Entertainment Today: Showbiz news

By United Press International  |  Feb. 8, 2002 at 5:00 AM
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Bill Cosby has decided to cancel two scheduled shows in Cincinnati to comply with a boycott of the city because of racial tensions.

"I still stand by the fact that I feel very uncomfortable playing the concerts at this time in this climate," Cosby said in a statement issued Wednesday. More than 3,000 tickets had been sold for the comedian's March 15 appearances.

The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati praised Cosby's decision "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," the Rev. J.W. Jones, a spokesman for the group, said.

The coalition also is hoping to convince other entertainers, including singer Smokey Robinson and jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, to follow Cosby's lead.

The Queen City was rocked by riots in April after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black youth.


Sarah Jessica Parker brought her "Sex and the City" charms Thursday to Harvard University, where she was honored by the Hasty Pudding Theatricals as its Woman of the Year.

The oldest undergraduate drama group in the nation awarded its traditional Pudding Pot to Parker, citing her "lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment" on stage, screen and television.

"This is as close as I'll get to any college degree," said Parker, who spent most of her life working on the stage, screen and television since the age of eight.

Parker -- flanked and nearby obscured from street-level view by more than a dozen Hasty Pudding members garishly dressed in drag -- was feted with a parade through Harvard Square leading to the award presentation at the Hasty Pudding Theater. In the theater, following tradition, Parker had to "earn" her Pudding pot by improvising scenes from her past performances. She got down on her knees for "It's a Hard Knock Life" from her starring role in the Broadway musical "Annie," did some dancing from the movie "Footloose," and sang "Tomorrow," also from "Annie."

She was also required to "seduce" a green dragon. "I like your scales," she purred in her best "Sex and the City" voice. The dragon -- as best he could, being green -- blushed.

Obviously enjoying her time at Harvard, Parker, 37, frequently used a disposable camera to snap pictures of the Hasty Pudding cast members during what she called "just a delightful day."

Hasty Pudding Theatricals next Thursday will honor its Man of the Year, Bruce Willis.

(Thanks to UPI's Dave Haskell in Boston)


Most of the front-runners made the final cut Thursday, but two heavily favored screenplays were left off the list, as the Writers Guild of America announced nominations for its top awards for outstanding screenwriting in 2001.

"Memento" and "In the Bedroom" -- two of the most highly decorated screenplays of the year -- were not eligible for the WGA awards because the writers were not members of the guild when the movies were made, and the productions were not WGA signatories.

The screenplays are eligible for Academy Awards, but their Oscar chances appear to have been damaged by their failure to qualify for the WGA honors. Over the past seven years, only one screenplay -- "The Usual Suspects" (1995) -- has picked up an Oscar without also earning at least a WGA nomination.

This year's nominees for best screenplay written directly for the screen are: "Gosford Park," Julian Fellowes; "The Man Who Wasn't There," Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; "Monster's Ball," Milo Addica & Will Rokos; "Moulin Rouge," Baz Luhrmann & Craig Pearce; and "The Royal Tenenbaums," Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson.

This year's nominees for best screenplay based on material previously produced or published are: "A Beautiful Mind," Akiva Goldsman, based on the book by Sylvia Nasar; "Black Hawk Down," Ken Nolan, based on the book by Mark Bowden; "Bridget Jones's Diary," Helen Fielding and Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis, based on the novel by Helen Fielding; "Ghost World, Daniel Clowes & Terry Zwigoff, based on the comic book by Daniel Clowes; and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, based on the book "The Fellowship of the Ring" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The WGA announced the nominations for TV and radio writing on Jan. 16.

The 54th Annual WGA Awards will be presented on March 2 in simultaneous ceremonies in Beverly Hills, Calif. and New York.


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."

(The above two items thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


Now that he's no longer spending quality time with Lisa Marie Presley, Nicholas Cage is apparently spending most of his energies doing what he loves best -- making movies. Columnist Neal Travis says that Cage -- the Oscar-winning actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- has set up a deal to produce half a dozen movies based on an action hero created by Brian Haig, the son of former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig.

The younger Haig's project would involve Cage footing half the bill for production of the films, in which he would star as a former war hero who returns home to become an avant-garde lawyer. Travis says that the deal could net Cage more than $100 million, which could give him the freedom to continue to take part in more of the small, quirky, less-lucrative film projects that he loves so well.

(Thanks to UPI's Dennis Daily)

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