Pop Culture

Jessica Simpson is no ‘Major Movie Star’

Jessica Simpson’s acting career doesn’t seem long for this world. For starters, despite months of denials from the Simpson camp, Simpson’s most recent film “Blonde Ambition” is going straight to DVD. Her next film, ironically titled “Major Movie Star,” could very well be headed toward the same straight-to-video fate according to some insiders.

“‘Major Movie Star’ isn’t financed by a big studio, it’s financed by [Papa Joe Productions], her father’s production company. He doesn’t have the kind of pull with Hollywood he needs save this film,” said one source, who hinted that Jessica’s daddy even tried to get “Major Movie Star” into the Sundance Film Festival. “Even Joe has realized it’s not worth funneling all this money into her acting projects. He decided when it comes to movies, he’s not going to spend another penny.”

Jessica's rep insists that the film will not go straight to DVD, but will be “opening in multiple theatres in Dallas,” and that Millenium Films, which is also involved in “Major Movie Star,” never releases their films wide.

That said, there are still signs of spending cuts at Papa Joe Productions. Among the first luxuries to go: photo shoots. “One of Jessica’s shoots can cost upwards of $50,000 to $60,000,” said one person who’s been involved with her shoots in the past. “The movie poster for ‘Blonde Ambition’ is an outtake from her ‘Public Affair’ album shoot, and take a look at the ‘Major Movie Star’ poster — it’s not hard to tell that is actually her GQ cover.”

Indeed, Jessica is in the same pose, wearing the same dog tags, and her hair is identical. The only difference is that her American-flag bikini from the GQ cover appears to have been photoshopped into a camouflage one. “She really needs her new album to do well,” said the source. “Otherwise, she’s going to have big career problems.”

Mischa Barton’s back!

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You might not have seen much of Mischa Barton since she stopped filming “The OC,” but that’s going to change in 2008, now that she has a slew of films slated to hit theaters. Barton tells Maxim in its January issue that she feels lucky that her “OC” experience didn’t cause her to be typecast.

“My theory on why I wasn’t typecast, other than being shockingly lucky, is because Marissa was so all over the place,” Barton told the mag. “They originally wanted me to play her like a Valley girl — a dumb, blonde airhead.  But I went against that. She was an alcoholic and into this and that … ”

And what about those rumors that Barton might be playing Supergirl in the upcoming film adaption of the comic-book character? While she hasn’t been offered the part, Barton feels that the “skintight leotard” and how she wears one qualifies her for the part. “But everybody in Hollywood goes up for those films.  I haven’t been offered anything,” Barton conceded. Check out the January issue of Maxim for more.

Weekend box office
The streak is alive: Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” earned $76.5 million during its first weekend in theaters. “Alvin and the Chipmunks” also did surprisingly well. The Jason Lee flick brought in an estimated $45 million, and “The Golden Compass” came in distant third with $9 million. “Compass” has a long way to go in recouping the estimated $180 million it cost to make.

Celeb steps: Who’s been out and about Sheryl Crow stopped in to Il Sole in Los Angeles for a girls’ night out. Lindsay Lohan also stopped by with friends. Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson opted for a low-key night at KOI Los Angeles.

In New York City, Jerry Seinfeld grabbed lunch at BLT Market at the Ritz Carlton. Conan O’Brien didn’t stray far from his 30 Rock offices by having lunch at Brasserie Ruhlman in Rockefeller Plaza. Lindsay Price of the upcoming “Lipstick Jungle” and friends had dinner at the Inn LW12 and then went on to the club Tenjune with “Lipstick Jungle” creator Candace Bushnell and co-stars Seth Meyers, Kim Raver and Tim Busfield to celebrate her 31st birthday.

Avril Lavigne, Chace Crawford, and the Jonas Brothers all stopped by the Redken for Men gift lounge at the Z100 Jingle Ball.

Finally, a pregnant Halle Berry grabbed a massage at the Absolute Spa at the Vancaouver International Airport before taking off on a flight.

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