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Despatches - movie news from Alan Jones
Selected from the August 1999
Film Review

Austin Powers swings past Darth Maul
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me has the distinction of being the film that knocked The Phantom Menace off the top spot at the US box-office over the June 11-13 weekend, breaking several shagadelic records on its way. Its stunning three-day $54.7m haul means – as some (presumably now very smug) movie analysts were predicting – it has already out-grossed the $53.9m domestic total of the original and now stands as the biggest opening for a comedy film in history. Amazingly, the only two films with a groovier three-day total are The Lost World ($72.5m) and the aforementioned Star Wars prequel ($64.8m). Report by Jason Caro

Affleck Affection
Ben Affleck bounces backBen and Gwyn prove there’s life after love…
Former lovers Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck are about to team up again for Bounce, the story of a burned-out advertising executive who switches air tickets with another man who then dies in a plane crash. He then becomes involved with the man’s widow played by Paltrow. A close friend said, “She and Ben have remained best friends so it won’t be a problem for them to reunite romantically on celluloid.”

Chianti connoiseur returns
Producer Dino De Laurentiis wants Ridley Scott to direct Hannibal, the sequel to the Oscar-winning thriller The Silence of the Lambs. The director of Alien and the upcoming Roman epic Gladiators was targeted for the plum job after Lambs helmer Jonathan Demme bowed out a few weeks ago. It’s understood that Demme felt the material was too violent and wanted to make changes which author Thomas Harris would not allow. De Laurentiis paid a record $9 million for the film rights to Hannibal based on it becoming a publishing sensation and in the hope that Oscar-winning stars Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster will return for the third episode of the Hannibal Lecter saga.

Cruel Intentions Couple Wed
…and was she wearing white?
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe have tied the knot and they did it without the media being any the wiser – until a publicist revealed all three days later. Hollywood’s most attractive young couple exchanged vows in Charleston, South Carolina, six months after their December engagement. Despite admitting to the press that Witherspoon was pregnant and that they did have plans to marry, the couple decided to make it a very private affair. The newlyweds – who between them have half a dozen movie appearances this year – met two years ago at Witherspoon’s 21st birthday party and are currently together on UK screens in an art-imitating-life capacity in slick Dangerous Liaisons update Cruel Intentions.

Just a taste of Alan Jones' extensive news section. Read the full news pages every month in Film Review.

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