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August 05, 1999

This week, bizbuzz is brought to you by:
and guest writer Rod Unks.

Feel the buzz. This week, addressing criticism about Hollywood's propensity for "runaway production," Scientology kingpin, John "OTIII" Travolta, says he has no problems about making a propaganda film version of L. Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield: Earth" in Canada, and Canada has no problem with the $80 million movie being filmed there. This further proves Canada is evil.

In a more civilized part of the world, Dr. Jane "Queen Kong" Goodall and several anthropologists have sent letters of protest to Ted "NWO" Turner regarding the TBS program, "The Chimp Channel." Goodall is "sad and disappointed that [TBS is] backing the use of chimps and other apes in entertainment." Goodall led a similar protest in 1996 when Oliver, a chimp with human-like qualities (Science, 1 November 1996, p. 727), was being used to mix drinks at scientific research symposium post-parties. Joining Goodall was NRA love charm, Charlston Heston, who insisted that stopping monkey entertainment and exploitation would prevent them from organizing, rising up against man, and taking over the planet. In addition, Heston called for the death of Ricardo Montalban because "he's secretly hiding a talking chimp in his circus." Not since "Buster and Me" went off the air in the 80s has there been such an uproar over chimp rights. Roddy McDowall could not be reached for comment because he's dead.

From the "Why Dear God, Why?" file, Universal Pictures and Alphaville Productions have signed Stephen Sommers to reprise his roles as scribe and director for a sequel to "The Mummy" remake, "The Mummy." Production on the wanna-be Indiana Jones franchise sequel is expected to start next summer with a 2001 release date. Studio insiders speculate the script will focus on a female mummy who lives in a doomed "temple" and rips the hearts out of men, after emotionally breaking said heart. Phyllis Diller will star as the bandaged mummy.

"Mr. Television," Milton Berle has sued Century 21 Real Estate and Lambda Publications for $6 million over the use of a photo in which Berle is dressed as Carmen Miranda. The photo appears as an ad in Lambda's gay community guide, Out!, with a caption reading, "Our team of friendly professionals know how to cater to royalty after all, every queen deserves a castle." Berle is afraid the ad "would convey to a reasonable person, that he was a homosexual." You mean he isn't?

Regurgitated from the "Let's Call A Spade A Spade" file comes the first of what NBC executives are describing as new talent deals, but in reality are "affirmative action-let's satisfy the NAACP" deals. The bird network announced a pilot order for a half-hour comedy from Keenen Ivory Wayans (AKA head of the black Baldwin clan) and Yvette Lee Bowser ("Living Single"). Wayans will write the pilot and serve as executive producer of the tentatively titled, "Not the Bradys," about a divorced black father of two who marries a white woman with two kids. Kim Wayans is in "talks" to play the ex-wife of the lead male character, and KKK protests are expected if members can pull themselves away long enough from watching Jerry Springer.

In a recent television interview with "Access Hollywood," Eddie Murphy stated he is more than willing to star in a new "Beverly Hills Cop" movie. Jerry Bruckheimer will be producing the picture and has said the script is already being written. Hard core "Cop" fans will undoubtedly be up in arms because a fourth movie would destroy the well executed Axel Foley story arc completed with the most recent "Cop" film. Such protest has led several fans to speculate the fourth movie would be a prequel revealing Foley as a transvestite.

In other, more serious news, it's been two months, but the person responsible for sneaking a video camera into a movie theater showing "Star Wars: Episode I" and possibly creating the first bootleg of the successful film was caught this past week. The bootlegger, whose name is being with held because of his age, was caught with the aid of an embedded digital watermark. According to the Chronicle:

The specific copy made by the youngster ended up on the internet and found itself being sold in Asia only days after the movie premiered in the United States. Long used by digital photographers, digital watermarks embed invisible information which can be retrieved using special digital filters. This information is usually a unique identifying number which can be tracked to the photographer or the rightful owner of the photograph. Just as it did with special effects, Lucasfilm has revolutionized the use of digital watermarks. Each reel of "Star Wars: Episode I" is given a unique number allowing Fox, the movie's distributor, to track which reel goes to which theater. This number is digitally and invisibly embedded into the same, small specific sequence of frames in each reel. When this scene is viewed on bootlegged versions of the film and passed through a special computer filter, the number is revealed to officials allowing them to identify the theater in which the bootleg was created. "Knowing where the copy was made lets us go to the theater and investigate the scene of the crime," said 20th Century Fox spokesman Harold Green. In this case, the bootleg came from a theater in San Francisco, California. Using conventional techniques such as reviewing surveillance tapes and interviewing employees, investigators concluded the bootleg was not a product of a theater employee, but a young man who hid a video camera in his backpack. While the actual process of getting a suspect took only a few days, tracking him down took months. As San Francisco Police Department fraud detective Martin Tsai says, "By far the hardest part, as it is in most criminal cases, is tracking down and apprehending the suspect, especially since the suspect went on an out-of-country vacation." The 17 year-old was greeted at San Francisco International airport by police and FBI agents when he returned thanks to the flag put on his passport. The boy is currently awaiting trial and was released into his father's custody.

Now that's a shame because we here at HGNews and bizbuzz do not condone the piracy of anything at all. Honest. Wouldn't you feel better spending a hard-earned $500 on some clugy and crashy Microsoft product instead of pirating that product and spending your money on food, porn, or drugs?

Taking lessons from David Duchovny, George "Man, that David Caruso is a genius" Clooney claims he has no plans to return to ER for a guest appearance next season, which is contrary to recent statements by show producers and self-appointed spokesperson Julianna Margulies. Clooney once said he would return to help with the departure of Ms. Marguiles' character, but rescinded the statement blaming it on "confusion caused by paparazzi flashes." Duchovny's people plan on filing a law suit against Clooney's people for stealing their patented "crazy David" maneuver should Clooney announce plans on making any type of return to ER.

Further proving that theft is the only way to be successful in Hollywood, the New York Post reports "The Blair Witch Project" has striking similarities to "The Last Broadcast." "Broadcast" was shot as a video "documentary" and told the story of a group of public access show filmmakers who wandered into the New Jersey forests to make a film about the Jersey Devil. Of the group, only 1 came back. When word of the alleged "theft" was published, numerous other complaints surfaced. Chris Carter was overheard grumbling that "Broadcast" stole the Jersey Devil idea from "The X-Files." Down the street at another trendy restaurant, Darren McGavin complained Chris Carter stole his Kolchak character for "The X-Files." In other "Blair Witch Project" news, the movie's co-writers/directors, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez have outlined four potential story lines for follow-ups to "The Blair Witch Project." Two of the plots are prequels which would explore the Blair Witch legend because that really needs to be done after the Sci-Fi Channel special which explored the Blair Witch legend. The duo are also in talks to develop a television show based on the movie in which a reformed Blair Witch hitchhikes from small town to small town helping people with their problems. She would of course be accompanied by a hip, streetwise sidekick.

In yet another display of brazen arrogance, NBC, best known for canceling "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "News Radio," gave each of the four main characters of "gay" sitcom, "Will & Grace," identical convertible Porsche Boxters. Each Boxter carries a $100,000 price tag and were tokens of appreciation. Appreciation of what, no one knows.

Winning this week's HGNews "Hey, Good Career Choice Mental Midget" award is John Leguizamo who bowed out of the sure-fire hit "Shaft." Leguizamo was set to play the villain opposite Samuel L. Jackson, but had scheduling conflicts which are surely more important than landing a great role in a great movie with a great actor. Replacing Leguizamo is some other guy. Word of who will play "The Man" is still not known. "Shaft" is a remake of 70s blaxsploitation hit, "Shaft."

In what is being a called a coup by someone in the world, Warner Brothers has wrangled Chris Rock as the voice of Osmosis Jones in their next animated, buddy pic feature, "Osmosis Jones." Osmosis will be a "streetwise" blood cell who pimps white blood cells and deals pure, uncut oxygen. Joining Rock is David Hyde Pierce who will voice Drix, an inexperienced cold tablet who teams up with Osmosis to fend off a cold virus attack in an immune depressed, HIV stricken, gay construction worker. Producer Joel Silver will voice a gay police officer; Brandy is in talks to voice the female lead, a lymphocyte with a mitochondria of gold.

Earning the "Let's Exhume A Dead Horse, Beat It, And Use Our Rape Kit On It" award is Amblin Entertainment who has hired "Jumanji" director Joe Johnston to helm "Jurassic Park III: We Know You're Not Impressed By The Effects Anymore And The Plots Are Totally Unbelievable, But We Think We Can Squeeze At Least Another $80 Million From A Sequel, Besides We Have All The Dinosaur Graphics Saved On Computer So It'll Be Cheap." Variety reports production on "Jurassic Park III: WKYNIBTEAATPATUBWTWCSALA$80MFASBWHATDGSOCSIBC" will start next year for a 2001 release. Spielberg said he could not direct the third installment himself because he wants to work with uber-Scientologist Tom Cruise in "Minority Report." Also, Spielberg actually understands the "Jurassic Park" franchise sucks harder than a cheap Thai hooker.

Lastly, no week's industry news would be complete without a mention of Britney Spears, the teen mega sensation and part-time pedophile wet dream who rocketed to stardom with her woman beater anthem, "Baby, Hit Me One More Time." The undisputed winner of the week's "Person Who Deserves To Be Killed Slowly And Painfully With A Rusty Ice Pick" and "Person The World Could Do Most Without" awards is 24 year-old Robert Stephens. Stephens, a nightclub performer in Southern California (AKA the morally corrupt and water-thieving California no one needs) best known for his Britney Spears drag-queen night club act, beat out 30 girls in a local Spears look-alike contest. Stephens rich bounty for donning pig-tails and prancing around like an idiot? Four VIP backstage passes/tickets and a limo ride to Spears' local show where Stephens could achieve his ultimate life goal before committing seppuku - getting "Britney and Britney together" for a dream photo-op. Sadly, Stephens dream was not to be. On the evening of the concert, Stephens managed to fool a drunk Tom McNamara and a super smart E! television crew who sat faux-Britney down for an interview. When a Spears' publicist witnessed this, the "un-fun began." Pseudo-Britney was immediately removed from the backstage area and was not allowed to meet the real Spears. Now a disgruntled fan, Stephens says he'll never buy another Spears record, phone in another Spears request, or watch another Spears video, which is exactly what he should have been doing in the first place. Now a Ronin, Stephens is forced to roam the Earth searching for a new female pop idol on which to base his nightclub act.

Note: HGNews does not condone the murder of Britney Spears or Britney Spears drag queens, but we also do not condemn it.

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