- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The almighty dollar

Move over, Lee Majors, and make room for the new “Six Million Dollar Man”: Jim Carrey.

The project, long in development, was fast-tracked after it attracted Mr. Carrey, fresh off his worldwide hit “Bruce Almighty,” and writer-director Todd Phillips, the filmmaker behind “Old School” and the upcoming “Starsky and Hutch.”

“The teaming of Jim and Todd is the perfect creative combination to launch the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ franchise,” Dimension Films Co-chairman Bob Weinstein said in a statement.

“The Six Million Dollar Man” is based on the ‘70s TV show, which starred Mr. Majors as astronaut Col. Steve Austin, a government agent who was half-man, half-machine. The show, in turn, was based on the novel “Cyborg” by Martin Caidin.

Starving for Hungary

Reuters News Agency

Tony Curtis has embraced his latest leading role — selling Hungary, the land of his forefathers, to aging big-spending Americans.

The 78-year-old actor is in Budapest to shoot two commercials that Hungary hopes will help re-brand it as a center of spa and “wellness” tourism, ditching the traditional image of paprika and Gypsy music.

Mr. Curtis, born Bernard Schwartz to Hungarian Jewish parents who immigrated to the United States in the 1920s, said he hoped his role in the ads, due to air next spring, would help raise Hungary’s profile.

“Americans don’t see Hungarians; they see Europeans, with only a few nationalities a little more visual,” he said in an interview.

“The Italians are known because of gangster movies and their restaurants, and Germans because of what they did to the Jews.

“Even my brothers and sisters know very little of Hungary. This region was seen by Americans as a kind of ghetto of Europe,” Mr. Curtis said, adding that as a boy, he knew little of his parents’ homeland other than Hungarian salami.

Shelter from the sales storm

Rollingstone.com

In one of the record-business surprises of the fall, an ambitious series of remastered Bob Dylan albums is selling big.

New hybrid Super Audio CD versions of 15 classic discs — including “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Blood on the Tracks” and “Blonde on Blonde” — have sold close to 60,000 copies since their release in early October.

A limited-edition box that includes all 15 discs has also sold more than 3,000 copies — a big number for a set that retails for $240.

The Dylan albums have no bonus tracks or other new music; the quality of the new mixes is the draw. Fans have long complained about the subpar quality of the CD versions of Mr. Dylan’s albums.

For those who already own SACD players, the audio quality of the new discs is astounding: You even can hear the sound of Mr. Dylan’s cuff link hitting his guitar on “Shelter From the Storm,” from “Blood on the Tracks.”

“There’s a whole new generation discovering Bob,” says Jeff Jones, senior vice president of Sony Legacy, who says the label has shipped 750,000 of these reissues to stores worldwide.

Insult to injury

Internet Movie Database

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has told Thescoop.com that it believes inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to investigate the treatment of animals used in Siegfried & Roy’s act after they were given free tickets to the pair’s show at Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel.

A PETA letter to department Inspector General Phyllis Fong reads, “PETA suspects favoritism or bribery may have played a role in the USDA’s repeated failure to cite Siegfried & Roy for the unsafe handling of adult tigers who were routinely allowed dangerously close to the audience with no safety barrier.”

A PETA spokesperson told the Web site: “It’s clearly a conflict of interest. The USDA has turned a blind eye to red flags that they clearly should have noticed. This may explain why.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from wire and Web reports.

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