Billboard Bits: 'Charlotte's Web,' Duran Duran, Burton
News on 'Charlotte's Web,' Duran Duran, BurtonOutKast's Andre 3000 and Reba McEntire will join Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese and Steve Buscemi in lending their vocal talents to the upcoming film adaptation of the classic children's book "Charlotte's Web." Production is scheduled to begin Jan. 31 in Melbourne.
Andre 3000 will voice Elwyn the crow, while McEntire and actress Kathy Bates will be heard as the cows Betsy and Bitsy, respectively. Roberts will voice Charlotte the spider in the film, which will blend live action with CGI animation.
The OutKast star recently signed on to appear in an as-yet-untitled film with Mark Wahlberg. He also stars in the OutKast film "My Life in Idlewild," which will air later this year on HBO.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Duran Duran has postponed its six-date Japanese tour, due to kick off Jan. 22 in Tokyo, to allow drummer Roger Taylor to recover from a broken bone in his foot. "We are all really upset about this and more than anything, hate to disappoint everyone that had bought tickets to see us play," Taylor said on the band's official Web site.
Taylor broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot last month while in the United States, after which Taylor rested for several weeks. The band performed in London last week, but "the following day, [his] foot was severely swollen and painful and after a medical examination today, Roger was told that unless he rested the foot for an additional period of time he could risk serious long-term damage."
Taylor is expected to ready for the Feb. 8 kick-off of Duran Duran's North American tour in Puerto Rico. The Japanese dates will be rescheduled later in the year.
-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto
Noted jazz vibraphonist and educator Gary Burton has taken on a role as satellite radio host with Sirius. "Artist's Choice With Gary Burton" will be heard on the service's Pure Jazz channel Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET.
Throughout a storied career that began in the 1960s, the Grammy-winning artist has played with the likes of George Shearing, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Chick Corea, Stephane Grappelli and Keith Jarrett, among others, and served for more than three decades as a professor and dean at Boston's Berklee College of Music. He is due to release a new album, "Next Generation," in April via Concord.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.