Dismemberment plan

Russell Crowe's wannabe kidnappers had finger-severing torture scheme; Angelina Jolie looks at Cambodia and sees sex. Plus: The Teletubbies are in trouble again -- for their tubbiness!

Published March 20, 2001 5:49PM (EST)

Eating Crowe? Not quite. But the kidnappers with designs on nabbing Russell Crowe apparently planned to do some things that were nearly as sick and icky.

We're talking digital dismemberment, people.

"If the ransom was not paid within a certain amount of time, they would cut off one of Crowe's fingers every hour," police sources in Los Angeles reportedly told the U.K.'s Sunday People. "He was going to be maimed and tortured until the ransom was paid. And if the ransom still wasn't paid, the kidnappers were going to kill the actor."

And while the gladiator himself is not taking the plot too seriously -- he recently joked that if the kidnappers successfully snagged him, they'd soon be passing around a hat to pay to get him off their hands -- the FBI reportedly is and has continued to offer him beefed-up security, at least until it fingers the culprits.

But Crowe may not be the only actor in apparent danger these days, according to the British papers. The U.K. Daily Express reports that Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith have hired a batch of bodyguards to guard them in Paris after a Basque terrorist group apparently threatened to kill Banderas.

As more people see his movies, the problem can only get worse.

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The unspeakable lure of the killing fields

"In some ways, it's a good job Billy's not here and I'm in a monk's costume. Otherwise we'd be out in those fields getting it on."

-- Angelina Jolie, expressing relief that her hubby, Billy Bob Thornton, cannot join her in Cambodia while she films "Tomb Raider," in Time.

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When Backstreet bros blab

Family loyalty? What family loyalty?

Backstreet Boy Nick Carter might want to give his little brother, Aaron, a little lesson in what not to say to the media.

Aaron Carter, 13, has ridden his brother's famous coattails all the way to his own questionable claim to fame, teaming up with Samantha Mumba for a televised concert airing later this month on the Disney Channel. And sure, he'll admit that he has Nick to thank for much of his success on the teen pop circuit. "Without Nick, I don't think I could have made it where I am right now, " he tells TV Guide.

But little Aaron bobbles the P.R. softball when the boob-tube bible asks him who his favorite pop group is.

"If I had to choose between Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync," Aaron shares, "I'd pick 'N Sync. They're awesome."

Well, at least he didn't say O-Town.

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No static at all?

"Even when we went backstage they [the reporters] seemed pretty disappointed that it wasn't Eminem. It was as if the janitors had come to clean up. They should have given us mops, so we had something to do back there."

-- Donald Fagen on how he and fellow Steely Dan member Walter Becker were treated by the press after they snagged the album of the year Grammy right out of Eminem's grabby little hands, in New York Newsday.

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Juicy bits

Eh-oh! The Teletubbies are under fire again. And this time it has nothing to do with Tinky-Winky's presumed sexual preference. According to the BBC, an Australian doctor is accusing the roly-poly cartoon characters of being unhealthy influences on young children. It's the tubby part he objects to. "There is no doubt that characters such as the Teletubbies are cute and endearing," Dr. Gavin Frost told a forum on nutrition held Down Under, "but the question is whether these unfortunately named characters are helping to entrench poor messages that being fat and jolly are attributes to aspire to." That little cackle you hear is Barbie laughing.

Just when Puffy thought it was safe to leave court ... he's apparently been slammed by a demand for more child support -- and the threat of a lawsuit -- from one of the mothers of his three children. Model Kim Porter, the mother of Puffy's 2-year-old son Christian, told the New York Post over the weekend that she planned to hit up the newly off-the-hook rap mogul for $2 million upfront and a $20,000 monthly allowance. When he heard the news, a friend of Combs told the Post, Combs "went ballistic." Presumably Combs' lawyer Johnnie Cochran is at the office right now, working on variations of "If the child-support demand isn't realistic, you have the right to go ballistic."

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Miss something? Read yesterday's Nothing Personal.

By Amy Reiter

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