STAR WARS Looking for a place to freely and openly ridicule the furor over ”Star Wars: Episode II”? Try AtomFilms.com. Lucasfilm has struck a deal with the site to give junkies an official home on the Net for their spoofs and documentaries. The Star Wars Fan Film Network will go live at the end of the month, Variety reports; send your submissions now. Besides splitting the ad sales royalties with AtomFilms, George Lucas’ production company will allow the hoax filmmakers to use their vault of sound effects – lightsabers whizzing through the air, Darth Vader’s breathing – in their miniflicks. (Presumably, these directors already own the copyright to the ominous sound of fans’ bated breath)…. Meanwhile, Lucasfilm is also planning to market a 10 minute ”sneak peek” of ”Episode II” on videocassette, beginning Nov. 21. The clip will show how the film fits into the complete ”Star Wars” epic and will include interviews with Lucas and returning cast and crew members, who have just completed photography for the next installment. Most people would call this a trailer; Lucasfilm calls it a Christmas present.
AMERICANA Thanks to Rosie O’Donnell, we really know what democracy means on this auspicious Election Day. The talk show queen did some 11th hour campaign work on behalf of Al Gore on Monday, airing half of a four minute speech Barbra Streisand made in support of the Democratic candidate – despite parent company Warner Bros.’ reported objections. Streisand had expected to get her word in during a recent interview with Barbara Walters on ”20/20.” But the program aired no more than a sound bite. When Rosie volunteered to give Babs her say, rumors flew that WB had opposed the idea – and that the host had threatened to leave the show if she wasn’t allowed to run the segment. The production company, however, says this was not the case. ”Warner Bros. and Telepictures have, and always will, support Rosie in her desire to voice her opinion on her show,” the company said. ”Since Barbra Streisand’s political comments are in an episode airing the day before the election, we felt we had an obligation to notify our stations of the political material that was in the show and that we had checked with our counsel to ensure there were no legal equal time issues.” Sounds like code for “we had to be sure not to piss off our Republican station bosses.”
EXPECTING ”The Practice”’s Camryn Manheim is expecting a baby in April, according to People.com. This news arrives on the heels of a new development in the Emmy winning series: Manheim’s character, Ellenor Frutt, has announced that she is with child.
REEL DEAL Warner Bros. hasn’t just been whiling away the hours denying censorship rumors. Oh no. The studio has been busy acquiring the rights to ”Conan the Barbarian.” Plans are in the works to develop a remake helmed by John Milius, the director of the original 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger pic. ”The Matrix”’s Larry and Andy Wachowski are also on the case, and the director is talking to Schwarzenegger about his possible reappearance in the film. (He told you he’d be back.)