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Entertainment Today: Showbiz News

By KAREN BUTLER, United Press International   |   April 17, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

NEW 'AMERICAN LIFE' VIDEO TO AIR

A less-controversial music video for Madonna's new song "American Life" made its debut on VH1 Wednesday night.

The queen of pop decided not to release the original video for the song after it was criticized for expressing anti-war sentiments. Her first effort featured models dressed in army fatigues strutting down a catwalk and a George Bush lookalike lighting a cigar with a hand grenade.

VHI said the video it shows is a "performance-only" clip and not the video that had tongues wagging earlier this month.

In announcing her decision not to play the original video, Madonna explained she did not want people to misinterpret it.


KENNEDY PLAYS RAPPER IN NEW COMEDY

Jamie Kennedy thought of making a comedy about a white guy trying to be a serious rapper long before Eminem appeared on the scene.

"I had the idea before Eminem. Yeah," the star of the new movie, "Malibu's Most Wanted," told United Press International. "But Eminem actually helped because he blew up."

One of the writers of the comedy, Kennedy said he has wanted to play a white rapper in a film for about seven years now.

"I wanted to play a white rapper or a white wanabe because I'm like a white wannabe, so I always thought that was a thing that was topical and been in society and never totally exploited yet. It's been around," said the 31-year-old Pennsylvania native.

Kennedy, who said he has been a rap fan since he was 12 years old, admitted he approached different studios over the years, but couldn't get anyone to listen until after his WB series, "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" became a hit.

"It was only after my TV show that people saw the characters I did on my show and said: 'OK. We can do this movie,'" he admitted.

Co-starring Anthony Anderson and Taye Diggs, the comedy opens Friday.


L.A. BOHEME?

A production of Baz Luhrmann's Broadway hit "La Bohème" will open in Los Angeles this summer.

The production of the Puccini opera will be the fourth and final offering of the season opening July 30 at the Ahmanson Theatre and playing through Sept. 19. Previews begin July 28.

"La Bohème" opened to rave reviews on Broadway on Dec. 8, 2002, and continues its run at the Broadway Theatre. The spectacular show premiered in Australia in 1990 and became the biggest hit in the history of the Sydney Opera House and a sold-out sensation. "La Bohème" played return sold-out engagements at the Sydney Opera House in 1993, when it was recorded for video, and in 1996.

"When Puccini and his librettists created 'La Bohème,' opera was actually the popular entertainment of the day," Luhrmann, director of the films "Moulin Rouge" and "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" has said.

"With our cast of young singers, we hope to tell this story in a way that will appeal not only to the people who love Puccini's music, but to the younger audiences who may never have seen an opera before," he explained. "It's always our job as storytellers to re-enliven that story. To find a new way that it can be received and embraced again, and that's absolutely what we've set out to address in this theatre, and most particularly, in this time."

For further information about the Los Angeles production, visit TaperAhmanson.com.

© 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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