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AMERICAN MORNING

90-Second Pop: Culture Watch

Aired June 16, 2003 - 07:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is called "90-Second Pop," our lightning fast look at the pop culture scene.
Our panel of experts this morning: B.J. Sigusmund, entertainment reporter for "Newsweek," Dina Wise of "Radar" magazine, and actor and comedian Michael Ian Black.

Panelists, good morning. Good to have you with us.

B.J. SIGUSMUND, "NEWSWEEK": Good morning.

MICHAEL IAN BLACK, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: Good morning.

DINA WISE, "RADAR" MAGAZINE: Good morning.

KAGAN: Let's get to it. Muggles (ph) across the world are so excited because the new "Harry Potter" book is on its way, B.J.

SIGUSMUND: Right, they're expecting this one to sell two times as many as the last one. Remember, the last one in this series sold three million copies in its first week, and the movies hadn't even come out yet. So, it will be intense, intense, intense this weekend.

KAGAN: Michael, do you have your copy reserved?

BLACK: No. And I'll tell you, I find this whole thing a little bit concerning, the whole "Harry Potter" thing, because, I mean, when I was these kids' age, I was sitting home, I was watching television. And I am concerned that these books are going to cut into their television viewing time.

WISE: What is going to happen? Reading, children are reading. Bad!

KAGAN: What about video games?

WISE: And 900 pages -- there's 900 pages in this book.

SIGUSMUND: Yes, it weighs three pounds. Like, postmen in Scotland are being told don't take too many. I know you have a lot of orders for Saturday, but, you know, don't hurt yourself too much.

KAGAN: So, they're going to work their minds and get muscles at the same time. What will children in the world do?

WISE: Yes.

BLACK: Well, it's nice they'll start reading it in the second grade. They'll finish it by the time they graduate from high school.

WISE: And it will be on their SAT exams, you know.

KAGAN: OK. Well, let's go switch on to the movies now. And, Dina, we're going to focus here with you. The fish is back on top. "Finding Nemo" swims his way back to No. 1.

WISE: Yes, yes, and it's, you know, attributed to Disney and Pixar, it's the reason they should stay together. I guess the show is doing really, really well. It beat out "2 Fast 2 Furious."

SIGUSMUND: Yes, how could it not do well, though...

WISE: Right.

SIGUSMUND: ... against "Hollywood Homicide," possibly one of the worst...

WISE: Yes.

SIGUSMUND: ... reviews. Harrison Ford hasn't had a hit in three years, and this was certainly a bad one to pick, even with all of the PR he did, and he hates doing PR.

WISE: He hates it. And you can understand why he's chasing around Calista Flockhart on every single red carpet, because it's the only good thing he has going for him right now.

SIGUSMUND: Yes.

KAGAN: Well, right, he does have Calista. He also made the cover of "People" magazine.

BLACK: Well, he is a hunk.

SIGUSMUND: I think "Finding Nemo" is going to be the story this summer.

WISE: Yes.

SIGUSMUND: In two weeks, you're going to see it surpass "Matrix Reloaded" and become the No. 1 movie of the summer and possibly the No. 1 movie of the year. And this is...

WISE: And it's at 192 million or 193 million, something like that, already.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: Yes, well, that doesn't make sense to me at all because it's not a sequel.

SIGUSMUND: I know!

WISE: There will be.

SIGUSMUND: It's sort of a rewrite Hollywood rule.

(CROSSTALK)

KAGAN: "Finding Nemo 2."

WISE: Finding Nemo's cousin lost in the trailer park.

KAGAN: Straight to video there.

I want to talk about a movie that's come up, though. Mel Gibson is working on this project, Michael, that's near and dear to his heart. He's what's called a traditionalist Catholic, and he's working on this 12-hour epic. It's the story of Jesus, as I understand it.

BLACK: Yes.

KAGAN: But it's very controversial.

BLACK: Well, it's -- first of all, it's all in Aramaic and Latin with no English subtitles. It's very long. Nobody wants to distribute this. And to me, this just reinforces the argument that, of course, we should be teaching Aramaic in schools.

SIGUSMUND: Here, here for dead languages.

WISE: Yes, yes.

SIGUSMUND: Yes. This movie, this is one true to Mel Gibson's heart, and it's been controversial with Jewish groups and with Catholic groups even who think that he might be going against some of the church teachings from the last couple of generations. But Mel Gibson has been a good director. He won an Oscar, remember, for "Braveheart," the "Man With two Faces." He is an industry pro. He knows what he is doing. I don't expect that the final product will be that controversial.

WISE: There is the Conference of Catholic Bishops, there were five members of the Bishop of Catholic Bishops and four people from the Anti-Defamation League who somehow got ahold of the script and have read it and said that it's anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic and that it portrays everyone in a bad light. The Conference of Catholic Bishops is saying we don't stand by these five people who stole the scripts.

SIGUSMUND: Right.

WISE: We stand behind Mel.

SIGUSMUND: It was...

WISE: It's very, like...

SIGUSMUND: It was leaked.

WISE: Yes. SIGUSMUND: You know, and it was an early version of the script, and anyone who knows anything about moviemaking knows how much they change it along the way, although...

BLACK: Well, how much can you change this story? I mean, you pretty much know what happens.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: I think at the end he died.

SIGUSMUND: That's true.

KAGAN: And in case you're wondering what to get Michael for Christmas, you get him a copy of "Harry Potter" in Aramaic, and you're all set.

WISE: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

KAGAN: Panelists, we're out of time. Thanks so much. Our 90 seconds are up.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com.




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