Witnesses say Swayze had booze in his Cessna | EW.com


Witnesses say Swayze had booze in his Cessna

Plus, John Singleton, Bruce Springsteen, ''Harry Potter'' casting, ''Tomb Raider,'' and more

Patrick Swayze

HIGH FLYING Swayze's publicist denies that alcohol was involved in his recent accident (Frank Trapper/Corbis Sygma)

CRASH UPDATE Three Arizona men who witnessed Patrick Swayze’s June 1 plane crash will be charged with lying to police about what they saw. According to reports in the Associated Press and local newspapers, the trio now say they helped the ”Dirty Dancing” star dispose of a half empty 30 pack of beer and a near empty bottle of wine after he made an emergency landing in his 1978 twin engine Cessna 414A. Police were unable to question Swayze, a licensed small aircraft pilot, until 12 hours after the mishap – too late to perform a drug and alcohol test requested by federal aviation officials. Swayze’s publicist, Annett Wolf, denied that her client was drinking alcohol on his plane, and accused the three witnesses of changing their stories so they could sell their accounts to the tabloids, saying ”It’s pretty sick what people will do to hurt other people.”

SHAFTED Does ”Shaft” director John Singleton have a baaaaad mother, or just a protective one? At Monday’s New York premiere, producer Julie Brown, the director’s former girlfriend, showed up unexpectedly and tried to confront him, but instead got into a tussle with his mother, Sheila Ward-Johnson. According to the New York Daily News, Brown then filed a harassment complaint, telling police that Singleton’s mom ”grabbed her in a bear hug and threatened her.” In a statement issued yesterday, Singleton confirmed that he and Brown had a ”casual involvement,” adding that ”this type of conduct led to the termination of our relationship years ago.”

BOSS NEWS Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav, whose songs include the cop-baiting ”911 Is a Joke,” yesterday praised Bruce Springsteen’s new song ”American Skin,” which addresses a 1999 New York City police shooting of an unarmed African immigrant. ”Bruce Springsteen, he sees the picture,” said the rapper, who last year recorded ”41:19,” a track that also addressed the shooting of Amadou Diallo. ”Can’t no one blame a man for seeing reality the way that it is.”

HARRY POTTER CASTING Maggie Smith, the Oscar winning British actress, is in talks to join the cast of ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Warner Bros. is holding an open casting call for Harry hopefuls, who must be British boys between the ages of 9 and 11. So far, more than 60,000 wannabe wizards have sent in their applications. The ”Harry Potter” movie, set to begin shooting this fall, is due out in November 2001.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Elsewhere in Britain, aspiring stars and Angelina Jolie fans are lining up to portray extras in ”Tomb Raider: The Movie” Smartly dressed day players who look like diplomats and business folk – and those who can keep their jaws from dropping at the sight of Jolie’s Lara Croft – should submit photos and CVs to the Casting Collective, London.

100 GREATEST The American Film Institute polled Hollywood last year and came up with a list of the 100 best films, and now they’ve come up with the funniest. Topping the list are two cross-dressing comedies: No. 1 is ”Some Like It Hot,” (‘59) starring Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, and No. 2 is ‘83’s ”Tootsie” starring Dustin Hoffman. Man in a dress aficionados should note, however, that the AFI list was compiled before the release of ”Big Momma’s House.”

REEL DEALS ”Shanghai” Noon star Owen Wilson is eyeing a role in ”Stealing Stanford,” a comedy about a man who turns to crime to finance his niece’s college education…. ”Austin Powers” director Jay Roach will go from the International Man of Mystery to ”The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In an interview with Salon, author Douglas Adams confirmed that Roach was working on a big screen adaptation of his 1979 comic novel.

TIE-INS Toy Biz, the toy division of Marvel Comics, which is marketing the ”Spider-Man” tie-ins, grabbed the worldwide rights to New Line’s ”Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The first installment of the series is due in theaters next Christmas…. Mattel is marketing a new Sign Language Barbie, whose right hand is molded to form the American Sign Language phrase ”I love you.” That must be because it’s too complicated for Barbie to sign ”Do not despair, little girl – my body type is unrealistic.”