DEALS Austin Powers’ Mike Myers, 39, will work his spoofy mojo in a new production deal with DreamWorks. The pact, signed Feb. 13, is especially notable because of a ”film sampling” clause that allows Myers to digitally insert himself (or other actors) into existing movies in order to create new scripts. Myers and the studio have yet to announce their first project…. In other parody news, Charlie Sheen, 37, signed a two-picture deal Feb. 13 with Dimension Films that includes a third Scary Movie. The David Zucker-helmed sequel is slated for a late 2003 release…. On Feb. 11, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, 45, dropped his threat to lead a boycott against Pepsi. Simmons’ Hip-Hop Action Network cried foul when the soft-drink giant hired the cuss-happy Osbourne clan for an ad campaign after dropping Ludacris for his foul-mouthed lyrics. The two sides reached an agreement, which calls for Pepsi to donate money to youth-oriented charities.
CONTROVERSIES You won’t see Fidel Castro on the red carpet. The 75-year-old Cuban dictator – the subject of Oliver Stone’s recent documentary, Comandante – originally planned to attend the Berlin Film Festival’s Feb. 14 screening of the film, but pulled out at the last minute.
COURTS On Feb. 12, American Idol’s creators sued Telemarketing Inc., claiming the Utah-based firm had purposely set up a phone number similar to the TV show’s voting line. The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, charges the company with leading unsuspecting callers to a 900 number that cost them $1.99. Telemarketing Inc. could not be reached for comment…. On Feb. 14, Kara Blanc filed suit against the Sci Fi Channel, claiming a surreptitiously filmed segment of its upcoming reality series Scare Tactics caused her emotional distress and violated her privacy. The L.A. resident says two actors invited her to a ”Hollywood party” in the Los Angeles County desert, faked a car malfunction while en route, and pretended they were being attacked by another actor dressed as an alien. The suit seeks unspecified damages; the Sci Fi Channel declined comment.
DEATHS Leave It to Beaver cocreator Joe Connelly, 85, reportedly of complications from a stroke, Feb. 13, in Newport Beach, Calif. He developed the seminal ’50s sitcom with his Amos ‘n’ Andy writing partner, Bob Mosher…. Actor Stacy Keach Sr., 88, who appeared on TV series from The Lone Ranger in the ’50s to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in the ’90s, of congestive heart failure, Feb. 13, in Burbank, Calif. He was also the father of actors Stacy and James Keach…. Oscar-nominated production designer Mel Bourne, 79, who art-directed Woody Allen’s 1978 film, Interiors, 1984’s The Natural, and 1991’s The Fisher King, of heart failure, Jan. 14, in New York City.