Rats Redux [BR] The Pack is back, Jack, with a new generation of stars [P] Focus [P] Back in the days when men were men and women were chicks, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack pals—Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford—made Ocean's Eleven, a 1960 Las Vegas heist flick that, alas, did not enter the pantheon of great films. Yet [CELEBRITY_LINK "George Clooney"], [CELEBRITY_LINK "Bruce Willis"], [CELEBRITY_LINK "Julia Roberts"], [CELEBRITY_LINK "Brad Pitt"] and Mark Wahlberg are but a few of the Hollywood notables reportedly jumping at a chance to film a remake, starting next January. What exactly is the attraction here? A chance to bring back really thin ties? A steady diet of Scotch on the rocks? [P] "It was a fun film," says producer Jerry Weintraub of the original. "It was an ensemble piece." Still, he credits the star appeal of the remake to Clooney, who will re-create the Sinatra role of heist ringleader Danny Ocean. "[CELEBRITY_LINK "George Clooney"] is the star of the movie, and he made a lot of phone calls to a lot of people," Weintraub says. Clooney even sent a personal note with a $20 bill to Roberts, asking her to consider the Angie Dickinson role of Ocean's wife, joking that he heard she made "20 a film." [P] That kind of star vehicle is a rarity nowadays—and such star power alone may draw opening crowds. But Variety's Army Archerd, who has covered the entertainment scene for decades, says that there's more than a little risk: "As much as I respect and love [CELEBRITY_LINK "George Clooney"], [CELEBRITY_LINK "Julia Roberts"], [CELEBRITY_LINK "Brad Pitt"] and some of the others mentioned, it won't be the same....[LB]When the original was released J the audience went to see their favorite stars playing themselves in an offbeat way. I think the remake will be a fun caper, but that's not what Ocean's Eleven was originally designed to be." [P] It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ring-a-ding-ding? Stay tuned. [P] Love Him, Hate Him, Watch Him [BR] How do you know it's Miller Time? When you're watching the game and the announcer says, "I'm not sure there's such a thing as minor groin surgery. Anyone has a sharp instrument around my genitalia, I'm thinking it's major." On the morning after Saturday Night Live alumnus Dennis Miller (teamed with Al Michaels and Dan Fouts) made his sportscasting debut in ABC's Monday Night Football booth, the verdict was in, and mostly favorable. "The man was likeable. Very likeable," wrote New York Daily News television sports critic Bob Raissman. "More entertaining than the game," opined Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News. While ratings weren't dazzling, at press time more than half of 160,000-plus voters in an ESPN.com poll gave Miller an A or B for his performance. And while Miller declined Scoop's offer to judge his own work, he did seem to enjoy the gig, telling viewers, "If there's anybody in this stadium more pumped up than me, they wouldn't pass the league's standardized drug test." Next up: Rams vs. Titans, Aug. 14. [P] An X-Files Tragedy [BR] The X-Files started its eighth season with a real-life tragedy on July 31 when an electrical accident killed crew member Jim Engh, 38, and injured six others on the FOX series' L.A. set. The seven were preparing for a scene in the show's season premiere when an electrical line sent a 4,800-volt charge through the steel scaffold they were standing on. "One employee was handing a metal pole to a coworker, and it tipped and came into contact with a power line," said Dean Fryer of the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which is investigating the accident. X-Files creator Chris Carter said in a statement, "All of us are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague." [P] POP QUIZ [P] with George Benson [P] On July 30, five days after an Air France Concorde crashed near Paris, a British Airways Concorde made an emergency landing in Newfoundland, Canada, after a crew member smelled fuel in the cabin. On board: entertainers Tony Bennett and George Benson. The singer-guitarist, 57, who was returning from a five-week tour promoting his latest album, Absolute Benson, spoke with Scoop about the experience. [P] How are you feeling? [P] I feel lucky to be talking to you. I'm glad to be alive. [P] You sound a little shaken up. [P] I am a bit. I've calmed down a lot, but it was pretty scary. To tell you the truth, we were all a little nervous. [P] Was anyone on the plane talking about the Paris crash? [P] Not very much. I think you get kind of superstitious about stuff like that. But I did open up a newspaper and right there on both pages were huge pictures of the Concorde in Paris totally engulfed in flames. That made the women sitting beside me a little upset. It didn't make me feel very good either, so I put the paper away pretty quickly. [P] How were you after takeoff? [P] Once we were in the air I was relieved. I thought, "Yeah, back on the good ol' Concorde. Smooth, fast ride all the way to New York City." [P] And later the captain announced an emergency landing? [P] He said they were noticing some bad smells in the cockpit and that it smelled like fuel. He said they thought it could be either a problem with the air-conditioning or maybe a problem with the engines. [P] How did that make you feel? [P] When he said it could be a problem with the engines, it got pretty scary. I thought, "Is this it?" [P] How did others react? [P] The lady beside me was pretty upset. This is the same lady that had seen the pictures of the burning Concorde in my paper. [P] Did people panic? [P] No. No one panicked, thank God. [P] Tony Bennett was also on the plane. How did he handle it? [P] Tony was the coolest cat on the plane. He didn't seem worried at all; he was cracking little jokes, looked totally relaxed, just talking nice and easy and keeping people calm. [P] You landed in Newfoundland. [P] We were there for at least seven or eight hours, but it was a great time. Tony Bennett and I talked about old times. [P] Did you guys jam together? [P] [laughing[RB] No, we didn't sing. But Tony made me pose for some sketches. You know, he is a really gifted artist, and he made me sit still while he did three sketches of me. I've got a beautiful portrait to remember this trip by. [P] Will you fly the Concorde again? [P] I'd love to fly one again, because when they are flying right, there's no ride like it anywhere else. It is a beautiful ride. [P] Jay Leno, Thespian [BR] One more movie cameo and folks may start to wonder if Jay Leno is quitting his night job. Including the newly released Space Cowboys, the comedian has appeared onscreen more than a dozen times since assuming the Tonight Show desk in 1992. And just as he did in 1993's Dave, 1997's Contact and last year's EdTV, Leno tests his acting chops by playing...himself. Leno, 50, dispels any speculation that he might leave the tube for a steady gig at the local multiplex. "I like what I'm doing," he says. "But if there's something to be done on a weekend, I'd say yeah, if it's good." So how does he pick and choose roles? "When Clint [LB]Eastwood[RB] asks, you say yes. When Pauly Shore asks, you say no." [P] Putting a Price on Cagney [BR] Another fragment of Hollywood legend will go on the block on Sept. 27. Auction house Doyle New York will accept bids for James Cagney's 1942 Oscar for Best Actor, which he won for his portrayal of song-and-dance man George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. Estimated price? Between $300,000 and $500,000. "I've always maintained that in this business you're only as good as the other fellows think you are," Cagney said in his acceptance speech. Oscar auctions are rare: In order to prevent just this sort of thing, a rule was instituted 50 years ago requiring future winners and their heirs to first offer the Academy the statuettes for $1. Two early Oscars have fetched high prices: Clark Gable's 1934 Best Actor Oscar for It Happened One Night brought $607,500, and Vivien Leigh's 1939 Best Actress trophy for Gone with the Wind sold for $563,000. [P] The Tour Winner, by a TKO [BR] In the hot seat this week: Mary Wilson. Stepping over the ruins of Diana Ross's failed Return to Love tour (and digging in her stiletto heels a bit), founding Supremes member Wilson, 56, continues her own tour, complete with non-Supreme backup singers, this month. But unlike Ross, whose top tickets cost $250, Wilson is charging just $40 at an upcoming venue: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (seats 700) in Manhattan on Aug. 19. [P] ON THE BLOCK [P] HOWIE'S CASA UNSURPASSA [BR] No joke. Howie Mandel is pulling up stakes in Hidden Hills, a Los Angeles suburb, and moving to...Hidden Hills. Just down the street, actually. The comic is selling his 9,000-sq.-ft. home and taking his act to a custom-built Mediterranean-style mansion nearby. The master suite of the old seven-bedroom house (asking price: $3,250,000) includes his-and-her baths, a fireplace and a balcony with views of the area's horse ranches. There's also a deluxe pool with slide, waterfalls and grotto spa. Former owners include Kenny Rogers and Laverne & Shirley's Cindy Williams. [P]
  • Contributors:
  • Ting Yu,
  • Michelle Tauber,
  • Liza Hamm,
  • Tom Cunneff,
  • Steve Erwin,
  • Ana Figueroa,
  • Michael Fleeman,
  • Nadine Mendoza-Province,
  • Edmund Newton,
  • Jennifer Sobie,
  • Michele Stueven,
  • Joseph V. Tirella.