No more Cruise control jokes, please: First, there was speculation that Tom Cruise's recent impassioned interviews (this one, in which he gets downright combative, is really a must-read) about his love for Katie Holmes and his commitment to Scientology would affect his career. (Today comes news that his long-delayed next film, "Mission Impossible III," is set to begin filming in July, despite rumors that the studio was having doubts about the actor's sustained box office clout.) Now, word is that it's affecting Holmes' career -- and her relationships with her family and friends. As Holmes gets more into Cruise (she's moved into his Beverly Hills mansion) and Scientology (she's been surrounded by an entourage of Scientologists during press interviews for "Batman Begins"), she's said to be pulling away from many of her old buddies. "This relationship is becoming as weird as Liza Minnelli and David Gest's," commented one friend. "It was exciting at first that Katie was dating Tom, but then when she started drifting away and I realized it was because we weren't into Scientology, it got a little weird." Holmes has also dropped out of the lead role in "Factory Girl," a biopic of Edie Sedgwick, reportedly at Cruise's behest, and is starting to be overlooked for other roles, according to the New York Post. She and Cruise recently arranged for her parents to visit the Scientology Celebrity Center -- and she's even asked her old doorman to pass out Scientology literature to her neighbors in her old apartment complex. Meanwhile, Cruise's ex Nicole Kidman has weighed in on Cruise's recent media splurfage: "In terms of your life, if you start to exploit it, then what's real and what's not? What's yours and what isn't?" (N.Y. Post, Australia's "60 Minutes," Vanity Fair via This Is London, Hollywood Reporter)
Lohan, all grown up? In case you hadn't noticed, Lindsay Lohan says she's no longer a party girl -- and she'd really like to be taken seriously as an actress, please. "I kind of got over it really fast but they continued to say I still do it," she says of her widely reported hard-partying ways, adding that she found some of the media's coverage of her "hurtful." "I just don't want people to think that I'm not focused and that I'm in this for the wrong reasons." (Reuters)
Jackson trial update: As the jury begins its third day of deliberations in the Michael Jackson trial, the press reports on the stories around the story: the press-packed scene surrounding the courthouse; the fans outside Neverland, holding up signs ("Peter Pan Rules," "100,000,000 Michael Jackson fans can't be wrong: Innocent," "Poland loves you, Michael") and leaving notes in support of Jackson; a look at the long-standing speculation that Jackson may be forced to sell off his share of the Beatles catalog in order to raise money in the event of either an acquittal or a conviction; even a tour of the Santa Barbara county jail, where Jackson would likely be held if he were convicted. And then there are the numerous quotes from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who has been counseling Michael throughout the trial and who showed up this week to huddle with the pop star and to hold a little impromptu press conference. "Michael is tough. Michael is a champion, and the ground is no place for a champion," Rev. Jackson said, somewhat bafflingly. (Reuters, AFP, MSNBC, MTV News)
Also: Broadway's lights will be dimmed Wednesday night in honor of Anne Bancroft, who died Monday of ovarian cancer at the age of 73. (N.Y. Daily News) ... John Kerry's Yale transcripts have been released to the press for the first time. Turns out that he and President Bush had nearly identical grade-point averages upon graduation. Kerry got four D's his freshman year, but pulled off better grades later on. (Boston Globe) ... It's not only Paris: The cellphone numbers of hundreds of Chinese celebrities -- writers, actors, musicians, athletes -- were posted online on Saturday. The list was taken down two days later, but not before the celebrities were bombarded with calls. (AFP) ... It's official: Next year's Grammy Awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on Feb. 8 and be broadcast on CBS. Nominations will be announced on Dec. 7. (Reuters) ... Judith Regan is said to be close to reaching a deal in the mid six figures with "Runaway Bride" Jennifer Wilbanks and her fiancé, John Mason, that includes the rights to make a TV movie about their story and a network TV interview. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... The theme of the party Star Jones Reynolds is throwing for her husband, Al, in the Hamptons this weekend in honor of his 35th birthday: "Low Down, Throw Down," where "Leisure Suits, Afros and Platform Shoes" are the recommended attire. (Rush & Molloy)
Al Gore accepting a lifetime achievement award at the Webbies, which require winners to fit their gratitude into no more than five words: "Please, don't recount this vote." (AFP)
Anne Bancroft, in a 2002 interview, on her signature role as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate": "To this day, when men meet me, there's always that movie in the back of their mind." (Washington Post)
Mike Tyson, who claims that, by spending more time with his children, he's getting in touch with the "good Mike" that lurks within him: "We were all different people at different points in our lives. It's all about helping people. It's all about love and respect." (N.Y. Daily News)
Believe it or not, TBS' "The Real Gilligan's Island," in which two teams of skippers and Gilligans and professors and Gingers compete, is back for a second season, which premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT. And, in the same time slot, Fox introduces a new series about an FBI violent crimes unit, "The Inside."
-- Amy Reiter
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