The Fix

Walter Cronkite on the men he might have married, Narnia on the big screen -- and Benicio on Scarlett? Plus: Michael Jackson on himself.

By Salon Staff
Published March 2, 2004 2:59PM (EST)

Afternoon Briefing:

Uncle Walter lets it all hang out: Walter Cronkite was in San Francisco the other day to speak at the Commonwealth Club. When asked about same-sex marriage and the secret to his long-lasting marriage to wife Betsy, he said, "I do think one of the factors was we were of different sexes." He added, "That doesn't mean I wouldn't have been happy to be married to several friends I had of the same sex. It just never came up in our particular relations." (S.F. Gate)

The Mouse goes to Narnia: Disney is going to release the first "Chronicles of Narnia" film in 2005, directed by "Shrek"-meister Andrew Adamson. Shooting starts this summer, and the budget is supposed to be around $100 million. (CNN)

Papal poetry: In other film news, a Polish Catholic studio is set to make a 45-minute animated film out of Pope John Paul II's poetry. The collection, "Roman Triptych," has hit the million mark in sales and has been translated into 20 languages. No word on whether the 83-year-old pontiff is getting points. (AFP)

Hot couple? Scarlett Johansson and Benicio del Toro were spotted all over each other at the Chateau Marmont hotel in L.A. the night before the Oscars -- caring not who was ogling their canoodling. (IMDb)

Is DiCaprio the new De Niro? Martin Scorsese made "Gangs of New York" and just wrapped "The Aviator" with Leonardo DiCaprio and now there's talk of Leo being involved with the next Scorsese project, "Infernal Affairs" -- a remake of a trio of Chinese gangster films reset with Irish Americans in Boston. (E!)

Damien Hirst does it again: The British artist who brought you pickled sharks and sheep has created a work with a six-legged calf titled "In His Infinite Wisdom," which the show's curator says "touches on the issues of human genome projects, DNA and cloning." (Ananova)

-- Karen Croft

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Morning Briefing:

Your source for all things Michael? Michael Jackson has launched a new "official" Web site,, to address issues raised about him in the media. On it, Jackson says he is "disturbed and troubled as a result of people speaking on my behalf whom I do not know," adding that the site will be "one of the mediums for speaking out on my own behalf." For instance, Jackson has issued the following statement in response to rumors that he had checked himself into rehab in Aspen: "I am appalled. Let me state for the record, that I have not checked myself into any rehabilitation center in Aspen, Colorado; I am here for a few days with my children. I am outraged by these constant rumors. My team and I are going to use our best efforts to find out who these people are, who are continually trying to bring me grief and shame, and we are going to stop it." Jackson says he went to Colorado because his children told him they wanted to play in snow. (MJJSource)

Not yet addressed on Michael's site: Police have searched the home of Michael Jackson videographer Marc Shaffel in search of evidence in the molestation trial brought against the pop star and have seized computers, videotapes, photographs and a DVD labeled "Neverland Party." (BBC News)

Mon dieu! Mel Gibson has found a distributor for "The Passion of the Christ" in France after all. "We are very proud to present Mel's masterpiece in France and French-speaking countries so that people of all religions and cultures can experience this powerful event film," Tarak Ben Ammar, the French-Tunisian movie mogul whose Quinta Communications picked up the film, told the press. (Hollywood Reporter)

Pretty pregnant woman? Julia Roberts apparently set tongues wagging on Oscar night by appearing "fuller, glowing," "more buxom than usual" and with hair clearly not recently dyed. But Roberts' rep insists that the actress is "not pregnant." (N.Y. Daily News)

Oscar odd couple: Cheryl Tiegs and Vincent Gallo, who came together to the Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's in Los Angeles. Said Tiegs, "I guess opposites attract." (N.Y. Post)

Money Quote:

Arnold Schwarzenegger on gay marriage: "I think those issues should be left to the state ... So I have no use for a constitutional amendment or change in that at all." (Leno via the San Francisco Chronicle)

-- Amy Reiter

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