PASSAGES: Thompson Enrolls at Hogwarts
SIGNED: Actress Emma Thompson has joined the Harry Potter juggernaut, signing on to play Hogwarts teacher Sybill Trelawney for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third film in the series about the young wizard, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Oscar winner joins a slate of venerable British actors — including “Potter” vets Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman and newcomer Gary Oldman — for the latest film, slated for a June 2004 release.
REPORTED: Actor Tommy Chong, 65, veteran of the drug-laced Cheech & Chong movies, has reported to a California prison to serve a nine-month sentence for conspiring to sell bongs and other drug paraphernalia over the Internet, the Associated Press reports. A judge set an Oct. 16 hearing on Chong’s request to be released pending an appeal of the sentence.
MISSPELLED: Barenaked Ladies label Reprise fumbled the name of the group’s new album, “Everything to Everyone,” on early printings of the 14-track disc, notes Billboard, with the release first appearing as “Everything for Everyone.” “Either they laid off the spell-check person or they are just so frickin’ negligent, that they deserve to go out of business anyway,” drummer Tyler Stewart joked. The Ladies begin their Peep Show tour on Oct. 21, the album’s release date.
TAXED: Pop heartthrob John Mayer is getting ready for a U.S. fall tour to support his latest album, “Heavier Things,” which debuted last month in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart, reports Launch.com. Mayer, who kicks things off with a Halloween show in State College, Pa., says touring is where artists really have to pay their dues. “You don’t earn money playing your favorite guitar solo or being on stage and looking at beautiful women in the front row and playing to them,” he told the Toronto Sun. “Earning money is having to do a sound check while your ears are stuffed up ’cause you got off the plane that day.”