For The Record: Quick News On Justin Timberlake, J. Lo, Pink, Mandy Moore, Heavy D, Sahara Hotnights & More

Justin Timberlake will host CBS’ March 25 Celine Dion special, “Celine in Las Vegas … Opening Night Live,” interviewing celebrities at the premiere of the Dion spectacular and giving a tour of the Caesars Palace facility built for the show. Dion will perform several songs, including her new single, “I Drove All Night.” …

Jennifer Lopez is in negotiations to team up with “Chicago” star Richard Gere in a remake of the 1996 Japanese film “Shall We Dance?” This project joins a host of others in the diva’s already overflowing date book, including “An Unfinished Life” (set to begin next month), female cop movie “Double or Nothing,” Latin female-centered “Dirty Girls,” superhero psychiatrist flick “Shrink” and a proposed “Carmen” remake. Lopez has two films with Ben Affleck in the can already, “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl,” which will both surface later in the year. …

Pink and Hole‘s Eric Erlandson turned up at Cinespace in Hollywood on Tuesday for the premiere of the upcoming music movie “Down and Out With the Dolls.” Sahara Hotnights, Coyote Shivers and the Paper Dolls performed. …

Perhaps Mandy Moore should put in a call to Chelsea Clinton to prepare for “First Daughter,” a romantic comedy in which the pop princess will star as a president’s daughter who gives the Secret Service the slip and takes off for a European road trip. Meanwhile, Moore’s “How to Deal” should hit theaters in July, and she’s already completed “Try Seventeen” (with Elijah Wood) and “Saved.” … Heavy D will reportedly star alongside “Saturday Night Live” veteran Tracy Morgan in a new pilot for NBC. The easygoing rapper, whose real name is Dwight Myers, has appeared in several episodes of “Boston Public.” …

John Mellencamp has made his new anti-war song, “To Washington,” available to download for free on his Web site. The song questions the president’s motives at waging war against Iraq. … Speaking of presidents, the Presidents of the United States of America are playing their first shows outside of Seattle in five years this weekend in Texas. The band, which is re-releasing its self-titled debut this summer with additional new songs, will hit Corpus Christi on Thursday and the South by Southwest festival in Austin on Saturday. …

03.12.03

Mariah Carey shot a video for “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” in Los Angeles recently. “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson appears in the clip along with Dave Navarro, who plays guitar on the song, first made famous by Def Leppard. …

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Chairman Russell Simmons has sent an open letter to President Bush asking him to reconsider his hawkish stance on Iraq. In the letter, the hip-hop mogul urges Bush to let the U.N. inspectors do their job without establishing a deadline for war, and states, “Domestically, Mr. President, rampant poverty is on the rise … we in the hip-hop community know and feel the pain, misery and wretchedness of the social condition of our communities. Now with the prospect of a multi-trillion dollar federal budget deficit, an unnecessary war on Iraq is only going to increase the cold damp hands of social dereliction that have a deadly choke hold on too many Americans across the nation.” …

Da Brat is finally ready to make her comeback with an album this summer. The LP’s first single, titled “In Love Wit Chu,” finds the Chi-Town rapper talking about the bliss she feels with her Mr. Right. That cut will hit radio soon. … MC Lyte will release her new album, Underground Heat Vol.1, on May 27. The video for the first single, “Ride Wit’ Me,” features cameos by Queen Latifah, Da Brat, Erick Sermon and Jamie Foxx, who “hosts” the album, recorded at his Foxx Hole studio. …

Experimental metal bands Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad will sweep through North America for a 23-date tour beginning April 25 in Seattle and wrapping up May 17 in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. Meshuggah’s latest disc, Nothing, came out in August, and Strapping Young Lad’s new one, SYL, was released February 11. … Thanks to some cracked vertebrae and whiplash, Hate Eternal frontman Erik Rutan is heading home to Florida and canceling the remaining dates of the band’s current tour. While en route to a Wisconsin tour stop, the onetime Morbid Angel guitarist was in a weather-related accident which totaled their van but left his bandmates unharmed. “We apologize to the fans and the promoters,” Rutan said via a statement, “and we will be back [on tour] as soon as possible to make up for this.” …  

The Eels are prepping for the release of their new album, Shootenanny!, by offering fans a chance to hear one track a week via their Web site (www.eelstheband.com) until the LP’s release in June. … After two years of work, Guster are ready to release their fourth LP, Keep It Together. The band will begin touring at the end of March in support of the June release. …