in the latest James Bond picture.

The list also includes producer Brian Grazer (No. 18), producer Jerry Bruckheimer (No. 19), "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson (No. 20), "Signs" writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (No. 21) and director Ron Howard (No. 26).

Denzel Washington moved up from No. 40 last year to No. 28 this year. And "The Matrix" directing team of Andy and Larry Wachowski are No. 27 this year -- up from No. 89 last year.


EISNER'S DISNEY IS COOL ON REALITY

Walt Disney Co. honcho Michael Eisner told broadcasters Monday that ABC will rely more on traditional comedies than on reality shows during the 2003-02 season.

Addressing the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Eisner said Disney is doing well with half-hour comedies, and plans to add two more to its prime time schedule this fall. He said ABC will do some reality programming, but not as much as other networks.

"Each network has a big reality franchise, and most of the others coming along since those are getting worse and worse," Eisner said.

Eisner also said Disney would make fewer feature films and cut back on theme park spending. He also told broadcasting executives that Disney would be more open to digital delivery of movies and TV shows -- signaling a shift in his past reluctance to embrace the new delivery systems, based largely on their vulnerability to piracy.

Eisner said movie studios will need to be more flexible about the way they distribute product, the Los Angeles Times reported, including faster distribution directly to consumers.

"If we don't provide consumers with our product in a timely manner, pirates will," he said.


CASTING NOTES

Robin Williams will star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller "Final Cut," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project -- by first-time writer-director Omar Naim -- is an account of a futuristic world in which humans are implanted with a chip that records every detail of their lives. At the end of their lives, people who work as "cutters" are assigned to edit their personal stories.

Williams would play a cutter who discovers disturbing truths about his own past.

The Reporter also said Tuesday that Matt Dillon and Steve Zahn are in talks to star in "Employee of the Month" -- described as something of a dark comedy along the lines of "Raising Arizona."


REVISITING 'SPARTACUS'

"ER" star Goran Visnjic will reportedly star in a miniseries based on "Spartacus" -- the Howard Fast novel made into a 1960 movie with Kirk Douglas.

Robert Dornhelm ("Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story") will direct the four-hour miniseries for USA Network. He told Daily Variety that Visnjic -- who plays Dr. Luka Kovac on "ER" -- was just right for the role of the slave Spartacus who leads a revolt against the decadent Roman Empire.

"He was suggested to me as the right type, and he had all the physicality needed for the role, plus this sad, somewhat despairing Eastern European look," said Dornhelm.

Alan Bates will play Agrippa, the role originated by Charles Laughton in the 1960 movie, directed by the late Stanley Kubrick.


A STAR FOR BEAU BRIDGES

Beau Bridges ("The Fabulous Baker Boys," "Maximum Bob") has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bridges' star -- next to the stars previously dedicated to his father, the late Lloyd Bridges, and his younger brother Jeff Bridges -- was unveiled Monday. Beau Bridges has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards and has won three times -- for "Without Warning: The James Brady Story" (1992), "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom" (1993) and "The Second Civil War" (1997).

He currently stars in the CBS drama "The Agency" as CIA director Tom Gage.

© 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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