- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Cash movie a go

Boston Globe

Producers of an upcoming movie on the life of the late Johnny Cash say they may start shooting in June. The 20th Century Fox movie will star Joaquin Phoenix as the “Man in Black” and Reese Witherspoon as his wife, the late June Carter Cash.

The movie is titled “Walk the Line” after Mr. Cash’s 1956 hit, “I Walk the Line.”

Auto body experience

Associated Press

It’s an odd idea for a movie, even for Michael Jackson. “Jersey Girl” director Kevin Smith says he once got an offer to direct the pop singer in a movie about a man who turns into a car that is driven around by a boy.

Mr. Smith tells Playboy magazine that the superstar wanted to play the car-man role. The proposed title of the film — and Mr. Smith says this is no lie — was “Hot Rod.”

Mr. Smith calls it the “weirdest” script he was ever asked to direct.

Mr. Jackson is being accused of child molestation in Santa Barbara County, Calif. He also was accused of a similar crime 10 years ago and has maintained his innocence in both cases.

Beefed-up security

Internet Movie Database

Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott is being guarded by hundreds of soldiers on location in Morocco after receiving death threats from Islamic extremists upset about his new movie.

The group is offended by battle scenes in Mr. Scott’s new movie about the Crusades, “Kingdom of Heaven,” particularly those between Christian King Richard the Lion-Hearted and Muslim Saracen soldiers.

“There is concern, but everyone is getting on with the job in hand,” the Internet Movie Database quotes an unnamed crew member as saying.

King Mohammed of Morocco has ordered increased security for Mr. Scott and the cast, which includes Liam Neeson, Kiera Chaplin and Jeremy Irons, according to the Web site.

On the mend

E! Online

The natural woman isn’t feeling her best.

Soul queen Aretha Franklin remains hospitalized in Detroit for an undisclosed health problem.

The singer is in stable condition, according to her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn.

No details of Miss Franklin’s ailment were made available, and it was unclear how long she would be bedridden.

Miss Franklin, who turns 62 tomorrow, has been plagued in the past by rumors of an unhealthy lifestyle. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer claims to have quit smoking in 1991 and has denied rumors of alcoholism.

In 2001, she sued the Star tabloid magazine for $50 million after a story claimed that her heavy drinking habits had caused her to bow out of several concert appearances.

She called the article “trashy and grossly untrue” and insisted that she had “canceled one or two appearances out of 50 or more … for legitimate reasons.”

Miss Franklin has made no secret of her battle with her weight, telling Vanity Fair in November that it’s the one thing she would change about herself.

“I’m working on it,” she said. “I will return.”

The R&B; songstress called it quits on the concert circuit last year, ending her on-the-road career with her “The Queen is On!” concert tour.

Last month, the queen of soul took home a Grammy for best traditional R&B; performance for “Wonderful,” from her latest CD, “So Damn Happy.”

Return engagement

Philadelphia Business Journal

MTV’s “The Real World” is coming back to Philadelphia.

After several days of tense negotiations, Mayor John F. Street’s office said yesterday that the reality TV show will stay put in Philadelphia.

Bunim/Murray Productions, which produces the show for MTV, said a week ago that problems with the unions in the City of Brotherly Love persuaded it to pull out of Philadelphia a month before filming was to begin.

Yesterday, differences between the unions and Bunim/Murray had been resolved, the city said.

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

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