J.LO PRODUCES: It’s getting so that one needs a scorecard to keep track of Jennifer Lopez’s upcoming movie projects. This week’s revelation from Variety is that J.Lo, 31, will produce and costar in an as-yet-untitled feature for Sony Pictures based on the life of bad-boy salsa legend Hector Lavoe. Marc Anthony, 33, is in discussions to star as Lavoe, says the trade paper. (Anthony and Lopez previously teamed to sing “No Me Ames,” which appears on her multi-platinum album “On the 6.”) Born poor in Puerto Rico in 1946, the golden-voiced Lavoe struggled with drug addiction and depression until his death from AIDS in 1993. Production is due to begin later this year, says Variety.
CROWE CASE: Australians Philip Antony Cropper, 36, and Malcolm Brian Mercer, 37, who were standing trial for allegedly trying to extort money from Russell Crowe, are off the hook. According to Reuters, New South Wales District Court Judge John Williams on Monday ordered the jury to throw out all charges against the two men, who had been accused of using a security videotape that reputedly showed Crowe in a brawl to blackmail the “A Beautiful Mind” star.
KELLY’S PLEA: Grammy-winning R&B singer R. Kelly, 35, pleaded not guilty in a Chicago courtroom on Wednesday to 21 counts of child pornography stemming from a videotape in which a man is shown having sex with an underage girl, reported CNN. Kelly (full name: Robert Kelly), who says he is not the man in the tape, wore a conservative blue business suit and red tie to the brief hearing, says the news network, noting that he waved to dozens of supporters outside Cook County Circuit Court. Kelly, who remains free on bond since his June 5 arrest, is due back in court on Aug. 7 for a discovery hearing. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 15 years behind bars on charges of videotaping, producing or soliciting for child pornography, according to the grand jury in the case.
CLINTON BOOKS: New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is apparently meeting her book deadline for Simon & Schuster, reported The New York Times. Her husband, Bill Clinton, on the other hand, has barely begun to write his memoir, his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, told the paper. Knopf shelled out a $12 million advance for Bill, 55, to spill the beans on his years in office. Their respective publishers had originally announced that both books would hit store shelves in 2003. Sen. Clinton, 53, who was paid an $8 million advance, has proceeded with her manuscript with the help of a professional writer, reports The Times.
BROWN HOME: After a stay of three nights at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Va., a week ago, musician Bobby Brown, 33, was said to be resting at his New Jersey home after being released from the hospital for treatment of an infection. Confirmation of Brown’s release came from a publicist for Brown’s wife, Whitney Houston, speaking to the Associated Press. Press agent Nancy Seltzer told the news service that Brown was traveling through Virginia with Houston, 38, in their tour bus when they made the hospital stop last Wednesday. Seltzer said Monday that Brown, who was treated intravenously with an antibiotic and is continuing to take oral antibiotics at home, had a fever, but she declined to specify the nature of the infection.