POLANSKI TAKES TOP PRIZE AT CANNES
"The Pianist" -- Roman Polanski's film about a Polish pianist who manages to escape the Holocaust -- won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.
As a boy in Poland, Polanski survived the Nazis -- but his mother died in a Nazi camp.
The grand prize -- second place at Cannes -- was awarded to Finnish Aki Kaurismaki's "The Man Without a Past," the story of an amnesiac who remembers old lessons as he regains his memory.
Paul Thomas Anderson won the best director prize for "Punch-Drunk Love," which he wrote for Adam Sandler. Anderson shared the prize with Im Kwon-taek of South Korea, who directed "Chihwaseon," an account of the life of the 19th-century Korean painter.
Olivier Gourmet of Belgium won best actor for "The Son," and Kati Outinen of Finland won best actress for "The Man Without a Past." Paul Laverty won for best screenplay for "Sweet Sixteen," the story of a Scottish teenager from a tough background who sets out to design a "normal family life" once his mother is released from prison.
The Cannes jury awarded a special prize marking the festival's 55th anniversary to Michael Moore for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine," an examination of guns in the United States. The jury prize was awarded to "Divine Intervention," Palestinian director Elia Suleiman's humorous take on the serious issue of conflict between Israeli and Palestine.
'HARRY POTTER' NEWEST MYSTERY
Tentatively titled "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the book had been anticipated in bookstores by this July. Scholastic -- which has sold close to 70 million copies of the first four books -- now says it looks like book five won't be ready until June 2003.
Daily Variety reported that Chris Columbus, who directed "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and the upcoming sequel, "Chamber of Secrets," has told Warner Bros. he wants to bring his family back to the United States after living in England for well over a year -- so the search is on for a director for the third Potter movie.
Variety said the studio is considering Alfonso Cuaron, who directed the lusty Mexican hit "Y tu mama tambien." Cuaron has also demonstrated a touch with family entertainment, having directed "A Little Princess" (1995).
WILL FERRELL'S NEXT
Will Ferrell, who recently announced that he will leave "Saturday Night Live," will star in the upcoming romantic comedy "Action Newsman," according to a report on FilmStew.com.
The project is being directed by Adam McKay, a writer on "SNL" who also contributed several short comic films to the show.
Ferrell and McKay wrote the screenplay -- the story of a vain, popular local news anchorman in Seattle whose place in the pecking order is threatened when an ambitious young woman reporter shows up, ready to pull the rug out from under him.
ANNETTE BENING'S NEXT
Annette Bening has plans to make her first movie since "What Planet Are You From?" in 2000, a remake of the 1976 family comedy "Freaky Friday," according to a report on FilmStew.com.
Dave Berg -- who wrote and illustrated "The Lighter Side" to Mad magazine for more than 40 years -- had some panels ready to go when he died of cancer on May 16 at his home in Marina del Ray, Calif.
The magazine plans to publish them in its 50th anniversary issue in September.
Berg, who was 81, began working for Mad as a free-lancer in 1956. He introduced "The Lighter Side" series in 1961.
Berg also wrote and illustrated 17 books for Mad -- including "Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Living," "Mad's Dave Berg Looks at the U.S.A." and "Mad's Dave Berg Looks at Modern Thinking."