Pop Culture

Scandal might cancel Bernie Kerik biopic

Recent revelations about Bernie Kerik may derail more than his job as head of Homeland Security. They may do damage to his big-screen biopic.

New York City’s former top cop was nixed for the job as President Bush’s secretary of homeland security after . Now, a source says that Miramax — which bought the screen rights to Kerik’s autobiography — is seriously reconsidering the movie it’s making on the controversial lawman.

Miramax bought the rights to Kerik’s best-selling “The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice” last year; “Aviator” executive producer Rick Schwartz was hired to produce it.

“Bernie Kerik embodies the resolve of all New Yorkers,” Miramax head Harvey Weinstein said at the time. “His grit, determination and never-say-die attitude is an inspiration and proves once again that leadership is an action not just a word.” With the recent scandals pouring in, including reports that Kerik hired an illegal alien, didn’t pay her taxes, allegedly had multiple extramarital affairs, and conducted questionable business deals, “his light doesn’t shine quite so brightly any more,” says a source.

“There are now a lot of question marks,” says the insider, who says that the movie may be a casualty of the controversy. “There’s still a chance that it will be made, but I don’t know that they can make the same movie they had planned to.”

A spokesman for Miramax would say only, “The project is in development. We have nothing new to report.”

Cruise and Scientology

Matt Sayles / AP
**FILE** Actor Tom Cruise poses for a portrait at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., in this July 29, 2004 file photo. Cruise and Oprah Winfrey will continue the tradition of bringing a superstar shine to dark December nights in Norway when the pair hosts the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert, Saturday, Dec. 11.2004. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

Scientology foes are furious that Tom Cruise was plugging the controversial religion at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. The “Collateral” star and Oprah Winfrey hosted the event in Norway on Saturday, which featured such performers as Cyndi Lauper, Patti Labelle and Diana Krall.

“One of the things that we believe in [as Scientologists] is peace, freedom,” Cruise said when promoting the concert, which will be broadcast in the U.S. on Dec. 23. “I’m just proud to be here, and very proud to be a Scientologist here and to be part of this.”

“Mr. Cruise’s comments are laughable — Scientology is hardly the epitome of peace and freedom,” Scientology critic Rick Ross, who runs Cultnews.net, told The Scoop. “It’s sad to see Tom Cruise suffering so badly without Pat Kingsley [Cruise's former publicist replaced by his Scientologist sister] by his side. She would have warned him, ‘Don’t talk so much about Scientology or people won’t remember you for anything else.’ Given Scientology’s sordid history of bad press and lawsuits, they’re hardly an example that any thinking celebrity would link to the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Notes from all over

MIRAMAX FILMS
In this undated promotional photo provided by Miramax, actor Leonardo DiCaprio portrays Howard Hughes in a scene from Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator." (AP Photo/Miramax Films)

Leonardo DiCaprio is the odds-on favorite to win a for Best Actor in a drama. The “Aviator” star was given 7/5 odds to win by on-line betting company BetWWTS.com. Hilary Swank is favored to win best actress in a drama (2/3) and “Aviator” is favored to win Best Drama, with 4/5 odds.  . . . Madonna has struck up a “bizarre friendship” with a former topless model named Melissa Messenger, the London Sun reported.  . . . The joke-loving cast of was asked if there’d be an “Ocean’s Thirteen.” “Ooh, that’s bad luck,” cracked Brad Pitt. “I think we’ll go straight to Ocean’s 69,” quipped George Clooney.

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