CASTING Drew Barrymore may star in and coproduce a remake of Jane Fonda’s ”Barbarella,” which means all men who were 14 in 1968 will be able to give their mental fantasy file a long-needed update…. Antonio Banderas will play the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario in an upcoming biopic…. Ben Kingsley, who won an Oscar for playing Gandhi, will play a decidedly less low-key leader: He’s signed to play Napoleon Bonaparte in the indie historical drama ”N.” Meanwhile, he also has his eye on another real-life earth-shaker: Kingsley may play the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, while Aidan Quinn would play Yassir Arafat, in the Barbra Streisand-produced Showtime movie, ”Two Hands That Shook the World”…. The original Shaft, Richard Roundtree, will reprise his role in the upcoming remake of the 1971 action flick. Turns out Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the title role, is actually the original Shaft’s nephew, and Roundtree will turn up to give him some private-dick lessons. Here’s one helpful hint: Start out as a sex machine to just SOME of the chicks — work your way up to ALL, otherwise you might cramp up.
LEGEND LINEUP The nominees for this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame include Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Queen, Black Sabbath, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Lou Reed, and Earth, Wind & Fire. They are just some of the artists who qualified for the 1999 ballot by releasing their first albums at least 25 years ago. The rockers who make the final cut will be announced later this fall.
SAY IT AIN’T SO Okay, you might want to sit down for this one. David Hasselhoff has floated the possibility that this might be his last season on ”Baywatch.” After 10 exhausting years of constant flexing, the man behind the jiggle says that he may want to try other things, including starring in a Broadway show. ”I’m not sure where this is all going to go,” he told the Associated Press. ”I’m not going to say I’m not coming back… but, you know, 10 years is 10 years.” He’s already cutting back his role on the show: This season he’ll be prominently featured in only 14 of the 22 episodes. ”It’s still the essence of Mitch, but he’s more of a counselor kind of guy rather than being the gung-ho beach guy all the time,” he says. And in case this quote alludes to a new business idea of his, be warned: Essence of Mitch is the name of a cologne you do NOT want to buy.
WEB TUNES Okay, frat guys: Now there’s a reason to get on the Web other than free porn! Your favorite group, The Dave Matthews Band, is posting four exclusive live tracks on Liquid Audio starting on Sept. 29, the same night a DMB concert is broadcast on PBS (although these four unannounced tunes won’t be heard on the TV version). Downloading the entire songs will cost you, but the proceeds are benefiting VH1’s Save the Music charity.
BLAST FROM THE PAST Well, ”U.S. Marshals,” the sequel to ”The Fugitive” didn’t work, so its producer is going back to the basics: Arnold Kopelson is developing a TV series for CBS that’s a remake of the original David Janssen hit show from 1963 to ’67. As in the original, the new version will center around Dr. Richard Kimble’s struggle to catch the one-armed man who can prove his innocence. ”The series will take into account all the updated technology that would make being a fugitive difficult in the year 2000,” said coproducer John McNamara. This will apparently include futuristic mind-clouding devices that will make the audience forget that they have seen this story twice before.
REEL DEAL Director Lee Tamahori is the lead contender to take control of the planned prequel to ”Kiss the Girls.” Morgan Freeman will reprise his role as a serial-killer catcher extraordinaire.
DISBANDED Shortly after the U.S. release of their second album, the band Kula Shaker is no more. The band has split up, and lead singer Crispian Mills has said that he’s proceeding with a solo album.
HONORED Aretha Franklin, Norman Lear, and folksinger Odetta are three of the recipients of this year’s Medal of Arts, named by the President of the United States. The award honors those who have contributed to the excellence, growth, and support of the arts in America. Don’t worry, Weird Al Yankovic, we’re sure you’ll get it next year.