Natalie Portman Teams with Matrix Creators
CAST: Closer Golden Globe nominee Natalie Portman is in final discussions to star in a new film by producer Joel Silver and Matrix filmmakers the Wachowski brothers, "V Is for Vendetta," based on Alan Moore's graphic WWII novel, says the Hollywood Reporter. The Wachowskis will produce and write the script, which will be directed by their longtime first assistant director James McTeigue. Meantime, Portman celebrates the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith by appearing on the latest cover of Vanity Fair, alongside her costars and creator George Lucas. ... On the small screen, American Pie star Alyson Hannigan is set to join Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ed O'Neill on ABC's upcoming comedy series In the Game, set on a TV sports show. Hannigan, who costarred on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, will play Hewitt's character's best friend.
HOSPITALIZED: For the first time in 21 years, the ailing Dick Clark, 75, will be unable to do his backstage star interviews at the Jan. 16 Golden Globes, for which he has also served as producer. The TV veteran remains in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a stroke that also prevented him from hosting Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve for ABC last week. Reps for the Globes said Tuesday that there would be no replacement on the NBC broadcast.
PULLED: Citadel Broadcasting Corp yanked Howard Stern from four stations this week and may never resume the show, reports Reuters. "Regrettably, Mr. Stern has transformed the content of his show into a continuous infomercial promoting Sirius, his new satellite radio employer," Citadel said in a statement. The company had carried Stern on stations in Syracuse, N.Y; Providence, R.I.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Harrisburg, Penn. Stern, who jumps to Sirius in 2006, was not available for comment on Citadel's move.
REVEALED: T.J. Myers, the tearful subject of FOX's low-rated, critically reviled Who's Your Daddy?, has a checkered past, The New York Times reports, based on the findings of Gawker.com. Though the stunner found her biological father and won $100,000 on the 90-minute reality special that aired Monday night, she could be seen earlier in a 1995 soft-core movie, Seduction of Innocence. Its R rating was for nudity and sex scenes, says The Times, adding that the video is sold in an unrated version.
HONORED: Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Jerry Lee Lewis will receive lifetime achievement awards at this year's Grammy Awards, say organizers. Those also honored by the Recording Academy will include Eddy Arnold, Art Blakey, the original Carter Family, Morton Gould, Jelly Roll Morton, Pinetop Perkins and the Staple Singers. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Feb. 12, the day before the 47th annual Grammys are handed out at L.A.'s Staples Center.
DISMISSED: A judge threw out a civil lawsuit filed against William Kennedy Smith by a former personal assistant who alleged he sexually assaulted her. "(The lawsuit) had no merit from the beginning, it was frivolous," Dan Webb, Smith's attorney, said Tuesday. "Of course she was trying to cash in. ... This case has been about money from the beginning." Smith, the nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, has repeatedly denied he assaulted Audra Soulias.
DIED: Will Eisner, 87, the artist who revolutionized comic books, helped pioneer the graphic novel and taught generations of soldiers how to maintain their equipment with the "Joe Dope" series, died Monday at Florida Medical Center in Lauderdale Lakes of complications from quadruple bypass heart surgery last month, reports the Associated Press. Eisner started making comics in the 1930s and was the first to use "silent" balloonless panels to emphasize characters' emotions by focusing attention on finely wrought facial expressions.
CONFECTED: Though Valentine's Day is more than a month away, the people at Necco – which stands for New England Confectionery Company (since 1847) – are set to roll out a new line of Sweetheart's Conversation Hearts, those little heart-shaped sugar candies that are stamped with romantic messages. Ten new Sweetheart messages will be sports-themed, says a rep. These include "#1 Fan," "Fit for Love," "Dream Team" and "All-Star." The company also plans to offer its Heart in the form of new, sugar-free gum.