PAYDAY Director Barry Sonnenfeld (”Wild Wild West”) is going to show pal Will Smith the money. Smith will be getting his first $20 million paycheck to play Muhammad Ali in an upcoming Sonnenfeld-directed biopic. This makes Smith the highest-paid black actor in Hollywood, among the elite boys club of Jim Carrey, John Travolta, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Production begins this fall.
CASTING Vince Vaughn is in final talks to join the New Line thriller ”The Cell,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Vaughn will play an FBI agent…. ”Eyes Wide Shut”’s Leelee Sobieski and Albert Brooks (”Mother”) have signed to star in actress/director Christine Lahti’s comedy ”My First Mister.” The low-budget movie follows the relationship between a teenager and a lonely older man.
ARRESTED Fred Durst, Limp Bizkit’s frontman, was arrested Monday night in St. Paul, Minn., and charged with aggravated assault. Durst allegedly kicked a security guard in the head during the band’s gig at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The guard had apparently mistaken Durst’s personal bodyguard for a fan trying to stage-dive and started to remove him when Durst got involved. Arrested after leaving the stage, Durst was released on $50,000 bail and was allowed to rejoin the rest of Limp Bizkit in Chicago for their next show.
RATINGS GRABBER The WB scored big with its broadcast of ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”‘s season finale Tuesday night. The second half hour of the controversial show topped the competition on CBS, ABC, NBC, and UPN.
GOOD SAMARITAN Lauryn Hill invited kids from her nonprofit summer project Camp Hill to attend her Everything Is Everything tour kickoff over the weekend at Jones Beach, N.Y. The summer camp allows inner-city kids to spend time away from their urban neighborhoods.
CUT! Tom Cruise is demanding that TV stations interviewing him for ”Eyes Wide Shut” destroy any unused footage and be able to prove it, according to the Los Angeles Times.
TUBE WATCH CBS has announced that young actors Bonnie Somerville and Brad Hawkins will star in its musician-filled miniseries ”Shake, Rattle & Roll,” which chronicles the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll. Scheduled to air during November sweeps, ”Shake” will trace the story of fictional rock group the Harleys and will spawn a soundtrack full of new or little-known songs from Bob Dylan, Carole King, Leiber and Stoller, and Graham Nash. Terence Trent D’Arby and Dick Barrett (Mighty, Mighty Bosstones) will costar as Jackie Wilson and Bill Haley, respectively…. Tom Selleck will return to TV to executive-produce and star in a TNT movie, ”Crossfire Trail,” based on Louis L’Amour’s novel. Selleck, who has starred in two other telefilms based on L’Amour stories (”The Shadow Riders” and ”The Sacketts”), will play a man in the Old West who promises to take care of his dying friend’s widow.
LEGAL BRIEFS Acting brothers Sylvester and Frank Stallone finally reached a confidential settlement with two film companies over a Mob-themed comedy that was never released. Sly sued DEM Productions and FM Entertainment back in July 1997, claiming they were using his name and likeness to promote the movie ”The Good Life,” which starred younger brother Frank. Sly had only made a cameo, but the companies were reportedly calling the flick a Sylvester Stallone movie. Little bro sued the companies for breach of contract…. Travelers beware of Robin Leach. Michigan and 13 other states have filed suit against Leach and two Florida travel companies for reportedly misleading consumers about Caribbean vacation packages. According to Michigan’s attorney general’s office, National Travel Services and Ramada Plaza Resorts mailed Leach-endorsed brochures telling consumers they’d won a chance to pay $1000 for a ”world class” 7-day trip to Florida and the Bahamas. Takers ended up with a car-ferry ride