Plus: Keanu teams with Spike Lee, ODB leaves seven kids, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 16, 2004 08:00 AM

PROPOSED: The New York group HOPE (Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment) is offering Ashlee Simpson fans the chance to swap her album, Autobiography, for what it considers “one of a higher entertainment quality” if they bring her CD to Manhattan’s Knitting Factory, reports the Associated Press. In exchange, they can get a CD by Elvis Costello, The Ramones, X, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, The Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell or Brian Wilson. Simpson, 20, was busted for an Oct. 23 Saturday Night Live appearance in which she was caught lip-synching. Her father-manager, Joe Simpson, said the voiceover was necessary because his daughter suffered acid reflux disease.

CAST: Keanu Reeves will star in the crime thriller The Night Watchman for director Spike Lee, to begin production in February, reports Variety. The story, written by novelist James Ellroy, revolves around a cop who sets out to redeem himself after discovering how corrupt his force is. Reeves is also due in three other films: Thumbsucker, A Scanner Darkly and Constantine.

BEQUEATHED: Rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard (real name: Russell Jones), 35, who collapsed and died Saturday, left behind seven children – not 13, as has been reported, according to New York’s Daily News. His estate will be divided up among the seven, his manager Jarred Weisfeld says. Weisfeld went on to explain that the Wu-Tang Clan star, whose cause of death will be determined by an autopsy now underway, had three children with his wife, Icelene Jones, and four out of wedlock. ODB’s seven children are Barson, Taniqua, Shaquita, Osiris, Allah, God Ason and Ashana.

TEAMED: UPN and the remaining members of TLC, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, are planning a reality series aimed at resurrecting the famous 1990s trio that was struck by tragedy in 2002 when member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a car crash, say the Hollywood Reporter. Titled R U the Girl With T-Boz & Chilli, the show has a green light for eight episodes, to premiere either midseason or next summer. Casting is expected to begin soon.

EXITED: Meryl Streep, 55, has decided to withdraw from the all-star remake of the 1949 Oscar-winning best Picture All the King’s Men, based on the novel by Robert Penn Warren, reports Variety. No replacement has yet to be named. Streep was to have played Sadie, the aide to Willy Stark (Sean Penn), the Huey Long-like politician whose rise and fall the film chronicles. Jude Law and Kate Winslet also star.

DIED: Actor Ed Kemmer, 84, who made his mark in early TV as the star of the kids’ show Space Patrol, before he later starred on such soaps as The Edge of Night, As the World Turns, All My Children and Guiding Light, died last week in a New York hospital, after suffering a stroke on Nov. 5. His survivors are his wife, actress Fran Sharon, and three children.