THE PLOT THICKENS Sean ”Puffy” Combs” and Jennifer Lopez are scheduled to visit the New York D.A.’s office today to give their versions of what happened at the Club New York shooting last week. But according to the New York Post, those versions may be different, thanks to tension between the two (ex?) lovebirds. The Post quotes sources as saying Combs is angry that Lopez had all of her charges dropped, and even suspects that she might have given information against him as part of a deal to be cut free. Lopez reportedly has her suspicions about Combs, too, with the Post saying she heard that he was trying to drag her back into the case to win over Latino jurors. (His lawyer called the theory ”ridiculous.”) Lopez’ story, as told to authorities, is that she had an argument with Combs the night of the shooting, and had started to leave the club very shortly before the shooting started, so she didn’t actually see him the moment the bullets were flying. However, three of Combs’ witnesses said he didn’t have a gun on him when the shooting started.
SPLITTING UP First Howard Stern, and now Ted Turner: What’s happening to our marriage role models? Turner and his wife of eight years, Jane Fonda, have announced that they are separating, but stress that they are not divorcing. “While we continue to be committed to the long-term success of our marriage,” the couple said in a statement, “we find ourselves at a juncture where we must each take some personal time for ourselves. Therefore, we have mutually decided to spend some time apart. We ask that you respect this decision.”
DROPPING OUT Well, there’s one less celebrity to worry about in the 2000 presidential campaign: Warren Beatty said in this month’s Vanity Fair that he will not be running, because he was worried that if he got walloped, he might end up hurting the causes he believes so strongly in, like campaign-finance reform. ”One has to be very, very careful not to be an unwitting party to making what most people consider to be unfashionably liberal ideas appear to be more unpopular than they really are,” said Beatty, who did not rule out a future run. ”I think the question is: Can I be more effective at another time? Whether that is in a year or two years, who knows?” In other words, look for more public waffling in 2004.
STILL IN Jodie Foster’s no-go on ”Hannibal” hasn’t affected Anthony Hopkins’ decision to participate in the ”Silence of the Lambs” sequel: He says he’ll still reprise his Hannibal Lecter role, assuming a final deal can be worked out, according to Reuters. And Universal is likely to work that deal out, considering if he’s not in it will be a pretty weak sequel indeed…. George Clooney is continuing his pledge not to do the easy projects. He’ll star in and produce a live 90-minute remake of the 1964 nuclear-war thriller ”Fail Safe,” to be aired on CBS on April 9. He’s also cast his former ”ER” costar Noah Wyle in a role. It’s all the more impressive when you consider it’s the first feature-length live network production since 1960; it’s all the less impressive when you consider that before 1960, networks did this all the time.
BRANCHING OUT This may be the year Britney Spears does a movie, assuming things in her fast-paced, teen-dream life calm down a bit. ”There are, like, 20 scripts waiting for me,” she told Teen People. ”I get some really good scripts, but I haven’t taken them seriously because I knew I didn’t have any time.” Spears also says that she doesn’t even need to have the lead role because ”I’d be scared having that much pressure on me…. It would be fun to do a teen movie, maybe a good supporting role where I could show my acting ability.” A teen movie? It’s crazy… but it just might work!
SEQUEL WATCH Artisan’s plans for the sequels to ”The Blair Witch Project” are becoming more firm: The studio that shaky camera work built has hired documentarian Joe Berlinger (”Brother’s Keeper”) to helm ”Blair Witch 2,” with original directors Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez acting as advisers. Then, when that duo is finished with their next film, they’ll step in to direct ”Witch 3,” which will be a prequel to the first, hopefully giving some background on just how Heather got to be so freakin’ annoying…. Miramax is developing a sequel to the 1991 hit ”The Commitments” and has enlisted Warren Leight (author of the Tony-award-winning play ”Side Man”) to script. The plot will probably center around the remaining members of the band (whichever actors are available, basically) recruiting some newbies to re-form the group to tour America. The new movie will likely spawn another hit soundtrack of R&B tunes, giving a whole new generation of frat guys the misconception that songs like ”What’d I Say” were written by a bunch of white Irish dudes.
GAME-SHOW BATTLE There may be many game-show rip-offs thanks to ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” but they all still quake in the shadow of Regis. NBC has announced that it will delay the second episode of its new show, the Maury Povich-hosted ”Twenty-One,” to avoid going head-to-head against ”Millionaire” during its initial eight-day run. (”Millionaire” settles into a regular thrice-weekly schedule after Sunday, Jan. 16.) ”Twenty-One” debuts this Sunday – the same day ”Millionaire”’s marathon begins, although ”Millionaire” starts an hour later, at 9 p.m. – but will now appear next on Jan. 16 instead of the originally planned Jan. 12, when both shows would have aired at 8. ”To take the second episode of ‘Twenty-One’ and run it against the most successful game show of the past couple years would be crazy,” NBC Entertainment president Garth Ancier told Variety. And heaven forbid anything be done to shorten the life span of the current game-show craze from the three months its already likely to have.
BIG-SCREEN TRIUMPH Grossing $2.2 million in just two days, ”Fantasia 2000” made more than any other Imax movie has in a whole week. The Disney film averaged an amazing $41,481 per screen, and will remain in Imax theaters until April 30, which is plenty of time for even the laziest of potheads to check out the crazy colors, dude.
LAWSUITS Jack Klugman’s former girlfriend is not going quietly. After losing her palimony suit against the ”Odd Couple” actor on Dec. 1, in which she claimed that their 20-year relationship (which ended in 1996) entitled her to a share of the revenue from the sale of his horse farm, she is seeking another trial. According to the Associated Press, her lawyers claim that there was ”irregularity in orders of the court and abuse of discretion” in the first trial and ”verdict and decision contrary to the evidence,” which is legalese for ”But it’s just not fair! Do over!”… Some of the remaining Beach Boys would like to bury each other in the sand… headfirst. According to AP, former lead singer Mike Love has filed an injunction against former guitarist Al Jardine to stop him from using the Beach Boys name (he has been touring with a group he calls Beach Boys Family and Friends). A judge says the injunction will hold until the case goes to trial some time this year. Love and Jardine fell out after the Boys’ leader, Carl Wilson, died in 1998, and Love decided he didn’t want to tour with the guitarist anymore. Love claims that he, not Jardine, is authorized to use the name, since he was ”lead singer for 90 percent of the band’s songs for the past 35 years,” according to his lawyer, who also says that last year Jardine held a concert in Florida, and more than 1,700 fans demanded their money back after they saw they weren’t really getting the Boys. Oh where oh where is the harmony from those glorious John Stamos years?
OBITUARY Jazz cornetist and composer Nat Adderley died Sunday from complications of diabetes, at the age of 68. Adderley played with his saxophonist brother’s Julian Cannonball Adderley Quintet from 1956 until Cannonball’s death in 1975, with Nat writing some of the Quintet’s classics, such as ”Jive Samba” and ”The Work Song.” After his brother’s passing, Nat went on to form his own quintet and continue to tour, and in 1996 was hired as an artist-in-residence at Florida Southern College.