WITHERSPOON TO STAR IN 'MANIC' FILM
Actress Reese Witherspoon has been tapped to star in the upcoming production "Daughter of the Queen of Sheba." The film will be a Paramount-mounted adaptation of a book by Jacki Lyden. Lyden's non-fiction book chronicles what it was like growing up with a mother who suffered from manic depressive mood swings and often thought she was the Queen of Sheba. The Hollywood Reporter says the mother-daughter tale will be produced by Susan Cartsonis and Matt Williams. Meryl Streep also has shown an interest in the film, but no definitive decision has been made as to whether she will be a co-star. The movie likely will have a complicated plot, considering the texture of the book and the many revelations about what growing up in that kind of household can do to the offspring of a person suffering from delusions.
MELLENCAMP PUTS FINAL TOUCHES ON CD
The latest music project from John Mellencamp, a compilation of "tribute" tracks, finally is finished. The rural Indiana-based rocker tells Billboard magazine the in-studio recordings, coming out in about two weeks on Columbia, are titled "Trouble No More." Mellencamp pays tribute to some of the past greats of music, re-recording songs made famous in past decades. He covers music made popular by Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Lucinda Williams, Willie Dixon and fellow Hoosier Hoagy Carmichael. There is one original song, a kind of "why did we get involved in Iraq" ditty, called "Washington." By the way, the recording sessions were taped by a crew from Indiana University and will be turned into a documentary that will be aired by PBS.
JOURNALIST BRAGS ABOUT FAKED STORIES
Jayson Blair, that New York Times reporter caught making up stories, is now bragging about his journalistic indiscretions. According to a report in another Big Apple publication, the New York Observer, Blair claims he was able to fool "some of the most brilliant people in journalism" through his falsified accounts. In one case he talks about the "falsehoods" that he inserted into a story he was writing about the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch during the conflict in Iraq. If Blair has any regrets about his being found out it's that he thinks he has not been given enough "credit" for what he did. He claims many other, better-known reporters have been caught in the act and they got more attention and credit for their misdeeds than did he.
WELCOME BACK, RANDY TRAVIS
For the first time since 1994, country's Randy Travis is back at the top of the heap with "Three Wooden Crosses." The song is in the No. 1 position on the Billboard rankings. Travis tells CMT the fact the song is at the top kills the long-standing feeling by many a recording with religious implications can't become a top hit. During his career, in addition to being seen on TV and in movies, Travis has ridden 16 songs to the top of the music charts. His first No. 1 hit was "On the Other Hand," released in 1986. His last previous chart-topping effort was "Whisper My Name" (1994).
BRUCE WILLIS LEADING A DOG'S LIFE
Look for tough-guy Bruce Willis to star in an upcoming animated feature, doing the voice of a "tough-guy" dog. According to the New York Post, Willis will voice the character of Spike (the dog) in the next Rugrats movie. The project, "Rugrats Go Wild," will feature Willis not only voicing the dog's speaking lines, but also participating in a duet with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. Hynde will voice the part of Siri the Leopard. Willis commented to the publication she has "a great voice, really sultry and it suits her character." He says his voice also lends itself to his character. "I sing like a dog," he says.
JUNE CARTER CASH STILL REMEMBERED
The talk around Nashville this week is still about the life and times of the late June Carter Cash, days after her funeral. The news provider country.com says Cash was buried near the family's estate. Husband Johnny Cash, frequently ailing in recent years, was there, along with a surprising number of music biggies and even a representative of the Jamaican government. The family continues to thank friends and fans for the huge outpouring of support and love. The church was so full of flowers there was little room for mourners. One of the most frequently heard phrases about Cash is that she was "from the old school." She was loyal to her fans and friends, part of the old Nashville establishment, but willing to give a boost to the new generation. A treasured part of country music's history left with her.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 598
Today we are asking: "Have you made your summer vacation plans yet? If so, where will you visit?" Put UPI-VACATION in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 593 (WASH)
Last week we asked how often you did laundry. From our usual random dip into the e-mail box, here is what we found: Only one respondent noted he did laundry on a once-a-week basis. The average number was three times a week. The largest number was sent in by TerriL, a Michigan mom, who noted that "my washer and dryer never stop running."
TOMORROW: Winding down again. GBA
A SPECIAL NOTE ...
With Friday's question, which will be the 600th in our series, the current daily survey series will end. If you're quick, you can suggest what our final question will be. Send your suggestions to email@example.com with UPI-FINAL in the subject line.