Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: Fox News is reportedly close to extending the contracts of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, Mel Gibson's latest recorded diatribe is slightly less unsettling and nauseating than earlier ones, and Gavin Newsom is now a Current TV personality.
A new batch of angry Mel Gibson audio recordings have arrived to make the world a more profane place. The audio, leaked by Joe Eszterhas, features Gibson demanding to know where his script for The Maccabees is, bellowing at house guests in Costa Rica, "Who wants to eat?! Who the f--- wants to eat?!" and apparently knocking over that "expensive, beautifully-carved totem poll" that Eszterhas mentioned Friday on the Today show. Eszterhas stressed to The Wrap he is releasing the audio to "prevent damage being done to others, starting with Jews, including Oksana and now, I’m sure, me," rather than simply trying to get back at Gibson's hash for hating the script he turned in. As obscene Mel Gibson audio recordings go, it doesn't match the anti-Semitism from his 2007 DUI arrest or his florid and grotesque 2010 pledge to bury girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva in their rose garden. But there's still ample use of the c-word (all of them!), talking that sounds like growling, and, of course, that damn totem pole mishap. [The Wrap]
Gibson, for his part, is said to be "seriously considering" suing Eszterhas for making the tape public. "Sources connected with Mel" indicate the actor believes he has a "basic human right" not to be recorded in his own home by the man who wrote Jade. It seems "Mel's people" -- not to be confused with "sources connected with Mel," totally different cast of characters -- are "looking at the laws of Costa Rica to determine if recording laws were violated and, even if they weren't, if Mel's right of privacy was violated by the release of the audio." This sets the stage for the goofiest -- if not juiciest -- Hollywood civil suit since Rip Torn successfully sued Dennis Hopper for claiming on The Tonight Show that Torn lost Jack Nicholson's role in Easy Rider after he pulled a knife to protest changes to the script (Actually, it was Hopper who had the buck knife, and Torn wrestled it away from him. The good news is, no hand-carved totem polls were damaged in the melee.) [TMZ]
Last week, there was chatter than David Cronenberg, Alfonso Cuaron, and and Alejandro González Iñárritu were Lionsgate's three top picks to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, for those not up on their post-apocalyptic box office juggernauts. Now comes word that Moneyball's Bennett Miller or Francis Lawrence (of Constantine fame) will be offered the job by the end of the week. The Los Angeles Times suggests "Lawrence may be the easier option because his schedule is open." Which could very well be the truth, or it could a way of letting fans down easy when Rob Marshall gets the gig, which is where this feels like it's heading. [24 Frames via Vulture]
Fox News is apparently close to finalizing new "multi-year, multi-million dollar agreements" with Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. The new deals, which are expected to be announced next week, "will take both hosts past their 20-year mark at the cable news network." O'Reilly's current deal was set to expire at the end of the year. [Deadline]
As part of his ongoing campaign to show people he's wealthy and likes science, filmmaker James Cameron -- who we should all remember as the director of True Lies and The Terminator, fun and exciting movies that didn't require patented cameras and endless backstory about the ways and customs of pretend planets -- is one of the investors in something called Planetary Sources, along with Google cofounders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, former Microsoft executive (and space philanthropist) Charles Simonyi and Ross Perot Jr." The details will be unveiled Tuesday at a news conference in Seattle, but after looking over a news release, MIT's Technology Review thinks the whole venture "sounds like asteroid mining." [Deadline and MIT Technology Review]
Out magazine's twelve editorial staffers will be out of work at the end of the week, but have no fear: editor-in-chief Aaron Hicklin is launching a new payment (content?) model called Grand Editorial to provide "customized content for a range of consumer titles and corporate clients." Apparently, he wants to hire "most" of the Out editorial team. Their first assignment? Whip something up for Out, not as an employee, but as what Capital terms a "contracted freelancer." The good news, Hicklin explains, is that the new system allows for "flexible hours and the opportunity to work on other projects in the Grand stable." The downside, and this is significant, no matter how quaint the Grand stable may be, is that the contracted freelancers aren't in line for "full-time salaries or benefits." It's a real kick in the teeth. [Capital via Daily Intel]
On a final note, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher want it to be known that they're not dating, even though they spent last Sunday furniture shopping in Los Angeles and then had sushi for dinner. Not dating. No sir. [New York Post]