Film: Rushes

NEWS COMES of Jim Carrey's first steps to becoming a method actor, a technique more famously implemented by Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman. The customarily fluffy star of The Mask and Ace Ventura - Pet Detective has been going to extravagant lengths to perfect his performance as the eccentric Andy Kaufman, star of the revered US TV series Taxi, in Milos Forman's biopic Man on the Moon.

On the first day of shooting, the actor arrived dressed as an ice-cream man and proceeded to hand out refreshments to his co-stars. There are also reports that he has two trailers on the set - one for Andy Kaufman and the other for Kaufman's lounge-lizard alter ego Tony Clifton - and insists that the crew call him Tony at all times.

The other Taxi stars, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Jeff Conaway and Carol Kane, will play themselves in the film, with Danny DeVito, who starred as the dodgy-dealing Louis, playing Kaufman's manager George Shapiro. u

THE SPIELBERG coffers continue to bulge as the director's wartime weepy Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, hauls in a total of $73.4m. The film staved off competition from several new pictures last weekend, including The Parent Trap, which was the runner-up at $11.2m. Meanwhile, Hanks' co-star Matt Damon has expressed exasperation at the endless coverage of his split with the British actress Minnie Driver. He told the New York Post that he was "sick and tired" of his erstwhile co-star telling the story of how he had dumped her on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Driver's sister has publicly spoken in Damon's defence, claiming that the break-up took place several hours before the show.

AFTER BIG-screen catastrophes (Batman & Robin and The Peacemaker) George Clooney has teamed up with director Steven Soderbergh, of sex, lies and videotape fame, for a final fling at celluloid credibility. Clooney will star in Leatherheads, a romantic comedy set amid the world of professional football in the Twenties. Earlier conflicts on the casting-couch led the director to abandon the project, but after intervention from Universal, he decided to resurrect it with the ER heart-throb at the helm. Production kicks off in March.

THE HOLLYWOOD grande dame Elizabeth Taylor (left) is priming herself for the lead role in a sequel to the 1939 Judy Garland classic The Wizard of Oz. Taylor, who hasn't been seen on the big screen since The Flintstones in 1994, has been in talks with the actor Rod Steiger (with whom she has also been romantically linked), who has co-written a script.

The sequel involves a geriatric Dorothy expressing a desire to leap back over the rainbow and return to the Land of Oz, but there is no news of whether she will be joined by her customary companions, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

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