- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2006

Security breach

Brad Pitt’s staff is claiming that a television producer and cameraman trespassed at his Hollywood Hills home while the actor and his family were not home, Associated Press reports.

The pair from E! Networks parked a van outside the home Oct. 20, ignored a “no trespassing” sign and walked onto the property, where construction workers spotted them, a representative for Mr. Pitt told AP.

“We think they opened the gate,” Cindy Guagenti said.

After the two returned to their van and left, construction workers called Mr. Pitt’s security personnel, who contacted Los Angeles police and made a trespassing report, Miss Guagenti said. The E! duo accused of trespassing have been fired, the network said — though it denied any wrongdoing, People magazine’s Web site reported.

“E! Networks did not instruct or authorize anyone working on its program to improperly intrude onto private property, and the individuals involved have been terminated,” the network said. “While neither Mr. Pitt nor his family were at the property when the incident took place, the network in no way condones or encourages such behavior and would like to offer its most sincere apologies to Mr. Pitt and his family.”

Hot commodity

“Bruno,” English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to this week’s release of “Borat,” triggered an intense bidding war in Hollywood, Reuters news agency reports.

According to unamed industry sources, leading contender Universal Pictures offered more than $42 million for worldwide rights to the film on Thursday.

As with “Borat,” Jay Roach would produce the film with Mr. Baron Cohen. No director is on board, though it has been reported that Mr. Baron Cohen wants to shoot the movie in the summer.

In “Bruno,” the British funnyman will call upon another of his alter egos, a homosexual fashionista from Austria. Bruno fancies himself as “the voice of Austrian youth TV.” In his appearances on Mr. Baron Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show” (originally seen on HBO), the character sashayed from New York Fashion Week to Miami nightclubs.

A softie at heart

The redneck woman has a tender side.

Country music superstar Gretchen Wilson, known for songs that flaunt her hardscrabble roots and wild ways like chewing tobacco and drag racing on back roads, has written a memoir that discusses her rise to fame and her defining moment in life: becoming a mother.

An excerpt from the book, published in People magazine’s special issue on country music currently on newsstands, shows a vulnerable Miss Wilson fearful when she found out she was pregnant.

But she talked to her friends and loved ones who helped her through and when her child, Grace, was born, she was ecstatic. “The bottom line is, Grace is my life and music is my talent and passion. … I’m a mom first, a singer second,” she writes, according to the magazine.

The book, “Redneck Woman: Stories from My Life,” from Warner Books, will be released Wednesday, AP reports.

Out and about

Michael Jackson will make a rare public appearance at the World Music Awards in London next month, organizers announced yesterday.

The reclusive king of pop will receive a Diamond Award, given to artists who sell more than 100 million albums, at the industry ceremony on Nov. 15, AP reports. The annual show business awards select winners based on the strength of their worldwide record sales. Previous recipients of the Diamond Award include Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.

So ordered

A judge has dismissed a copyright infringement lawsuit accusing rapper 50 Cent of stealing the opening line for his 2003 hit “In Da Club” from a song by former 2 Live Crew frontman Luther Campbell, AP reports.

U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck ruled Friday that the disputed phrase was a “common, unoriginal and noncopyrightable element of the song” and was not entitled to copyright protection. The lawsuit said 50 Cent only changed one word from the opening line of Mr. Campbell’s song, “It’s Your Birthday.”

Mr. Campbell’s song appeared on his 1994 solo album “Still a Freak for Life.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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