LEGAL FILEDepp Trouble: Film star Johnny Depp...
Depp Trouble: Film star Johnny Depp (“Edward Scissorhands,” “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?”) was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, after allegedly smashing glass lamps and tables and causing $9,767 in damages to his room at New York’s posh Mark Hotel. Depp, 31, was arrested at 5:30 a.m. on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony. The charges were lowered after Depp agreed to pay for the damage and will be dropped altogether in six months if no further trouble ensues. His girlfriend, celebrity model Kate Moss, was with him in the hotel room but not charged. A police report said that Depp was “possibly intoxicated” during the incident, but officer Eileen Perez told reporters that she did not smell liquor on the actor’s breath. After the arrest, Depp reportedly told police: “I was angry.” Depp has had previous brushes with the law: He was arrested in 1989 after a noisy party in Vancouver; and in 1991, Phoenix police clocked a car he was driving at 93 m.p.h. Earlier this year, fellow actor River Phoenix collapsed and died of a drug overdose outside of Depp’s L.A. nightclub, The Viper Room.
Suit Threatened: Phoolan Devi, India’s famed “Bandit Queen,” has threatened to sue the Toronto International Film Festival for showing a “humiliating” movie that depicts her as a victim of rape and her life story as an abused woman turned outlaw. “As soon as I can find the money to hire a lawyer abroad, I will sue you and your festival and everyone else that is party to this shameful exploitation,” Devi, 38, wrote festival director Piers Handling. Devi, who was released this year after 11 years in an Indian jail, has filed a court action in India against “Bandit Queen,” and a judge there has temporarily blocked the film from being shown.
Seagal’s Ultimatum: Turmoil continues on “Under Siege II,” the sequel to Steven Seagal’s 1992 blockbuster, with the star giving Warner Bros. this ultimatum: Either co-star Gary Busey goes or he goes. Busey, who played the lead villain in the prequel, was brought aboard the sequel by Jon Peters--a producer who himself bailed from the project this summer. Busey could not be reached for comment. Seagal made the ultimatum five days before shooting was to begin, so the scramble is now on to find a replacement.
In on Ground Floor: Disney’s Hollywood Pictures has acquired the rights to an October Esquire magazine article by Pope Brock investigating a 1992 scandal at Annapolis in which 133 students at the esteemed Naval Academy were accused of cheating on an electrical engineering exam.
Children’s Story: Frank Oz (“Little Shop of Horrors,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) will direct an adaptation of “The Indian in the Cupboard,” Lynne Reid Banks’ children’s book about a boy who discovers how to magically bring to life a three-inch Indian toy. The production, jointly financed and distributed by Paramount and Columbia Pictures, features a screenplay by Melissa Matheson (“E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”) and will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, co-founders with Steven Spielberg of Amblin Entertainment, along with Jane Startz of Scholastic Productions. Principal photography begins on Thursday.
Wildmon’s Violence Study: The four major networks combined had an average of 47 incidents of sex, violence and profanity in each hour of prime-time television, according to a study released this week by the Mississippi-based media watchdog group American Family Assn., led by the conservative Rev. Donald Wildmon. In a study of all network prime-time programs airing from May 1 to 28, the group--which has targeted several programs including ABC’s “NYPD Blue” to protest racy or violent content--found nearly twice as many incidents--18.8 per hour--on Fox as on the other networks. CBS ranked second with 10 incidents per hour, NBC had 9.8 and ABC had 8.7.
Back in L.A.: The 37th annual Grammy Awards ceremony will return to Los Angeles next spring. Michael Greene, national president and CEO of the sponsoring National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and Mayor Richard Riordan will make the announcement at a press conference today at City Hall. The Grammys were held regularly at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium for several years, until New York City began aggressive campaigns to lure the awards in the mid-'80s. The Big Apple has ended up hosting the program at Radio City Music Hall three of the last four years, including last March 1.