Thursday, April 30, 2009

Usher unveils childhood snapshot on billboard

Grammy-winning artist Usher credits the Boys & Girls Club of America for making a difference in his life, so the least he could do was lend the group a slightly embarrassing photo of himself as a 7-year-old.

"I can only imagine how many accidents are going to happen in result of this being here," the 30-year-old Usher joked Wednesday as he glanced at a new billboard on one of Atlanta's busiest streets.

With about 20 kids surrounding him, Usher unveiled the billboard with his likeness as part of a national youth advocacy campaign to raise awareness for the club.

The singer's picture also will be used at airports and in public service announcements. He joins others with childhood billboards for the club - Denzel Washington, Shaquille O'Neal, Martin Sheen, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Gen. Wesley Clark.

"This is an opportunity for people to learn more about us," said Roxanne Spillett, Boys & Girls Club of America's president. "I hope this effort can spark more alumni to contribute and become a role models."

Usher, who was a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs for four years in his home state of Tennessee, hopes his billboard can have a positive affect on another child's life.

"It made a difference for me," he said. "Being great doesn't start in the later moments of life. We could be speaking to tomorrow's Barack Obama or Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Usher. These clubs are valuable to the community. Hopefully my billboard can help inspire someone else."

Mel Gibson and Girlfriend Hit the Red Carpet

Mel Gibson attended an industry screening of X Men Origins: Wolverine with singer Oksana Grigorieva for the first time since his wife filed for divorce. Grigorieva, the 39 year-old Russian songstress has a 12-year-old son with ex-James Bond star Timothy Dalton.

The couple officially stepped out as an item, holding hands and posing for pictures on the red carpet at Wolverine’s screening.

Gibson’s rep applauded the publicity, explaining to People Magazine, "Mel has been single for almost three years and it’s nice to see him getting out and enjoying himself."

Probably less thrilled to see Gibson enjoying himself with the brunette singer, who is signed to Gibson-owned Icon Records, is Gibson’s soon to be ex wife, Robyn. As the media splashes the split across the tabloids, rumors swirl that Grigorieva is pregnant and that Gibson’s seven children are siding with their Mom.

The soon to be ex-Mrs. Gibson might be entitled to half of his $900 million dollar fortune when they divorce.

Sean Penn Files for Separation From Robin Wright Penn

Actor Sean Penn filed for “legal separation” from his wife Robin Wright Penn after 13 years of marriage Friday.

The couple are no stranger to break ups and make ups. Penn filed for divorce back in 2007, according to a report in Us magazine, but the petition was later dismissed. Just 3 days later, Wright Penn, 43, filed for divorce.

But in April of last year, the couple requested that authorities dismiss their petition.

It seemed the two Hollywood heavyweights were intent upon reconciling, even attending the Oscars together in February, where Penn took home his second Academy Award for his performance in the film “Milk.”

But Penn raised eyebrows when he did not thank his wife and the mother of his two children in his acceptance speech. He later told Oprah Winfrey that he wanted to focus his speech only on the professional team, saying if he thanked her, he would have to thank his mother and children as well.,2933,518384,00.html

Britney to extend European tour

US singer Britney Spears has extended her European concert tour, according to her website.

A dozen new dates have been added to the Circus tour, which will see the star visit cities including Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Moscow.

The 27-year-old has already announced an eight day residency at London's O2 Arena and one show at Manchester's MEN Arena in June.

Spears is currently coming to the end of her 37-date North American tour.

After the Manchester show, the singer will travel to Dublin for two shows from 19 June and then perform in Paris, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw and a final show in Berlin on 26 July.

According to Spears's website, the tour's cast of nearly 50 dancers, magicians, clowns, acrobats and a travelling staff of more than 200 will travel to Europe with 60 tonnes (60,000 kg) of equipment in 34 trucks.

The singer began her Circus tour on 3 March in her home state of Louisiana. It is her first concert tour in five years.

"Harry Potter" tops summer favourites

Movie fans expect boy wizard Harry Potter will magically rule box offices in the upcoming summer blockbuster season that will see familiar faces like Sandra Bullock and breakout roles for a pair of "Star Trek" stars.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents in an online poll released on Thursday by AOL website named "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" the summer movie they most want to see.

Sixty percent of the 280,000 respondents said they expect the new "Harry Potter" movie, which opens on July 15, to be the top box office draw of the upcoming blockbuster season.

"It's going to be a big summer for 'Harry Potter,' people absolutely love that franchise, and for the most part the films seem to get better each time out," said Scott Robson, editor-in-chief of Moviefone.

Among the most anticipated movies, the sixth instalment in the "Harry Potter" saga was followed by: 29 percent for "Star Trek"; 12 percent each for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"; 7 percent for "Terminator Salvation" and 2 percent for comedy "Bruno."

The Moviefone poll did not include expected blockbuster "Angels & Demons," an adaptation of Dan Brown's novel that debuts May 15 and follows on 2006's "The Da Vinci Code," which made 509 million pounds at worldwide box offices.

In another category, 43 percent of those polled named magazine pinup Megan Fox, 22, as the actress they most want to see this summer. She starred in blockbuster "Transformers" two years ago, and returns in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" for its June 24 opening.

Second after Fox in the list is "America's Sweetheart" Sandra Bullock, 44, whom 22 percent of respondents said they most want to see. She shot to fame commanding a hurtling bus in 1994 action movie "Speed," and comes rolling back with romantic comedy "The Proposal," which opens on June 19.

"Summer tends to run towards the younger, fresher faces, but it's good to see a veteran hanging in there," Robson said of Bullock's second-place standing in the poll.

The breakout stars, according to the Moviefone poll, are Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana, who both appear in "Star Trek," which hits theatres May 8.

Thirty-nine percent of Moviefone respondents named "Wolverine" star Hugh Jackman the actor they most want to see, followed by 24 percent for Johnny Depp, who stars in the crime drama "Public Enemies" opening July 1.

In a separate summer movie poll, online ticket-seller Fandango said audiences are unfazed by Jackman's turn this year hosting the Academy Awards, when he gave a song-and-dance routine so unlike the scowling tough guy Wolverine.

Less than half of "Wolverine" online ticket buyers had seen the Oscars, and only 2 percent reported it made them less excited to see the film, Fandango said.

Closing arguments in Tyra Banks' NYC stalker trial

Closing arguments will begin Thursday in the trial of a Georgia man accused of stalking supermodel-turned-TV host Tyra Banks.

Brady Green, 39, has been accused of repeatedly calling Banks' studio, showing up there and sending her flowers and letters. He faces as many as 90 days in jail if convicted by Judge James Burke, who is hearing the case without a jury in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Green was arrested March 18, 2008, at a McDonald's near Banks' studio in Chelsea. He told officers he and Banks "had a thing together," police said.

Banks said she was about to leave the studio that day when her staff warned her about Green. She said they had previously shown her Green's photograph, told her he had threatened one of her employees and was "somebody I should watch out for."

The former Sports Illustrated cover girl said she told officers that arrived on the scene that she was scared.

"I didn't know what to do. How do I live my life when I leave this building? I had never experienced anything like this before," she said.

The Dublin, Ga., man has been charged with stalking, harassment and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors.

Calm and smiling frequently as she testified, Banks said security "has changed significantly" around her and her workplaces because of Green.

She said that her company has hired more security staff and that her studio audiences are vetted more thoroughly.

Banks said she is now followed everywhere by security guards, even when she runs and exercises outdoors. Even though she is a public person, "I don't live that kind of sheltered, protected life," she said. "I like to walk around."

Assistant District Attorney Sean McMahon asked Banks whether Green's behavior made her fearful.

"I don't fear for my life," Banks said. "I fear for my safety. I fear for the safety of my staff and for my family. And I fear for the safety of people in my vicinity, who I'm with."

Green testified that Banks' shows on racism and homelessness had moved him and he wanted to contact her. He said his attempts to get tickets for her show had been misunderstood.

Questioned by his lawyer, Jeffrey Berman, Green testified that he never threatened Banks, never intended to scare her and never tried to date her.

On cross-examination, McMahon got Green to admit he rode a bus for four days from Los Angeles and to New York where he had no friends, relatives and no job, and the first he thing he did was go to the building that houses Banks' studio.

Banks is executive producer and host of two popular TV shows, "America's Next Top Model" and "The Tyra Banks Show."

Police to return Rihanna jewels

Police in Los Angeles have agreed to return jewellery taken as evidence on the night singer Rihanna was allegedly attacked by boyfriend Chris Brown.

Rihanna's lawyer said police had agreed to photograph the items and return them to the designers who had lent them to the 21-year-old star.

The jewellery had been held since the attack, which allegedly took place in Brown's car before this year's Grammys.

Mr Brown, 19, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of assault.

The R&B singer is also charged with making criminal threats. A preliminary hearing is expected next month.

Rihanna is to get her million dollar jewellery back.

The jewellery - earrings and three rings - had been held by police since the attack and logged as evidence, Rihanna's attorney Donald Etra said on Wednesday.

He said Rihanna "felt bad" about being unable to return the items, worth an estimated $1.4m (£1m).


Mr Brown, 19, was arrested after rowing with Rihanna in a parked car in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles.

The alleged incident reportedly left the Barbados-born star with facial injuries that forced her to cancel a scheduled performance at the Grammys later that day.

If convicted, the possible sentence for Mr Brown could range from probation to more than four years in prison.

"The hope is that the parties can resolve the matter without the necessity for a preliminary hearing or trial," said Rihanna's attorney Donald Etra.

"But apparently, it looks like we're on track for a preliminary hearing."

Neither Rihanna or Mr Brown were in court on Wednesday when the agreement regarding the jewellery was reached.

Matt Giraud thrown off of 'American Idol'

There was no saving Matt Giraud this time on "American Idol." The 23-year-old dueling piano player from Kalamazoo, Mich., was rescued by the show's judges two weeks ago. But on Wednesday it was revealed that he received the fewest viewer votes on the Fox singing competition - just beneath this season's most formidable front-runner.

"I'll definitely remember being the cat with nine lives up here," Giraud said after his dismissal.

At the start of the show, host Ryan Seacrest split the finalists: Giraud and Kris Allen on one side, Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta on the other. Seacrest then allowed seemingly unstoppable Adam Lambert to choose which group he belonged in. Lambert picked Gokey and Iraheta, but Seacrest dropped a bomb: Lambert was in the bottom three with Giraud and Allen.

"My mouth went open again," said judge Kara DioGuardi. "That's what happens with Adam."

The drama was extended after Seacrest sent Allen to safety, leaving Lambert and Giraud as the bottom two vote-getters. While the judges were split on Tuesday's "Rat Pack"-themed show over Giraud's "My Funny Valentine" rendition, they all agreed that 27-year-old theater actor Lambert's "Feeling Good" performance left them feeling, well, really good.

The Lambert alarm was all for naught, though. Giraud was sent packing.

Gokey and Iraheta, who both recently celebrated birthdays, were safe from elimination, but the 29-year-old church music director from Milwaukee and the 17-year-old high school student from Los Angeles weren't totally out of harm's way. Video was shown of them tangling in a cake-making brawl that left their kitchen a mess.

Gokey was served with the cleaning bill.

"You mean `American Idol' doesn't pay for this?" Gokey asked.

"Maybe we'll take care of it if you win," Seacrest responded.

The four remaining finalists - Allen, Gokey, Iraheta and Lambert - will perform rock 'n' roll songs next week, two weeks before the two-part finale.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Abdul compares Adam Lambert to Michael Phelps

Paula Abdul stopped just short of declaring Adam Lambert the future winner of "American Idol."

Instead, she compared him to a certain Olympic swimmer.

The "Idol" judge praised yet another Lambert performance Tuesday night, telling the 27-year-old actor that each week "it's like watching the Olympics and you're our Michael Phelps."

Indeed, as the popular Fox show winds down to the finale, it seems Lambert is destined for a spot in the showdown to win the title.

Who else will compete to the end?

That's anybody's guess as the other four finalist delivered strong renditions of retro "Rat Pack" standards.

Jamie Foxx - a stylish singer himself - was the guest mentor.

Ryan Seacrest wants to see Susan Boyle on 'American Idol'

Will Susan Boyle get a golden ticket to Hollywood?

Rumors have swirled that the sensational contestant on Simon Cowell's show "Britain's Got Talent" could travel across the Atlantic to appear on his hit U.S. show "American Idol."

Cowell has not ruled out the idea, and host Ryan Seacrest is pushing for it to happen.

Seacrest called the idea "genius" in a recent tweet posted on his Twitter page and wrote, "I'm gonna shoot email to producers now."

A source told Britain's Daily Mirror that the Scottish songbird will likely appear on the show - if not before the current series ends in mid-May, then next season.

"If she is not on Idol before this series ends in May, she will probably end up there next year as the BGT winner. It would give the show a ratings boost,” the source told the Mirror.

And more people are speaking out about Boyle's makeover - she's morphing a bit each day from the frizzy-haired spinster who first won hearts with her powerful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream."

She has added tailored trousers and fitted jackets to her wardrobe, dyed her hair, tweezed her eyebrows and begun to wear bright lipstick.

"Britain's Got Talent" hosts Ant and Dec told the Mirror, they're not so sure it's a good move.

"I don't know about her makeover – she wants to look and feel good and that's her prerogative. But she doesn't have to do it 'cos the whole world fell in love with Susan as she was," Dec said.

Get Latest Headlines Ratings: 'American Idol' continues to dominate the weekly rankings

Another week, another ratings win for American Idol. Fox's singing competition took the top two spots, drawing 24 million and 23.9 million viewers for its two episodes in the week ending April 20, the fourth straight week that the karaoke fest has won. The last time Idol was not on top was the week ending March 29, when an address by President Barack Obama took No. 1 across the Big Four broadcast networks.

Rounding out the top 5 were Dancing With the Stars' performance episode (23.9 million at No. 3), Dancing With the Stars' results episode (14.7 million at No. 4), and CSI (14.6 million at No. 5). The rest of the Top 20 -- which can be found after the jump, with full viewership numbers -- was included the usual suspects (Desperate Housewives, Survivor, Cold Case, Fringe, etc.) and not one surprise. Although it is somewhat surprising how ABC's critically panned Surviving Suburbia (No. 19, 9.9 million) continues to make the Top 20, a fact likely due to its huge Dancing With the Stars lead-in.

1. American Idol Tuesday | Fox | 24 million
2. American Idol Wednesday | Fox | 23.9 million
3. Dancing With the Stars Monday | ABC | 20.5 million
4. Dancing With the Stars Tuesday | ABC | 14.7 million
5. CSI | CBS | 14.6 million
6. Criminal Minds | CBS | 13.7 million
7. Desperate Housewives | ABC | 13.6 million
8. Grey's Anatomy | ABC | 13.5 million
9. NCIS (R) | CBS | 12.6 million
10. The Mentalist (R) | CBS | 12.5 million
11. Two and a Half Men (R) | CBS | 11.5 million
12. Survivor: Tocantins | CBS | 11.3 million
13. Rules of Engagement | CBS | 10.6 million
14. Cold Case | 10.6 million
15. 60 Minutes | CBS | 10.5 million
16. 24 | Fox | 10.3 million
The Amazing Race | CBS | 10.3 million
18. Fringe | Fox | 9.9 million
19. Surviving Suburbia | ABC | 9.9 million
20. Criminal Minds (R) | CBS | 9.8 million

Get THR Mobile Alerts FREE Newsletters Oliver Stone in for Fox's 'Wall Street' follow-up

Wall Street's all the rage again -- literally. And Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas have decided they have more to say about it.

Stone has just closed a deal with Fox to direct the follow-up to "Wall Street," now tentatively called "Wall Street 2," with Douglas starring. This would provide an unusual amount of continuity since Stone directed and co-wrote, with Stanley Weiser, the original 1987 exploration of the inner workings of the finance sector and its complicated relationship with greed.

The plot line for the new "Wall Street" iteration has not been divulged, but it will pick up with corporate raider Gordon Gekko, the character for which Douglas won a best actor Oscar more than 20 years ago. Gekko's larger-than-life presence will once again loom over a younger upstart looking to navigate the shark-tank world of today's Wall Street.

Shia LaBeouf is in talks with the studio to take on the younger role. Stone and Co. hope to begin production over the summer.

Allan Loeb ("21," "The Baster") was hired to rewrite the long-developing project in the fall and has apparently turned in a script strong enough to corral Stone, who reportedly was very cool to the idea of a sequel. Ed Pressman, who produced the original film, is producing the follow-up as well.

The CAA-repped Stone most recently directed the biopic "W.," and before that helmed the Sept. 11 disaster drama "World Trade Center," which itself was a kind of tragic bookend to "Wall Street's" greed-is-good mantra. The new "Wall Street" project, with its up-to-the-minute placement in the context of the current global financial mess, should provide Stone with an ample palette for his typically provocative cultural commentary.

The Endeavor-repped Douglas last starred in the 2007 comedy "King of California." He co-stars in "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," which opens Friday.

LaBeouf, who is repped by Endeavor and Crosby/Spilo Management, next stars in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," which will be released June 24.

Parker, Broderick expecting twins by surrogate

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick will be taking on new roles: parents of twin girls.

The "Sex and the City" star and her actor-husband are expecting twins through a surrogate pregnancy, representatives for the couple said Tuesday.

Parker, 44, and Broderick, 47, "are happily anticipating the birth of their twin daughters later this summer with the generous help of a surrogate. The entire family is overjoyed," said a statement from the publicists.

The couple has a 6-year-old son, James Wilkie Broderick, and will mark their 12th wedding anniversary next month.

Details about the surrogate or her pregnancy were unavailable, the publicists said.

Parker starred in the "Sex and the City" TV series and the hit movie of the same name. Broderick's credits include the films "Glory" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and the Broadway musical "The Producers."

Hugh Jackman slashes his way back in 'Wolverine'

Hugh Jackman on Friday slashes his way back to his starmaking role as a razor-clawed mutant in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" after his glitzy turn hosting the Oscars and starring in romance "Australia" that flopped at U.S. box offices.

The change is good for the Aussie star because of the exposure it brings, but despite the box office appeal of the "X-Men" movies, Jackman said these days he leans more toward starring on Broadway, where he won a Tony.

It's Jackman's fourth turn as tough-talking Wolverine, a role he won in the 2000 film "X-Men," fresh from starring in a London stage production of the musical "Oklahoma!"

"There's no doubt that as soon as this movie came out, that my career was like a Great Dane dragging me down the street," Jackman told Reuters about the last nine years of his career.

The 2000 "X-Men" made $296 million at worldwide box offices and helped usher in the latest wave of comic book movies. The 2003 "X2" topped that with $408 million, and the 2006 "X-Men: The Last Stand" burst past it at $459 million.

Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media by Numbers reckons "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" could fetch from $85 million to $100 million at U.S. box offices on its debut weekend -- the first weekend of Hollywood's summer season.

Jackman, 40, said playing Wolverine has been a challenge because of the "sustained energy" he needs while shooting.

"Underneath you've got to feel he's ready to explode all the time," he said of the character.


True to its title, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" focuses on the early years of Jackman's character, leaping back to his childhood discovery of claws that spring from his knuckles.

The film introduces moviegoers to the Wolverine that comic book readers know best, when the U.S. government grafts the indestructible metal Adamantium onto his skeleton giving him the razor sharp weapons he wields naturally from his arms.

Wolverine believes his brother Sabertooth killed Wolverine's girlfriend and vows to hunt him down. But along the way, he gets caught in a secret U.S. program and eventually faces a twisted enemy to super-powered mutants like himself.

Jackman said that to get in shape for the movie, he worked out, drank protein shakes and ate meat at every meal, chowing down every three hours and waking up at 3:30 a.m. for more.

He did all that during the shoot for 2008 epic "Australia," which got director Baz Luhrmann worried as his star actor started looked bulkier from one scene to the next.

"Baz came to me and said, 'Mate, I need you to kind of back off a little bit. I'm struggling to edit the movie,'" Jackman said with a chuckle, chewing on a toothpick.

"Australia" was a hit internationally, making $162 million in that market and only $50 million in the U.S. and Canada.

Jackman splits his time between Australia and New York, each one a "base" for him, his wife and two children.

The actor said he wants to do a movie musical, and he expects to soon star on Broadway after his role in stage musical "The Boy from Oz", about gay singer Peter Allen, earned Jackman Broadway's top honor, a Tony.

But would Jackman consider melding his love of musicals with his biggest role in the movies: a Wolverine musical?

"There's a couple of outtakes that exist which, if they ever got out, I'd be absolutely killed," he joked. But as any fan of Wolverine will tell you, that's not easy to do.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Russell Brand to star in "Drop Dead Fred" redo

Universal Pictures is resurrecting the 1991 comedy "Drop Dead Fred," this time as a starring vehicle for comedian Russell Brand.

The original starred Phoebe Cates as a wallflower who loses her job and husband during a lunch hour. Forced to move back with her mother, she's reunited with her childhood imaginary friend (Brit actor Rik Mayall), who promises to help but causes more havoc.

Produced by PolyGram and Working Title, the first "Fred" was critically drubbed and commercially unsuccessful. But it did achieve a certain cult status and is considered a film that fell short of its full potential.

The take for the new "Fred" is to make a film in the tone of "Beetlejuice," building a universe around the concept of imaginary friends. Brand would play the trouble-making pal.

Dennis McNicholas, a longtime writer on "Saturday Night Live" and one of the screenwriters of the upcoming feature "Land of the Lost," will pen the remake.

Former BBC host Brand made his U.S. screen debut in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." He also appeared in "Bedtime Stories." He's in rehearsals for the Judd Apatow-produced "Get Him to the Greek" and will star in the remake of "Arthur."

Amanda Peet embarks on "Gulliver's Travels"

Amanda Peet has joined the cast of the adventure movie "Gulliver's Travels" opposite Jack Black.

The 20th Century Fox film, derived from Jonathan Swift's classic story, also stars Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.

The modern retelling follows travel writer Lemuel Gulliver, who heads to an assignment in the Bermuda Triangle only to end up on the secret island of Lilliput, home to a population of industrious tiny people. Peet will play Black's editor and potential romantic interest.

"Monsters vs. Aliens" co-director Rob Letterman is helming the picture, which was written by Nicholas Stoller and Joe Stillman.

Peet recently appeared in "The X-Files: I Want to Believe." She next stars in Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic thriller "2012," scheduled to hit domestic theaters November 13.

Michael Keaton to debut as feature film director

After more than 30 years working as an actor, Michael Keaton makes his debut this week as a feature film director with the dark, independent drama "The Merry Gentleman."

Keaton, 57, best known for his roles in films such as "Batman" and "Beetlejuice," said despite many offers to direct over the years he hadn't felt ready to helm a movie or to take on the workload required.

"It's such an enormous amount of work. But I like the work, I enjoy the work," Keaton told Reuters in a recent interview. "The Merry Gentleman" opens in U.S. theaters on Friday.

"Next time I would probably give myself the luxury of a little more time and hopefully a little more money. I would like to do it again," he said.

Once Keaton agreed to direct and star in "The Merry Gentleman," in which he plays a suicidal hit man who befriends a woman running from a troubled marriage, there was no turning back.

"That ended up possibly being a blessing in disguise," said Keaton. "We didn't have the luxury of 'umming and ahhhing' over anything or thinking about things. You just had to go."

The film was shot in 25 days and had scarcely any pre-production time, said Keaton, who previously directed a small documentary and short film.

"As odd and quirky as the movie is, it's also really spare and simple," he said. "I just wanted it to be unpretentious, about real people in this really unusual chapter in their lives."

The film premiered at Sundance, the top U.S. independent film festival, in January 2008 and was acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films in November.

Reviews of the film at Sundance were positive.

"Bottom Line: A quirky and complex thriller, directed superbly by Michael Keaton," The Hollywood Reporter said, while Variety described Keaton's debut as exhibiting "genuine promise behind the camera." The film is "a fine calling card for the veteran actor's new career aspirations," Variety said.

Keaton says his next acting role is in an untitled drama, but added that he would really like to find a good comedy role.

"I have been handed a few in the last two years, but they're just not anything that makes me get excited about," he said. "I miss it. It's so fun."

Lions Gate signs distribution deal

Film and television studio Lions Gate Entertainment Corp said on Monday it reached a U.S. distribution deal for up to five movies a year from producer Relativity Media, the company behind the recent release "Fighting."

The partnership comes as Lions Gate seeks to fend off advances by financier Carl Icahn, who has threatened to wage a proxy war and take control of the studio, and has criticized its purchase of the TV Guide cable channel.

The first movie to be released under the new agreement will be "Brothers," a drama due later this year from Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman. The film is about two brothers in love with the same woman.

Future movies under the deal include thriller "Season of the Witch" and comedy "The Spy Next Door," which are both in post-production, Lions Gate said.

Lions Gate and Relativity Media previously collaborated on the 2007 western film "3:10 to Yuma" and 2008 movies "The Bank Job" and "The Forbidden Kingdom."

Relativity Media's release "Fighting," starring Channing Tatum and Terrence Howard, opened on Friday and made $11.4 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices, placing No. 3 on movie charts after No. 1 "Obsessed" and No. 2 "17 Again."

Last week Icahn, who holds a 14.5 percent stake in Lions Gate, extended to May 1 the expiration date of his bid to acquire the studio's $316 million of public debt after attracting only $8 million of Lions Gate notes.

He made the move because earlier Lions Gate reached a deal with two debtholders to swap some of the company's convertible notes for new debt, thereby keeping them out of Icahn's hands.

Lions Gate also is seeking to lure equity partners for its purchase of the TV Guide Channel, thereby reducing the company's financial liability and quieting Icahn's criticism of its $255 million deal to acquire the TV Guide Channel.

Lions Gate shares were down 12 cents, or 2.4 percent, at $4.84 at the close of trading on Monday.

Simon Cowell: Susan Boyle has to sing better to win 'Britain's Got Talent'

It's going to take more than YouTube success for Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle to take the top prize on the reality show "Britain's Got Talent," says judge Simon Cowell.

Tens of millions have watched her inspiring performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on the video upload site, but the tough-talking Cowell says victory is not yet in the bag for the 47-year-old Boyle.

"She has four weeks to prepare for the biggest night of her life, which is, she's got to sing better than she sang before," Cowell said in an interview with Access Hollywood.

And what's more, Cowell says the intense focus on Boyle's personal life - and excessive portrayals of her as a frumpy spinster living alone with her cat - could actually hurt her chances in the show's finals.

"It could all go horribly wrong now because there's so many other distractions," he said. It wouldn't be the first time Boyle met with rejection before a TV audience.

Boyle auditioned for the British show "My Kind of People" in 1995, reports the Daily Mail - but was booted from the show and ridiculed by the show's host Michael Barrymore for her disheveled appearance after she sang "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar."

The footage was never aired on television, but the Mail obtained it from the daughter of another contestant who filmed the auditions with a personal camcorder. Fast forward nearly 15 years - and Boyle is having better luck.

Cowell said if she does win "Britain's Got Talent," she may also appear on its American counterpart. "I think I would say to anybody who won the British show that we guarantee them now a spot on the American show," he said.

"And I think that's a great incentive for the British winner now. So if it is Susan, yes." Despite his caution, Cowell was hopeful that Boyle's sudden fame would help garner big ratings for the American version of the reality competition.

"I am seriously thinking now that we should hold maybe two more open auditions off the back of Susan Boyle since the awareness is that much higher," he told Access Hollywood. And fellow judge Piers Morgan says the U.S. could very well have its own "Susan Boyle" once "America's Got Talent" hits the airwaves.

"There's one guy who hunts chickens. And in fact, if all he did was come on stage and say, ‘My talent is I catch 6,000 chickens a night,' he probably would have won the show. But his talent is he then sings like Garth Brooks," Morgan said.

"It is one of those moments when half the audience are in tears."

Lindsay Lohan spends, suns in Hawaii after Samantha Ronson split

Lindsay Lohan's having some pricey post break-up fun in the sun.

The starlet, along with a few of her gal pals and her sister Ali, spent the weekend in Hawaii, where Lohan soaked up some rays in a teeny bikini ... at a public park.

During the vacay the actress, who recently complained that she can't get an acting gig, also dropped thousands of dollars on designer bags during a shopping spree.

"If people would just leave my personal life alone - because it's really not that interesting - then I could land a great role, but all the sicko fans and the noise is so distracting," Lohan griped to E! News late last month, after admitting she's nervous about paying her mortgage.

Weeks later, Lohan spilled details of her split with Ronson to Us Weekly.

Before the trip, Lohan was seen with her ex at what used to be their shared home. The "Mean Girls" star also rehashed the break-up on an episode of "The Ellen Degeneres Show" last week.

"I really care about Samantha and we'll see what happens," Lohan said. "Maybe when we're fully in the right place ...I love her."

Meanwhile, Ronson has changed her Facebook relationship status to "It's Complicated” - as if we didn't know.

Leno returns to show after fever

US talk show host Jay Leno has returned to the screen after being treated in hospital for a fever.

The presenter, who missed two editions of the Tonight Show, cracked jokes about swine flu, his 103 degree fever and an armed guard by his bedside.

The 58-year-old told his audience security was put in place after a man posing as a priest tried to get in.

The broadcaster had previously not missed any of his programmes since he became presenter in 1992.

'The Godfather'

"We're back and we're not gonna be cancelling any more shows or appearances," pledged Leno during the show.

Referring to the security scare, he said: "So, now I'm like The Godfather. It's so stupid."

The guard was put in place by the Tonight Show's broadcaster NBC.

Joking about his illness, Leno said: "What happened was - and I think was a mistake - I ate a raw pig a friend brought back from Mexico. It was delicious."

He also made cracks about Conan O'Brien, who is due to replace Leno when he leaves the show in June.

While in hospital, he said: "I had a horrible dream that I couldn't breathe. I felt like I was suffocating... then I woke up and realised Conan was holding a pillow over my face."

Adam Lambert Dictionary Expands 'American Idol' Fans' Vocabularies

At this point in the competition, the judges on "American Idol" appear to be running out of superlatives to describe how much they adore Adam Lambert's performances. Perhaps they should try something like "Adamlicious" or "Lamberlove" or "Glambulocity."


Those are just a few of the many, many Lambert-centric words in an Adam Lambert Dictionary, which was recently posted by some self-described "Teenage Glamberts" (noun used to describe a person in their teen years who is part of the Adam Lambert fan community) and contains dozens of Labert-ized phrases employed by the superfans to describe their favorite "Idol" contestant.

In addition to offering up text-ready abbreviations for some of the songs Lambert has performed on the show — including BoW for "Black or White," RoF for "Ring of Fire" and ToMT for "Tracks of My Tears" — the dictionary contains more than 100 Lambertisms to describe every phase of Lambert worship.

Some choice selections include: (click the link below)

Wolverine gala shuns LA glamour

The small city of Tempe, Arizona hosted the world premiere of blockbuster Wolverine after winning a competition.

Fans had to complete a form on the film's website. Tempe, a desert suburb of Phoenix with a population under 200,000, logged the most entries.

Lead actor Hugh Jackman roared into the event on a motorbike and declared "I love this place. I'm moving here."

The rest of America must wait until 1 May for X Origins: Wolverine, which opens in the UK on 29 April.


Tempe fans beat finalists from nine other US locations, from big hitters Las Vegas and Philadelphia to small town hope Zelienople, Pennsylvania, population 4,123.

Jackman loves talking to fans

Jackman praised the dedication of ticket-holding fans who had been waiting outside the cinema since three in the morning to catch sight of him.

"No one in LA is sleeping out overnight when they already had tickets to the best seat in the house," he said.

He was joined by other stars from the new film including Liev Schrieber, and Lynn Collins.

Ryan Reynolds, who plays the mutant Deadpool, thought this could be the way forward: "LA has had its fair share of Hollywood premieres. So has New York.

Fans at Wolverine world premiere
Fans who queued overnight enjoyed the unexpected spotlight on Tempe

"This is the way to do it. You get to be interactive with the fans," he added.

Local resident Paul Morales, 20, was one of the ticket holders who also queued to see the celebrity arrivals. "It's tiring waiting for the tickets but it's so worth it" he said.

"I'm proud of my hometown for getting the recognition it deserves for hosting a premiere like this, I couldn't be more ecstatic," he added.

Flu delay

Meanwhile, fans in Mexico will have to wait much longer for the film.

Its release has been delayed as the outbreak of swine flu in the country has forced many cinemas to close.

The Mexican premiere of Wolverine, which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday night, has also been cancelled due to fears for the health of actors and studio staff who would have attended.

A spokesperson for Twentieth Century Fox said: "We were not only concerned about Hugh's welfare - and we would never send anyone into harm's way - but we also have an enormous office filled with people we care about.

"There was no point in proceeding under the current conditions"

The premiere event may be rescheduled in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Aerosmith play for unhappy fans

Rock stars Aerosmith are to hold a free concert in Hawaii to placate angry fans who brought a legal case against them.

The Walk This Way hitmakers cancelled a sold-out show in Maui two years ago, leaving hundreds of fans out of pocket.

They filed a class action case, which claimed the had band pulled out in favour of a bigger gig in Chicago and a private show for car dealers in Oahu.

Lawyers for the would-be concert-goers said Aerosmith had now agreed to put on a new show, and would pay all expenses.

"Everyone who bought a ticket to the original concert will receive a free ticket, and all out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed regardless of the amount," said Brandee Faria.

Cost claims

Aerosmith's lawyer, Jay Handlin, said the band were happy to have reached a settlement.

"The band is about the music," he said. "So they are glad to be able to resolve this in a way that really focuses on connecting or reconnecting the people of Hawaii with the band and its music."

No date has been set for the rescheduled gig, but it is likely to take place as part of the band's recently-announced North American tour.

It could prove to be a costly gesture, however. The original legal case said ticketholders were between $500,000 (£343,394) and $3m (£2.06m) out-of-pocket once travel fees, handling charges and other expenses had been taken into account.

Fronted by the Jagger-esque Steven Tyler, Aerosmith are one of the USA's biggest rock bands.

The Bostonians have won four Grammy awards in their 39-year career, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001.

In the UK, they are best known for later-period commercial hits such as Love In An Elevator and I Don't Want To Miss A Thing.

Salma Hayek's Wedding Reception an All-Star Song Fest

Salma Hayek's Saturday wedding to French billionaire François-Henri at Venice's Teatro La Fenice opera house was a celebration worthy of its famous venue.

The music kicked in during the ceremony, when the 150 guests Рamong them Pen̩lope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Ed Norton, Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, Stella McCartney and Ashley Judd Рserenaded the couple with a Hawaiian-style version of the sentimental classic from The Wizard of Oz, "Over the Rainbow."

Later at the elegant reception, Hayek, Theron and Harrelson joined Bono on stage for a rendition of something bouncy: "Stand By Me."

While guests danced to a 14-member band inside the opera house, Theron and companion Stuart Townsend, along with designer McCartney, took a break outside. At one point, the two women sang "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," from Evita, before Hayek – who had exchanged her Balenciaga wedding gown for a knee-length fuschia dress– joined them for the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."

By 3 a.m. the reception was winding down as one of the last guests, Lucy Liu, departed on foot.

"It was all about love, family and friends," says a wedding guest. Not to mention song.,,20274929,00.html

At The Box Office: Beyonce’s Stalker Thriller ‘Obsessed’ Takes #1

After previous weekend takeovers by Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus, a more adult film took this week's box office by a mile.

Sony's stalker thriller "Obsessed," starring Beyonce, Idris Elba and Ali Larter, came in #1 this weekend, leaving the competition in the dust, taking in $28.5 million.

In the film, businessman Idris Elba has his life turned upside down by his obsessive new secretary (Ali Landry), who goes beyond the office crush, while Beyonce vies to keep her husband.

Females flocked to the theaters to see all the dram and catfight. According to Variety, the film's audience was 58% female, while nearly 50% was under age 25.

Right behind the Beyonce thriller, at #2, is last week's top movie "17 Again", which grossed another 11.6 million.

"Fighting" punched its way to #3, doing better than expected by grossing an estimated $11.4 million. The film tells the story of small-town boy Channing Tatum trying to make it big in New York City, featuring bare-knuckle scraps and lots of busted lips.

"The Soloist," starring critical acclaimed actors Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx, came in at #4 with $9.2 million dollars in ticket sales. The film's lackluster debut could be credited to the studio's decision to move its premiere date from late last year to early spring, or the so-so reviews.

Disneynature's "Earth" performed well, grossing an estimated $8.6 million for the weekend to put it at #5, scoring the best domestic opening ever for a nature docu, as well as one of the top openings of all time for any doc. The documentary culls extraordinary nature footage from the BBC's landmark series "Planet Earth.

"Monsters vs. Aliens" lands at #6 with $8.5 million; "State of Play" at #7 with $6.8; "Hannah Montana: The Movie" at #8 with $6.3; "Fast & Furious" at #9 with another $6 million to take its total to $150 million; and "Crank: High Voltage" rounds at the top 10 with $2.4 million.

Another new release, "The Informers" came in at #19, landing just $300,000 in ticket sales. The film, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel, opened in limited release.

The highly regarded Mike Tyson documentary "Tyson," debuted at $86,000 on just 11 screens.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Simon Cowell to Susan Boyle: "Get yourself together"

Television's Simon Cowell said on Friday he was embarrassed at his initial reaction to British singing sensation Susan Boyle, but warned that just because she is a hit with fans, she is not a winner yet.

Cowell, the creator and a judge on "Britain's Got Talent," said he was fed up with stories about the hair, eyebrows and cats of the never-married 47-year-old Boyle, and he urged her to focus now on winning the television talent competition.

"She has got four weeks to prepare for the biggest night of her life, and she has got to sing better than she sang before with all those expectations on her. But it could all go horribly wrong for her because there are so many other distractions," Cowell told TV reporters in Los Angeles.

"Get yourself together sweetheart for the big one -- the semi-final. Shut the door, choose the right song and come back as who you are, not who you want to be," he said.

Boyle, a spinster who lives alone with her cat, became one of the world's hottest celebrities last week after surprising judges with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" on the popular talent show. Her performance has been watched over 50 million times on YouTube.

"We were all guilty on the panel of judging her before she sang, and we got it utterly wrong. You watch it back and it is embarrassing," said Cowell, who is well-known as the acid-tongued judge on TV talent contest "American Idol."

"Britain's Got Talent" is open to anyone regardless of age or performing skills. It has 40 versions worldwide and the fourth season of the U.S. version, "America's Got Talent," kicks off on NBC on June 23.

"I am seriously thinking now we should hold two more open auditions (of "America's Got Talent") off the back of Susan Boyle. You don't have to be a singer who is 47 and never been kissed, but just someone who says 'I think I am talented, and I don't think people are going to judge me because of the way I look'," he said.

Recording executive Cowell, who has an option to sign Boyle if she wins the British talent show, shuttles weekly between Los Angeles and London as the judge on "American Idol" and "Britain's Got Talent."

But he dismissed suggestions that his life was stressful. "It's only stress when it doesn't work," he said. "I don't feel under any stress whatsoever when something like the Susan Boyle thing emerges. It is honestly the best feeling in the world."

Fox faces uncertainty over fate of "Idol" judges

Fox television this week faced an uncomfortable future when the two biggest stars on its No. 1-rated show "American Idol" openly discussed leaving, which experts said could send viewership plummeting in future seasons.

Paula Abdul, whose often quirky behavior has been a hot topic for years, told ABC News program "Nightline" that her contract ends after this season. And acid-tongued Simon Cowell, whom critics call the show's real star, gave several interviews in which he contemplated an exit when his deal ends next year.

"You take out one person like Paula or Simon, (and) you're affecting every other player in this grid," said Time magazine television critic James Poniewozik. "They're a family, a dysfunctional family, and it's tough to mess with that."

At risk for the Fox Broadcasting Co., which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., are millions of dollars in annual advertising revenue that would be lost if viewers tune out following a departure by Cowell or Abdul.

The pair are the most talked-about judges on the four-person panel that critiques performances of pop star wannabes competing to be the next "American Idol" and win a recording contract. They are joined by Randy Jackson and new judge Kara DioGuardi, as well as show host Ryan Seacrest.

This week, Cowell told the New York Times that when he agreed to his contract through next season, it felt like it would be his last, and he said in The Hollywood Reporter that if "Idol" dropped from No. 1, he would want to leave.

"I have had a great eight years. But inevitably you get to a point in life when you think maybe it's time for a change," he told reporters on Friday at an event in Los Angeles.

Cowell said he had not talked about his contract with Fox executives. "I have not even sat down with them yet. Maybe I'm being premature. Maybe they don't want me!," he said.

Leaving the show likely would be a big let-down for fans of the celebrity judge who earns an estimated $36 million a season by often heaping criticism on the program's pop star wannabes.

"He's the villain that people like to cheer against, and also I think people don't give him enough credit for this, he's actually also a really good critic," Poniewozik said.


Fortunately for Fox, the show has retained its lofty title as No. 1 on U.S. airwaves despite a slip in its audience size that could be tied to lower viewership for TV shows overall.

Now in its eighth season, "Idol" has seen its audience size decrease by about 8 percent compared to last year, and it is averaging about 26.3 million viewers per show, Fox said.

Still, it retains a 68 percent ratings lead among viewers 18 to 49 years-old, a key group that advertisers covet, over its nearest competitor, ABC sitcom "Desperate Housewives."

"'Idol' at the moment is the most dominant it has ever been," said Mike Darnell, president of alternative programing at Fox Broadcasting.

When asked about the show's prospects if Cowell or Abdul were to leave, Darnell said only that he hoped they would not.

"It is our hope and my personal wish that both of them stay for as long as the show is on," Darnell said.

Industry experts, however, are more forthcoming.

"Simon Cowell, if he left the show after next season, there would be a much bigger drop-off in terms of viewing; he's really the focal point," said Brad Adgate, a vice president at advertising agency Horizon Media.

The loss of Abdul would be a blow, too, as critics say she is crucial, if only for her often unpredictable behavior.

"Paula is a liability for any number of reasons people talk about, just the sort of crazy, scatterbrained responses she gives during the judges' criticism," Poniewozik said.

"But that's 'American Idol,' the things people complain about are a big chunk of the reason the audience watches."

Forbes names Madonna Hollywood's hardest working mom

With earnings of $110 million in 2008, Madonna topped Forbes' list of Hollywood's hardest working mothers, followed by actresses Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The pop singer and mother of three, who was recently turned down in her bid to adopt a second child from Malawi, grossed $105 million on her tour and sold nearly a million albums in the United States. Madonna also signed several lucrative endorsement deals last year, according to

"She had an incredible year in 2008," said Lauren Streib who helped to compile the list that was released on Friday.

"She had the top tour of any musician...The tour sold out around the world. So it wasn't surprising as much as it is a commentary on how successful her year was," she said.

Witherspoon, who earned an estimated $24 million last year, was second on the list, followed closely behind by Paltrow with $20 million in earnings.

In addition to her film career and raising daughter Ava and son Deacon, Witherspoon, who is divorced from actor Ryan Phillippe, is also the international spokeswoman for the cosmetics company Avon.

Paltrow's role in the blockbuster comic book film "Iron Man," which earned $580 million worldwide, and her endorsements for Estee Lauder and shoe and handbag maker Tod's propelled her to the third spot.

Streib said the list is based on estimated earnings of Hollywood mothers with at least one child. Earnings include album sales, salaries, box-office grosses and endorsements and licensing deals.

She added that for many of the women on the list endorsement deals are a significant part of their earnings.

"I think this is something that has been going on for decades now. We are seeing less and less models and more and more celebrity spokespeople. It is a big part of the business of being a celebrity," she added.

Mother of three Julia Roberts, who returned to the big screen in a starring role in the film "Duplicity," captured the fourth spot on the list, while actress Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a son with husband Matthew Broderick, rounded out the top five.

Angelina Jolie, who has six children but still earned $14 million last year, came in sixth, followed by model and television presenter Heidi Klum, who is pregnant with her fourth child.

Best actress Academy Award winner Kate Winslet, who has two children, and singer and mother of three Faith Hill also made the list, which is posted at

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beyonce says "definitely" wants Broadway role

Grammy Award winning singer and actress Beyonce Knowles has a plan to settle down in a couple of years and have some children with her husband, hip hop mogul Jay-Z, do less touring and -- debut on Broadway.

"It's my ideal job," Knowles told Reuters, while promoting her latest film role in "Obsessed," in which she plays a wife who takes on her husband's stalker.

"I'll be able to go to the theater every day and drop my kids off and maybe make some food -- maybe I'll know how to cook by then -- and then go do what I love and have some normalcy and have a regular schedule."

"I definitely want to do Broadway."

Knowles, 27, said she loved playing Sharon Charles in "Obsessed," which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, her first non-singing film role after performances in screen musicals including "Cadillac Records" and "Dreamgirls."

"I love this role because in most of these movies the man comes in and saves the day. And my character Sharon is the hero. She's strong and doesn't choose to be the victim, call her husband, call the police, hide in the attic -- she fights," said Knowles.

The singer's "I Am..." world tour, which begins this week in Croatia, is dramatic but, "I wouldn't say Broadway," said Knowles , who has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.

"It's really theatrical and I do, of course, all of the singles."

Beyonce thriller "Obsessed" leads new releases

The final weekend of the spring box office season boasts four new pictures in wide release.

As for picking a winner, lots of luck. But it does seem certain "17 Again" will relinquish the box office crown, with an expected second-weekend tally of $12 million or so for the Zac Efron comedy. It's considered likely that at least one or more of the new pictures will register a bit more than that.

But which one will finish first? That's much less clear.

The Sony thriller "Obsessed" looks capable of attracting at least mid-teen millions through Sunday, though its ultimate haul hinges greatly on how it draws outside of core urban demos. The cast includes Beyonce Knowles ("Dreamgirls"), Idris Elba ("28 Weeks Later") and Ali Larter ("Resident Evil: Extinction").

"It has a very solid cast, and Beyonce has an all-audience appeal," Sony domestic distribution president Rory Bruer said.

Paramount's DreamWorks-produced "The Soloist" -- a $40 million-plus production helmed by Joe Wright ("Atonement") and starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx -- is probably the highest-profile picture hitting multiplexes. But the delayed winter release has drawn mixed reviews, so teen millions are certainly doable but not quite guaranteed.

"Fighting," Universal's drama about bare-knuckle brawling that stars Terrence Howard and Channing Tatum, has been tracking in similar terrain as "The Soloist."

The weekend's final wide release is rather anomalous.

Disney opened its James Earl Jones-narrated documentary "Earth" on Wednesday, which was the national eco-holiday Earth Day. The inaugural entry in a planned series of nature documentaries to be branded as Disney Nature releases, "Earth" boasts uncertain box office prospects.

"It's a labor of love, and we'll see," Disney distribution president Chuck Viane mused. "The idea is to bring out something different and try to grow the business."

Meantime, Universal will be hoping for strong second session for Russell Crowe's "State of Play," which bowed softly at No. 2 last weekend with $14.1 million. The $60 million adaptation of a British miniseries, "Play" also has an important U.K. opening this weekend.

Scottish singing sensation gets dye job, makeover

What's next, a fake tan?

Britain is buzzing over singing sensation Susan Boyle's mini-makeover, with some worrying that her new look may cost her some support in the "Britain's Got Talent" competition that catapulted her to international stardom.

Boyle, 47, became an instant YouTube and Internet celebrity after appearing on the British TV show with gray frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows and a jowly face above a remarkably unflattering dress. The contrast between Boyle's un-adorned looks and her angelic singing voice endeared her to viewers the world over.

But on Friday, Boyle appeared on the cover of The Sun tabloid sporting freshly dyed and styled brown locks and newly shaped eyebrows.

While no one could accuse Boyle of turning into a WAG — as the highly stylized Wives and Girlfriends of England's wealthy athletes are called — the difference was shocking.

"Compared to what she had, it's a 200 percent improvement," said Toni Jones, assistant fashion editor of The Sun. "But our readers think this is as far as she should go. We want her to stay one of us, not get hair extensions and a fake tan."

Jones praised Boyle for getting a 35-pound ($51) hair cut at a local salon near her home in Scotland rather than trekking to London for a 200-pound ($295) cut at a celebrity salon.

But Max Clifford, Britain's most prominent publicist, called the makeover a major risk because it could jeopardize the phenomenal connection between Boyle and her worldwide audience.

"Keep her as natural as possible for as long as possible," said Clifford. "It's more about protection than promotion. She's got the voice. She has to make sure that the person people all around the world fell in love with remains the same."

In addition to the new haircut, Boyle has also upgraded her wardrobe. Instead of the plain beige dress she wore on her first TV appearance, she was recently photographed wearing a stylish black leather jacket and what appeared to be a Burberry scarf.

Judges of "Britain's Got Talent" will decide May 23 whether Boyle gets through to the next round. Britain's bookmakers have made her the firm favorite to win the competition.

Beyonce voice hoax creator says he was 'trying to make a point'

The creator of the hoax Beyonce soundboard clip that Howard Stern played on his radio show earlier this week has revealed why he made the tape.

Matthew Zeghibe said “I was just trying to make a point. I wanted to show people how easy it is to manipulate someone’s voice. If I can do it with a clip I pulled off of TV, imagine what they are doing on records and during live performances. The entire industry has been so manipulated, because there’s such an emphasis on perfection, so when something like this happens, it causes such a stir.”

Zeghibe, an art student from Connecticut, made the clip sound as if it was the real soundboard recording of Beyonce’s voice on ‘If I Were a Boy’ during a performance on the ‘Today’ show in November last year.

He said he made it as joke for his friends, and put it on YouTube. “It was just for a good laugh. It was a goof, just for fun. I do a lot of parodies on my YouTube channel, and it just so happens this one got a little out of hand,” he told Rolling Stone.

Beyonce responded to the hoax by saying she was grateful, as it drew publicity to two upcoming TV performances she was gearing up for.

Eminem's Next Single, '3 A.M.,' Leaks Online

With all the hoopla surrounding the release of Eminem's first solo album since 2004, it seems like everyone is forgetting about Slim Shady.

Well, Em's evil rhyme persona blasts his way back on the Detroit lyricist's "3 A.M.," a track from the upcoming Relapse that leaked online Thursday night (April 23). Over a menacing Dr. Dre beat, Shady exhibits a pronounced zigzag flow as he paints the picture of a fictional late-night homicidal crusade.

"I duck and I splash/ Lights and gas/ Last night was a blast/ I can't quite remember when I had/ That much fun with a half-pint of the Jack/ My last Vic and half/ A flashlight up Kim Kardashian's ass," the rapper spits on the third verse of the more-than-five-minute opus.

Eminem appeared on his Sirius satellite radio channel Shade 45 on Thursday morning and discussed his project. The rapper said Dr. Dre produced the majority of the album, with the exception of one track Em did himself. He said stepping away from the boards enabled him to play with his flow more, resulting in different rhyme styles from the rapper.

"I tried to pick the [Dre beats] that challenged me, rhythm-wise," Em said. "I ended up experimenting with a bunch of different flows. I try to do that every album, but this time I had a chance to go all out with it. Make every flow different and pick unique beats."

Em also confirmed that he had filmed a video recently for "3 A.M." The rapper said the clip was shot in Detroit and would be the next video from his project, which is due May 19. Em called the darker song more in line with what his album would sound like. The first single from the effort, "We Made You," is a spoof track that takes aims at celebrities.

Jay Leno Is Hospitalized

Even in the hospital Jay Leno hasn't lost his sense of humor.

The Tonight Show host, 58, canceled the taping of his talk show and checked into Providence Saint Joseph's Medical Center in Burbank on Thursday. No information has been released on the nature of the funnyman's ailment, but a rep for the show says he's "doing just fine."

"He was kidding around with the hospital staff and running his monologue jokes by the doctors and the nurses," says NBC's Tracy St. Pierre. "He's expected back to work on Monday."

According to sources, Leno, who rarely calls in sick and is famous for his strong work ethic, "was just not feeling well. Somebody from the show drove him over to the hospital."

Actor Ryan Reynolds – as well as an animal handler and several reptiles – had been scheduled to appear on the show.,,20274569,00.html

Thursday, April 23, 2009

British songbird Susan Boyle gets a semi-makeover

Songbird Susan Boyle has insisted she won't let fame change her and that she has no plans for a makeover

But the surprise star of "Britain's Got Talent" recently stepped out all dolled up outside her home in Scotland.

She traded her shapeless stage dress for a fitted, jersey wrap dress - similar to the signature style of fashion diva Diane Von Furstenburg - and opted for vibrant teal and magenta colors in lieu of her usual muted hues.

Boyle also donned a stylish leather jacket and shiny lepoard print heels.

In a recent interview with CNN, Boyle said, "I wouldn't want to change myself too much because that would really make things a bit false. I want to receive people as the real me, a real person."

Are these few changes the beginning of something bigger?

Tell us if you think she should stop at these style changes, or go for the full makeover.

Third Twilight director is named

Hard Candy director David Slade has signed up to make the third film in the Twilight series of Vampire movies, due out next summer.

Stephenie Meyer, the author of the books that the film franchise are based on, praised Slade in a statement as a "visionary filmmaker".

American Pie director Chris Weitz recently began filming New Moon - the sequel to Twilight - in Vancouver.

The first film was a huge success with both UK and US audiences last year.

Twilight, which was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, topped the US box office in November after taking $69.6m (£46.2m) on its first weekend - record opening takings for a film by a female director.

Teenage actor Taylor Lautner will return in his role as mysterious Jacob Black in New Moon - due for release in November - and War of the Worlds star Dakota Fanning will also join the cast.

The books and movies follow the love affair between a teenage girl and an immortal vampire.