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Tuesday, April 13, 1999 Published at 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK


Minnie's ideal premiere

Minnie Driver at the London Premiere of An Ideal Husband

Hollywood star Minnie Driver returned to her native UK on Monday night to launch her latest film, An Ideal Husband.

The 29-year-old actress, who now works almost exclusively in Hollywood said: "Of course I miss England, It's definitely the place I feel I'm from."

But Driver, who was nominated for an Oscar last year for Good Will Hunting, has no plans to move back to Britain.

"Work is work, whether it is in Los Angeles or Peru or wherever," she said.

She stars alongside Rupert Everett and Cate Blanchett in this glittering adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Victorian comedy of manner.

Driver said of Everett: "He's my favourite leading man. He's brilliant - very funny, very handsome and very clever."

Everett and Bafta winner Cate Blanchett missed the premiere, but there was a big turn out from the pop world.

Boy George, Catatonia's Cerys Matthews, Mick Hucknall, Simon Le Bon, The Honeyz and Annie Lennox were all in attendance.

Xena - pregnant princess

[ image: Xena: Second child on the way]
Xena: Second child on the way
Lucy Lawless - who plays the lead role in cult TV show Xena - Warrior Princess - has announced she is expecting her first child with husband Rob Tapert this autumn.

The 31-year-old actress will continue to work on the series, of which Tapert is the executive producer.

"The baby is due in October during the series' longest annual hiatus," publicist Leah Krantzler said.

The pregnancy will be accomodated in the new season's episodes, which begin shooting on 19 April in Lawless' native New Zealand.

Lawless, who has a 10-year-old daughter from her first marriage, married Tapert in March 1998.

Phil Collins writes for Tarzan

[ image: Phil Collins: Re-recorded song lyrics in five languages]
Phil Collins: Re-recorded song lyrics in five languages
Rock star Phil Collins has written five songs for Disney's latest animated film Tarzan and sings four of them himself on the soundtrack.

Collins has also re-recorded the lyrics in five languages for the overseas versions of the film.

He believes his melodies are just what audiences want from Disney and is convinced the film will be a hit.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame was over kids' heads," he said. "Hercules was a little brash. This is the first film in a long time that has such heart and warmth."

The new movie, which stars Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan and Minnie Driver as Jane, will be released on 18 June.

Smith and Cage to tie the knot?

[ image: Comedy marriage on the cards for Will Smith]
Comedy marriage on the cards for Will Smith
Two of Hollywood's leading men are set to play firemen who marry each other for insurance money in the comedy, I Now Pronounce You Joe and Benny.

If talks are successful, Nicolas Cage will play a widower worried about what will happen to his two children if he dies.

After he saves the life of his friend - a slick ladies man played by Will Smith - his pal vows to do anything to repay him.

The request is to marry him, to qualify the children for insurance benefits.

The film is to be directed by Tom Shadyac, who directed Jim Carey in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. It is expected to cost around $70m.

Cher cashes in on success

[ image: Cher: Top of the US dance charts]
Cher: Top of the US dance charts
Pop legend Cher has announced a huge North American tour, kicking off in Phoenix, Arizona, on 16 June.

The 52-year-old diva is cashing in on the success in the US of her hit single Believe.

The song, which was number one in the UK for seven weeks last year, is currently making history in the Billboard charts, with an unprecedented 20-week run at the top of the Hot Dance chart.

Cher had her first British chart hit in 1965 with I Got You Babe, which she sang with Sonny Bono.

Lara nearly ready for big screen battle

[ image: Lara Croft on her way to Hollywood]
Lara Croft on her way to Hollywood
Cyberbabe Lara Croft is on the verge of her first Hollywood adventure.

A deal to make a live action movie featuring the star of the hit Tomb Raider video games is close to being finalised.

Paramount Pictures won a bidding war for Tomb Raider's global film rights a year ago. Lara is the creation of UK company Core Design.

The studio hopes the film could be ready for release as soon as summer 2000.

Last year Science Minister Lord Sainsbury said he wanted Lara Croft to be an ambassador for UK science and technology.

"I use her as an example of one of the great success stories in this country. We have a quarter of the world's market for computer games produced in this country, and I think we should be proud of that."

Weekend sport scores in ratings

[ image: Grand National winner Bobbyjo]
Grand National winner Bobbyjo
Millions of fans watched the weekend's sporting action on television, according to unofficial viewing figures.

Sports fans kept pace with one vital fixture after another, with the biggest single sporting audience represented by 10m people watching the Grand National on BBC One on Saturday afternoon.

At the same time, 3m were watching Scotland defeat France in the Five Nations rugby on BBC Two - meaning eight out of ten viewers were watching BBC sports programmes.

Spoils were more equally shared between BBC and ITV on Sunday. An average of five million people watched the Five Nations rugby clash betwen Wales and England on BBC One, while 5.9m saw Newcastle beat Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final on ITV.

Later, 7.5m watched the Brazillian Grand Prix on ITV.

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