- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 29, 2004

Kevin backs Mel

Los Angeles Daily News

In an interview on the syndicated entertainment TV show “Access Hollywood,” Kevin Costner said people “shouldn’t be attacking” Mel Gibson for “The Passion of the Christ.”

“We shouldn’t be attacking a filmmaker like Mel Gibson who, number one, is an honorable filmmaker … and probably questioned himself more than anybody even knows. So, like, leave him alone,” the 49-year-old director-actor said on the broadcast Friday.

The film, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, is a bloody depiction of Christ’s final hours and crucifixion.

Some Christian and Jewish leaders have complained that the movie could fuel anti-Semitism by implying that Jews are collectively responsible for Christ’s death.

‘Sex’ spat?

New York Post

The prospect of a “Sex and the City” movie has been thrown into jeopardy because Kim Cattrall does not want to make it, the New York Post reports in its Page Six column.

Throughout the hit comedy’s six-year history, there have been reports Miss Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker did not get along, and this animosity is reportedly the cause of her reluctance to sign up for the film.

One unnamed insider tells Page Six, “Kim Cattrall does not want to sign on. She feels she has been treated horribly by Sarah Jessica Parker for six years — so why would she want to revisit that for one moment?

“Two years ago, while filming in Atlantic City, Sarah Jessica rented a house for herself, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon. Kim was left out on her own.”

However, a spokesman for cable biggie HBO, which produced the show, maintains, “Kim stayed in a different house because she was married at the time, and her husband Mark Levinson was supposed to come down.

“Far too much has been made about Sarah Jessica and Kim,” the HBO spokesman adds. “I’m not telling you they have dinner five times a week and take vacations together, but there’s a professionalism. They get the work done. They are pros.”

Miss Parker produced the show and is expected to take a managing role in the movie version. She also has enlisted the program’s executive producer Michael Patrick King to join the film.

Yet, says the anonymous source, “Kim has told friends she will not allow Michael to direct the movie — because then Sarah Jessica will hold all the cards.”

Variety reports, though, that Mr. King has already been named director. HBO won’t comment on the claim, and says the idea of Miss Cattrall getting a veto on the director is “ridiculous.”

While no contract has been signed yet, Mr. King is already writing a script — and all the actresses have received “holding” money from HBO, which keeps them from accepting any more movies for the next three months.

Playing down the rumors, the HBO exec said: “If there was such animosity, there wouldn’t be a movie. This has been a tremendous career experience for all of them. God willing, we’ll get the right script and make the movie.”

The final episode of the hit comedy aired Feb. 22, drawing an estimated 10.6 million fans — the biggest audience in the show’s history.

Seeking ‘Producers’

Associated Press

They’re still looking.

No replacements have been named yet for Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in “The Producers,” but the two stars definitely will leave the hit Broadway musical April 4.

The producers of “The Producers” declined comment, although John Barlow, a spokesman for the show, said casting is proceeding and that when the new performers are signed, they will be announced.

Since the two stars rejoined the Mel Brooks musical Dec. 30, the show, which had faltered a bit at the box office, has bounced back to sold-out status. It’s doing boffo business during what is generally regarded as the leanest time of the year for Broadway ticket sales. Last week, for example, the musical grossed more than $1.3 million, the highest gross on Broadway.

Several names have been mentioned to replace Mr. Lane as rapscallion producer Max Bialystock, including Kelsey Grammer of television’s “Frasier.” Mr. Grammer, however, decided to do a television movie instead. The producers reportedly were also talking to comedian Jon Lovitz, a former regular on “Saturday Night Live.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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