Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  March 27, 2003 at 2:17 PM
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The movie industry's top Washington lobbyist has told Daily Variety that Hollywood's special wartime committee will support the troops but won't sell the war.

Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti -- who doubles as chairman of the Hollywood Sept. 11 committee -- said the committee will not produce public service announcements on behalf of the war in Iraq. The committee organized entertainment industry efforts to promote America after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but according to Variety a similar effort on behalf of Operation Iraqi Liberty would be controversial.

Valenti said the committee will support U.S. troops overseas, in some measure by providing them with DVDs and videos.

"Only a deficient American wouldn't want to support them," said Valenti. "So how best to support them? Offer them what they want. We don't need to do PSAs and all that blather. Troops don't see the PSAs, for goodness sakes."

Valenti said he won't ask the committee to do anything right away -- including sending DVDs and videos.

"Is this going to be a long war, or a short war?" he said. "Right now, these guys don't have time to watch movies. Once they are encamped and doing nation-building, these servicemen will want DVDs and videocassettes."


Sony has changed its mind about releasing "The Amazing Spider-Man" on May 7 next year, and has moved the release date to July 2.

The decision left the May 7 date up for grabs, but not for long. Universal immediately drove a stake into the newly vacated turf, claiming it for the release of "Van Helsing" -- in which vampire hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) takes on not only Dracula, but also the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster.

Stephen Sommers ("The Mummy") is directing "Van Helsing" from his own screenplay.


Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of the Academy Award-winning movie "Chicago," will produce "The Boy Next Door" for Turner Network Television.

The TV movie is based on the best-selling book of the same by Meggin Patricia Cabot, perhaps best-known as the author of "The Princess Diaries." It's billed as a "romantic dramedy" about two New York City tabloid journalists, one mysterious crime and a case of mistaken identity.

Zadan and Meron have produced a string of highly-regarded TV movies including "Annie"; "Cinderella"; "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows"; "Martin and Lewis"; "The Music Man"; and "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story."


Lauren Ambrose and Robby Benson have joined the cast of Sunday's staged reading of "All About Eve" in Los Angeles.

Ambrose ("Six Feet Under") will play Phoebe and Benson will play the waiter. The Actors Fund of America -- which is staging the event as a fundraiser -- also announced that Jill Armenante ("Judging Amy") will play Eve's roommate and Jennifer Tilly will play Miss Caswell -- played by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950 movie starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter.

The cast includes Stockard Channing, Tim Curry, Blythe Danner, Kirk Douglas, Calista Flockhart, Victor Garber, Angela Lansbury, Melissa Manchester, Carl Reiner and John Ritter.

Organizers said the guest list includes Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Lily Tomlin and California Gov. Gray Davis.


Megan Mullally will host "Great Women of Television Comedy," an NBC TV special presented by The Museum of Television & Radio on April 15.

The show -- honoring some of the greatest comediennes in TV history -- is the latest in the museum's series of annual specials showcasing great moments in TV history. It will feature clips from more than 50 classic TV comedies as well as interviews with many of the women who have made American audiences last over the past five decades -- including Bea Arthur, Carol Burnett, Jane Kaczmarek, Penny Marshall, Mary Tyler Moore and Sarah Jessica Parker.


WE: Women's Entertainment has declared March 28 "Me Time Day" -- designed to encourage women to take good care of themselves.

The cable channel is partnering with Lluminari, a network of leading health professionals, to urge viewers to take some time from their care giving for others -- and do something to promote their own well-being.

"Statistically, women often put others first at the expense of themselves," said WE executive vice president and general manager Martin von Ruden.

Elizabeth Browning, co-founder and CEO of Lluminari, said women's health is affected when they don't focus their care giving skills on themselves.

"Research already indicates serious health consequences from the increased stress levels faced by today's multi-tasking women in their multi-layered lives," said Browning.

Browning said women are two to three times more likely than men to suffer from depression. Heart disease, the number one killer of women, takes the lives of more than 500,000 American women each year -- 50,000 more women than men.

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and singer-actress Vanessa Williams have signed on as spokeswomen for the campaign. They are appearing in PSAs airing this month in WE to promote "Me Time Day."

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