October 30, 2003


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Elliott Smith Dies

Elliot Smith, a singer-songwriter, was found dead on Tuesday in his apartment in Los Angeles. Smith was found by his live-in girlfriend and was pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center later that night. The authorities believe that Smith committed suicide. Smith, whose real name is Steven Paul Smith, is best known for his Oscar nominated song “Miss Misery” from the film Good Will Hunting, released in 1998. That same year, Smith made a leap from a small northwest record label to DreamWorks. Recently, he was working on his sixth album, From a Basement on the Hill, and in August he released his first recorded work since 2000, the vinyl single, “Pretty (Ugly Before).” Apparently, Smith’s well-being, or lack thereof, was whispered about in the LA music scene, and while he never revealed in interviews that he was depressed, he did on occasion refer to it in his music. Though he did mention that he had been a very bad alcoholic. Smith often said in interviews that people constantly went up to him to ask, “Why are you so sad?” At the time of his death Smith was only 34.

Six-Million Dollar Parody

Jim Carrey has agreed to do a movie version of the 1970s TV show The Six-Million Dollar Man. Carrey will do a comic take on the character of Steve Austin, originally played by actor Lee Majors. Carrey will have the opportunity to parody the action drama in the same way that Mike Myers mocks the James Bond movies in Austin Powers. Old School director Todd Philips has signed on to do his thing for Dimension films. The film will be coproduced with Universal, who owns the rights to the original TV show, which was produced between 1974 and 1978. No word whether Lee Majors or Lindsay Wagner (star of the spin-off The Bionic Woman) will make appearances in the film. It is scheduled to start shooting in the fall of 2004.

Weighty Matters

Anastasia Volochkova, until recently prima ballerina of Russia’s famed Bolshoi Theatre, was fired on September 16 because she is, according to the Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova, too heavy. Volochkova, who stands 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 110 pounds. Apparently no one wanted to dance with her and the Russian press reported that her frequent partner Yevgeny Ivanchenko quit the Bolshoi because of injuries he sustained while lifting her, though he has since denied it. Volochkova’s next course of action is to sue in order to get reinstated. According to her, she just wants to dance.

And We’re Back to VHS

Jack Valenti, the film lobbyist who incited a revolt against the MPAA after major studios banned the distribution of DVDs to Academy members before the Oscars, may have lobbied to adjust the ban. The 5,600 members of the Academy will now receive video tapes that will be encoded so they can be tracked easier if they end up on the internet or on the black market. If a film does get found and identifies a member as the owner of the copy, that member will be expelled from the Academy. While this decision will appease concerns raised about the fairness of the Oscars, members of other organizations who give out awards have began to protest the decision because they will not receive videos. Lorenzo Soria, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globe awards, sent a letter to Mr. Valenti, chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, saying “it is inherently unfair to provide screeners to one organization and dismiss the needs of the others.”

Archived article by Amanda Hodes