ROLL CALL: Britney Stuns Florida & Jessica Joins The Marines?

Your Daily Dispatch of Celebrity Shenanigans by Tommy Vergason

May 21, 2007

BRITNEY’S FLORIDIAN ADVENTURES: Along with making headlines for a reported temper tantrum on an airplane this weekend, Britney Spears was back on stage for two of her “M&M’s” mini-concerts in Florida — one in Orlando at The House of Blues on Saturday night, and the other at the trendy Miami club Mansion on Sunday. Like the series of concerts she performed at other HoB clubs in Southern California and Las Vegas, Spears proceeded to lip-synch a medley of older hits surrounded by four backup dancers – but PEOPLE reports that at Saturday’s show she experienced a glitch: at one point the background track reportedly skipped, forcing Spears to improvise by turning her head away from the audience as the song got back on track. Despite the mishap, Spears was reportedly in good spirits throughout her performance, making eye contact with several audience members and smiling as she responded to fans yelling out her name.

Access was there for the Sunday performance at Mansion, and there was a minor technical problem at the top of the show when her rhinestone bra got stuck on her microphone during an on-stage costume change, forcing Britney to leave the stage momentarily. She came back on and finished the show without a hitch, incorporating four costume changes into the performance. The talk surrounding both shows this weekend was Britney’s sexy, toned physique - and that she was sporting her new hair extensions, rather than a wig (as she did for her previous “M&M’s” performances).

More Celebrity Scoop After the Video!



LUCKY LEWIS: “American Idol” finalist Blake Lewis drew raves from the judges last Tuesday with his performance of “This Love” by Maroon 5, which was chosen for him by the show’s producers. MTV.COM reports that the song proved problematic, though, because Maroon 5 had reportedly never cleared their music for use by the show. According to the report, Blake was able to call in a favor from Maroon 5, as he is friends with the band’s original drummer, Ryan Dusick, and he’s known the band for six years. “I called them the night before we had to pick our songs, and they said I could sing anything I wanted to,” Lewis reportedly told MTV. “It was really a ‘solid’ from them.” Maroon 5 appeared on Wednesday’s “Idol” to perform their new song, “Makes Me Wonder.”

ANGEL + DIAZ = MAGIC?: Criss Angel, a man who derives a living “making people wonder” as a professional magician, may have a Hollywood starlet under his spell. E! ONLINE’s MARC MALKIN reports that Angel was spotted with Cameron Diaz in Las Vegas on Friday night, following previous reports of the duo hanging out in Vegas last weekend at Mirage’s Jet nightclub and at a Monday performance of the Cirque Du Soleil Beatles show, “Love.” According to Malkin, the pair surfaced again at Social House in the Treasure Island Hotel on Friday, where they had dinner for two and watched the “Sirens of TI” pirate show. Criss and Cameron reportedly topped off their evening by hanging out on the terrace of the nearby Pure nightclub.

‘GOLDIE’ GIRL: Jessica Simpson has been spotted around Cannes this past week, attending various parties and events surrounding the Cannes Film Festival. US MAGAZINE.COM spoke with Simpson about “Major Hollywood Star,” her new movie project which was reportedly announced at the festival. “It’s basically this girl who’s a major movie star, who wants to be more respected because she always gets the blonde bimbo parts,” Simpson reportedly explained. “She doesn’t get the roles she wants and ends up walking in on her costar, who is her boyfriend, and her hairdresser! And she figures she doesn’t want this life anymore. So she joins the Marines.” Simpson reportedly admitted to US that the film’s plot is reminiscent of “Private Benjamin,” the 1980 comedy starring Goldie Hawn. “The script did remind me of Goldie and a “Private Benjamin”-type of role,” Simpson is quoted as saying. “I adore [Hawn] and look up to her. I aspire to be her.”

CANNES CASTING CALL
: Jessica Simpson may be delighted to know that Goldie Hawn will soon return to the big screen, starring in her first film in nearly five years. VARIETY reports from the Cannes Film Festival that Hawn and her real-life partner, Kurt Russell, are tapped to star in the comedy “Ashes to Ashes,” which Hawn will also direct from a script she co-wrote with Jeremy Pikser (“Bulworth”). The Aramid Entertainment / Hand Picked Films production reportedly centers on a woman who travels through India to Kathmandu to bury her husband’s ashes, but loses them along the way.

VARIETY offers more casting news from Cannes: Julia Roberts has reportedly signed with Working Title Films to produce and star in a movie about the wildlife conservationist Joan Root, who was murdered in her Kenyan home earlier this year. The untitled project, inspired by Vanity Fair article “A Flowering Evil,” will follow Root’s earlier life making documentaries around the globe with her husband. After their divorce, she returned to Kenya where she devoted herself to saving Lake Naivasha from the ecologically damaging flower farm industry. David Magee (“Finding Neverland”) is reportedly writing the screenplay.

JOKER’S WILD!: And finally, fans of all things “Batman” have reason to celebrate, as an official photo of Heath Ledger in his Joker makeup has surfaced online. As part of the guerilla marketing campaign for “The Dark Knight,” the upcoming sequel to “Batman Begins,” Warner Bros. had previously set up a Web site spotlighting the character of Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) in a mock political candidacy ad with the tagline “I Believe in Harvey Dent.” Now, however, the image of Eckhart is slowly covered with an image of Ledger in the Joker’s garish white makeup and smeared red mouth, with the word “too” scrawled at the end of “I Believe in Harvey Dent.”

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