People talk 01/09/03

Thursday, January 9, 2003

Chrysler chooses Celine over Martha

DETROIT -- DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group has decided not to extend an advertising agreement with Martha Stewart's media company and will enlist singer Celine Dion to help the automaker sell vehicles.

Chrysler has been running a 12-page advertising and editorial insert in the magazine Martha Stewart Living.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Stewart lied to congressional investigators about her sale of nearly 4,000 shares in ImClone Systems Inc. on Dec. 27, 2001 -- the day before the FDA publicly said it would not review Imclone's application for its colon cancer drug, Erbitux.

The home decorating entrepreneur, who has not been charged, has denied wrongdoing. A Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday on Chrysler's decision.

Chrysler spokesman James Kenyon said the company made the decision to end its agreement with Stewart before the scandal emerged. Chrysler's contract with Stewart ends in March.

Dion will be featured in a new marketing campaign for the Chrysler brand that will include her singing a song to her young son. She'll also appear in print ads.

The idea, said Kenyon, is to promote family values. He said Dion's contract is for three years.

Asked if Dion drives a Chrysler, Kenyon said: "She does now. She likes the minivan. She's a mom."

Anna Nicole at top of critic's worst-dressed list

LOS ANGELES -- Mr. Blackwell, the chronicler of clothing catastrophes, poked fun at former model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith for committing the worst fashion follies of the past year.

"Don't bother with a new designer, Anna, just hire a structural engineer," Blackwell suggested to the 35-year-old Smith, who stars in E! Entertainment Television's "The Anna Nicole Show."

The 43rd annual worst-dressed list from the acid-tongued critic and former fashion designer ranked Ozzy Osbourne's daughter, Kelly, as the year's No. 2 offender for looking like "a fright-wigged baby doll, stuck in a goth prom gown."

Colombian singer Shakira was third, with Blackwell calling her "overwrought and underdressed," while he remarked that fourth-place Cameron Diaz looked like she was "dressed by a colorblind circus clown."

Britain's Princess Anne, gothic author Anne Rice, designer Donatella Versace, actress Meg Ryan and pop stars Christina Aguilera and Pink also made the list, which was released Tuesday.

On the positive side, Blackwell praised Reese Witherspoon, Debra Messing, Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Oprah Winfrey, Jordan's Princess Firyal, Renee Zellweger, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston as "Fabulous Fashion Independents for 2002."

Cruise, Paltrow begin filming in New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow have begun work on separate movies at opposite ends of New Zealand.

Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, shot at sites across the country, is evidence "we can do it here," said project manager Kate Doherty of Film New Zealand, a company that promotes locations in the country.

Cruise flew into the provincial city of New Plymouth on North Island's west coast Monday to begin a three-month shoot on "The Last Samurai."

Neighbors said they were pleasantly surprised to have the 40-year-old actor approach them shortly after he arrived at his rented mansion Monday.

"We were down in the paddock and he yelled out to the kids and introduced himself," said one neighbor, who asked not to be named.

Paltrow began work Monday in the southern city of Dunedin on South Island on "Ted and Sylvia," a film about the life of poet Sylvia Plath and her husband, Ted Hughes.

-- From wire reports

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