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Movie News Roundup: Buffy Becomes Anna Nicole, Baldwin Goes Ballistic, Hollywood Wastes $$

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Law & Order: Criminal Intent offers what will no doubt be a sensitive meditation on the perils of fame in a May episode that closely parallels the Anna Nicole Smith saga. Original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kristy Swanson, in her puffy, post-pregnancy state (that's the kind of glow you can only get from stealing another woman's husband and having his baby) will play the ersatz Anna Nicole and… (wait for it)… David Cross will play her scummy Howard Stern-esque manager. Set your TiVo to stun. -FOX

Alec Baldwin goes ballistic on his daughter's voicemail. Someone (ex-wife Kim Basinger?) leaks the tape. The tabs are there to pick up the pieces. -TMZ

Screenwriter-turned-director Frank Darabont, who's made a cottage industry of churning out sappy, sentimental life-affirming dramas based on Stephen King stories, is pissed. He spent a year slaving away with Steven Spielberg on a script for the fourth Indiana Jones film only to have George Lucas nix it. Remember the lovable Jar Jar Binks and his nuanced, heartfelt dialogue? Imagine what like Lucas will do with Indy. -MTV News

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The LA Times offers a window into the phenomenally wasteful world of formulaic, big-budget action movies. Author Clive Cussler for some reason expected his top-selling action-adventure novel Sahara to be an equally successful movie. Instead it flopped to the tune of $105 million. That's what happens when you pay Matthew McConaughey's abs $8 million to star in a movie. Cussler sued production company Crusader Entertainment and the case is now in court, which is why the whole world knows exactly how much McConaughey's personal chef made ($48,893) and Cruz's hairstylist raked in ($135,550). -LA Times

Nikki Finke, who did a thorough job sorting through the box office wreckage of Grindhouse -- A) it was way too long B) the Weinsteins stupidly refused to premiere it at any real grindhouses C) people didn't like the movie -- pours a little salt in Harvey Weinstein's wounds. -Deadline Hollywood Daily

Booted American Idol contestant Sanjaya has scored an invite to the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, where he'll be sitting at the People magazine table between Kim Kardashian and Andy Rooney. Suggested hairstyle for Sanjaya: get the Public Enemy logo shaved into the back of your head. -The Examiner

Crappy Remake of the Week: Mandalay Pictures will transform Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 avian horror film The Birds into a gripping tale of eco-terror that vastly improves on the original by resolving all those pesky backstory problems that Hitch apparently never noticed.

Mandalay exec Cathy Schulman says, "In the original, the birds just showed up, and it was kind of like, why are the birds here? This time, there's a reason why they're here and (people) have had something to do with it. There's an environmental slant to what could create nature fighting back."
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Production begins in early fall. Melissa Etheridge is already strumming her fingers raw crafting an original song that rhymes "bird" with "turd." -Variety