Farrell steps into ‘Scrubs’

Irish star Colin Farrell, fresh off his big-screen turn as “Alexander the Great,” is set to make his U.S. TV debut in the hit sitcom “Scrubs,” reports Agence France-Presse.

The 28-year-old star of the critically unacclaimed “Alexander” will guest-star in a role to which he is accustomed, as an unruly Irishman, in an episode to be aired on Jan. 25.

Bad-boy Farrell’s primetime bow is the result of his friendship with Zach Braff, the star of the tongue-in-cheek show about the life of hospital doctors.

The role marks Farrell’s first foray onto the small screen since his role in the British TV series “Ballykissangel” in the late “90s.

Godzilla terrorizes budget

TOKYO (AP) – It won’t be immediately clear whether “Godzilla: Final Wars,” which opened in Japan last week, has broken any box office records. But the giant radioactive reptile’s 28th film already has set the bar higher in one way – its cost.

Toho Co. executive producer Shogo Tomiyama said the studio shelled out $19.3 million, small by Hollywood standards, but twice that of any of Toho’s past Godzilla movies.

“We wanted to make the best Godzilla movie ever,” Tomiyama explained Wednesday at a news conference.

Marking Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, “Final Wars” has the movie monster traveling around the world to fight old foes, as well as the new mysterious Monster X.

Tomiyama said Toho’s filming on locations over 100 days required a bigger staff than usual. Production was so complicated that Toho divided its special-effects team into two units to handle the work, he said.

The fire-breathing monster, spawned by nuclear weapons testing, first debuted in Japanese theaters in November 1954, while the United States was conducting nuclear tests in the South Pacific. It is played by an actor in a rubber suit who crushes miniature sets.

Whether the popularity of “Final Wars” will top past Godzilla films is open to debate. For now, that honor rests with the original 1954 “Godzilla” and 1962’s sequel, “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” according to Toho officials.

Julia Roberts is so money

NEW YORK (AP) – Julia Roberts is a mommy with big money.

The 37-year-old actress, who recently gave birth to twins, tops The Hollywood Reporter’s annual list of the highest-paid actresses. Her paycheck per film? $20 million.

“Charlie’s Angels” star Cameron Diaz, also with a $20 million price tag, is ranked second because her face was missing from the big screen this year (though her voice was featured in the animated “Shrek 2”).

Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore, worth $15 million each, rounded out the top five, followed by Halle Berry ($14 million), Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie (both earning $12 million to $15 million per film), and Renee Zellweger and Jennifer Lopez ($12 million each).

The Women in Entertainment issue also includes a paycheck tally of “Five Breakout Performers.” Kirsten Dunst is No. 1 at $8 million, followed by Lindsay Lohan ($7.5 million), Jessica Alba ($3 million), Mandy Moore ($3 million) and Sarah Michelle Gellar ($2 million).

Anne Sweeney, co-chairman of media networks for the Walt Disney Co. and president of Disney-ABC Television Group, was the highest-ranked woman in the Power 100 list of women in entertainment. Sweeney was followed by Amy Pascal, vice chairman and motion picture group chairman for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group.

Twin producers-actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen share the 85th spot.

A committee of editors determined the names and ranking of the Power 100. Selections were based on numerous criteria, The Hollywood Reporter said Monday.

‘Cars’ release pushed back

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Pixar Animation Studios will delay the release of “Cars” until June 2006 as it switches from a holiday schedule to releasing films during the summer, when more children are at home.

Pixar and The Walt Disney Co., which co-finances and distributes the movies, said Tuesday that “Cars” would be moved from its planned November 2005 release date, creating an 18-month gap during which no new Pixar film will be in theaters.

Pixar films such as “The Incredibles,” which has earned $226 million after five weeks in theaters, are an important source of revenue for Disney, which keeps half the box office take, plus a distribution fee. Disney also keeps half the revenue from the home video release of the movies.

The theatrical release of its films also provides the largest single source of income for Pixar, which also sees spikes in revenue after the home video release of its movies and steady, although lower, income through the year from video releases of older films and software sales.

Last month, Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs told analysts that a summer theatrical release also moves the home video release to the holiday season, when people are buying gifts.

“‘Cars’ longs to be a summer movie,” Jobs said in a statement Tuesday. “We plan to finish ‘Cars’ on its original schedule and look forward to ‘Cars’ and our future films benefiting by summer theatrical releases and holiday DVD releases.”


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