A nice day to start again

Rock star Billy Idol is on the comeback trail more than a decade since he made his last studio album, reports the BBC.

The British-born singer, who scored a string of hits in the 1980s with tracks such as “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell” and “Mony Mony,” still has the trademark shock of blond hair and snarling lip curl.

Idol, who celebrates his 50th birthday later this year, is releasing a new collection, “Devil’s Playground.”

“I’d like to add to the body of work that I’ve done. I’m not exactly dead, and I love rock and roll,” Idol said.

The singer says the approach of his 50th birthday has fueled his decision to stage a musical renaissance. “Being in the throes of putting out a new album seemed the best way to celebrate it. “Devil’s Playground’ is my birthday card to myself,” he said.

After a serious motorcycle accident and an overdose in the early ‘90s, Idol remains unsure whether he will turn into an aging hell-raiser.

“My mission is to map the Billy Idol world, but whether that takes craziness or a clear head, I’ve yet to find out,” Idol said. “I’m still waiting to see what the hell I turn into. But right now I’m enjoying what I do.”

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Lucas pumped for ‘Sith’

Director George Lucas has described the next Star Wars movie as “Titanic in space” because it is more emotional than previous episodes, reports The British Broadcasting Corp.

“It’s a real tearjerker, and it will be received in a way that none of us can expect,” he told an audience at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas, where the filmmaker also received a “Galactic Achievement Award.”

Lucas said he was not concerned at how fans would react to the final film.

“I feel that I’ve made the movie the best I can and it turned out the way I wanted it to be, so I’m happy.”

The new film, “Revenge of the Sith,” will be released on May 19. The audience at ShoWest was treated to the opening six minutes of the film.

They saw Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen and master Obi-Wan Kenobe, played by Ewan McGregor, engaged in a space battle.

Lucas has already warned that the action scenes are probably too violent for young audiences.

While keeping the plot firmly under wraps, Lucas said: “Obviously, fans would love to see a movie about Darth Vader running around killing people.”

“This first trilogy is really about the father, the struggles of a father, or a man, basically, to find himself, and at the same time fall into a trap of wanting certain powers, making a pact with the devil and basically spending the rest of his life regretting it.”

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

Aniston above the hating

NEW YORK (AP) – Jennifer Aniston says she’s been able to “tune out” the “tough and the nasty” headlines and rumors surrounding her separation from Brad Pitt.

“There is always going to be the tough and the nasty. You just tune out to that,” said Aniston in an interview on “Access Hollywood” to air Monday. Excerpts were released in advance.

Aniston and Pitt, who were married on July 29, 2000, announced their separation in January, after months of tabloid speculation that their marriage was in trouble.

The 36-year-old actress said that despite being on the receiving end of some negative headlines over the past year, she feels the public is rooting for her.

“There has been so much love and support,” said Aniston, who starred in NBC’s “Friends.” “It feels real good.”

Aniston also said she doesn’t feel like she’s made the full transition from television to film actress. “I feel like I have got one good foot in there, and we will see if they still want to have me back,” she said. “I’ve just got to keep making good movies.”

Her screen credits include “The Good Girl,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Along Came Polly” and the upcoming “Derailed,” with Clive Owen.

S.J.P. leaving Gap behind

A sure sign it’s finally spring? Those very pink-hued, (sometimes sickly) sweet musical ads for the Gap starring American darling Sarah Jessica Parker and her rendition of the Broadway tune “I Enjoy Being a Girl.”

But the British press is reporting that S.J.P., who’s done three Gap campaigns so far, will do no more. It appears she is to be replaced by English teen sensation Joss Stone, who’s currently in negotiations with the khaki-maker.

According to London’s Sunday Times, the Gap, which had previously used Madonna and Demi Moore, wants to capture the teen market by using the 17-year-old soul singer, who scored a hit last year with “Fell in Love with a Boy,” a reworking of the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl.”

So how does Parker, who turns 40 Friday, feel? Her rep tells the Sunday Times that the Gap separation was amicable. But over at the Daily Mail, things are depicted much more darkly: Citing an unnamed source (but of course!), the Brit tab says an embittered Parker feels snubbed, dissed, dumped. Supposedly, she is especially peeved that her replacement is a virtual nobody.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

‘Super’ cast; ‘Kong’ wraps

Looks as if the cast for Bryan Singer’s Superman flick has rounded out nicely: Parker Posey has signed on to play an evil henchwoman to Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor. Other cast members are Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel, Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, Hugh Laurie as Perry White, James Marsden as Richard White, and Sam Huntington as Jimmy Olsen.

Playbill.com says “Traffic” director Steven Soderbergh will direct a documentary on the life and work of writer-actor Spalding Gray, whose monologue “Gray’s Anatomy” Soderbergh filmed in 1996. Gray, who committed suicide last year, also starred in Soderbergh’s 1993 drama “King of the Hill.”

And Variety says it’s all “Good” for Hugh Jackman. The “X-Men” star, who will host the Tony Awards on June 5, will play the lead in Lone Scherfig’s (“Italian For Beginners”) adaptation of C.P. Taylor’s play “Good,” about a doctor who becomes a Nazi stooge under the Third Reich.

Even though some critics snickered at it, last year’s time-traveling supernatural thriller “The Butterfly Effect” made New Line Cinema some serious dough it cost $13 million and grossed about $58 million in the United States alone. Which is the long way of saying there are plans for a sequel. But don’t expect original star Ashton Kutcher to be on board. According to Variety, the sequel will be populated by a new set of characters.

And finally, Peter Jackson’s much-hyped Naomi Watts-starring “King Kong” remake has finished shooting: Cast and crew had a wrap party over the weekend. The flick’s due out in December.

– Knight Ridder Newspapers

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