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PASSAGES: Kidman to Costar with Cusacks

03/07/2003 11:52AM

CAST: John Cusack, 36, is stepping up to star as Nicole Kidman's husband in the remake of "The Stepford Wives," to begin shooting in June, reports Variety. Should the deal go through, as is expected, he also will be starring in the movie with his sister, Joan Cusack, 40, and this would mark the seventh time that the siblings have worked together. Their most recent collaborative efforts were "High Fidelity" and "Grosse Point Blank." Variety calls Joan's role in "Stepford" that of a hostile, cranky, often tipsy woman who gets transformed into a robot.

DETERMINED: Dancer Cris Judd may have lost Jennifer Lopez (the two divorced), but Wednesday night he was named King of the Jungle by the viewers of ABC's "I'm A Celebrity -- Get Me Out Of Here!" Judd beat out finalists "Stuttering" John Melendez and Melissa Rivers. Meanwhile, Thursday night on CBS's "Survivor: Amazon," Joanna got the boot. The episode consisted of such delights as building a fire and a piranha-fishing contest.

WON: Aisha Tyler, Shannon Elizabeth of "American Pie," Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean and "Everybody Loves Raymond"'s Doris Roberts are among the celebrity presenters appearing March 15 at the 17th annual Genesis Awards, given by the Humane Society to those members of the news and entertainment media who spotlight animal issues "with courage, creativity and integrity," says the society. Among the winners: ABC's "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (comedy series) and multiple segments of ABC's "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" (news feature).

REACTED: In the face of criticism that he is a British tax exile, Sir Sean Connery, 72, said he has paid about $5.9 million in taxes to the British government since 1997. The former James Bond and PEOPLE Sexiest Man Alive -- and a staunch supporter of an independent Scotland -- told Scotland's Herald newspaper: "I'm an easy target because of my political opinions, but I defy anyone in Scotland to find one detail where I knowingly ever did anything that was to the detriment of Scotland."

COUNTERSUED: "Lord of the Dance" star Michael Flatley, 44, filed a lawsuit on Thursday, claiming that a woman who has accused him of rape and sued him for $35 million fabricated the story in a plot with her attorney to extort money, reports the Associated Press. The woman, identified in Flatley's suit as Tyna Marie Robertson of Chicago, alleged in a lawsuit filed in Illinois Tuesday that the performer sexually assaulted her in his Las Vegas hotel suite last October. In his suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Flatley accuses Robertson and her lawyer of defamation and civil extortion, saying she made up the story to blackmail him.

RETRIEVED: Police in Richmond, Va., have recovered the $10,000 braided teal-and-black wig that was reported stolen from Cher's concert tour, reports AP. The surrender came Tuesday night after a city police employee overheard a man bragging in nearby Chesterfield County that he had the wig and informed Richmond police. The man later told a detective that he had given it to an unknown woman outside the Richmond Coliseum after a Feb. 25 concert. Police have not released the identities of the two suspects.

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