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|Self-proclaimed "Sultan of Sleaze" David Hans Schmidt, who was arrested in July for trying to extort more than $1 million from Tom Cruise in exchange for the actor's stolen wedding photos, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of sending communications for purposes of extortion. He faces up to two years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine under a plea
agreement filed Aug. 24, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. Schmidt is currently free on $100,000 bond; it was unclear when he might enter his plea. Meanwhile, Cruise has spoken up in defense of his controversial role in the upcoming WWII film Valkyrie, advising his critics, "Save your comments until you see the movie." Some German officials have expressed concern
about Cruise doing justice to the role of Colonel Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, who's considered one of the nation's greatest heroes for his role in an attempt to assassinate Hitler, while Stauffenberg's son has said Cruise "should keep his hands off my father." The negative feedback isn't affecting Cruise so far. "I want to think positive and concentrate on the film," he told
the German weekly Bunte.
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams have called it quits after three years together. The couple, who met on the set of their Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain in 2004, separated amicably last month, according to both People and Us Weekly. No reason was given for the split and the couple's reps have so far not commented on the speculation.
The Brooklyn-based dup has one child together, 23-month-old daughter Matilda Rose.
|The driver in the crash that killed A Christmas Story director Bob Clark and his son in April pled no contest Wednesday to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Hector Velazquez-Nava faces up to six years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 27.
Thornton and Kim Basinger are in negotiations to star in the ensemble drama The Informers, an adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, per the Hollywood Reporter. Set in Los Angeles in the 1980s, the script follows seven stories taking place during a week in the life of a movie executive, his wife, his mistress, a rock star, a vampire, and a
kidnapper. Thornton will play the movie exec and Basinger his wife, while Brandon Routh has been cast as the vampire and Ashley Olsen as a sexually promiscuous girl. Filming is due to begin in October.
Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. are in talks to star in the upcoming comedy Chilled in Miami, per Variety. The film centers on a Miami businesswoman who's been transferred to the snowy sticks of Minnesota.
|The Venice Film Festival kicks off its 75th anniversary Wednesday, opening with Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Other stars expected at the festival, which runs through Sept. 8, include George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp, who will present Tim Burton with a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.
Ben Affleck and Kris Kristofferson have signed on to the all-star cast of the Jennifer Aniston's upcoming ensemble comedy He's Just Not That into You, with Affleck slated to play her boyfriend and Kristofferson playing her dad, per the Hollywood Reporter. Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Connolly, Justin Long, Ginnifer
Goodwin, and Drew Barrymore also star in the film, which Barrymore is producing through her Flower Films shingle.
|Owen Wilson's emergency hospitalization and ensuing recovery process are throwing the future of some of his upcoming projects into question, Variety reports. The funnyguy was due to begin shooting a lead role in the Ben Stiller-directed comedy Tropic Thunder in the coming weeks, with filming on the project already underway in Hawaii. DreamWorks stated simply, "Filming on
continues," without elaborating on whether Wilson was still expected to participate. Meanwhile, Wilson was also recently cast opposite Jennifer Aniston in the upcoming comedy Marley & Me, with production expected to begin in January. When asked if the schedule would be effected, a Fox spokesman told Variety, "It's a totally inappropriate question at this time when all of our thoughts
and concerns are with his health and well being."
Jacinda Barrett and her husband, Gabriel Macht, welcomed their first child together, a baby girl named Satine Anais Geraldine Macht, on Aug. 20 in Los Angeles, People reports. "Mum and Satine are happy and healthy," the actress' publicist said. Barrett and Macht, both 35, married in 2004.
Rebecca Broussard, the mother of Jack Nicholson's two youngest children, was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony DUI Sunday, following a collision near Los Angeles International Airport. The former actress was held overnight at the Van Nuys Jail and was released Monday morning on $100,000 bail.
Geena Davis has sued the owners of Minnesota-based advocacy group Dads & Daughters for allegedly taking her idea for a charitable foundation and promoting it as their own. The actress filed her lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming Joseph Kelly and Nancy Gruver unlawfully claimed ownership of her idea for the See Jane foundation, which encourages balanced gender
representation in entertainment for children. She's seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Angelina Jolie traveled to Syria on Monday and Iraq on Tuesday in her capacity as a United Nations goodwill ambassador in order to witness firsthand the suffering of the thousands of refugees displace by the ongoing war. "My sole purpose in both countries is to highlight the plight of those uprooted by the war in Iraq," the actress said in a statement released by UNHCR.
Oliver Stone has drafted Bruce Willis to star in his upcoming film revolving around the infamous My Lai massacre, per the Hollywood Reporter. Willis will play William R. Peers, the real-life Army general who investigated the murders of about 350-500 people by U.S. soldiers. United Artists is in talks to finance the $40 million project.
Johnny Depp will be coming to theaters everywhere in time for Christmas. DreamWorks and Paramount have set a Dec. 21 opening date for Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton's big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical, Variety reports. Helena Bonham Carter also stars.
Owen Wilson was hospitalized in Santa Monica Sunday, amid tabloid speculation that he had tried to take his own life. Both the National Enquirer and Star reported the actor had attempted suicide, but there was no confirmation from Wilson's camp. Police said in a statement that a man was taken to a local hospital and treated, but declined to
release his identity and the hospital would not confirm Wilson was taken there. However, People, TMZ and KCAL-9 all reported they had confirmed the man was Wilson and the actor's family, including brother Luke, was spotted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Sunday night.
Oscar-nominated director John Singleton was involved in a fatal car accident in Los Angeles Thursday, after he struck a woman who apparently stepped in front of his car. Police said the woman was not in a crosswalk at the time of the collision and that Singleton was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. "This is being treated as an unfortunate accident," a
police spokesman said. "There will be no criminal charges."
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End swept the seventh annual Teen Choice Awards Sunday, with stars Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and Bill Nighy taking home acting honors, while the film was selected as Choice Movie: Action Adventure. Unsurprisingly, "High School Musical 2" also proved popular, winning Choice: TV Movie, with Zac Efron taking
home Choice Male Hottie and Vanessa Hudgens winning Choice Music Breakout Artist: Female.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie touched down in New York with their kids over the weekend for a whirlwind visit that included hot dogs in Times Square and a shopping expedition in midtown Manhattan. As first reported by E! Online's Marc Malkin, the power duo then hit the Hamptons for a private dinner party to raise funds for Pitt's efforts to help rebuild
Katrina-devastated New Orleans.
Keanu Reeves has signed on to star in 20th Century Fox's remake of 1951 sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still, Variety reports. The Matrix star will play Klaatu, a humanoid alien who arrives on Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily-armed robot to warn world leaders that their warring ways will lead to annihilation by their
neighbors from outer space. The film is expected to begin production later this year or early in 2008.
All news gathered from E! Online and other sources