Wednesday, April 23, 2003

DiCaprio's Russian roots

Los Angeles -- The Russian International Film Festival has awarded actor Leonardo DiCaprio its Tower Award for his contribution to world cinema.

DiCaprio, a Russian film aficionado, accepted the award from festival director Stas Namin before an intimate gathering including his grandmother, Yelena Smirnova, who emigrated from Russia 40 years ago, and his father, George DiCaprio.

The actor said he was a fan of Sergei Eisenstein and introduced one of his favorites from the director, "Battleship Potemkin," at the festival Sunday.

"I respect Russian culture and Russian cinema, especially Eisenstein, (Andrei) Tarkovsky, and (Sergei) Paradzhanov," DiCaprio, 28, said. "I'm definitely going to catch some more movies at this festival."

The festival runs through Thursday. Among the films being screened is Eisenstein's classic, "Ivan the Terrible."

'Wuthering Heights' revived

New York -- First, MTV updated "Carmen." Now, the cable music channel is offering a modern take on "Wuthering Heights."

Erika Christensen, who played a high school stalker in last year's "Swimfan" and a drug-addicted teen in 2000's "Traffic," will star as Cate in a musical version of the Emily Bronte novel.

Mike Vogel will play a homeless musician named Heath with whom Cate falls in love, and Chris Masterson (Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle") will play Edward, whom Cate agrees to marry instead.

A previous MTV original film, "Carmen: A Hip-Hopera," starred Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child in a contemporary version of the classic opera.

Dangerfield out of danger

Los Angeles -- Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was released from the hospital Monday, nearly two weeks after undergoing brain surgery to increase his blood flow for another upcoming operation.

He will continue his recuperation at home.

"I truly feel like a new man," Dangerfield, 81, said in a written statement.

The comic plans to continue working by putting the finishing touches on his autobiography, "Rodney Exposed," which is set for publication later this summer. He also plans to release an album, "Rappin' and Romantic Rodney" in May.

Lewinsky's show rates highly

New York -- "Mr. Personality," the Fox reality dating show with Monica Lewinsky as host, displayed a dominant personality with viewers for its premiere Monday night, according to Nielsen Media Research figures.

In its time period, "Mr. Personality" placed second, with 12.2 million viewers, to CBS' back-to-back "Everybody Loves Raymond" episodes, which averaged 13.8 million viewers. In the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, "Mr. Personality" won decisively, Nielsen reported.

"Mr. Personality" features a single woman wooed by 20 masked men, with Lewinsky by her side for support. Lewinsky first gained national attention as a White House intern who had a sexual relationship with President Clinton.