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Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 16:58 GMT


Michael's sales rocket after Parkinson chat

Sales of Ladies and Gentlemen are up by 70%

George Michael's TV interview with MIchael Parkinson has proved a massive boost for his album, with sales predicted to be twice as high as originally expected this week.

The star spoke to the BBC One chat show host about his arrest and its aftermath in a programme last Saturday.

Since then sales of his album Ladies And Gentlemen have soared by 70% compared with last week's figure, according to record label Sony.

After his arrest in the toilets of a public park in Los Angeles in April he said openly he was gay.

The star spoke frankly about his life and performed singles A Different Corner and Outside during his appearance on the Parkinson show.

Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for the HMV retail chain, said: "Ever since the Parky interview his sales have rocketed. "We were expecting him to sell around 100,000 copies this week but it now looks likely that he will shift something like 200,000.

"Even taking into account the fact that it's the run-up to Christmas and people will be buying it as a present, it's an extraordinary amount.

"It seems there's a lot of mums and dads who saw the interview and thought `what a nice fella' then went out to buy the album."

McCartney gets wired

Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney will take to the Internet next week for a live chat session with fans.

Spokesman Geoff Baker said the pop veteran - a self-confessed newcomer to the Internet - is "very excited, but a bit nervous".

The 56-year-old chose the format over several TV offers because he wants to go "direct to the fans" without the filter of an interviewer.

[ image: Rod Stewart: Planning an Internet gig]
Rod Stewart: Planning an Internet gig
The session will be called McCartney's Wide Prairie Show, after the album he released last month of his late wife Linda's music. It will also include videos of Linda's songs, and never-before seen photographs.

The chat will take place at 1900 GMT on December 17.

Meanwhile, Scottish rock veteran Rod Stewart is limbering up to strut his stuff live on the Web.

The 53-year-old will woo his first cyberspace audience by broadcasting his show at Earls Court, London live on two Websites on Friday.

"I expect a huge response from our users for this broadcast," said Philip Fracasi of promoters House of Blues New Media.

Smith in London for satellite premiere

[ image: Will Smith: Coming to London]
Will Smith: Coming to London
Actor and rapper Will Smith will be in London on Wednesday night for the premiere of his latest movie, Enemy Of The State.

He will be joined in Leicester Square by co-star Jon Voight and director Tony Scott for the event, which will link up via satellite with premieres in Berlin and Stockholm.

In the movie which opens in Britain on Boxing Day, Smith goes on the run after he uncovers evidence of a political assassination.

He goes to ground but soon becomes the target of the establishment, who are trying to root him out before he can turn over the incriminating evidence.

There's something about Woody

[ image: Woody Allen: In talks to become a Siamese twin]
Woody Allen: In talks to become a Siamese twin
Woody Allen is said to be in talks with the producers of bad taste comedy hit There's Something About Mary with a view to starring in their next movie.

The veteran actor-writer-director would play one half of Siamese twin brothers joined at the hip.

Producers Bobby and Peter Farrelly hope to tempt someone like Matt Damon to play the other half.

"Woody's character doesn't have a liver so he's ageing at a horrible rate," says Bobby. "So we can get two guys from different age groups."

Dion definite about rest

[ image: Celine Dion: Resting for the millennium]
Celine Dion: Resting for the millennium
Pop diva Celine Dion has confirmed reports that she will take at least a year-long break from singing, starting in 2000.

"I don't want to be up on the stage without enjoying it, and I want to come back full of energy," she said after the first date of her tour in Canada.

In early November her manager husband Rene Angelil said they wanted "to live a more normal life" following Dion's rise to superstardom.

The singer scooped six prizes at the Billboard Music Awards earlier this week.

Clooney film kicked out of touch

[ image: George Clooney in his ER days: Now has a gap in his schedule]
George Clooney in his ER days: Now has a gap in his schedule
George Clooney's next film project, an American football comedy called Leatherheads, has been cancelled amid reports of trouble at the film's studio, Universal.

The ER star was due to begin work on the project in the New Year.

The film is about an ageing footballer in the 1920s who persuades a young college star to leave school and play professionally.

The studio is desperately searching for a hit following the expensive failures of Meet Joe Black and Babe: Pig in the City and the recent departure of Universal Pictures chairman Casey Silver.

It declined to say whether the decision was based on budget concerns or stemmed from the studio's new management.

Phillips to play Dietrich in New York

[ image: Marlene Dietrich: Her story is coming to Broadway]
Marlene Dietrich: Her story is coming to Broadway
British stage actress Sian Phillips is heading to Broadway early next year to play screen diva Marlene Dietrich.

The 64-year-old won critical acclaim the last time she played the role in a production at London's Lyric Theatre last year.

The play deals with Dietrich's return to the Paris stage in a concert tour she made towards the end of her career.

It will be directed by Sean Mathias.

Cumming turns down sitcom offer

Scottish actor Alan Cumming has turned down an offer to star in his own weekly prime-time sitcom for America's NBC television network.

Instead Cumming, who recently finished filming Titus Andronicus in Italy with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange, is sifting through film offers.

Meanwhile, Cumming is continuing to receive standing ovations for his Tony award-winning performance as the MC in the Broadway revival of Cabaret.

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