Archive for Friday, July 22, 2005

People in the News

July 22, 2005

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B.I.G. biopic in negotiations

Los Angeles - Fox Searchlight says it has secured the rights to a film about slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. that is to be produced by the artist's mother and his former managers.

The studio is in negotiations with Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") to direct the biopic. Cheo Hodari Coker, who wrote the biography "Unbelievable: The Life, Death, and Afterlife of the Notorious B.I.G., " has been tapped to write the script, Fox Searchlight announced Tuesday.

The studio's president, Peter Rice, called B.I.G.'s life "a unique human story."

The rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was also known to fans as Biggie Smalls. He was gunned down March 9, 1997, after a music-industry party in Los Angeles. The case remains unsolved.

His mother, Voletta, said in a statement that while several documentaries have been made "about Biggie the rapper. : Nobody knows Christopher the human being."

'Idol' winner to sing for TV ads

Oklahoma City - "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood will sing classic jingles in a new television ad campaign for the Hershey Co.

Underwood, a native of Checotah, will sing "sometimes you feel like a nut ... sometimes you don't" for Almond Joy and Mounds. She also will sing "give me a break" for Kit Kat and "Hershey's is ... the great American chocolate bar."

Having Underwood sing the jingles gives a modern twist to the candy, Jay Cooper, Hershey's vice president of U.S. chocolate brands, said recently.

Underwood, 22, also will be a spokeswoman for Skechers, a California sneaker maker, in an ad campaign.

Depp: Wonka portrayal not based on Michael Jackson

New York - Johnny Depp, star of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," says he didn't base his Willy Wonka character on Michael Jackson - and is surprised that some people see a resemblance.

Depp's demure voice, pasty complexion, perfectly bobbed locks, neo-Victorian garb and androgynous air seem to present a reflection of pop singer Jackson, recently acquitted on child-molestation charges.

"A few people have mentioned it, and it kind of took me by surprise. I really didn't expect that," Depp told reporters recently, according to AP Radio. "Michael Jackson was not a sort of ingredient or inspiration for the character at all."

Depp said he based the way Wonka speaks on children's show hosts he remembers from his childhood. "How odd it was the way that they spoke," the 42-year-old actor said. "That bizarre, musical cadence to their speech pattern."

As for the bob, Depp said he figured Wonka had been a recluse for so long, he wouldn't know what a modern haircut looks like.

"I just did this sort of strange, almost like a Brian Jones' kind of bob and supershort bangs. His line of reference would be very, very dated," Depp said.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," Tim Burton's wildly imaginative take on Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, took in $56.2 million on its opening weekend.

Birthdays

Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., is 82. Game show host Alex Trebek is 65. Singer George Clinton is 64. Actor Danny Glover is 58. Actor-comedian-director Albert Brooks is 58. Actor-comedian David Spade is 41.

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