CURTAIN CALL Think Madonna could play a character who goes to extremes to satisfy her ambitions? So do the London producers of ”Up for Grabs,” a satirical comedy by David Williamson (”The Year of Living Dangerously”), who’ve cast her in the lead role of the production, which opens in May. She’ll play an art dealer who tries to make it big by artificially inflating the price of a Jackson Pollock painting that’s on the auction block. The play will mark her West End debut and her first stage role since her sellout Broadway run in David Mamet’s ”Speed-the-Plow” in 1988.
REEL DEALS MGM apparently isn’t holding a grudge against Denzel Washington, even though his New Line movie ”John Q” has been strangling MGM’s ”Hart’s War” since the two films opened two weeks ago. MGM will pay the Oscar nominee $20 million to star in ”Out of Time,” a thriller in which he’ll play a small town police chief who gets entangled with two dangerous women. The movie, which shoots in May, will reunite him with ”Devil in a Blue Dress” director Carl Franklin….
Writer/director Stephen Sommers, who raided Universal’s vault of classic monster movies for his remake of ”The Mummy,” will clean out the rest of the cache with ”Van Helsing.” Expected to shoot in the fall, ”Van Helsing” will focus on the vampire hunter of that name familiar from Bram Stoker’s ”Dracula” and its many film adaptations. In Sommers’ movie, he’ll go to Transylvania and take on not only Dracula, but Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolf Man as well. No word on whether he also runs across the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
SOUND BITES Another album release for Cher (”Living Proof”), another opportunity for her to try to dispel rumors that she’s had more replacement parts installed than the Bionic Woman. ”If I’d had as much plastic surgery as they [say], you know, like I’ve got ass implants and calf implants and cheek implants…” she said on ABC’s ”Primetime” last night. ”I’ve had the same cheeks my entire life. No butt lifts. No ribs removed.” Not that the 55-year-old is ashamed of the plastic surgery she has had, or would rule out further operations. ”If I want to put my tits on my back, it’s nobody’s business but my own,” she said….
Aside from relatives and agents, the one who gets the most thank-yous on awards nights is God. Bucking the trend a little was Adam Jones of Tool, who picked up a Grammy for the song ”Schism” on Wednesday before the broadcast portion of the ceremony and thanked ”my parents. And Satan.” Well, the award was for best metal performance.