Around the World



Just what makes a toon a toon? We'll find out next week when the Academy releases its eligibility list for the animated film category. Messing up the normally tidy apple cart are adult-themed pics like Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf" and the French-language "Persepolis," which could push the boundaries of the still-young category. But the biggest monkey wrench, at least for traditional animation producers, may be Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks." If the live-action/animation hybrid (right) is considered eligible for a nom, it could open the door for a number of other films. "I could say it's the year of diversity. But really it's just the year of chaos," one Academy member said.

The hubbub over Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima's" ineligibility for a Golden Globes best picture nom last year has resulted in a rules change that will allow foreign-language flicks to compete in the best picture categories for the first time. The new Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. rules don't take effect until next year, so potential '07 contenders like Focus' "Lust, Caution" and Paramount Vantage's "The Kite Runner" won't be helped.

Define 'imminent'

Dick Parsons' departure from Time Warner could be coming sooner than later ... maybe. The longtime TW boss' departure was "imminent," according to insiders quoted by the Times of London. His current contract terms take him through May and, as of press time, he hadn't moved. Either way, the Jeff Bewkes era looms, and Wall Street is excited by the prospect. TW stock shot up 3.6% on the rumor.

Welcome to the ...

Joss Whedon is headed back to TV and bringing former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" co-star Eliza Dushku along for the ride with "Dollhouse," a new sci-fi drama for 20th Century Fox TV. Just don't look for him to finish that first script any time soon. The writer-producer is ready to lay down his pen in a heartbeat should the strike happen. "No one wants a strike, but it has to happen because (the studios) would not listen," he said.

Meanwhile, "Everwood" creator Greg Berlanti is making the transition from TV to the big screen, signing on to direct an adaptation of DC Comics' superhero Green Lantern for Warner Bros. "To me, this is the last great comic book movie that hasn't been made," Berlanti said.

July marks the 'X'

Fox has finally green lighted a sequel to 1998's "X-Files" movie. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back on board, with series creator Chris Carter set to direct the still-untitled entry. The studio's targeting July 25 for the U.S. release.

The Boston Red Sox's four-game World Series sweep over the Colorado Rockies drew a collective yawn outside the host cities for Fox. The series averaged just 17.1 million viewers for the network. Still, it was up 5% from the record lows of last year's Cardinals-Tigers matchup.

Coolio's last remaining shred of street cred went out the window this week with the announcement of his new reality series — on Oxygen. "Coolio & the Gang" will follow the rapper-actor as he tries to balance work with his role as a single parent.

End credits

Robin Wright Penn is keeping it light as a meth-addicted mom whose husband leaves her in "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee." ... Mark Ruffalo and Ethan Hawke have their hankies out for crime drama "Real Men Cry." ... Ving Rhames is slugging it out as Sonny Liston in Robert Townsend's biopic of the former heavyweight champ. ... Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are lovers and rival corporate spies in Uni's "Duplicity." ... Meryl Streep is cooking with gas, taking on the role of legendary chef Julia Child in Columbia's "Julie & Julia."

Edited by Chad Williams