PROTECTED: John Travolta, 50, and wife Kelly Preston, 42, are under heavy security after receiving undisclosed threats, USA Today reports. “I think the best thing to say is ‘no comment,'” the actor’s publicist, Paul Bloch, tells the paper. Guards reportedly have been in place around the couple and their children for at least a month. At Sunday night’s opening of Travolta’s new movie A Love Song for Bobby Long, Travolta and Preston arrived after two bomb-sniffing dogs checked guests – who were also required to remove all pens from their pockets. At the post-premiere party, men’s wallets were searched, the paper says.
GATHERED: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd and Uma Thurman are in line to star in the long-planned remake of the 1939 comedy The Women, to begin shooting in February, reports Variety. Mick Jagger will produce the film and supervise the soundtrack. Bening would play the abandoned wife (Norma Shearer’s role in the original), while Thurman would take the Joan Crawford part of the husband-stealer. The others would play characters that are composites of some in the original. In 2001, Cynthia Nixon played the Shearer role in a critically hammered Broadway revival of the 1936 Claire Booth Luce play, which was then filmed and broadcast on PBS.
QUESTIONED: Despite all the rumblings, Warner Bros. still has not confirmed that it is hiring the unknown Brandon James Routh, 25, to star in its long-gestating Superman Returns for director Bryan Singer (X-Men). Screenwriter Dan Harris also declined to confirm, but he has told the Chicago Sun-Times: “We watched all the screen tests done by big names in Hollywood, and all of these guys are all wrong for different reasons. The biggest problem is that the known actors bring the baggage of their own personas. And think about it. Chris Reeve was an unknown when he made the movie.” Jim Caviezel, Tom Welling and Josh Hartnett reportedly had been up for the role. Routh previously had regular roles on the daytime soap One Life to Live and MTV’s Undressed and had guest shots on Will & Grace, Cold Case and Gilmore Girls.
YANKED: Wal-Mart has pulled Jon Stewart’s new best-seller America (The Book) from its store shelves nationwide because the tome contains nudity, reports New York’s Daily News. The naked people in question happen to be the Supreme Court Justices of the United States, though it’s not really their bodies. The satiric book asks readers to paste the heads of the nine justices on the nude torsos on the adjoining page. “We felt the majority of our customers may not be comfortable with the image in our stores,” says Wal-Mart spokesperson Karen Burk. Despite the loss, Stewart’s book was No. 1 last weekend on The New York Times Best-Seller List, and a Warner Books rep says more than 1.4 million copies are in print.
JOINED: U2 and Apple Computer are expected to announce that they have signed a deal to sell custom iPods preloaded with the Irish rock band’s upcoming album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (due Nov. 23 from Interscope Records), reports Billboard. Reps for the band as well as Apple declined comment. U2’s new single “Vertigo” is featured in current TV ads for the iPod. The track is currently No. 2 on Billboard’s airplay-based Modern Rock Tracks chart, and No. 44 on the Hot 100, which is based on both retail sales and radio airplay.
ARRANGED: David Letterman, 57, an infrequent guest on any TV show but his own, will appear on Live With Regis and Kelly on Nov. 8, the syndicated morning talk show has announced. “I think it’s nice that he visits our show once every 10 years,” cohost Regis Philbin, 71, tells the Associated Press. “But I’m very pleased.” About their friendship, Philbin says, “that’s the problem. We’re great friends when I go on his show and then I leave and I don’t hear from him. But I’m going to settle that on my home ground.”
DIED: Sam Lender, 84, the man who put frozen bagels into America’s toasters, died Sunday of heart failure at Hospice By the Sea in Boca Raton, said his daughter, Marcy Lender LeBlanc. A native of Lublin, Poland, Lender and his brothers turned a tiny Connecticut bakery into the national company Lender’s Bagels in 1967, when they began freezing their bagels. “Now you can get them all over the world,” Lender LeBlanc said.