Sideshow: Casting under way for Aretha Franklin biopic

Aretha Franklin's biopic is on. Repeat: It's a go.

Franklin, 70, has approved the story treatment for what her PR rep calls "an epic tale with probably the most starring and supporting roles since Roots." And she has started casting.

Aretha Franklin has lots of casting ideas for her coming biopic, but is mum on her choice to play the starring role.

Already cast: Dorothy Norwood, Karen Clark, and La Shun Pace as Franklin's friend (and sometimes backing vocalist), Philly's Clara Ward, and her group, the Clara Ward Singers.

So who'll play the Queen of Soul? Franklin says she has a wish list for the supporting cast: Audra McDonald, Nia Long, Kerry Washington, and Blair Underwood. And who'll play Her Soulfulness? Franklin doesn't say, though Jennifer Hudson's name is noticeably absent from her list.


Made in America: How many showed up?

Attendance figures are in for the Budweiser Made in America festival last weekend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. On Saturday, when Jay-Z was headlining, the fest drew 41,336, acording to Live Nation, which promoted the show. On Sunday, with Pearl Jam on top of the bill, 39,146 people showed up. That makes for a total of 80,482, or 80.5 percent of capacity, a number local Live Nation head Geoff Gordon says was expected in the first year of the fest.

One other stat: In two days, there was one arrest at Made in America, the hip-hop-headlined festival everyone was afraid of. By contrast, 191 people were arrested at the Miranda Lambert-headlined WXTU-FM country concert at the 25,000-capacity Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden in June.

- Dan DeLuca

Kelsey Grammer's bill: $30 million

Wife-turned-reality-star Camille Grammer, 44, will walk away with around $30 mil, half the couple's assets, in her divorce settlement with Cheers  star Kelsey Grammer, TMZ reports.

Camille's payday is nothing next to what Mel Gibson's ex-wife of 31 years, Robyn, is taking with her. TMZ says she gets $400 mil in earnings and property, in addition to a chunk of Gibson's pension benefits from the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild.


Kelsey Grammer: Sexual adventurer

Before paying up, Grammer, 57, took time to respond to one of Camille's accusations.

"I don't live as a cross-dresser," he told Oprah on Sunday, "but I have been very sexually adventurous." The Boss star didn't reveal details.

Grammer said his wife of 13 years couldn't deal with his success. "[She] always wanted to be famous," he said, "and was angry that she had given up 'so much' to be with me."


She loves him, he digs the sex tape

So even as Kim Kardashian tells Barbara Walters her much-touted love interest, Kanye West, is  Her True Soul-Mate, Kanye is boasting about his true love's X-rated hotness. "Eat breakfast at Gucci. My girl a superstar all from a home movie," Kanye raps in his new single, "Clique," obtained by TMZ. The Ego himself, of course, is referring to Kim Kardashian: Superstar, the X-rated tape Kim made to jump-start her career as a professional celeb.


Two from the X [Factor] Files

Britney Spears is ready to sprint out of the gate Wednesday for her debut on Fox's The X Factor, she tells Elle. But she's a little worried about the expectation that she'll get dolled up all the time. "I love my jeans and my sweats," Spears says. "It's really hard for me to be like Kim Kardashian and be makeup- and hair-ready every time I go out. . . . I'm not a believer in that, you know?" Oh, how true, sister.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell is enraged that NBC has broken "a gentlemen's agreement" not to air its rival show, The Voice, on the same night as The X Factor. Cowell tells TMZ that Christina Aguilera's The Voice was to air Mondays and Tuesdays, with The X Factor on Wednesdays and Thursdays. In "a cynical, coldhearted" move, he says, NBC switched it to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.


Gossip petits fours

Kristen Stewart, in Toronto for the film fest, was photographed Wednesday wearing one of (ex-beau?) Robert Pattinson's T-shirts. . . . The Los Angeles Times says stuntman Hal Needham, documentary director D.A. Pennebaker, and arts advocate George Stevens Jr. will be handed honorary Oscars at a Dec. 1 ceremony. DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. . . . Consumers didn't exactly flock to the GOP convention telecast: Last Thursday's finale, starring prez hopeful Mitt Romney, drew 30.3 mil viewers on 11 networks, down 22 percent from 2008. The last night of the John McCain show was watched by 38.9 mil citizens.


Bradley Cooper on sobriety

Philly native Bradley Cooper, 37, says he decided to quit drink and drugs eight years ago after a really bad night. "I was at a party and deliberately bashed my head on the concrete floor - like 'Hey, look how tough I am!' " the Hangover star tells the Hollywood Reporter. "And I came up, and blood dripped down. And then I did it again." Adds Cooper: "I realized I wasn't going to live up to my potential. . . . I thought, 'Wow, I'm actually gonna ruin my life.' "




This article contains information from Inquirer wire services. Contact "SideShow" at