Film: Rushes

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WOODY ALLEN has launched a public attack on the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, claiming that she has an "agenda" against him. In an interview in Indie, a US independent film magazine, Allen claimed that her panning of his film Deconstructing Harry was a personal matter. "If the writer goes in not liking you, they can write negatively about you," he says. "She's not a film critic. Why does she go to the movies and see my films? She goes only so she can write something nasty."

MIKE MYERS, star of Austin Powers: Man of Mystery, has confirmed that he will play Shaggy in Warner Bros' big-screen version of the cult cartoon Scooby Doo. He is rumoured to have secured $10m for the role. Myers is also priming himself for the second time as the reconstituted secret agent in Austin Powers 2: It's Shagging Time. Heather Graham, who played Roller Girl in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights, will replace Liz Hurley as the female lead as Powers' new sidekick, the CIA agent Felicity Shagwell.

HOLLYWOOD'S PENCHANT for special-effects-driven blockbusters shows no signs of abating as New Line Cinema, responsible for the low-budget turkey Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ploughs $130m into an extravagant adaptation of JRR Tolkien's epic trilogy Lord of the Rings. Tolkien's books have proved enduringly popular, selling more than 50 million copies and getting translated into 25 languages. New Line are hoping that their appeal will extend to celluloid. The picture's director, Peter Jackson, says: "Fantasy is the one cinematic genre that's never been done especially well. I want to see if I can pull it off." Filming is scheduled to begin in the summer of 1999.

AFTER KEEPING hysterical teenagers on tenterhooks, the ubiquitous Leonardo DiCaprio has finally opted out of playing the serial killer in a controversial adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel American Psycho.

The deal reportedly fell apart because DiCaprio could not commit himself to a start date, following his completion of The Beach for Trainspotting's director, Danny Boyle. Following DiCaprio's departure from the project, Mary Harron, who was originally going to direct the film, is reportedly back at the helm, but there is no word on whether Christian Bale, whom Harron originally wanted for the lead role, will take the part.