People talk 12/31/02

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Kidman didn't expect attention for 'The Hours'Nicole Kidman says she worked on her newest movie, "The Hours," during a period of depression after her divorce from Tom Cruise -- and never figured the film would garner much attention.

The film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham, stars Kidman as Virginia Woolf, the British novelist who committed suicide in 1941 rather than subject her husband to another season of her mental anguish. Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep also star; the film considers three women whose lives in a way comment on one another.

"That was the only thing I did last year, making this movie," Kidman said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. "I just didn't want to work. I was like, 'I'm going to pull out. I can't. ... I just don't. ... I can't cope with anything and I don't want to do it.'

"And I'm so glad I stuck with it, because I sat down in the cinema and just watched it by myself and I thought, I made a movie with Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore and three female characters that is so rich and complex."

She said though the film seemed risky, "I really thought, oh, gosh. At least it's a small movie and if it doesn't work, nobody will see it. And then it has escalated to this. I just didn't think this sort of movie would garner that kind of attention."

The film has earned Golden Globe nominations for both Kidman and Streep.

Barris dissatisfied with 'Gong Show' legacy

Chuck Barris is worried "The Gong Show" may be his only legacy.

Barris -- whose book "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is about to open as a movie directed by George Clooney -- revolutionized the game show genre with the 1965 launch of "The Dating Game," followed by "The Newlywed Game," and "The $1.98 Beauty Show" among others.

In 1976, he debuted his signature program, "The Gong Show," a wacky amateur talent contest in which judges clanged a gong to show their disapproval.

Though successful with audiences, the shows were blasted as trashy and demeaning by critics. "I don't know if I'll ever get over it," he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, noting he only intended the shows as good fun.

But the 73-year-old Barris figures that's all he'll be remembered for.

"I've never saved any lives. It's just middle-of-the-road greatness," Barris said. "So I know what my legacy will be. It's 'The Gong Show' and that's a shame. It's not the legacy I want to have."

Mendes gets meatier role in her next movieIt's about time for actress Eva Mendes.

The woman who turned heads as Denzel Washington's girlfriend in "Training Day" will reunite with her on-screen love interest in MGM's fall thriller "Out of Time."

"Out of Time" gives Mendes a meatier role, but it's not the only film the 25-year-old Cuban-American actress is preparing for.

Mendes, who got her start in commercials, will star opposite Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" -- the last film in Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi trilogy.

Mendes' sultry looks and tough attitude have sparked comparisons with Michelle Rodriguez, who starred in "The Fast and Furious" and is one of a small group of Hispanic actresses to nab major Hollywood roles.

Diamond excited his songs still popularAfter Neil Diamond went to see the animated hit "Shrek," he heard a group of giggling youngsters singing "I'm a Believer" in the lobby of the theater.

"I couldn't resist. I went over and joined in, and we just sang the song together," Diamond said. "They had no idea that I had written it, or who I was. I was just some weird guy who wanted to join in on the singing."

The 61-year-old singer-songwriter told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he's thrilled young people still like his music, even though critics haven't always hailed songs from the '60s to '80s that have included "Cherry Cherry," "I Am I Said," "Sweet Caroline" and "America."

-- From wire reports

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