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Morning Report

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press.

May 28, 1997|SHAUNA SNOW

MOVIES

Pamela Lee Wins Trial: Pamela Anderson Lee prevailed Tuesday when a Los Angeles judge ruled that the Private Movie Co. "failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence" that Lee had entered into a contract to appear in the cable movie "Hello, She Lied." The company had filed a $5-million breach of contract lawsuit against Lee, claiming she'd reneged on an oral promise to make the film. The plaintiff's lawyer, Adam Miller, said the movie company will "think about appealing" the verdict. Lee, who contended that she never agreed to do the movie because producers would not remove simulated sex scenes from the script, could not be reached for comment.

Nutcracker, by Imax: Another "Nutcracker" is on its way for the 1997 winter holidays. Imax Corp. announced plans Tuesday for a 3-D, giant-screen, live-action version of the classic tale, with a troupe of performance artists, mimes and acrobats replacing the familiar ballet corps as the story's colorful toys and threatening mice. Billed as "the grandest, most ambitious interpretation of 'The Nutcracker' ever filmed," the movie will feature a cast of more than 150 English actors including Miriam Margolyes ("The Age of Innocence").

STAGE

To Sir, With Real Love: Sir Ian McKellen's "A Knight Out in Los Angeles" turned into celebrity night out in Los Angeles when several of his friends surprised him onstage at the end of his solo show at the Los Angeles Theatre Center Sunday night. Walking out with a birthday cake lit with candles, sitcom star Ellen DeGeneres, whom McKellen has made a point to praise in recent interviews for coming out as gay, surprised the Tony Award-winning actor, who was turning 58. Following DeGeneres and her girlfriend Anne Heche from their hiding places in the wings were actresses Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates and Annette Bening. Also on hand were author Armistead Maupin and his longtime lover Terry Anderson, whom McKellen said nine years ago persuaded him to reveal his own homosexuality, which is the running theme of "Knight Out." The biggest and most moving surprise for the Shakespearean actor, however, was the entrance (with flowers) of London-based playwright-director Sean Mathias, who had been McKellen's lover for seven years and was with him when Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 1991. After the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to McKellen, DeGeneres reappeared with a second birthday cake, which she presented to Heche, who was turning 28. She then prompted the audience, which didn't seem to catch on at first, to also sing "Happy Birthday" to Heche.

TELEVISION

One Less Talk Entry: The husband-and-wife team of Maury Povich and Connie Chung have pulled the plug on their planned syndicated series that had been scheduled for the fall of 1998. Instead, Povich has asked DreamWorks SKG, the planned series' producer, for permission to continue his current syndicated talk show. Sources said Povich and Chung decided that the syndicated talk-show climate was "too uncertain" at this time to continue with plans for a new series. The Chung-Povich series had been designed to provide news, information and analysis. Although Povich is negotiating with Paramount, the distributor of his current series, to extend the show beyond next fall, he reportedly also has been talking to other distributors, including Universal, about taking over the series. Universal had no comment.

POP/ROCK

Big Mac Tunes: In its latest promotional tie-in with the Walt Disney Co., McDonald's restaurants on Friday will begin selling three collections of songs from Disney musicals, with 50 cents from each CD or cassette sold going to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, which funds various children's programs. The three eight- and nine-song CDs are "Buddy Songs" (offerings include "The Lion King's" "Hakuna Matata," "Mary Poppins' " "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Toy Story's" "You've Got a Friend in Me"), "Rascal Songs" and "Hero Songs." The music collections will be sold through June 19, at $3.99 for CDs and $3.79 for cassettes (accompanying purchase required).

KROQ's Big Bands: U2 was voted the "Biggest KROQ-FM (106.7) Band of All Time" by the radio station's listeners, who sent in ballots for their top three bands. The remainder of the Top 10 bands, as played on the station over the Memorial Day weekend: Depeche Mode, the Cure, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana, the Smiths, Oingo Boingo and Nine Inch Nails. Meanwhile, the Cure will celebrate its No. 3 post by performing as the closing act for this year's KROQ "Weenie Roast" concert, June 14 at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. The station will officially announce the show's lineup today.

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