AILING Liam Neeson, 48, was treated for a broken pelvis after his Harley collided with a deer near his home outside New York City. A truck driver discovered the Academy Award nominee lying by the road yesterday afternoon. ”He wanted me to drive him back to his house right up the road, but I could tell his hips were bothering him, ” the man recalled. Neeson’s publicist said that the actor is now resting comfortably.
WEB NEWS Washington D.C. has rarely been so star studded. Musicians and industry heavyweights descended on Capitol Hill yesterday to testify about Internet piracy. Most stopped short of asking for official controls for programs like Napster and Gnutella, but Metallica’s Lars Ulrich pushed for legislation. ”The touted ‘new paradigm’ that Internet gurus tell us we must adopt sounds to me like old-fashioned trafficking in stolen goods,” he said. Not surprisingly, Napster big wigs argued that song-swapping increases CD sales, while Sony digital music honcho Fred Erlich insisted that artists and corporations could work out their problems without official intervention. Several musicians also launched a coalition – Artists Against Piracy – with full page ads in major national newspapers yesterday. The group includes Garth Brooks, Christina Aguilera and Alanis Morissette, a prominent shareholder in MP3.com. Wonder how appearances on Capital Hill affects record sales?
POTTER WATCH ”The Patriot” and ”U-571” were bad enough, but what happens if Hollywood abducts…. Harry? MSNBC reports that Warner Bros. is trying to – gasp! – Americanize its production of ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. After scouring the UK for the perfect child to play the lead role, Britain’s top casting director Susie Figgis has quit the production and been replaced by a Hollywood talent-finder. Director Christopher Columbus is reportedly looking for an American boy to play Harry, despite J.K. Rowling’s insistence that the role go to a Brit. Warner Bros. may also be moving the setting from England to America.
SPLIT Dennis Quaid took the first step toward finalizing his separation from Meg Ryan – he filed for divorce yesterday in L.A. Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The actor reportedly asked for joint custody of the couple’s eight year old son, Jack.
CASTING George Lucas has cast classic horrormeister Christopher Lee, 78, (”The Curse of Frankenstein,” ”The Horror of Dracula”) in ”Star Wars: Episode II.” The announcement made on the official Star Wars Web site did not say which role he will play – or which side of the force he’ll join…. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model cum Canadian synchronized swimmer Estella Warren will join Mark Wahlberg in Tim Burton’s remake of the ”Planet of the Apes,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. Warren who has only been acting a few months, and, thus far, she’s landed roles in indie flicks like ”Perfume” and ”Champs,” but ”Planet” will be her first mega feature…. Mira Sorvino is in final talks to star in Bernardo Bertolucci’s upcoming ”The Triumph of Love.”
LEGALESE Eminem’s hearing yesterday in Macomb County, Mich., was adjourned until August. He faces up to nine years’ imprisonment if convicted on assault and weapons charges…. Michael Jackson’s lawyer denounced the previously reported lawsuit filed against the King of Pop by a Beverly Hills jeweler as ”meritless.” ”It is unfortunate that this merchant is now attempting to take advantage of Mr. Jackson’s celebrity in seeking publicity and attempting to force Mr. Jackson to purchase merchandise which was returned to the store months ago,” he said.
TV NEWS As ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire claimed its youngest top prize winner last night (24 year old David Goodman), one of the program’s exec producers prepared to launch a new game show for ABC’s ESPN network. The quiz show, entitled ”ESPN’s 2 Minute Drill,” will do for sports buffs what ”Millionaire” does for trivia lovers worldwide. However, the top prize is likely to be tickets to the World Series or the Super Bowl, rather than a seven figure check. For sports fans, some things are just more important than money – and watching men in uniform run around a field is one of them.
RECONCILED The row is over. Oasis’ Liam Gallagher joined his brother Noel onstage in Dublin. ”We ain’t splittin’ up,” Noel announced to a crowd of some 30,000 fans. Apparently, he hadn’t really left – he just engaged in a piss up with Tony Blair’s son.