Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  March 5, 2002 at 7:56 PM
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The Board of Directors of the Association of Talent Agents announced late Tuesday it has unanimously approved the tentative agency agreement with the Screen Actors Guild.

In a statement, ATA said it and its New York counterpart -- the National Association of Talent Representatives -- "are united in supporting this tentative agreement, as it assures continued uncompromised representation while allowing agencies to grow their businesses to generate more opportunities for clients."

The agreement -- designed to replace the ground rules that have covered professional relations between actors and agents for more than six decades -- has become an issue in the current union election rerun.

Melissa Gilbert, who won the election last fall and has been serving as SAG president, favors the deal. Valerie Harper, who lost the presidential election but hopes to win the rerun election, is urging members to reject the deal because, she says, it creates a conflict of interest for agents and could lead to an employer-employee relationship between agents and actors.

The election rerun was ordered earlier this year when SAG elections officials ruled there were improprieties in the balloting last fall. Results are scheduled to be announced this Friday.


Nickelodeon has announced Rosie O'Donnell will host her sixth straight Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards this year.

O'Donnell -- who is going public about her homosexuality in the new memoir, "Find Me" -- is expected to continue on as host of the Kids' Choice Awards beyond this year as well.

The 15th Annual Kids' Choice Awards will be presented on April 20 in Santa Monica, Calif. "Shrek" is nominated for five awards, including best movie and book.


According to a report in Daily Variety, Keanu Reeves may star in an update of the 1971 hit "Billy Jack" after he finishes work on the first and second sequel to his 1999 hit "The Matrix."

Tom Laughlin -- who wrote, directed and starred in the original hit -- is in talks with Danny DeVito's production company, Jersey Films, and Reeves' management firm, 3 Arts, to remake the story of a half-Indian/half-white ex-Green Beret who tries to forsake violence but cannot avoid it in a town being run by bad guys.

Laughlin followed the 1971 hit with the sequels "The Trial of Billy Jack" (1974) and "Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977).


Johnny Depp is telling tales out of school, making his former co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio seem like a bit of a mama's boy.

According to the New York Daily News, Depp told "Inside the Actors Studio" interviewer James Lipton that during the filming of the 1993 movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" DiCaprio "kept asking me for cigarettes" and looking over his shoulder so his mother wouldn't catch him smoking.

DiCaprio, of course, was not yet 20 at the time and Depp was a somewhat more mature man in his late 20s.

In the "Actors Studio" session, Depp also talked about making "Don Juan de Marco" in 1995 with Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway. He said it was hard to keep a straight face when he was working with Brando because "everything that comes out of Marlon Brando's mouth is hilarious."


Warner Bros. has announced Jason Isaacs, the villainous Col. William Tavington from "The Patriot" and the honorable Capt. Mike Steele from "Black Hawk Down" will play the ethically questionable Lucius Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

Lucius is a ranking official in the ministry of wizardry, and the father of Draco Malfoy -- Harry Potter's nemesis-classmate at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The studio also announced that Miriam Margolyes ("Cats & Dogs," "Romeo + Juliet") will play Professor Sprout, and Mark Williams ("Shakespeare in Love," "101 Dalmatians") will play Arthur Weasley, the father of Harry's tight Hogwarts pal Ron Weasley.

Kenneth Branagh has already joined the cast as Gilderoy Lockhart, the vain professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts.


Plans are under way in Hollywood to produce updated versions of four sci-fi TV series -- "Land of the Giants," "Lost in Space," "The Time Tunnel" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

Fox Entertainment has a deal not only to develop new versions of the old shows, but also to show reruns of the late producer Irwin Allen's catalogue.

The studio already is producing a new series version of "The Time Tunnel," which ran for one season (1966-67) on ABC. James Darren and Robert Colbert starred as scientists working on a top-secret laser-activated time tunnel, who jump in before the gizmo is completely checked out and find themselves lost in time.

Fox is producing on a two-hour "Lost in Space" TV movie for NBC. The original series, starring Guy Williams and June Lockhart, ran on CBS from 1965-68 -- and was made into a 1998 movie starring William Hurt.

No specific plans have been announced for new projects based on "Land of the Giants" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that Chris Connelly, Leeza Gibbons and Ananda Lewis will co-host the Oscar arrivals show prior to the 74th Academy Awards.

It will be the first Oscar Night gig for Lewis and Gibbons, the second for Connelly.

They will interview nominees and celebrities on the special, "On the Red Carpet: Oscars 2002," outside the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Connelly is the host of ESPN's "Unscripted with Chris Connelly" and doubles as a correspondent for "20/20." Gibbons -- who formerly hosted the weekday TV chat show "Leeza" -- is an anchor for the tabloid news show "Extra."

Lewis recently began hosting her own show, "The Ananda Lewis Show." She used to be a co-host on MTV's "TRL."

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