Hollywood Digest

PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter


Mel Gibson will hit the road again as "Mad Max Rockatansky," the role that made him a star in "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior."


Gibson will reportedly pull down somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million for "Fury Road," which will be his fourth "Mad Max" movie with writer-director George Miller -- who devised the story of a burned out cop in a post-apocalyptic world who sets out to avenge the murder of his family.


Al Gore has added a visit with late-night comedian Conan O'Brien to his increasingly busy scheduled this week.

The former vice president -- who has been rehearsing this week for Saturday night's appearance as guest host on "Saturday Night Live" -- plans to take a break from the "SNL" gig Wednesday night to appear on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

The same show will feature an appearance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, which means that "Late Night" musical director Max Weinberg will be doing double duty. Weinberg, of course, is the E Street Band's drummer.



The New York Chapter of the Recording Academy will honor several music business veterans with one of its highest honors Wednesday in New York.

Legendary record executive Clive Davis, composers Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis, pop star Marc Anthony, singer Dionne Warwick and diva-opera executive Beverly Sills will receive the NARAS Heroes Award at the organization's 7th annual gala -- hosted by Dominic Chianese, best known as "Uncle Junior" on "The Sopranos."

Organizers said that singer Luther Vandross, Broadway star Ann Reinking and Atlantic Records founder-chairman Ahmet

Ertegun will take part in the awards presentation.


According to Daily Variety, DreamWorks is talking with director Gore Verbinski and writer Ehren Kruger about a sequel to this fall's scary hit "The Ring."

Adapted from Japanese director Hideo Nakata's 1998 movie of the same name, "The Ring" has grossed more than $123 million at U.S. theaters. Verbinski recently finished work on a movie version of the Disney theme park ride "The Pirates of the Caribbean," starring Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.



When "Friends" finishes the 2002-03 season on NBC, Matthew Perry reportedly will star in an independent feature with Robin Tunney ("Vertical Limit").

The Hollywood Reporter said Perry and Tunney are likely to star in "Fever" as a couple who are shocked out of complacency in their relationship and forced to take on challenges that could case them to recover their love or lose each other.

Film editor Mia Goldman ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding") will direct from her own screenplay. Lasse Hallström ("Chocolat," "The Cider House Rules") is executive producing the project.


Dermot Mulroney ("My Best Friend's Wedding") will make his comedy series debut, guest-starring in three upcoming episodes of "Friends."

Mulroney will play a potential office rival who upsets Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) when he fills in for her while she is on maternity leave. Mulroney's first appearance is scheduled to air in January.

Mulroney's feature credits also include "Copycat," "Young Guns" and the independent film favorite "Living in Oblivion."

PHIL HARTMAN REVIVAL Records has released a CD featuring long-lost studio tapes of Phil Hartman ("Saturday Night Live," "The Simpsons"), who was shot and killed in 1998.


"Phil Hartman's Flat TV" -- a satire of TV in general -- features many of the late comedian's impersonations, including Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, John Wayne and Howard Cosell.

The CD was produced by in the late 1970's by Chad Stuart -- formerly of the band, Chad & Jeremy.

"This Phil Hartman tour-de-force was essentially a precursor of the Simpsons," said Stuart, "a day in the life of a dysfunctional family with all voices ... being supplied by Phil Hartman."

The tapes -- which had been lost for 25 years -- were discovered recently. Records was launched in 2001 by a group that included comedian George Carlin.

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