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Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 14:45 GMT


Record movie score for Vinnie's 'Lock'

Hardman Vinnie Jones made his screen debut in the hit Brit movie

Low-budget Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has broken video sales records to become Polygram's biggest ever first day's sale.

The movie, with soccer star Vinnie Jones, sold more than Spiceworld The Movie and even Trainspotting by selling 63,000 copies when it hit the shops this week.

"The Fully Monty had 150,000 sales in its first day," admits Polygram's Patrice Faviere.

"But that had done much better at the box office, For a film of this size, 63,000 is very good."

The London-set comedy thriller, written and directed by Guy Ritchie, centres on the desperate attempts of a group of four friends to repay money lost in a rigged card game.

Movie fans will also have the chance to pick up souvenirs from the film at a charity auction on Wednesday.

Vinnie Jones will be among cast members helping out at the auction, in the Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street, London.

Among the distinctive props going under the hammer will be a necklace with boxing gloves worn by Jones's debt collector character Big Chris.

Sewell set to tread West End boards

[ image: Sewell will play the Thane of Cawdor in Shakespeare's Macbeth]
Sewell will play the Thane of Cawdor in Shakespeare's Macbeth
British actor Rufus Sewell will take up arms in Macbeth on Wednesday, becoming the latest in a long line of Hollywood stars to perform in London's West End theatres.

Sewell will play the lead role in the Shakespeare play that superstitious actors refuse to name.

The 31 year-old star joins the likes of Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman, who have recently put stage roles before parts in lucrative Hollywood blockbusters.

Best known for his parts in BBC's Middlemarch, Cold Comfort Farm and the film Woodlanders, Sewell has been romantically-linked with Kate Winslet and Madonna in the past. He is set to marry his girlfriend Yasmin Abdallah this spring.

Madonna in control of label she founded

[ image: Madonna wins battle over Maverick]
Madonna wins battle over Maverick
Pop superstar Madonna has won control of the record company she launched seven years ago.

Her battle to take over at Maverick comes after months of intense talks.

The situation reached a head earlier this week when Maverick's co-founder, Freddy DeMahann, agreed to leave the label with a $20m (£12.5m) payoff.

Apart from Madonna herself, Alanis Morissette is Maverick's biggest act.

The soundtrack to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, soon to be released in the US on the Maverick label, is likely to prove their next big hit.

Passport row as Arnie flies into Japan

[ image: Schwarzenegger sparks row over star treatment]
Schwarzenegger sparks row over star treatment
Japan's justice minister is under fire for allowing Arnold Schwarzenegger into the country without a passport.

Shozaburo Nakamura has been criticised for giving the star special treatment after he arrived in the country on his private plane last October.

Nakamura, whose ministry oversees immigration, admitted he had kept a report filed by Schwarzenegger asking for permission to enter Japan without a passport, rather than forwarding it to the appropriate office.

When asked about helping the star, Nakamura was quoted by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper as telling a news conference: "If I hadn't said yes, I would have been killed by my wife and daughter, who are his fans."

Schwarzenegger who holds both US and Austrian citizenship has since written to Japan's Justice Ministry and explained that his passport was stolen just before he left the States.

Freeman and Hackman to star together again

[ image: Hackman to play murder suspect]
Hackman to play murder suspect
Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman, who starred together in Unforgiven, are teaming up again this time in a remake of a French film.

Hackman chased the re-make rights to Garde A Vue for 10 years before finally securing them.

Directed in 1981 by Claude Miller, it starred Michel Serrault and Lino Ventura.

Freeman will play a policeman trying to coax a confession out of a prominent lawyer (Hackman), the chief suspect in a series of murders in the tropics.

Plan for 'three divas' blockbuster tour

[ image: Barbara Striesand: Courted for Diva role]
Barbara Striesand: Courted for Diva role
An award-winning US songwriter is trying to persuade Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion to go on tour with opera star Andrea Bocelli.

According to New York's Daily News, David Foster reckons the "Three Divas and a Tenor" tour will be a sure-fire hit, rivalling the Three Tenors series.

Streisand is said to be "intrigued" by the idea, but it's thought the stars wouldn't be able to find time in their busy schedules even if they were keen.

Another Brit stars in Flintstones flick

[ image: Addy will play Fred Flintstone]
Addy will play Fred Flintstone
Full Monty actor Mark Addy has been joined by follow Brit Alan Cumming in the cast of the new Flintstones film, Viva Rock Vegas.

Cumming will play the Great Kazoo, the alien who pops on to Fred Flintstone's shoulder from time to time to offer words of wisdom.

Addy has taken the role of Fred while Stephen Baldwin is to play Barney Rubble in the film, set during a visit by the Flintstones and Rubble to a Stone Age Las Vegas.

Chicago film critics honour war epics

Second World War epics Saving Private Ryan and The Thin Red Line have shared the honours at the prestigious Chicago Film Critics Awards.

Steven Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan won Best Picture and Terrence Malick was named Best Director for The Thin Red Line.

Britain's Sir Ian McKellen won Best Actor for Gods and Monsters, while Australian Cate Blanchett was named Best Actress for Elizabeth.

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