People And Places

PEOPLE AND PLACES

February 28, 2005

In the News

Handshake clinches sale of Mel Gibson's ranch

Actor Mel Gibson has sold his 45,000-acre Beartooth Ranch near Columbus, Mont., in a multimillion-dollar handshake deal with a neighbor, the buyers said.

Kent and Pam Williams said they signed the deed last week, but said the agreement prevents either party from divulging the purchase price.

The Billings Gazette reported the sale yesterday.

Ranch manager John Carrel said Gibson declined to comment.

`Menagerie' pushed back

If you're anxious to see Christian Slater in the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie, you'll just have to wait a little longer - the opening has been pushed back by a week.

The new premiere date of March 22 gives Slater more time in front of an audience. He joins the David Le- veaux-directed play, now in previews, March 8. Jessica Lange also stars.

New shows in the works

Beverly Hills, 90210 and Saved by the Bell alum Tiffani Thiessen and Ming-Na, who recently departed from the NBC drama ER, have lined up pilot work in the latest round of casting.

Thiessen has signed on to the CBS comedy Stroller Wars about a New York City couple adjusting to parenthood.

Ming-Na and Jonathan Cake (The American Embassy) have joined the NBC drama Inconceivable, the showbiz trade papers report. Ming-Na, who voiced the title character in Mulan and has appeared in The Joy Luck Club, will play a co-owner of a fertility clinic. Cake will play one of the clinic's doctors.

What were they thinking?

Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman has angered dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers who objected to her kissing her costar, Israeli actor Aki Avni, during filming of the feature Free Zone next to Jerusalem's Western Wall.

The site, a remnant of the biblical temples, is controlled by strictly observant Jews, and, because of rules forbidding casual contact between the sexes, it features a barrier that separates male and female worshippers. According to religious and state law, acting and romantic interaction are both forbidden near the wall.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said the protesters charged the couple, shouting, "Immoral, immoral!" Police had to step in. They asked the actors to leave and come back later.

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