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Zeta-Jones jumps on bio
The Gazette

After spending months on research, veteran British celebrity biographer Cliff Goodwin has abandoned plans for a tell-all biography of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Actually, I'm not sure how much "all" there is to tell; for all I know the lady's past is as pure as the driven snow. But she's taking no chances: the main reason the British company Virgin Publishing has de-listed the thing seems to be the blizzard of lawyers' letters she sent to them, Goodwin, and everyone else she could think of.

Show it to the troops, they'll be grateful for anything: Paramount will preview Ben Affleck's comeback movie, Paycheck, for troops in Kuwait and Iraq and vicinity.

This picture at least doesn't have what's-her-name in it, and the script is better than the immortal turkey Gigli. In Paycheck, Ben plays a computer engineer who does a job so secret his government bosses erase his memory. But then ... Uma Thurman is the babe; John Woo directs. The picture opens Dec. 25.

Ben will soon go to the Mideast to meet U.S. troops; no exact schedule was announced. I wonder what, exactly, the boys in uniform will ask him most often about life with J Lo.

- - -

The file-sharing wars are getting more interesting. Now Wal-Mart is jumping into the legal-file-sharing business, competing with Apple's innovative iTunes and other such services, where you pay a small amount for each tune.

You will not be surprised to learn Wal-Mart will compete on price. They're talking 88 cents, rather than the 99 everybody else charges. But what's really interesting is the big-store chain is also talking about exclusive content. So they'd make a deal with an artist and anybody who wanted cuts from the performer's new album would have to go to Scary, isn't it?

- - -

Life in America: 11 million people in the great republic to the south watched Diane Sawyer's interview with President George W. Bush on ABC last Tuesday night. Over on Fox, meanwhile, 11.9 million were watching Paris Hilton in her "reality" show The Simple Life. And a CBS drama called Navy NCIS, starring Mark Harmon, drew even better, 12 million, Oh well, at least Dubya beat the Whoopi Goldberg re-run on NBC, which had an audience of 7.3 million.

- - -

More Paris: If the quiet family Christmas doesn't kill her, Paris and her Simple Life partner Nicole Richie will be on Fox's New Year's Eve countdown show from Las Vegas. Also scheduled: Ashanti, Metallica, Puddle of Mud and Hootie and the Blowfish.

- - -

The rumours were true: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will attend New York University, starting next fall. The acceptance letters came this week. "Like every other senior, they had been sweating out their acceptance and they are absolutely thrilled," their p.r. guy said. (What's that? Oh yes, I'm pretty sure every other high school senior has a p.r guy. Doesn't everyone?)

They'll both be in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, where you can study pretty much what you want. No word on their academic plans. The girls are 17.

- - -

I'm going to have to have a break, and I've got to whip my big year-end extravaganza into shape. (It'll appear Saturday Jan. 3.)

So I'll be off for a week, returning Tuesday, Dec. 30. Happy holidays!

 Copyright  2003 Montreal Gazette


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