News from the entertainment capital

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  Feb. 7, 2002 at 5:39 PM
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The FX cable channel is developing a TV movie about the Enron debacle.

According to a report in Daily Variety, former "60 Minutes" producer Lowell Bergman -- played by Al Pacino in "The Insider" -- will serve as a consultant on the project. The report said producers are also working on deals with other experts on Enron, including company insiders.

Plans are also in the works for a companion documentary that would advance the story Bergman told on "Blackout" -- the PBS "Frontline" documentary in which Bergman investigated the California energy crisis and Enron's role in it.

FX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly told Variety he'd like his project to be the first dramatic treatment of the Enron scandal to hit the air, but he won't rush it just to first.

"Every day there are incredible revelations about the business scandal and the human side," he said. "We need to hit a plateau, some closure in real life on this first."


Bill Cosby has canceled plans to perform next month at the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati, in order to support of a boycott organized by black groups to call attention to its complaints about law enforcement and economic conditions in the city.

The Queen City was rocked by riots in April after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed young black man. A jury acquitted the officer on charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.

Mayor Charlie Luken said he tried to contact Cosby, hoping to persuade him that the boycott itself is bad for the city.

"I think people who are encouraging the boycott are actually hurting themselves because that means some waiter won't get their paycheck that night," he said.

In a prepared statement, the 64-year-old Cosby said he thought it best to stay away from Cincinnati for now.

"I still stand by the fact that I feel very uncomfortable playing the concerts at this time in this climate," he said.

Steve Loftin, president and executive director of the Cincinnati Arts Association -- a nonprofit organization that manages the center -- said his organization was "deeply disappointed" that Cosby canceled the two performances scheduled for March 15.

More than 3,000 tickets had been sold for Cosby's March 15 appearances. The money will be refunded.

The Rev. J.W. Jones, a spokesman for the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, said the coalition is hoping to convince other entertainers -- including Smokey Robinson and Wynton Marsalis -- to follow Cosby's lead.

"We're very happy and elated over the situation and the fact that a man of Bill Cosby's stature and valued personality would back the cause that we are fighting for here in Cincinnati," said Jones.


Organizers of the upcoming 45th annual San Francisco International Film Festival Variety have announced that Warren Beatty will receive the Akira Kurosawa Award for lifetime achievement in film directing.

Beatty joins a list of previous winners that included Clint Eastwood, Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Kurosawa himself -- who received the first award in 1986.

Beatty is an intriguing choice for a lifetime directing award, considering that he has directed just four movies -- "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Reds" (1981), "Dick Tracy" (1990) and "Bulworth" (1998). He won a directing Oscar for "Reds."


The American Cinema Editors have announced that Barry Levinson will receive the group's ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award.

Robin Williams will present the award to Levinson on Feb. 24 at the 52nd annual ACE Eddie Awards. Williams earned his first Oscar nomination in Levinson's 1987 comedy, "Good Morning, Vietnam." He worked with Levinson again in the 1992 comedy "Toys."

ACE president Tina Hirsch said the group's board of directors voted unanimously to honor Levinson "because his body of work represents consistent excellence of content, craftsmanship and integrity, and his relationships with fellow professionals have been inspiring."

Levinson won a directing Oscar in 1989 for "Rain Man." He was nominated for a directing Oscar for "Bugsy" in 1992. He was nominated for screenwriting Oscars for " ... And Justice for All" (1979), "Diner" (1982) and "Avalon" (1990).

He won Emmy Awards for writing in 1974 and 1975 as a staff writer on "The Carol Burnett Show." He won a directing Emmy in 1993 for an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street."


John Cusack is making room on his schedule to star in "I.D." -- described as a psychological thriller in which 10 strangers running from threatening weather in the desert end up in a motel, and then start dying mysteriously, one by one.

The project is being directed by James Mangold ("Kate & Leopold," "Girl, Interrupted") from a screenplay by Michael Cooney ("Jack Frost").


As the TV networks develop their 2002-03 primetime schedule, plans are being announced for some high-profile talent to be involved in shooting several pilots.

Tim Robbins -- nominated for a directing Oscar for "Dead Man Walking" in 1995 -- will direct his first TV pilot for CBS. Plans call for Robbins to take the helm of "Queens Supreme," a courtroom comedy-drama.

Mimi Leder -- who directed episodes of "ER" before going on to direct features ("Pay It Forward," "Deep Impact") -- will direct a drama pilot for Fox. "John Doe" concerns a man who washes up on a beach with a head full of knowledge, but he doesn't know who he is.

Oscar-winning actor-writer Ben Affleck ("Good Will Hunting") is putting together "Push, Nevada" for ABC -- described as a reality-based murder mystery. Also at ABC, Bonnie Hunt ("Jerry Maguire," "Jumanji") will star in a comedy pilot about a woman with her own advice show on TV, who has all she can do keeping her real family life together.

NBC has plans for a gang of half-hour comedy pilots featuring "Saturday Night Live" veterans, including Chevy Chase, Norm Macdonald and Jon Lovitz.

Plans call for Chase to star in an up-to-date take on the classic comedy "My Three Sons" -- with daughters instead. Macdonald and Lovitz are sort of an odd couple in "Leave Me Alone."

Other projects on NBC's drawing board include "Good Morning, Miami," from the creators of "Will & Grace."


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden will make her first appearance as a presenter at the 74th Academy Awards.

Harden won the supporting actress Oscar last year for her performance as Lee Krasner, the wife of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock in "Pollock." She co-stars with Richard Dreyfuss this season on the CBS drama "The Education of Max Bickford."

Harden -- who has also appeared in "Space Cowboys," "Flubber" and "Miller's Crossing" -- is scheduled to be on hand next Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif. to announce this year's Oscar nominees. The Academy Awards will be handed out on March 24 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.


NBC has announced that first lady Laura Bush will appear on Monday, Feb. 11 on "The Olympic Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

The guest list also includes Britney Spears and a musical performance by the Foo Fighters. "The Tonight Show" begins a two-week series of Olympics specials on Friday, featuring reports from NBC correspondents at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

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