LEGAL BRIEFS Sure, Eminem’s ”Kill You” features Slim Shady rapping about raping his mother and killing people with chainsaws and machetes, but who knew the song had such a distinguished pedigree? French composer Jacques Loussier has filed a $10 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Eminem and Interscope records that also seeks to bar the rapper from broadcasting the ”The Marshall Mathers LP” track (assuming that a radio-friendly edit of the song were even possible). The 67-year-old pianist, who has sold six million albums and is known for his jazz-inflected performances of 18th-century baroque hits, claims Mathers ripped off his tune ”Pulsion.” Reps for Eminem and Interscope have not commented on the suit, but if the rapper did sample Loussier, maybe the Frenchman should thank him for the exposure. Just ask Dido….
Pretty soon, A.J. will have to sing to the court. Robert Iler is set for a pre-trial hearing on April 22, in anticipation of a May 6 trial over his second-degree robbery charges stemming from his involvement in an alleged mugging last Fourth of July. The 17-year-old ”Sopranos” star and two other young men (Michael Cournede, 20, and Alban Selimaj, 17) are accused of taking $40 from two Brazilian tourists on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The pre-trial hearing will determine whether statements given by the three suspects, witness descriptions of them, and physical evidence (including some marijuana and a bong allegedly found on Iler, according to Selimaj’s lawyer) can be used as evidents against them. Cournede’s trial has been separated from that of the other two, since their defense incriminates him alone, while his defense incriminates all three of them (he claims he told the victimes to hand over their money but never touched them). No doubt this will all become clearer when ”Law & Order” does the inevitable ”ripped from the headlines” take on it….
Boy-band svengali Lou Pearlman has been cleared of allegations made by the mother of two members of Take 5 that he broke Florida child labor laws. The state’s Department of Labor shut down its investigation of the Orlando impresario who launched the careers of the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, saying it had no evidence to support Merrily Goodell’s contention that Pearlman had violated the law by forcing the band to work days that started before 7 a.m and ended after 11:30 p.m, or to work more than six consecutive days. ”I’m happy to say that we are vindicated, as expected, from all allegations,” Pearlman said in a statement.
REEL DEALS Product placement is common enough in live-action features, so why not in animated ones? After all, they’re just as expensive to produce. That’s apparently the thinking behind the dealmaking going on at surrounding ”8 Crazy Nights,” its animated Adam Sandler comedy due at Thanksgiving. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, which is set in a shopping mall and features Sandler in a more two-dimensional incarnation than usual, already includes visual references to such chain retailers as Victoria’s Secret, KB Toys, The Sharper Image, Spencer Gifts, and Panda Express. Plus, the trade paper says, Sony is negotiating with such merchants as Foot Locker and Cinnabon, offering them verbal mentions as well. Why companies would want product placement in a Sandler movie is another question. Hooter’s got a lot of name-checks in ”Big Daddy,” but almost always as the butt of jokes, and Popeye’s Fried Chicken probably didn’t benefit much from being featured so prominently as the meal of choice of Sandler’s spawn-of-Satan in the flop ”Little Nicky.”…
James Gandolfini is branching out, sort of, in his upcoming role as a mafia shark. At least this time, the character is really a shark – jaws, fins, and all – since the film is a cartoon. ”Sharkslayer,” about an undersea vendetta sparked when the Gandolfini character’s son is killed (insert ”sleeps with the fishes” joke here), also features the voices of Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, and . It comes from animators Eric ”Bibo” Bergeron (”The Road to El Dorado”) and Vicky Jenson (”Shrek”), and is due from DreamWorks in 2004.