NEWS BRIEFS: McCartney's Surprise Gig

03/31/2004 at 01:00 PM EST

SERENADED: Guests at the tiny Truckee, Calif., eatery Moody's Bistro and Lounge received a special treat Monday night when Paul McCartney took the stage and sang a few numbers for their supper, Reuters reports. McCartney, who was vacationing in the area with wife Heather Mills, joined a jazz trio already onstage to perform a few tunes, including "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," a co-owner for the restaurant said. McCartney had visited the establishment the previous year.

PLANNED: Two Oscar-caliber talents are getting hitched. Actor and director Clint Eastwood is following up his Academy Award-winning feature "Mystic River" with a film titled "Million Dollar Baby," says the Hollywood Reporter. Eastwood will direct and star in the film, which is the story of a woman in her 30s determined to become a boxer. Hilary Swank, who won an Oscar for her role in "Boys Don't Cry," is reported to be joining Eastwood in the film. Veteran actor Morgan Freeman also is in negotiations to sign on.


QUOTED: "We are prepared to give it a go, and I'm optimistic about it. ... There's no reason why we shouldn't aspire to reach such an enormous demographic, not only in the United States, but in the world." -- Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone commenting on the possibility of a gay-themed television network, the Associated Press reports


ROPED: There's a new sheriff in TV town, and his name is Wild Bill. After only two episodes on the air, HBO seems to have found a new hit in the Western drama "Deadwood," starring Keith Carradine and Timothy Olyphant. The cable network ordered 12 more shows for a second season after the series became HBO's highest-rated premiere with nearly 6 million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "This show seemed to strike a chord with audiences and with the critics," said HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss.

GRANTED: James Brown has been given permission to land -- and take off. The Godfather of Soul has been granted a special visa by the government of New Zealand allowing him to visit the country for a special show, AP reports. The 70-year-old singer has a criminal record that would normally prevent him from entering the country, although certain exceptions to the rule can be made, a government spokesman said. Brown has numerous convictions for assault, drugs and car chases, and is facing a domestic-violence trial stemming from an incident with his wife.

CANCELED: Troubled hard rock band Guns N' Roses has pulled out of a headlining gig at the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Portugal. Lead singer Axl Rose, who remains the group's only original member, blamed the band's exodus on the departure of guitarist Buckethead, whom Rose contends left the band unexpectedly, Billboard reports. The appearance, scheduled for May 30, was another attempt for the band to resurrect itself and its long-awaited album "Chinese Democracy."

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