CASTING Haley Joel Osment may be seeing powerful people: He’s in talks to join the cast of Steven Spielberg’s ”A.I.” Variety reports that at the Oscars Osment even tried to recruit Julianne Moore to play his mom in the film. Unfortunately, she has too many other projects now, but that precocious little fop probably could have gotten her down to scale plus a small percent of the gross. Sure, he LOOKS cute, but he’s a shark at the negotiation table…. Mena Suvari (”American Beauty”) is creating a cottage industry out of playing teen temptresses: She’ll seduce her stepfather and convince him to off her mother in the dark comedy ”Mini’s First Time”…. Deborah Kara Unger (”The Hurricane”) has joined ”Salton Sea” as an untrustworthy love interest for Val Kilmer, who is trying to avenge his late wife’s murder…. Hank Azaria (”Mystery Men”) will play an overwhelmingly busy father in the ABC sitcom pilot ”No Dinner, No Dessert.” There are two critical differences between this and ”Daddio”: One, Azaria’s character has a job. Two, there may be trace elements of comedy in ”Dessert.”
BACK IN THE SICKBED D’Angelo‘s throat infection continues to scuttle his tour: Doctors have ordered him to postpone five concerts this week to tend to his bronchitis, according to MTV News. He had to put off a Radio City Music Hall show two weeks ago, but healed enough to make up the concert later that week. But apparently it was too much too soon, and now he’s had a relapse.
OFF THE AIR Singapore’s government has banned the episode of ”Ally McBeal” where Calista Flockhart and Lucy Liu smooch. ”The entire episode centers around alternative sexual explorations,” said the Television Corporation of Singapore. ”As a responsible broadcaster, we are very careful to monitor and take action against overtly sexy or alternative themes.” When this episode aired in the U.S. in November, it got the show’s best ratings ever. This should make you proud to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and the freedom to enjoy hot girl-girl lawyer action. Rrrrrowrrrr!
IN COURT Q-Tip has been given a court date of April 24 to answer charges that he allegedly assaulted another rapper in a New York City Virgin Megastore. Kenrick Miranda says that he confronted Q-Tip in the store about his once allegedly preventing Miranda from handing out free demo tapes in front of one of Q-Tip’s recording sessions, according to the New York Post. Q-Tip didn’t take kindly to this accusation, and allegedly punched Miranda in the face, breaking his jaw. Even if the criminal court dismisses the third-degree assault charges, Miranda says he’s planning on filing a $10,000 civil suit to pay his medical costs.
THE OTHER SIDE The manager of Destiny’s Child, Matthew Knowles, has responded to the lawsuit filed against him by former members LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. These two women claim that they were forced out of the band by Knowles after he found out they were looking for new management, and they’re charging him with breach of partnership duties and fiduciary duties. But Knowles tells MTV News that ”there have been no misappropriation of funds and that [LeToya and LaTavia] decided to fire the manager of Destiny’s Child without discussing it with the other members, Beyoncé [Knowles, his daughter] and Kelly [Rowland], the lead and the second lead singers.” He added, ”My disappointment is that at the highlight of these young ladies’ career, they made a bad business decision. Clearly the truth will come out in court and it will be embarrassing to LaTavia and LeToya.” Meanwhile, Destiny’s Child continues to tour with two replacement members.
RESURRECTED There may be hope for ”Mulholland Drive,” the two-hour TV pilot that ABC commissioned from David Lynch last year and then shelved because it was too bizarre. (Don’t let ”The Straight Story” fool you: Lynch can still be freaky when he puts his mind to it.) TV Guide reports that the French media company Canal Plus may buy it for $7 million, then release it in theaters after Lynch shoots a more conclusive ending.
REEL DEAL Neil LaBute — who proved himself an expert in gender wars with ”In the Company of Men” — is adapting the book ”The Danish Girl” to direct himself. The book is about a Danish artist who in 1931 became the first man to have a sex change. LaBute’s casting budget should be halved since now he has a part in which an actor can sexually harass himself.
DEATHS Alex Comfort, the British professor who wrote ”The Joy of Sex,” died at the age of 80. His carnal handbook sold more than 12 million copies in the 1970s, and he was considered a trailblazer in the field of promiscuity…. New Wave pioneer Ian Dury died Monday at 57 from cancer. With his band the Blockheads, Dury had hits in the 1970s with ”Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” and ”Reasons to Be Cheerful (Part 3).”