The Fix

Depp puts out call for naked people and Jack Black to wrestle big ape. Plus: Gore goes digital.

By Salon Staff
Published March 31, 2004 2:42PM (EST)

Afternoon Briefing
Wanted: naked extras! Start booking your flight to the Isle of Man. Johnny Depp's next film, about the Earl of Rochester, will be filmed there and a casting call is out for 300 extras to appear naked, and in various states of partial dress. The movie is described as "a period piece packed with sexual material." (Ananova)

In other casting news, Jackson picks Jack: Peter Jackson has just signed wild man Jack Black to star in his version of "King Kong" opposite Naomi Watts. No, he doesn't play Kong, he plays the guy who captures the ape and drags him to New York. (E! Online)

Becks beats out Churchill: GQ magazine has named soccer superstar David Beckham as not only the best dressed man of 2004 but the best dressed Brit ever. Runner-up was Winston Churchill. Sartorial smoothies Bryan Ferry and David Bowie came in at No. 6 and No. 4, respectively. (Sky News)

-- Karen Croft

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Morning Briefing
Gay, Asian ... offended? The most recent installment of Details magazine's "Gay or ___?" feature (this month, "Gay or Asian?") is causing controversy. The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) tells Details editor Daniel Peres: "Humor and edginess are not excuses for caricaturing and insult, and the particular caricatures being played upon here -- of gay men as predatory cruisers, of Asian men as exotic and effeminate (yet always scheming) -- are precisely those that have been most damaging through the years." (Romenesko)

All Gore, all the time: As the New York Observer reports today, Al Gore, along with partner Joel Hyatt, is paying $70 million to Vivendi Universal to purchase Newsworld International, a small, digital-cable channel. The Observer's Joe Hagan writes: "Mr. Gore's group plans to transform the sleepy foreign-news outlet into a youth-oriented public-affairs channel, a jump-cut news network for the iPod set." (Drudge)

Messing with "Will & Grace": Debra Messing, who plays Grace in the show, will be gone for the last three episodes of the season on a doctor's advice that she get rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. At least there's John Cleese in a minor role to look forward to, and J.Lo will make a special guest appearance in the finale on April 29. (E!online)

Accuser testifies: Reports today say that Michael Jackson's young accuser took the stand yesterday in Santa Barbara, but don't say what his testimony revealed. Jackson, meanwhile, was busy visiting Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania on Capitol Hill and picking up a humanitarian award from the African Ambassadors' Spouses Association. He and Janet were also honored yesterday in another way: They share April Fools Day award, naming them the most foolish Americans of 2004. (USA Today)

Meanwhile, at Spice Market: "Insiders" and a 20-carat yellow diamond Alan Friedman engagement ring confirm that Janet Jackson is engaged to Jermaine Dupri. (Page Six)

Turn On
If you haven't caught MTV's answer to "Extreme Makeovers," catch their mini-marathon of "I Want a Famous Face" tonight (9-10:30 p.m. EST; MTV). The three surgeries featured are: brothers who want to look like Brad Pitt, a brunette who wants to be Britney, and a gastric surgery survivor who wants to be Kate Winslet. "Shark Attack 1916" (11 p.m. EST; History Chanel) is a documentary about, well, shark attacks, or rather a series of shark attacks that took place on the New Jersey shore during the summer of 1916. Karen Hughes watch: If you missed her on the King/Rose circuit last night, you can catch her on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m. EST; Comedy Central).

Money Quote
Maybe Kirk should stop wearing underwear: Paris Hilton says she can usually talk her way out of speeding tickets: "I always get out of it. The cop always ends up giving me his business card and saying, 'Let's go to dinner tonight.' But I never call them. I got a few tickets from girl cops, though." William Shatner has less luck: "I had to sit through eight hours of traffic school the other day. It was very boring and a complete waste of time. But everyone made 'Star Trek' jokes all day and I joined in, which made it a little more bearable."

-- Scott Lamb

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