By Stacy Jenel Smith
Are you ready for a Superhero summer, with lots of leotards and plenty of "aaaarghhhs" to go around? Because we're pulling up to Summer 2006 in entertainment - and it's a summer populated by favorite faces with fresh twists, when everything old is new again. Check out these hot summer stars:
At 47, the Material Mom is looking hot indeed, with that body of hers - reportedly shaped by three hours of working out per day - shown to full advantage in the skimpy leotards she's wearing on stage in her current tour. In fact, the style chameleon is "leading the way in a stampede to the leotard counter," as the San Jose Mercury put it, wearing such duds as a replica of a crystal-bedecked stretch costume worn by Abba in the late 1970s, and a purple-pink "Let's Get Physical" leotard like Olivia Newton-John's. That goes along with the equestrienne/S&M fantasy motif she also puts across in the show, which goes at non-stop high energy for nearly two hours.
2. Johnny Depp 3. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx
Look out ol' Jack is back - Jack Sparrow, that is, everybody's favorite pirate. Johnny Depp, along with Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, definitely places among the highest wannasees of summer, with "Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest" opening July 7. The high seas romp, in which Jack must find the title chest or surrender his soul to Davy Jones, comes accompanied by products ranging from breakfast cereal - with the face of none other than Cap'n Jack himself on the box, plus pirate-shaped marshmallows -- to a Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow game for PC and PlayStation 2.
When buddyship transcends buddy flick, well, it's just a special kind of magic. Whod'a thunk the Irish hellraiser and the Oscar-winning multi-talent would become such a pair of pals? Did you catch the recent MTV Movie Awards? "A hyperactive Foxx offered to 'tongue box' Jessica Simpson
...while a bored Farrell ate popcorn off the podium and cursed," as Rolling Stone put it. Irresistible, eh? After word came out last fall that Farrell was in rehab for exhaustion and to control a prescription drug addition, Foxx assured press that all Farrell needed was a little relaxation, and in fact, he'd been staying at Foxx's own West Hollywood home -- "at my crib kicking it," Jamie said - getting rested. He also said: "They have done so much to this guy. I just really want to protect people like that. But sometimes they are after him because he is such a nice guy, he is so fun loving and loves the world." All this, and their "Miami Vice" movie doesn't even open 'til July 28.
4. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey, comeback queen - whose "Emancipation of Mimi" album was the biggest seller of 2005 -- goes out on her The Adventures Of Mimi: The Voice, The Hits, The Tour on August 5th in Miami. She'll hit 30 North American cities before winding up in October in Phoenix. And having lost 32 pounds in four months, she's showing off a fabulous figure. Carey said she lost the weight by way of a diet she invented, which calls for eating "everything you want," but in tiny amounts. She also did water aerobics and workouts with a trainer. Mariah's newly committed to another movie as well, one that sounds more promising than her "Glitter" debacle of a few years ago -- "Tennessee," which will be directed by Lee Daniels, who produced "Monster's Ball" and "The Woodsman."
5. Owen Wilson
Not only is he everywhere as Lightning McQueen - that is, in the form of the cocky red race car that he voices in the latest animated hit from Pixar, "Cars" - the very funny actor with the most amazing nose in movies has another summer flick on the way with high expectations attached. That is the July 14-opening "You, Me and Dupree," with Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. Matt and Kate are newlyweds who allow a friend who's fallen on hard times (Owen) to stay at their place. Uh-oh.
6. Kenny Chesney
Last year, his short-lived marriage to Renee Zellweger dominated the Chesney news. This year, the two-time Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year has turned himself almost officially into Mr. Summertime Fun - with a Number One hit called "Summertime," in fact - and a concert tour that's filling stadiums and giving good time-havers an excuse for tailgate parties. His wildly successful "The Road & the Radio" boasts American Idol's Carrie Underwood as opening act part of the time, Jake Owens the rest. As Chesney put it: "It's like we're taking that summer vacation feeling with us out to all these cities, where everybody is as ready to have that first big party of the summer every year, and it's always right when we get there."
7. Brandon Routh
Brandon Routh is only 26, but he's certainly portraying an old favorite - 68-year-old Superman. June 28 marks the opening of "Superman Returns" starring 6'3" Iowa boy Routh as the Man of Steel - whose face is already quite familiar thanks to nearly inescapable merchandising. Routh himself has pointed out: "It's going to be all over the place and it's going to become ridiculous at some point. The other thing that I realize is that it's not me so much as the character and the icon of Superman." Well, yeah. Then there's that other matter of interest. As costume designer Louise Mingenback told the Times of London: "There was more discussion about Superman's 'package' than anything else on the suit. Was it too big? Too round? Too pointy? There was someone just working on codpiece shapes for about a month." Will the movie, which reportedly cost more than $300 million to make, possibly live up to the hype? Can it? Especially when Routh's macho quotient is already being questioned publicly while he's been proclaimed an instant gay icon? Wow. It's worth watching to find out.
8. Will Ferrell
His "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" comedy, for August release, is being talked as a shoo-in, especially in NASCAR-loving red states. Ferrell's silly looking take-a-picture-with-Ricky Bobby standees in theater lobbies are already getting laughs.
9. Samuel L. Jackson
Will the king of movie grosses add another blockbuster to his credit sheet this summer? According to widely-reported data from box office trackers The-numbers.com, Samuel L. Jackson's movies surpassed Harrison Ford's last year, having garnered $3.4 billion in grosses, compared to Ford's, with $3.3 billion. Jackson's blockbuster list includes the most recent two "Star Wars" movies, both "XXX" films and "The Incredibles." Now he has "Snakes on a Plane" heading our way in August, with a lot of advance buzz. It's about what happens when an assassin unleashes a crateful of deadly snakes on board a flight over the Pacific Ocean. Ew! Ew! Ew!
10. Kelly Clarkson
The "American Idol" winner-turned-real star has a 24-city national summer tour kicking off June 30th in West Palm Beach, Florida. She's planning to preview some new material from her third album, which is slated for Winter release. What could be more exciting to "American Idol" fans, unless it's the American Idols live tour with faves including Paris Bennett, Bucky Covington, Chris Daughtry, Taylor Hicks, Mandisa, Katherine McPhee, Kellie Picker, Lisa Tucker, Elliot Yamin, and Ace Young?
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