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Entertainment: News In Brief

Monday, June 7, 1999 Published at 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK

Benigni honoured in Israel

Award-winning Italian film director Roberto Benigni has received an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

Benigni starred and directed in the Oscar-winning Life is Beautiful, a film which takes place during the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust.

Gesticulating as he spoke, the actor tantalised the audience with some of his famously funny language, saying: "I am really full of joy like a watermelon to be here with you."

Travolta and Streisand may sing in 2000

John Travolta may be making a surprise guest appearance at Barbra Streisand's New Year's Eve concert in Las Vegas.

Rumours are rife that the singer has asked Travolta, 45, to perform a few numbers with her during the evening.

Travolta began his career touring in the cast of Grease and has made several albums, but during the past five years he has concentrated on his acting.

The singer-actor has recently said he wants to return to his musical roots.

Lock, Stock filmmaker wins MTV award

Guy Ritchie, the British director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has been voted Best New Filmmaker at the MTV Movie Awards in the United States.

There's Something About Mary was the most successful film at the awards, taking the honour for Best Movie, Best Female (Cameron Diaz), Best Villain (Matt Dillon) and Best Fight scene.

The Best Kiss category was won by Britsh actor Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love.

Minghella movie attracts the top names

Some of Hollywood's most famous leading men are in the running for the starring role in British director Anthony Minghella's next film, Cold Mountain.

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are said to have been interested in the project for some time but Matt Damon could be the favourite, as he has just worked with Minghella on The Talented Mr Ripley.

Minghella is writing the Cold Mountain script from the book by Charles Frazier about a soldier in the US civil war.

Star Wars holds onto top spot

Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace has held firm at the US box office, taking $32.2m over the weekend and pushing the total gross over the $250m mark.

But the Star Wars prequel is falling short of Hollywood's expectations and is expected to face strong competition next week when the Austin Powers sequel opens.

Romantic comedy Notting Hill has continued to fare well in its second week, taking $15m over the weekend, bringing its total to $49.4m.

By contrast, Instinct - the thriller starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr - took just $10.2m over its opening weekend.

Scott asked to direct "Lambs" sequel

British director Ridley Scott has been asked to take charge of Hannibal, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs.

Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for directing the original film, withdrew from the sequel reportedly because he felt the new material was too violent.

Anthony Hopkins has indicated that he is willing to return as Hannibal Lecter but Jodie Foster is yet to confirm that she will reprise her role as FBI agent Clarice Starling.

Marilyn named among icons of the century

Screen legend Marilyn Monroe has been named among the "Heroes and Icons" of the 20th Century, by American magazine Time.

The star of Some Like It Hot is one of 20 figures on the new list, divided into various categories from entertainment to politics and science.

Diana, Princess of Wales, Mother Teresa and Pele are also on the list, the fifth in a series of six published by Time this year.

Person of the Century will be named in December.

Gooding Jr pulls out of De Niro movie

Robert de Niro is looking for a new co- star for his latest film, the military drama Navy Divers.

The vacancy arose after Cuba Gooding Jr, who made his name with the catchphrase "Show me the money", in the film Jerry Maguire, apparently pulled out of the role in a dispute over cash.

De Niro says he will remain on board for the movie, based on the true story of the US navy's first black deep-sea diver, Carl Brashear.

Movie debut for media mogul's relative

The daughter-in-law of Twentieth Century Fox owner Rupert Murdoch is to make her film debut for a rival studio.

Sarah O'Hare is to co-star with Monica Potter and Freddie Prinze Jr in the teen mystery Head Over Heels, which is being made by Universal Studios.

The Australian model, who married Lachlan Murdoch in March, will also play a model in the film in which she investigates a murder mystery with her art restorer flatmate.

Zoe may return to the soap says star

Joanne Froggatt, who played streetwise Zoe in Coronation Street, hasn't ruled out a comeback to the hit soap.

"I am talking with them at the moment, but I don't know if I want to return," she hints.

"I wouldn't mind coming back, causing a load of trouble, then going away again, but perhaps not for a long time."

Froggatt is currently starring in ITV's Bad Girls and will soon be seen in the BBC drama Nature Boy, with Paul McGann.

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