That Shankar is tapping Rothrock for the film has assuaged fears of many who were unsure of the future of the franchise and fearful about rumors that Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Charlize Theron were the big names being bandied about once director Simon West announced that there would be an all-female "Expenda-belles" movie.
"What that would say is that they would be comfortable making an action film with a bunch of true action legends who are eligible for AARP, but for the female team they felt they needed pretty girls under 30," said our inside source. "I mean come on, the one team has Rocky, Rambo, the Terminator and John McClane and the women get represented by someone best known for two-thirds 'Charlie's Angels'? It would have been insulting, especially considering there are true female action legends to choose from. Picture a team with Angelina Jolie, Cynthia Rothrock, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich, Lucy Lawless, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Yeoh, Vivica A. Fox and Uma Thurman. That is a Hall of Fame female action-star team that matches up with the men and would put butts in the seat . . . and it's good to see that's the direction they seem to be going in."
"First of all, they can't get all A-listers like Charlize Theron even if they wanted, because it would blow the budget sky-high," says another source who asked not to be named. "Second, they need to be taken seriously and that means they have to go after people like Cynthia Rothrock and Michelle Yeoh who can actually fight."
However, this source feels if they do get the right cast and then eventually team up with the men it could pay huge dividends.
"It would be like an action-movie fan's version of 'The Avengers,' " he said.
More inside "Expendables" info in Tattle on Tuesday.
When Philly author and agent provocateur Buzz Bissinger
was hired earlier this year to co-host an afternoon talk show on WPHT-AM (1210), some local insiders no doubt placed bets on when his legendary proclivity for foul language would get him in on-air trouble.
The People Paper's Chuck Darrow reports that you can mark Aug. 20 as the date Bissinger's temper got the best of him, and led to a one-day suspension from the airwaves. However, it was what he said off-mic that was to blame.
Bissinger, who co-hosts his daily gabfest with Steve Martorano, confirmed Thursday that he was involved in a verbal fracas with two employees of Citizens Bank Park Aug. 20, and that it led to him receiving a suspension that was in effect the following day.
The hassle started when Bissinger arrived at the ballpark for a remote broadcast from the station's permanent facility on the main concourse, and was not permitted by an unidentified attendant to park in a premium lot. Failing to make his case, the source said, Bissinger then "F-bombed [the attendant] up one side and down the other side." He then shared the same sentiments with a stadium security official who arrived on the scene.
Andy Bloom, WPHT's operations manager, confirmed the one-day suspension.
The often-bombastic Bissinger, who wrote the best-selling book, "Friday Night Lights" and has this week's Newsweek cover story on disgraced cycling champ Lance Armstrong, was subdued and obviously contrite as he spoke of the dust-up.
"My conduct was totally unprofessional and uncalled for," said Bissinger by phone Thursday. "I was embarrassed about it."
He added Bloom was justified in imposing the one-day punishment, and that he "emailed written apologies to the [stadium employees] I offended."
From Russia with hate
Russia's Pussy Riot
fiasco has taken an ugly turn.
The bodies of two slain women were found there beneath a scrawled message demanding freedom for the jailed members of the band, officials said Thursday.
While a Russian investigator cautioned that the killer was possibly trying to mislead police by drawing attention to the punk provocateurs, the alleged link between a killer and Vladimir Putin protesters was immediately seized upon by Russian media and pro-Kremlin publicists.
Some publications ran headlines claiming that Pussy Riot supporters "committed" or "inspired" a double-homicide. The coverage was full of the mostly negative terms used by Kremlin-friendly television networks and media in their coverage of the protesters' trial.
The jailed band members' attorney said on Twitter that "what happened in Kazan is horrible," calling the case "either a horrendous provocation or a psychopathic" case.
"I am sorry that some freaks are using Pussy Riot's band name," Nikolai Polozov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Russia's Investigative Committee said the women, aged 76 and 38, were killed late last week in their apartment in the central city of Kazan with the words "Free Pussy Riot" written on the wall in English, "presumably" with blood.
* In other news from Russia, Alexander Mitroshenkov of the Russian Academy of Television said Thursday that nothing will be edited out of a popular, longtime children's cartoon about a chain-smoking wolf.
On Saturday, a law designed to protect children from harmful material goes into effect but the Russian hierarchy has decided that heavy smoking is not a problem.
* Despite some complaints from
neighbors, the City of Edinburgh Council said Thursday it has approved J.K. Rowling's application to create two large treehouses in her garden for her children.
The structures, each about 40 feet high, feature tall conical roofs and turreted windows in the style of Hogwarts Castle in the "Harry Potter" movies.
Clearly, she's run out of ways to spend her money.
* Giuliana and Bill Rancic have
welcomed son Edward Duke to their family. Edward was born in Denver by a gestational surrogate Wednesday night. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
The couple were in the delivery room for the four-hour labor and birth. Giuliana tells E! News that she and her husband are "so in love with the little guy already!"
* Best wishes to Robin Roberts,
who started her medical leave from "Good Morning America" yesterday. "See you later. See you soon. I'll get back as soon as I can," she promised at her emotional send-off from the show.
Robin will be undergoing a bone-marrow transplant as a treatment for MDS. Her departure had been set for Friday, but she chose to exit a day early to visit her ailing mother in Mississippi, she told viewers.
* A damaged 1877 Steinway
grand piano used by Motown artists during the record label's "Hitsville USA" heyday has been restored, thanks to a little help from Paul McCartney, and he's set to play it when it's unveiled next month.
All the amazing talent that came through Motown and Paul McCartney had to chip in to fix the piano?
* LeAnn Rimes is getting professional help for anxiety and stress. Her publicist, Marcel Pariseau, says Rimes has voluntarily entered a 30-day in-patient facility "to learn and develop coping mechanisms."
Tattle recommends cognitive therapy.
* MTV said Thursday that "Jersey Shore" will conclude after its upcoming sixth season, which begins Oct. 4.
Sounds like baby Lorenzo is getting his own show.
Daily News wire services
contributed to this report.