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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 17, 2003 at 12:42 PM   |   Comments

HBO HOLDS BACK CASTRO MOVIE

HBO has removed Oliver Stone's Fidel Castro documentary "Comandante" from its May schedule because of recent events in Cuba, according to Daily Variety.

"In light of the current situation in Cuba, we felt the film was incomplete," said an HBO spokesman.

Stone's film was already generating controversy for showing Castro in a flattering light. Following recent trials of human rights activists in Cuba -- some of whom were handed lengthy prison sentences -- HBO said the film "would appear dated."

The spokesman told Variety the decision was not made in response to pressure from outside groups.

HBO is talking to Stone about going back to Cuba for follow-up interviews with Castro, specifically to address the recent trials.


STAGE ACTORS ENDORSE SAG-AFTRA DEAL

Leaders of Actors' Equity Association have endorsed a plan to consolidate the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Actors' Equity represents more than 45,000 U.S. stage actors and stage managers. Two-thirds of its members also belong to SAG or AFTRA -- or both.

The proposal to consolidate SAG and AFTRA into a new entity that would be called the Alliance of International Media Artists is running into some resistance from prominent SAG members.

Former SAG President William Daniels and several current union officers -- including Elliott Gould, Kent McCord, Diane Ladd and Valerie Harper -- held a rally Wednesday in front of SAG headquarters in Los Angeles, accusing union leaders of rushing the proposal to a membership vote to hide alleged deficiencies.

Daniels complained that when SAG and AFTRA leaders voted over the weekend to approve the consolidation plan, they broke with tradition in refusing to include a dissenting report with their presentation to members.


ANTWONE FISHER'S NEXT

Antwone Fisher, who broke into Hollywood with the dramatic story of his life, will turn to comedy for his next act.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Fisher is working on a screenplay described as "Big Daddy" meets "Problem Child." It's about a troubled -- and troublesome -- foster child who is placed with an inept care giver.


LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY

Organizers of the 56th Cannes Film Festival have announced that this year's jury will include actress Meg Ryan and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh.

The jury will also include Italian writer Erri De Luca, Indian actress Aishwarya Rai, French actor Jean Rochefort, Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, French actress Karin Viard and Chinese director Jiang Wen. French actor-director Patrice Chéreau will preside over the jury.

The festival opens May 14 with a screening of the new Vincent Perez-Penélope Cruz swashbuckler "Fanfan la Tulipe," and runs through May 25.


HONORS FOR CEDRIC, ROBERTA FLACK

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists will honor Cedric the Entertainer and Roberta Flack at its upcoming awards ceremony in New York.

The union's first AFTRA Media and Entertainment Excellence Awards -- to be known as AMEEs -- will be presented on May 12.

The TV and radio performers' union will honor "60 Minutes" creator-producer Don Hewitt with its George Heller Lifetime Achievement Award. The staff of "60 Minutes" correspondents will receive individual AMEEs.


CASTING NOTES

Leslie Nielsen is reteaming with his "Airplane!" and "Naked Gun" director David Zucker for the upcoming comedy "Scary Movie 3."

Producers also announced that Camryn Manheim -- the Emmy-winning star of the ABC legal drama "The Practice" -- will join the cast of "Scary Movie 3." The cast already included Anthony Anderson, Eddie Griffin, Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen.

© 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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