Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter
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According to a report in Daily Variety, Jack Nicholson is in talks to hook up with Nancy Meyers, the writer-director of Mel Gibson's 2000 hit comedy "What Women Want."


Nicholson would play an older man with a beautiful young girlfriend to go with his professional success, who is thrown off-balance when he falls hard for his girlfriend's mother.

A three-time Oscar winner, Nicholson recently finished filming "Anger Management" with Adam Sandler. He's due in theaters this Christmas in "About Schmidt," as a man who must re-evaluate his life as he approaches retirement.


According to published reports in Hollywood, Sean Penn has agreed to star in "The Assassination of Richard Nixon," a reality-based movie about a salesman who hits personal rock bottom in 1974 and takes desperate measures to give meaning to his life.


The project is being directed by Niels Mueller, best known as a co-writer of Sigourney Weaver's current release "Tadpole," and the upcoming Brittany Murphy-Dakota Fanning comedy "Molly Gunn."


Bugs Bunny has come out on top in TV Guide's poll of the most popular animated characters of all time.

Homer Simpson is No. 2, followed by Rocky and Bullwinkle, Beavis and Butt-head and The Grinch. The rest of the Top 10 are Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, Angelica Pickles ("Rugrats"), Charlie Brown and Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants and Cartman ("South Park").

The presence of Beavis and Butt-head, Angelica Pickles, SpongeBob SquarePants and Cartman indicates a decided preference among those polled for contemporary cartoon favorites. Bugs Bunny is the only pre-TV cartoon character to make the Top 10.

Mickey Mouse -- the cornerstone of one of the greatest media empires ever, the Walt Disney Co. -- finished 19th, just ahead of another timeless classic, Popeye. Tweety and Sylvester came in at No. 33, while their Warner Bros. colleagues Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner finished at No. 38.


Scooby-Doo was 22nd, followed by Josie and the Pussycats at No. 24.

Animation aficionados will no doubt argue about the wisdom of leaving such classic characters as the Pink Panther, the Smurfs and Elmer Fudd off the honor roll.


Erin Brockovich has signed a deal to host a reality-based drama series on Lifetime TV early in 2003.

"Final Justice" will feature the stories of real-life women who decided to fight City Hall after running up against injustice.

"I am so happy that Lifetime is celebrating the accomplishments of these brave women," said Brockovich. "These true stories need to be shared, and I know that 'Final Justice' will be an inspiration for all women to make a difference in their communities."

Brockovich went from single mother to giant killer when she took on a California power company for polluting a small town's water supply. She became a celebrity in 2000, when Julia Roberts played her -- and won the best actress Oscar -- in "Erin Brockovich.


The final numbers were even better than the initial estimates for "Austin Powers in Goldmember," with the picture taking in $73.1 million in its opening weekend in U.S. theaters.


The early estimate was $71.5 million. The picture finished the weekend with $76.6 million in the bank, counting $3.5 million from sneak previews on Thursday.

It set several records, including biggest opening ever in July -- beating last summer's "Planet of the Apes," which opened with $68.5 million. It was also the biggest opening ever for a comedy, beating last year's opening of $67.4 million for "Rush Hour 2."

It was the third biggest opening this summer, after only "Spider-Man" and "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones." It was also the fourth-biggest three-day nonholiday debut and the sixth-biggest opening weekend ever.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that the family of one of its founding members -- screen legend Harold Lloyd -- has donated his photographs and papers to the academy's Margaret Herrick Library.

Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of the silent-era comedy star and chairwoman of the Harold Lloyd Trust, has turned over nearly 3,000 original still photograph negatives and approximately 85 scrapbooks covering Lloyd's life and film career. He made more than 200 films.

Lloyd was best-known for the silent comedy classics "A Sailor-Made Man" (1921), "Safety Last!" (1923), "Girl Shy" (1924), "The Kid Brother" (1927) and "Speedy" (1928).


The collection features general publicity photos and pictures from Lloyd's personal life, including shots of him with other celebrities -- including Babe Ruth, Hal Roach and Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

One of 36 filmmakers who founded the academy in 1927, Lloyd received an honorary Oscar in 1952.

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