MOVIES It's comeback time! Winona Ryder will appear opposite Sean Connery in Milos Forman's Embers, a period love story that she may follow with a Robert Altman project called The Widow Claire....He's a flirty thief, she's the flirty Fed on his trail. He's Pierce Brosnan, she's Rene Ru -- no, she's Salma Hayek, nearly set to star opposite Brosnan in After the Sunsetwhich sounds a lot like The Thomas Crown Affair....Two of the Three Tenors, Placido Domingo and, um, Cheech Marin, will provide voices for Sian Ka'an, billed as the first Hispanic animated film....Look up! That's Matthew McConaughey up there, doing research for his role as a stunt high diver in Don Cheadle's directorial debut, Tishomingo Blues, an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's crime novel.
TELEVISION Simon Cowell signed a lucrative new deal with Fox for three more years of American Idol at a rumored $150,000 per episode. The net also agreed to air at least two Cowell-produced series....Ashton Kutcher (Texas Rangers) will reportedly receive more than $6 million for the 2004 -- 05 season of That '70s Show, unless of course the show's producers just got Punk'd big-time.
BOOKS O mio babbino caro! The Santa Fe Opera has commissioned Aaron Jay Kernis to turn Ann Patchett's hit novel Bel Canto, a love story set against a hostage crisis, into an opera.