News for 1/24/2005

Paramount and MTV Films Take Worldwide Rights to "Hustle & Flow" in Major Sundance Deal

by Brian Brooks

Paramount Pictures has acquired Sundance dramatic competition feature "Hustle & Flow" by Craig Brewer as part of a three-film $16 million package deal with producer John Singleton, the studio announced Sunday. Paramount will release the film in cooperation with corporate sibling MTV this summer. Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein, co-presidents of Paramount Classics, spearheaded the deal with Jeremy Barber, Richard Klubeck, and Jeremy Zimmer of UTA, repping the movie. It is the biggest monetary sale to come out of Sundance since Miramax's reported $10 million acquisition of "Happy Texas" in 1999. The pact involved the top execs at the studio, specialty division Paramount Classics, and MTV. A Paramount spokesperson told indieWIRE that execs at the company including new studio chief Brad Gray, COO Rob Friedman, production president Donald DeLine, marketing president Gerry Rich, and home entertainment president Tom Lesinski, not to mention Viacom co-president Tom Freston and MTV exec VP David Gale were also intricately involved with the pact.

As part of the high-dollar package, including the $9 million deal for worldwide rights to "Hustle & Flow," is financing for two forthcoming projects to be produced by filmmaker John Singleton, each budgeted at $3.5 million. Directors have not yet been named for the two future projects that Singleton will produce.

"Paramount and MTV offered the best overall deal and [they] will make the [release] a home-run for us," commented Stephanie Allain, who along with Singleton, produced the film. In a conversation with indieWIRE on Sunday, she continued, "Craig [Brewer] is a genius, and I'm thrilled to be a part of his journey." When asked how she felt to be a part of one of the largest deals to come out of Sundance, Allain said she was "ecstatic." Paramount Classics co-president David Dinerstein echoed Allain's sentiments about the pact and the movie.

"It's a great [and] unprecedented deal. ["Hustle & Flow"] is the best film at this festival." David Dinerstein told indieWIRE, adding that MTV Films was a key part in bringing the film deal together.

Sundance chief Geoffrey Gilmore's described "Hustle & Flow," in the festival catalog, as the story of Djay (Terrence Howard), a "pimp suffering a midlife crisis and although nominally successful, he yearns to record his flow and become a respected rapper. Galvanized by a gospel song, he sets his dream in motion – recruiting his motley crew and building a studio in his home. And though he succeeds in putting his rap, 'It's Hard for a Pimp,' onto tape, the barriers to fame and fortune are many, and getting there becomes an elusive goal."

Van Toffler, president of MTV and MTV Films told indieWIRE he believed the film will add to the recent successful track-record of the popular cable network's film division. "Coming on the heels of 'Napoleon Dynamite,' ['Hustle & Flow'] will be [great] alternative release to the summer blockbusters. The film will appeal to MTV's demographic," said Toffler. "The film is about people fulfilling their dreams through hip hop, which is the most popular music for MTV's audience right now."

MTV Films is a company that is popping up as a player in other potential Sundance pacts as well. Given the successful screenings of Henry-Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiro "Murderball," MTV Films is one of the companies in talks to partner with THINKFilm on a big release of the popular Sundance documentary, according to a source close to the film. Other companies and financiers are also in the mix with a unique pact similar to the partnership for "Fahrenheit 9/11" said to be in the works.

Insiders are also keeping an eye on David LaChapelle's "Rize," a doc that Paramount Classics is understood to be high on. Asked about the film Sunday, two days after Friday's wildly successful first screening, company co-president David Dinerstein said that he loved the doc, calling it "a wonderful, uplifting film." MTV Films is seen as an obvious partner should the Indiewood company take on the film from the acclaimed music video director.

Another hot Sundance doc is Dan Klores & Ron Berger's "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story." A domestic rights deal for the movie will be announced on Monday morning by a leading cable network. The deal announcement was embargoed at press time and will be published on early Monday.

'Life is so good' for 'Hustle' star

From USA

Terrence Howard plays a pimp with a midlife crisis in Hustle & Flow, one of three movies he's in at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Saturday night, Hustle screened to enthusiastic response and was bought by Paramount/MTV in a $16 million, three-picture deal for John Singleton's production company. Here's Howard on his first visit to Sundance and his role in Hustle:

"It's incredible. You're just bumping into all these people. ... (Saturday) night, I was talking to John Leguizamo and bumped into Adrien Brody.

"I just wish everybody could feel the way I felt (Saturday) night — it's like creating the world. I got a standing ovation. My quote of the day would be, 'Life is so good!' It means that everything that I've done is worthwhile.

"My other (festival) movies are Lackawanna Blues and The Salon. In Hustle & Flow, my character is a hustler, somebody doing the best he can with what he has. If all you have is dirt to play with, you make mud pies. Sooner or later, you learn to make bricks with that mud instead.

"I can't ski, because I'm doing another movie, Four Brothers, and (for insurance reasons), I can't. So I'm going to the Fred Segal boutique to buy stuff for my wife. She's right here. You don't go anyplace without your wife."

'Hotel Rwanda,' 'Sideways' Win at IPA Awards

LOS ANGELES ( -- "Hotel Rwanda," "Sideways" and a surprise win for Mel Gibson dominated the International Press Academy Awards Sunday (Jan. 23.)

"Hotel Rwanda" won best drama, star Don Cheadle won best dramatic actor and Wyclef Jean won for best original song, "Million Voices," in the film about the African genocide that occurred a decade ago.

The best comedy or musical went to "Sideways," along with a best supporting win for Thomas Haden Church, who plays a cad who flirts with a woman during a final road trip before his wedding.

Reflecting the wide-open Oscar race, Mel Gibson won the only award for "The Passion of the Christ," beating out a best director list that included Martin Scorsese for "The Aviator," Taylor Hackford for "Ray," Alexander Payne for "Sideways," Joshua Marston for "Maria Full of Grace" and Bill Condon for "Kinsey."

Jamie Foxx won for best actor in a comedy or musical for "Ray," as well as best actor in a mini-series or movie made for TV for FX's "Redemption: The Story of Stan Tookie Williams." The Ray Charles biopic also won best supporting actress for Regina King and best original screenplay.

The awards are handed out by the 200-member international group of film reviewers, who also honored Jerry Lewis and Susan Sarandon at the black-tie awards dinner held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"I'm quite proud of this award," says Lewis, who won the Tesla Award for technical achievement in cinema for his little-known work on the "video assist" technology for cameras. "After Dean [Martin] and I were over, in order for me to direct myself I had to have a technical tool for myself, and Paramount allowed me to fiddle around with cameras."

He used the first video assist on his 1964 film "The Bellboy," and the technology is still being used today.

Sarandon, who won the Mary Pickford Award for her humanitarian and acting efforts, was snowed-in in New York, but her partner Tim Robbins was in Los Angeles and accepted the honor.

"What people don't know about Susan is that she puts her whole heart and soul into her family, and when she says she's going to be at a Little League game, she's there," Robbins says. "She oftentimes has turned down work because it would take time from home and she'd be away too long and she hasn't ever been away from home for more than two weeks."

Robbins added, "I just talked to her a few minutes ago and she's almost finished shoveling the driveway."

A moment of silence for Johnny Carson, who died Sunday morning, kicked off the ninth annual awards which honors achievement in movies, film, DVD, games and other new media.

"Desperate Housewives" won best comedy TV series, but both comedy/musical actor and actress awards went to "Arrested Development" stars Jason Bateman and Portia De Rossi.

Best TV drama went to "Nip/Tuck" with Matthew Fox of "Lost" winning best TV dramatic actor and Laurel Holloman winning best actress for "The L Word."

"I hope my 11-week-old daughter will know the show someday," Holloman said of the Showtime series that focuses on several Los Angeles lesbians when she accepted the award.

Outstanding action game went to Activision's "Doom 3" and best overall DVD went to "Spider-Man 2" while best documentary and best DVD documentary went to the fast-food-bashing "Super Size Me."

Click here to see the complete list of award winners.

Clark to Remake Jordan's Mona Lisa

Source: Variety

Variety reports that Larry Clark (Bully, Ken Park) will direct Shame, as a remake of the Neil Jordan-directed Mona Lisa from 1986. The project is set up with StudioCanal and Clark is courting Rosario Dawson to star.

"I've written the screenplay with David Reeves, keeping the basic story intact but contemporizing it and setting it in New York," Clark said.

In the original noir-infused love story, Bob Hoskins plays George, a small-time loser employed as a chauffeur to an enigmatic, high-class call girl. His fascination with her leads him on a dangerous quest through the sordid underbelly of London, where love is a weakness to be exploited and betrayed.

'Catwoman,' Bush Earn Razzie 'Dishonors'

AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The fur is still flying over Halle Berry's action flop "Catwoman." The Razzies, which mock the worst in film, gave "Catwoman" a leading seven nominations Monday, among them worst picture, worst actress for Berry and worst supporting players for Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson.

"Catwoman" also was nominated for worst screen couple for Berry with either Stone or co-star Benjamin Bratt.

"`Catwoman' is the cinematic equivalent of a clump in the cat-litter box," Razzies founder John Wilson said. "Kind of a sad little thing laying there stinking up the place."

The historical bomb "Alexander" was second with six Razzie nominations, including worst picture, actor Colin Farrell, actress Angelina Jolie and director Oliver Stone.

The other worst-picture contenders were the family action comedy "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2," the holiday debacle "Surviving Christmas" and the cross-dressing comedy "White Chicks."

President Bush and some of his advisers received worst-acting nominations for their appearances in news and archival footage in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," which assails Bush for his actions surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush was nominated for worst actor, while Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice got a nomination for worst supporting actress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for worst supporting actor.

Wilson said that while "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a piece of anti-Bush propaganda, the president and his associates earned their Razzie nominations on their own.

"It wasn't Mr. Moore's editing," Wilson said. "It's the raw footage of these people just making fools of themselves."

Just a few seconds of screen time in "Fahrenheit 9/11" brought a nomination as worst supporting actress for Britney Spears, who sits for a moment blank-faced and chewing gum in the film before saying she thinks people should support the president in all decisions he makes.

Along with Bush and Farrell, worst-actor nominees were Ben Affleck for "Jersey Girl" and "Surviving Christmas"; Vin Diesel for "The Chronicles of Riddick; and Ben Stiller for "Along Came Polly," "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," "Envy" and "Starsky & Hutch."

Joining Berry and Jolie as worst-actress contenders were Hilary Duff for "A Cinderella Story" and "Raise Your Voice," and two pairs of siblings: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for "New York Minute" and Shawn and Marlon Wayans, who play federal agents in drag in "White Chicks."

The Olsen twins and the Wayans brothers also had nominations as worst screen couples.

Arnold Schwarzenegger received a nomination for worst supporting actor for "Around the World in 80 Days," for which he did a cameo before becoming California's governor. Besides him, Rumsfeld and Wilson, the other supporting nominees were Val Kilmer for "Alexander" and Jon Voight for "Superbabies."

Besides Rice, Spears and Stone, Carmen Elektra of "Starsky & Hutch" and Jennifer Lopez of "Jersey Girl" also were nominated for worst supporting actress.

Selected by about 500 members of the Golden Raspberry Foundation, Razzie nominations were released a day before the Academy Awards nominations come out. Razzie winners will be announced Feb. 26, a day before the Oscars.

Click here to visit the Razzie Award website.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Are We There Yet' Arrives Atop Box Office

By Paul Chavez
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - The road trip comedy "Are We There Yet?" earned $18.5 million to quickly arrive at first place in the weekend box office.

The family picture starring rapper-actor Ice Cube in its opening weekend sent "Coach Carter" back to the bench when the basketball drama brought in $11 million for second place, according to studio estimates released Sunday.

"Assault on Precinct 13," a remake of the 1976 "cult classic" about cops and criminals joining forces against a jail siege by gang members, took in $7 million in its first weekend and finished sixth in the box office tally.

Final figures were to be released Monday.

"Are We There Yet?" follows Cube as he embarks on a road trip with two manipulative children who he tolerates only because he is trying to woo their attractive divorced mother.

Showing in wide release at 2,709 theaters, "Are We There Yet?" averaged $6,829 a cinema.

"It's a total family picture," said Rory Bruer, president of distribution for Sony Pictures. "It's very funny and Ice Cube did a terrific job. He's just hysterical in it."

Cube, 35, next will be in "XXX: State of the Union," scheduled for release in April. The action film sequel also will feature Samuel L. Jackson, star of "Coach Carter."

The PG-rated comedy continued the trend of family films performing well at the box office, especially over the past six months, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

"It's a very appealing genre. Families are always looking for entertainment, something that is suitable for the whole family," he said.

The comedy played well across demographics, with an audience breakdown of 43 percent white, 26 percent black and 18 Hispanic, Bruer said.

"Meet the Fockers," a PG-13-rated film, continued to do well and is marching toward becoming the highest grossing live-action comedy of all time. The in-law farce collected $10.2 million over the weekend to push its five week total to $247.7 million.

The blockbuster comedy moved into second place in the live-action comedy category behind record-holder "Home Alone," which earned $285.8 million. The God-comedy "Bruce Almighty" dropped to third place at $242.7 million.

The blizzard that swept across the Midwest and clobbered the Northeast kept many movie fans from the theaters, but the numbers remained slightly higher than the same weekend last year, Dergarabedian said.

Revenues from the top 12 movies were up 3.9 percent from last year.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

1. "Are We There Yet?" $18.5 million.
2. "Coach Carter," $11 million.
3. "Meet the Fockers," $10.2 million.
4. "In Good Company," $8.5 million.
5. "Racing Stripes," $7.06 million.
6. "Assault on Precinct 13," $7.02 million.
7. "The Phantom of the Opera," $5.02 million.
8. "White Noise," $5 million.
9. "The Aviator," $4.8 million.
10. "Elektra," $3.8 million.

News for 1/22/2005

UPN Sets Model February Sweeps

LOS ANGELES ( On March 1, the night before the February sweeps period ends, UPN will air a special called "America's Next Top Model: What the Divas Are Doing Now."

For several of them, the answer will include "guest-starring in other UPN shows."

Three of the contestants from the most recent "Top Model," including winner Eva Pigford, will make guest appearances on UPN during sweeps. Other guests during the month include "Kill Bill's" David Carradine, tennis star Serena Williams and Erika Alexander and T.C. Carson, reprising their roles from the FOX series "Living Single."

Pigford, who along with her fellow "Top Model" contestants did a mini-acting workshop with Taye Diggs last season, will appear with Diggs on "Kevin Hill" Feb. 23. She didn't win the acting challenge, but by virtue of winning the title on the show, she gets another shot with Diggs, playing a model who goes on a date with Kevin.

Yaya Johnson, who did win the acting challenge, gets to show off her chops in the March 1 episode of "Eve," which will also feature former "ER" and "Hawaii" star Sharif Atkins. Also that night, Toccara Jones will appear on "All of Us" with "American Idol" winner Fantasia Barrino.

Carradine will goof on his "Kung Fu" past by playing a martial-arts instructor on "Eve" Tuesday, Feb. 8. Carson and Alexander will reprise their "Living Single" characters on "Half & Half" Monday, Feb. 14, and Williams appears on "All of Us" the next night.

UPN previously announced that former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Alyson Hannigan will appear on "Veronica Mars" Tuesday, Feb. 22, with the potential for her role to become a recurring one.

This Oscar Host Is Willing to Call It as He Sees It


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 18 - The Oscar nominations have yet to be announced, but Chris Rock, the host of next month's Academy Awards ceremony, has already decided who one of the evening's big winners should be: Jamie Foxx, the star of the biopic "Ray."

"I am rooting for Jamie, and if he doesn't win, I'm going to talk about it on the show," Mr. Rock promised, a sly grin tiptoeing across his face. And if Mr. Foxx comes up empty? "I'll take an Oscar from one of the sound or light people that win and give it to him," Mr. Rock said. "Jamie Foxx is not going to walk out of that place without an Oscar."

He was no less forthright about his pans. Of "The Aviator," Martin Scorsese's drama about Howard Hughes, the germ-phobic Hollywood mogul, Mr. Rock said: "It's a weird movie; it's well made, but a story about a rich guy who gets things done doesn't excite me. Oooh, he overcame obstacles, like how much money to spend. And he washed his hands a lot."

The casting of the acerbic Mr. Rock as host of the 77th annual Oscars, which ABC will broadcast on Feb. 27, is an untraditional move for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which in recent years has chosen less caustic comedians like Billy Crystal and Steve Martin to serve as M.C.

"Edgy is the word that keeps coming up," Bruce Davis, the academy's executive director, said. "I like to hear that people are nervous, because that means you're more likely to watch."

With ratings for NBC's Golden Globes broadcast down 40 percent from a year ago and few of the expected nominees doing huge box-office numbers, an even heavier weight to both attract and keep an audience is being placed on Mr. Rock's narrow shoulders. Gilbert Cates, the executive producer of the broadcast, said he was also hoping that Mr. Rock would draw more young male viewers than have watched recent Oscar shows.

ABC has yet to decide if it will impose a time delay on the show, but Mr. Cates said that he and the academy were opposed. Mr. Rock said he expected a delay in the wake of Janet Jackson's performance at the Super Bowl last year. "What Janet pulled out was not a breast," Mr. Rock said. "You pull out breasts for mammograms. You pull out breasts to feed children. What Janet pulled out was - " Here the comic used a word that a delay would most certainly bleep from the Oscars.

In 1999 when the director Elia Kazan received an honorary Oscar, Mr. Rock called him a "rat" during a brief but biting routine on the show, making reference to Mr. Kazan's McCarthy-era conduct. Still, Mr. Rock said that he could understand what all the fretting is about. "I've been on 'Oprah' four times," he said. "That's four hours of daytime television, and I had a good old curse-free time."

He turned serious briefly. "This act works everywhere," he said picking at a cheeseburger in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. "I'll play the Apollo and the Senate in the same day and tear both places apart. Bill Cosby works everywhere. Richard Pryor works everywhere. Ray Romano used to open up shows for me in front of all-black audiences and he would kill. He would kill so much I would be nervous to go on after him."

"If something is funny," Mr. Rock continued with a shrug that read, duh, "people like it."

He has hired a team of 10 writers, including Ali LeRoi and Wanda Sykes, who both worked with him on his HBO series, "The Chris Rock Show." On Mr. Martin's advice, the team also includes John Max, a "Tonight" show writer who has worked on the Oscars with Mr. Martin and Mr. Crystal. "Sight unseen I hired the guy," Mr. Rock said. "And you know what? He's really good." He said he also planned to seek pointers from Mr. Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg - who was criticized for off-color humor when she was the host in 1999.

Mr. Cates said no restrictions had been placed on Mr. Rock. "He doesn't need me to explain what the realities of network television are," he said. "I think it would be both undignified and inappropriate."

So what subjects, if any, will Mr. Rock avoid?

"A 'Vera Drake' joke probably won't play," he said, nor will a "Motorcycle Diaries" riff. "You've got to talk about 'Passion of the Christ,' whether it gets nominated or not. And you've got to talk about 'Fahrenheit 9/11'. You've got to play to what the audience at home went to see."

His days now consist of screening past Academy Awards shows and catching as many movies as possible, at least three a week now, a pace that will have to pick up as the broadcast approaches. Mr. Rock is also tweaking material at comedy clubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The comedian said he would probably try out some jokes at senior citizen homes, too. He was not kidding.

Mr. Rock is no awards show novice. He was a host of the MTV Video Music Awards in 1997, 1999 and 2003. Van Toffler, president of the MTV Networks Group, called the academy's choice of Mr. Rock "brilliant."

"I've seen Chris at benefits and I've seen him do clubs," Mr. Toffler said. "He is scientific about who is watching and will work that crowd."

It was Mr. Rock who, during the 1999 MTV awards, joked that Jennifer Lopez's bottom was so big it needed its own limousine. "Chris definitely increased my expenditures for apology gifts," Mr. Toffler conceded. "I think the production team at the Oscars should prepare for flowers and candy because he might insult a few people."

While Warren Beatty, Tommy Lee Jones and David Carradine tucked into power lunches at the Polo Lounge, well-wishers stopped by Mr. Rock's banquette. The actor Stephen Dorff asked Mr. Rock if he was ready for his gig. "I'm in shape," the comic said. "Put the money on me." A high-ranking executive at William Morris, the talent agency, urged Mr. Rock to keep the telecast under nine hours.

The most beloved V.I.P.'s to interrupt the lunch interview, however, were Mr. Rock's wife, Malaak Compton Rock, and his precocious 2-year-old daughter, Lola. When asked what her father does for a living, she answered with a smile and one word: "Jokes."

Mr. Rock, who Time magazine once declared "the funniest man in America," has won three Emmys and two Grammys. While he easily sells out arenas, his appearances in films like "Pootie Tang" and "Bad Company" have not earned him the movie-star status of Oscar hosts like Mr. Martin or Mr. Crystal.

So what is he doing as host of the Academy Awards? At this point in his career, Mr. Rock, said he has outgrown the MTV awards - "I'm too old; it's Dave Chappelle's time" - and finally feels mature enough to take the Oscar post. Mr. Rock still ran his decision by a few friends, something he said he rarely does.

"Some people were like, can you be cutting edge and host the Oscars?" Mr. Rock said. "Is doing this going to hurt your brand?

Don't expect Mr. Rock to imitate Billy Crystal, whose host turns have included singing and dancing through elaborate production numbers. "I like what Billy did, but I can't do that," Mr. Rock said. "Nobody wants to see me out there singing about 'Sideways.' If I sing about 'Sideways,' I'm playing Caroline's. If I keep it like how I do it, I'm at the Garden."

Besides the material he's developing for the show, Mr. Rock is also working on jokes for an "after-gig." Emulating one of his idols, Prince, who often holds intimate jam sessions after his concerts, Mr. Rock plans to do a 45-minute show at a club after the Oscars.

"I'm working on that as much as I'm working on the ceremony," he said, laughing. "How funny is that?"

Samuel L. Jackson Returns as Host for the 20th Independent Spirit Awards

From Rebecca Murray,Your Guide to Hollywood Movies.

Honoring the Best Independent Films of 2004

LOS ANGELES (January 17, 2005) – Dawn Hudson, Executive Director of IFP/Los Angeles, announced that Samuel L. Jackson will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the 20th Independent Spirit Awards. Jackson who previously hosted the Awards Ceremony in 1996 and 1997, returns to host the Awards which celebrate its 20th Anniversary this year.

“I’m glad to be back for the third time as host of the Independent Spirit Awards, especially to commemorate their 20th Anniversary. The Spirit Awards have always been a cool, laid-back celebration and a great way of getting actors together who embrace the independent film genre.” said Jackson.

“We are thrilled to have Sam return as host, particularly for the 20th Anniversary of the Independent Spirit Awards,” said Diana Zahn-Storey, the producer of the event. “He is a fantastic actor, with an impressive, eclectic body of work which constantly surprises us. But above all he is truly the embodiment of cool and we are looking forward to him putting his personal stamp on this landmark year.”

Respectfully labeled as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood, Jackson is an undisputed star. He made an indelible mark on American cinema with his portrayal of ‘Jules’, the philosophizing hitman, in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” for which he won his first Independent Spirit Award as well as Best Supporting Actor nominations for both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

His many film credits include Do the Right Thing, The Incredibles, Stars Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, XXX, Shaft, A Time to Kill (which earned him a Golden Globe nomination and an NAACP Image Award), Eve’s Bayou (which he also produced and won his second Independent Spirit Award), Cavemen’s Valentine, Jackie Brown (which garnered him a Golden Globe nomination), Unbreakable; Hard Eight (which earned him a Independent Spirit Award nomination.), The Red Violin, The Negotiator, Jungle Fever, Patriot Games, and Losing Isaiah. Jackson made movie history with his portrayal of a crack addict in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever when he was awarded the first and only Best Supporting Performance Award ever given by the judges at the Cannes Film Festival. Jackson’s upcoming releases includes Les Mayfield’s The Man, opposite Eugene Levy, in theaters April 2005, and Star Wars: Episode III in theaters in May, and Sony Classics, In My Country. He can currently be seen in Paramount Pictures’ Coach Carter.

Selected from more than 190 submissions, the winners will be unveiled at the IFP Independent Spirit Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 26, 2005, in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica. The Honorary Chairs and Presenters will be announced shortly.

Diana Zahn-Storey returns to produce the event for the eleventh consecutive year. The ceremony will air live on IFC (Independent Film Channel) at 5:00 pm EST on Saturday, February 26, 2005 and is edited for rebroadcast on Bravo the same evening at 10:00 pm EST/PST, following an exclusive one-hour red carpet show at 9:00 pm EST/PST.

This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors: IFC, Entertainment Weekly, DIRECTV, Bravo, and Netflix; and by Principal Sponsors: Turning Leaf Vineyards, Hewlett-Packard, Acura, America Online, Inc., and American Express. On 3 Productions will produce the Official 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards General Attendee Gift Bag and Presenter Gift Lounge. The Viceroy and Sheraton Delfina are the Official Host Hotels and WireImage is the Official Photographer of the IFP Independent Spirit Awards. American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner of IFP/Los Angeles.

The IFP Independent Spirit Awards is a celebration honoring films made by filmmakers who embody independence and who dare to challenge the status quo. Televised in millions of homes and covered internationally by the press, the Independent Spirit Awards program has become the vanguard event in independent film, recognizing the achievements of independent filmmakers and promoting independent film to a wider audience.

Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Debut Performance, Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film, and Best Documentary.

Last year’s IFP Independent Spirit Award winners included Lost in Translation, which won Best Feature, Best Director (Sofia Coppola), and Best Screenplay, as well as Best Male Lead (Bill Murray), Monster, which won Best First Feature and Best Female Lead (Charlize Theron), The Station Agent for the Best First Screenplay and the John Cassavetes Award; Declan Quinn for Best Cinematography; and Whale Rider for Best Foreign Film.

Emmy Move Could Edge Out Cable


CHANGES being contemplated for the ratings-challenged prime-time Emmy Awards might not sit well with one faction of the TV industry — cable.

That's because one of the ideas reportedly under consideration is the removal of awards for movies and miniseries — categories in which cable excels, particularly HBO.

Those awards would be moved to a non-televised portion of the Emmys.

The pay-cable channel won big in both categories at the most recent Emmys last September, including best miniseries, "Angels in America" (11 Emmys), and best made-for-TV movie, "Something the Lord Made" (three Emmys).

But that telecast on ABC was the second-lowest-rated Emmy Awards in history, with only 14 million viewers.

The removal of certain categories from the telecast roster is being eyed as a way of tightening up the show, according to a report this week in Daily Variety.

The story stems from the creation of a committee by the Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the group that puts on the prime-time Emmys, to find out what's wrong with the telecast and then fix it.

A TV Academy spokeswoman confirmed the formation of the committee, but added that the group has made no decisions on any possible changes.

She had no comment on the possible removal of the movie and miniseries categories.

UPN Says Nielsen May Be Miscounting Black Viewers

By Andrew Wallenstein

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS president Leslie Moonves on Wednesday questioned whether Nielsen Media Research was properly gauging the black viewership of UPN, the urban-oriented network he also oversees.

While hailing UPN for ratings gains among young women, Moonves wondered whether its flat adults 18-34 and 18-49 numbers were attributable to a startling drop reported by Nielsen for six urban-skewing sitcoms.

"We are questioning those numbers and looking if the sampling is right in those viewers," Moonves, the co-president and co-chief operating officer of CBS and UPN's Viacom Inc. parent, said during UPN's portion of the Television Critics Assn. winter press tour. "So I think that is affecting us."

UPN also announced that its hit series "America's Next Top Model" will return for two more seasons after its fourth cycle, which is scheduled to debut March 2.

Citing freshman success stories "Kevin Hill" and "Veronica Mars," both Moonves and UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff touted the maturation of UPN into a haven for quality programing that attracts top-drawer talent. The network now skews 56% female -- up from 47% three years ago -- fulfilling the gender orientation it guaranteed to advertisers last May.

While careful not to seem too critical of Nielsen (owned by The Hollywood Reporter parent company VNU), Moonves expressed frustration with the sudden decline of UPN's entire Monday lineup, including sitcoms "Half & Half" and "Second Time Around," which was benched because of poor ratings, and its Tuesday 8-9 p.m. block.

"If we had duplicated what we had done a year ago, our numbers would be up significantly," Moonves said. "In all my years doing network television, I have never seen a group of shows like this come down double digits."

Moonves also suggested a Nielsen irregularity might be responsible for depressed ratings for the ABC sitcom "My Wife and Kids" as well as CBS' daytime lineup.

In other UPN series news, the midseason comedy "Cuts" will premiere at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. Still waiting for debut dates are "Bad Girls' Guide," which is slated for spring, and "R U the Girl With T-Boz & Chilli," slated for summer.

UPN Network Sees Sharp Ratings Decline

AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - UPN has seen a sharp ratings drop for its six comedies that appeal largely to blacks, and isn't sure whether that reflects a change in their popularity or how viewers are counted.

Five of the six comedies, which air on Monday or Tuesday nights, have seen viewership go down by at least 10 percent since last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The single exception: "One on One," which has benefited from a move to a more desirable Monday time slot. Still, that show's audience is 11 percent lower than "The Parkers," which aired in its same time slot last season.

"In all my years doing network television, I've never seen a group of six shows come down in a group like this," said Viacom Co-Chairman and CBS chief Leslie Moonves, who oversees UPN's programming. (UPN is owned by Viacom.)

None of the comedies are yet threatened by cancellation. But in the television business, lower ratings mean lower advertising revenue, and network executives rarely have much patience for that.

Two of the programs, "Girlfriends" and "Half & Half," were nominated for NAACP Image Awards for best comedy on Wednesday.

CBS researchers suspect a change in Nielsen's methodology is to blame. The company has changed its pool of participating families to label more citizens of Caribbean island descent as black. They're primarily Spanish-speaking and often have different viewing habits than American-born blacks, said David Poltrack, CBS' top researcher.

"The composition of black viewers in the Nielsen sample has changed," he said. "I'm not saying it's right or wrong. It's different."

Nielsen has been under fire from some blacks and Latinos in the past year for changing to a new electronic system for counting viewers in big cities. Some critics contend this will undercount minority viewers.

A Nielsen spokesman, Jack Loftus, said there may be something to Poltrack's theory. But he noted that Nielsen's numbers have not reflected a change in overall television viewing among blacks.

"We clearly believe in the shows," said UPN entertainment President Dawn Ostroff. "We feel creatively the shows are in great shape."

However, she added: "We're concerned. We want to do everything we can to get the ratings up."

One thing UPN has succeeded in is changing its audience composition. Three years ago, UPN's viewership was 47 percent female. Now it's 56 percent, Moonves said.

One thing that's immeasurably helped: the new drama, "Kevin Hill," starring heartthrob Taye Diggs. UPN's ratings this fall are up 250 percent among women aged 18 to 34, he said.

Haysbert Clocking in for More '24'

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Dennis Haysbert is back on Fox's "24."

After leaving the real-time terrorist thriller last season following his character president David Palmer's dramatic decision not to seek re-election, Haysbert has been tapped to return for the final six episodes this season.

For the past three seasons of "24," Haysbert starred opposite Kiefer Sutherland as a soft-spoken senator-turned-president, a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 2003.

"24" has a habit of bringing back characters, especially villains. Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) and president Palmer's conniving wife, Sherry (Penny Johnson Jerald), both made several comebacks until their demise this past season.

Additionally, Haysbert has landed a role in Sam Mendes' upcoming U.S. Marines feature "Jarhead" for Universal Pictures. He will next will be seen in ABC's limited series "Empire."

Oscar Nominations Close, Trailer Opens

LOS ANGELES ( - Hollywood's biggest night is one step closer. The official nomination polls for the upcoming Academy Awards are officially closed as of 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Jan. 15. Any ballots received from voting members after the deadline are ineligible.

All eligible voting members cast ballots in the best picture category, while members in the 12 branches will nominate achievements in up to an additional 21 categories, including best makeup and best sound editing.

For the next six weeks, moviegoers in theaters nationwide will have a chance to screen a special trailer for the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony.

The trailer features clips from previous Oscar telecasts and red carpet moments, set to the sounds of the Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama." The promo will also play in Blockbuster stores nationwide.

Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The 77th Academy Awards will be televised live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 27.

'Wire' Walks HBO Tightrope

LOS ANGELES ( It's never a good sign when a network chairman makes jokes about the viewership of a television show, no matter how critically acclaimed the drama.

"I have received, I think, a telegram from every viewer of 'The Wire,' all 250 of them," said HBO Chairman Chris Albrecht at the premium cable giant's session of the semi-annual Television Critics Association press tour.

In its three seasons on HBO, "The Wire" has earned some of the network's very best reviews, routinely topping critics' polls honoring the medium's outstanding work. However, those reviews haven't translated into the awards -- Emmys, Golden Globes or even guild awards -- that can serve as currency for HBO. Nor has "The Wire" been able to secure satisfying viewership figures, never even approaching the audiences generated by HBO hits like "The Sopranos" or "Six Feet Under."

"We have tremendous support in our hearts for 'The Wire,'" Albrecht insisted. "We're very proud of the show. I think that the first three seasons of 'The Wire' have been as good as anything that's been on television in a long time."

The recently completed third season of "The Wire" struggled to approach two million viewers per week (in its initial airings) and often finished behind HBO's theatrical screenings and, for a brief period, behind the late-night documentary series "Pornucopia." After a finale that seemed conclusive to many longtime viewers, creator David Simon has suggested that the Baltimore police procedural may be done. However, Simon is working on another project for HBO, according to Albrecht.

"We are huge David Simon fans," he said. "And no decision has been made on 'The Wire' and probably won't be made for the next several weeks."

"Ray" Tops Image Noms

By Sarah Hall

It's all about Ray at the 36th annual NAACP Image Awards.

The film racked up a leading seven nominations, including a Best Actor nod for recent Golden Globe winner, Jamie Foxx, who portrayed the late Ray Charles in the biopic.

Kerry Washington earned a Best Actress nomination for her turn as Charles' first wife, Della Bea Robinson, and C.J. Sanders, Clifton Powell, Regina King and Sharon Warren earned supporting nods.

The film, directed by Taylor Hackford, is also up for Best Picture and will compete against Fahrenheit 9/11, Hotel Rwanda, Man on Fire and another Foxx pic, Collateral, for the honor.

Also in the running for Best Actor were Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), Denzel Washington (Man on Fire), Mario Van Peebles (Baadasssss!) and Will Smith (I, Robot).

Angela Bassett (Mr. 3000), Gabrielle Union (Breakin' All the Rules), Irma P. Hall (The Ladykillers) and Kimberly Elise (Woman Thou Art Loosed) were nominated for Best Actress.

Usher topped the music category with five nominations, including Best Male Artist, Best Song for "Yeah!" and Best Album for Confessions.

UPN racked up a leading 14 nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series nods for Girlfriends and Half & Half and Outstanding Drama Series for Kevin Hill, which also pulled in a Best Actor nod for Taye Diggs.

CBS and HBO trailed with 12 and 11 nominations respectively.

Oprah Winfrey, reigning queen of daytime talk, will be inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame in recognition of her impact on the national and international scene.

"Oprah Winfrey has set the standard for achievement--as a television icon, actress, producer, broadcast pioneer and successful entrepreneur--she is the model for others," said Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, in a statement. "We are proud to salute her."

The NAACP Image Awards honor achievements by people of color in literature, television, motion pictures and recording arts. This year, more than 1,200 nominations were received in 36 categories—a record, according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

A committee of 300 industry professions and NAACP leaders selected five nominees in each category, with the winners to be determined by NAACP members.

The NAACP Image Awards will be presented at a Mar. 19 ceremony, which will be televised on Fox on Mar. 25.

Click here to visit the 36th Annual NAACP Image Award page. Click here to see the entire list of nominees. Please note that you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to access the nominee list.

News for 1/17/2005

'Aviator,' 'Sideways' Score Golden Globes

AP Movie Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - The Golden Globes set up an Academy Awards rematch between Hilary Swank and Annette Bening, while Jamie Foxx firmed up his Oscar front-runner status. And a win for "The Aviator" gave Martin Scorsese the edge for finally coming away with a best-picture win at the Oscars.

The Howard Hughes epic "The Aviator" was the big winner with three Globes, including best dramatic picture, but Sunday night's ceremony was a split decision for Scorsese, who lost the directing prize to Clint Eastwood for the boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby."

The road-trip comedy "Sideways" was named best musical or comedy film, while lead-acting honors went to Swank for "Million Dollar Baby," Bening for the theater farce "Being Julia," Foxx for the Ray Charles film biography "Ray" and Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes in "The Aviator."

Clive Owen and Natalie Portman won supporting-acting honors for the sex drama "Closer." Their wins were a bit surprising given that Morgan Freeman for "Million Dollar Baby" and Cate Blanchett for "The Aviator" had been viewed as more likely favorites.

Foxx, considered the best-actor favorite for the Oscars Feb. 27, said backstage it was the best night of his life, winning the prize for his uncanny re-creation of singer Charles, who died last year.

"It's a beautiful thing for Ray and everything he leaves us," said Foxx, who won for best actor in a musical or comedy. Foxx had a record three Globe nominations going into Sunday but lost the other two, supporting movie actor for "Collateral" and TV movie or miniseries actor for "Redemption."

Bening won the musical or comedy actress prize for "Being Julia," playing a conniving 1930s stage diva exacting vengeance on the duplicitous men in her life. It was the first awards-worthy role Bening has had since "American Beauty" five years ago, when she was the front-runner but lost the Golden Globe dramatic prize and the best-actress Oscar to underdog Swank for "Boys Don't Cry."

Not wanting to jinx her Oscar chances, Bening sidestepped a question backstage at the Globes about what she would wear to the Oscars. "Trick question," Bening quipped.

Swank, playing a fighter whose life turns tragic, won the dramatic-actress Globe for "Million Dollar Baby." She downplayed the potential Oscar rematch with Bening.

"I don't really see it as competition," Swank said. "Annette's amazing, and she was so gracious to me five years ago when we were both nominated. She gave me good advice and she was gracious, and she's an inspiration.

"I think it's just unfortunate that things are seen as winners and losers, because in the end, the performances all speak for themselves and make everyone, I think, a winner. I'm just honored to have my name mentioned with her."

The Globes serve as the most prominent ceremony in Hollywood's pre-game show leading up to the Academy Awards. Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose small membership of about 90 people pales compared to the nearly 6,000 film professionals eligible to vote for the Oscars.

Yet the Globes historically serve as a solid forecast that helps set the odds for subsequent film honors.

Golden Globe winners gain attention that can put them on the inside track for prizes from acting, directing and other filmmaking guilds _ momentum often sticks with them right through Oscar night.

"Million Dollar Baby" filmmaker Eastwood already has delivered a best-picture Oscar winner and won the academy's directing honor for "Unforgiven." But Scorsese is arguably the most-prominent contemporary director without a best-picture or directing Oscar to his credit.

DiCaprio, who also starred in Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," gushed praise for the director.

"Growing up in this business and truly wanting to be a part of the world of film, I'm a truly privileged person standing here today," DiCaprio said. "But I must say, the pinnacle, the pinnacle of all that has been to work alongside one of the greatest contributors to the world of cinema of our time, and that is the great Martin Scorsese."

"The Aviator" also earned Howard Shore the Globe for musical score. The award for best screenplay went to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for "Sideways."

In the TV categories, "Desperate Housewives" won for best musical or comedy series, and "Nip/Tuck" was honored as dramatic series, beating "The Sopranos," "24" and "Lost."

Teri Hatcher beat her show's co-stars Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman for best actress in a TV musical or comedy. Hatcher thanked ABC for giving "me a second chance at a career when I couldn't have been a bigger has-been."

William Shatner won for best supporting actor in "Boston Legal" and Jason Bateman for lead comic actor in "Arrested Development." Mariska Hargitay won lead drama actress honors for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

List of winners at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe Awards:

Motion Pictures:

Picture, Drama: "The Aviator."

Actor, Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Aviator."

Actress, Drama: Hilary Swank, "Million Dollar Baby."

Picture, Musical or Comedy: "Sideways."

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Jamie Foxx, "Ray."

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening, "Being Julia."

Supporting Actor: Clive Owen, "Closer."

Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman, "Closer."

Director: Clint Eastwood, "Million Dollar Baby."

Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, "Sideways."

Original Score: Howard Shore, "The Aviator."

Original Song: "Old Habits Die Hard" from "Alfie," by Mick Jagger and David A. Stewart.

Foreign Language: "The Sea Inside," Spain.


Drama Series: "Nip/Tuck," FX.

Actor, Drama: Ian McShane, "Deadwood."

Actress, Drama: Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Musical or Comedy Series: "Desperate Housewives," ABC.

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development."

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Teri Hatcher, "Desperate Housewives."

Miniseries or TV Movie: "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," HBO.

Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie: Geoffrey Rush, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers."

Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie: Glenn Close, "The Lion in Winter."

Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or TV Movie: William Shatner, "Boston Legal."

Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or TV Movie: Anjelica Huston, "Iron Jawed Angels."

Golden Globe winner previously announced this year:

Cecil B. DeMille Award: Robin Williams.

Weekend Boxoffice

'Coach Carter' Wins Box-Office Tourney

AP Movie Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Samuel L. Jackson coached his latest movie to a box-office championship. "Coach Carter," stars Jackson as a real-life high-school basketball mentor who shuts down the program to focus on his players' lagging academic education. The film debuted as the top weekend movie with $23.6 million, studio estimates released Sunday show.

The blockbuster comedy "Meet the Fockers," which had been No. 1 for three straight weekends, slipped to second place with $19 million, lifting its total domestic gross to $230.8 million.

The family film "Racing Stripes," a live-action and computer-animation combo about a talking zebra that yearns to be a racehorse, opened at No. 3 with $14 million.

"In Good Company," a workplace comic drama starring Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and Scarlett Johansson, had a strong nationwide debut after two weeks of limited release. The film expanded to 1,566 theaters and came in at No. 4 with $13.9 million, averaging a healthy $8,876 per cinema, compared to $9,350 in 2,524 theaters for "Coach Carter."

Jennifer Garner's action flick "Elektra," a spinoff of the Marvel Comics adaptation "Daredevil," finished fifth with $12.5 million. That was less than a third of the weekend haul for "Daredevil," which debuted as the No. 1 movie in February 2002.

The acclaimed martial-arts epic "House of Flying Daggers," from director Zhang Yimou, had a weak nationwide debut after six weeks in narrow release. The film managed just $1.8 million in 1,190 theaters, averaging $1,500.

Hollywood continued its robust start to 2005, with revenues rising for the third-straight weekend. The top 12 movies took in $115.7 million, up 23 percent from the same weekend last year.

"This is the right way to start the year, without question," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "These three weekends set the tone for what will hopefully be much improved box office for the year."

Movie theaters had record revenues of $9.4 billion in 2004, but only because of higher ticket prices. Factoring in the rise in admission prices, attendance last year was off slightly for the second straight year.

Produced by MTV Films, "Coach Carter" follows the company's "Varsity Blues" and "Save the Last Dance" as box-office successes for teen and twenty-something audiences early in the year, typically a quiet time at movie theaters.

Films competing for Sunday's Golden Globes and the upcoming Academy Awards nominations held up well as they continued their expansion to more theaters.

"The Aviator" was No. 7 with $4.8 million and "The Phantom of the Opera" came in ninth with $3.55 million. In narrower release, "Sideways" remained strong with $2.2 million, as did "Million Dollar Baby" at $1.7 million and "Hotel Rwanda" at $1.55 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at North American theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Coach Carter," $23.6 million.
2. "Meet the Fockers," $19 million.
3. "Racing Stripes," $14 million.
4. "In Good Company," $13.9 million.
5. "Elektra," $12.5 million.
6. "White Noise," 12.2 million.
7. "The Aviator," $4.8 million.
8. "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events," $4 million.
9. "The Phantom of the Opera," $3.55 million.
10. "Ocean's Twelve," $2.9 million.

Showtime Orders More 'L Word,' Three New Shows

LOS ANGELES ( Stepping up its commitment to original series, Showtime added three new shows to its roster Wednesday (Jan. 12), including one based on the "Barbershop" movies. The network also picked up an extra season of "The L Word."

In addition to "Barbershop," Showtime has ordered two dramas: "The Cell," about an FBI agent infiltrating a terrorist sleeper cell, and "Brotherhood," about two brothers on opposite sides of the law. The new shows, along with previously announced comedies "Fat Actress" and "Weeds," will roll out over the next year.

"We are putting an enormous emphasis on original series at this network -- both drama and comedy -- and our development season yielded an embarrassment of riches," says Robert Greenblatt, president of Showtime Entertainment. "These shows are unique premium-cable concepts with strong creative visions."

That includes a third season of "The L Word," Greenblatt told reporters Wednesday at the TV Critics Association winter press tour. Although the second season doesn't debut until Feb. 20, the show is one of Showtime's strongest performers and has taken the "signature series" mantle from "Queer as Folk," which is entering its final year.

"The Cell," written and executive produced by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris ("Bulletproof Monk"), stars Michael Ealy ("Barbershop") as the FBI agent who infiltrates an Islamic terrorist cell led by Oded Fehr ("The Mummy"). Ealy's character is also a Muslim and is driven by the desire to stop those who are using the religion to justify terrorism.

"Brotherhood," set in Providence, R.I., focuses on two brothers (Jason Isaacs and Jason Clarke), one a gangster, the other a politician. Blake Masters wrote the pilot, which was directed by Phillip Noyce ("The Quiet American").

Writer John Ridley ("Three Kings," "Platinum") will oversee "Barbershop" with an assist from George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel, who produced the movies on which the series is based. The show, which hasn't been cast yet, will incorporate characters from the films.

Jamie Foxx Sings the Praises of Curvy Women

LOS ANGELES ( - In Jamie Foxx's critically acclaimed performance as blind musician Ray Charles in "Ray," he claims that he can determine a woman's attractiveness by just holding her hand.

In real life, Foxx isn't opposed to the tactile approach, but enjoys looking as well. In an interview with GQ magazine, the 37-year-old actor discusses what appeals to him when it comes to the fair sex.

"A woman's posterior is the key to my heart," he says, adding, "I come from Texas. And when I used to play hide-and-go-seek, the girl that I would find, she was a little more round. And I got a pulse from just finding that girl. And I thirst for that still. I like big-boned women. I like curves. I like to feel them."

This preference most likely carries over to the unknown participant in Foxx's sex photos, which were taken from his Las Vegas home. Although he doesn't discuss the exact content of the pictures, he's free with what isn't in the them.

"Here's what you can tell everybody: There's no farm animals involved. There's no men involved. And to be honest with you? They're nice," says Foxx.

Even though the actor is a die-hard admirer of women, he's still dragging his feet about finding a long-term leading lady.

"I'm a man. Jesus Christ. Of course I got a commitment problem!" he tells the magazine. "Any man that tells you he doesn't have a commitment problem, he's lying. The way I see it, you stay uncommitted and you die an old, lonely m.f. Or you stay committed and you die a miserable m.f."

For his portrayal of the late soul, jazz and blues musician in "Ray," Foxx has received numerous awards, a Golden Globe nomination and serious Oscar attention. The confident actor already has his acceptance speech ready.

"I wrote it when I was 3," he says.

The full interview appears in the February issue of GQ, which goes on sale on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Freeman & Hopkins are Harry and the Butler

Source: Variety

Anthony Hopkins and Morgan Freeman will star in Harry and the Butler, a loose remake of 1962 Danish film Harry og Kammertjeneren, reports Variety. Damian F. Slattery wrote the script for the film which will be directed and financed by Steve Bing, who invested $80 million in getting The Polar Express made.

Freeman will play a blues musician who has lost his way and finds himself living in an abandoned boxcar in Los Angeles. When he comes into money, he hires an English butler (Hopkins), who helps the musician find his way back.

It is the second pairing of Hopkins and Freeman, who made Amistad together.