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Monty Python's "Holy Grail" on Broadway? Who's Anna Kournikova swinging with these days? And why doesn't Norah Jones read more? Plus: Kitty fight! The Lohan/Duff war explained.


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Salon Staff
February 23, 2004 7:39PM (UTC)

Afternoon Briefing:

Python on Broadway?: John Cleese has been hinting that a theatrical version of "The Holy Grail" is in the works. The redux, tentatively titled "Spamalot," wouldn't star any of the original cast, but would feature new musical numbers written by Eric Idol. (N.Y. Post)

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Sports match-up? Is New York Yankee Derek Jeter swinging with tennis vixen Anna Kournikova. The two were spotted being very friendly with each other on a few Manhattan outings, including an evening trip to a hotel, where they "stayed late." All this while Kournikova's latest fling, singer Enrique Iglesias -- who recently gave her a $110,000 "friendship" ring -- is on tour. (N.Y. Daily News)

Reading is fundamental: Norah Jones, set to promote her new album on Wednesday's "The Daily Show," says she's "nervous" about her interview with Jon Stewart, whom she finds intellectually intimidating. "He's so smart," she gushed. Jones is worried because she's not up on current events -- she doesn't watch much television, but she likes to read. Kind of. "I've always loved to read, but sometimes I go for a year without reading a book because I forget to, or I don't have a book that I can get into easily," she said. (Associate Press, via TMFTML)

-- Christopher Farah

What happens when you combine the media's obsession with celebrity gossip and its desperate attempts to target an ever younger audience? One fairly perverse byproduct: obsession with teenage celebrity gossip.

Nothing exemplifies this better than the simmering rivalry between 16-year-old Hilary Duff ("Lizzy McGuire," "Cheaper by the Dozen") and 17-year-old Lindsay Lohan ("The Parent Trap," "Freaky Friday"). Think Davis and Crawford on training wheels.

Lohan's starring role in "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" (which opened this weekend at No. 2 at the box office) have provided an opportunity for the young actresses to go back in front of reporters to discuss their major meow-fest, or rather to deny it.

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"There's never been any kind of feud," a spokesperson for Duff recently told the press.

Lohan apparently agrees, sort of. "I have no problem with her," she says of her fellow teen star in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly. But then she goes on to dis Duff ... and Duff's mother for getting involved in their off-screen battle.

What-ever. But, like, for those of you who want to know how these two have managed to cram such a big rivalry in such short careers, here's a brief history of their mutually profile-boosting mud match:

Before 2003: The two vie for parts at Disney. Lohan gets "The Parent Trap" in 1998. Duff lands the lead in "Lizzie McGuire," the hit TV show in 2001 -- and the movie by the same name in 2003. Then Lohan gets 2003's "Freaky Friday." Duff leaves Disney that same year.

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April 2003: Lohan dates Aaron Carter -- brother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter -- who starts two-timing her with Duff. Lohan finds out and, reportedly, is less than pleased.

"Lindsay wouldn't let me break up with her," Carter tells the Miami Herald. "The girls always take it so seriously, like we are getting married. I'm just playing."

"I didn't mean any harm if I dated him at the same time," Duff later says.

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Aug. 4, 2003:At the premiere of Lohan's breakout film, "Freaky Friday," Duff, then 15, shows up with Chad Michael Murray, then 21, who played Lohan's boyfriend in the movie. Murray and Duff hold hands throughout the evening. "Maybe they're dating," Lohan says to People Magazine. "She's 15; he's 21. Best of luck to 'em: Demi and Ashton!"

The New York Daily News reports that following the premiere, the two are "frosty" toward each other at a Teen People party. Lohan also "barges into the spotlight" during an "Entertainment Tonight" interview with Duff.

Soon after, Duff claims she has given up dating to "focus on my career."

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Dec. 14, 2003:At the premiere party for Duff's film "Cheaper by the Dozen," Duff spots Lohan and her entourage. Duff complains to her mother and her bodyguard, who try to physically remove Lohan from the premises.

"It was pretty amazing," a source tells the New York Post. "Here is this huge man trying to manhandle a 100-pound girl."

Lohan refuses to go, saying, "I am not leaving. I was invited. Why should I leave?"

Duff and Mom gripe to Fox executives, who reply that Lohan was invited, adding that if Duff doesn't like it, she's welcome to leave. She promptly does.

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Lohan later has this to say about Duff: "I think I've met her, maybe, twice. It's like every single time I see her, she starts talking bad about me."

Susan Duff, Hilary's mother, later says she thought Lohan had egged her Range Rover a few weeks earlier. Lohan's people deny the egging.

Feb. 16, 2004: On MTV's "Total Request Live," while promoting "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen," Lohan is asked to "confess one thing about yourself right now."

Her reply: "I love you, Hilary Duff."

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Feb. 17, 2004: In an interview with Lohan on "Good Morning America," Diane Sawyer broaches the topic of "the feud." Despite having blatantly used the publicity from the tiff to promote her movie, Lohan says she just wants to "let it go."

"I have no problems with anyone. And it's not necessary to go out of your way to try and take somebody down. I mean, she's doing great. And I'm, I'm a fan of hers. I mean, my sister loves her ... It's just unnecessary ... We were friends. It's silly ... It's kind of the reason why I wanted to finish high school early, because it's what you have to deal with in high school ... and it's just, come on. Let it go. You know what I mean? So I just wanted to clear it up."

Sawyer adds, "OK. So, we're gonna work on peace in the Middle East next because we feel we've really accomplished something here."

Feb. 19, 2004: For her New York Post column, gossip Cindy Adams asks Lohan about the feud. Lohan: "Ohhh, everyone makes more of this than there really is. It's that she doesn't like me or she must be jealous or something."

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-- Christopher Farah and Amy Reiter

Morning Briefing

Mr. Universe for Mr. President? Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out against the Constitution's stipulation that only people born in the U.S. can run for the nation's highest office. "There are so many people in this country that are now from overseas, that are immigrants, that are doing such a terrific job with their work, bringing businesses here, that there's no reason why not," the California governor said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Look at the kind of contribution that people like Henry Kissinger have made, Madeleine Albright." (Associated Press)

Wheeere's Johnny? Johnny Depp won the Screen Actors Guild award for best actor last night, apparently surprising even himself. Depp was not on hand to accept the award, though Charlize Theron was around to collect her best actress trophy. She thanked her mother, whom she called "my angel." (Washington Post)

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More love for Sofia: Sofia Coppola won the Writers Guild of America award for best original screenplay for her film "Lost in Translation." Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman won the best adapted screenplay award for "American Splendor," based on Harvey Pekar's comic-book series and novel. (AFP)

Money Quote:

Monica Lewinsky on the Kerry intern rumors: "I really just felt empathic for the girl, the young woman, and for her family and at the same time I was really outraged because I thought once again we have politics dipping into someone's personal life and whether it's true or not, it shouldn't matter. It should just be left alone." (ITV News via Ananova)

-- A.R.

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