Father Geek here with Elston's regular recap report on all that weekly tinseltown confirmed business that may have passed under your filmic radar while you were working your buns off last week. Well, we've got your back, and AICN is where you can catch-up every week. Soooo relax, grab a mug of steaming java and ease on into...
THE WEEKLY RECAP...
TAKEN FROM VARIETY AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
* Kate Winslet is in talks to star in LITTLE CHILDREN for New Line Cinema. Winslet would play the role of Sarah in the adaptation of Tom Perrotta's book, which Todd Field is set to direct. The film is set in a suburban town where perfect parents rear perfect children by day and surf Internet porn and have affairs by night. Winslet's character is a mother who has a fling with a stay-at-home dad.
* Josh Coxx has joined the cast of SHOCKWAVE playing a helicopter pilot stranded on a remote island in the indie actioner, which Jay Andrews is directing.
* Elijah Kelley (28 DAYS) and Dante Basco (LOVE DON'T COST A THING) have joined the cast of New Line's TAKE THE LEAD playing New York high schoolers in the pic, starring Antonio Banderas as a ballroom dance teacher. Production begins April 23 in Toronto.
* Clayne Crawford (A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG) will star opposite Jim Caviezel in UNKNOWN, playing a rookie cop in the indie thriller, with Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano, Bridget Moynahan, Jeremy Sisto and Peter Stormare rounding out the cast. Simon Brand directs.
* Nia Long will reprise her role in BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2 for 20th Century Fox/Regency. Comedy sequel again stars Martin Lawrence as a FBI agent who goes undercover in Big Momma drag. John Whitesell will direct, set to begin lensing April 25 in Los Angeles and New Orleans. Zachary Levi and Emily Procter are also joining the cast. Levi plays Kevin, an awkward FBI agent with a crush on a co-worker. Kevin is too nervous and shy to make his move until he hooks up with Lawrence's character. Procter will play the disgruntled wife of a workaholic who is under investigation for murder. While undercover as the nanny in the household, Big Momma shows Procter how to slow down, calm down and reconnect with her family.
* Sean Astin will give voice to a cat raised as a dog in Imagi Services' upcoming computer-animated movie CAT TALE. Elisha Cuthbert, Stanley Tucci and Alan Cumming round out the feline cast. Astin will play Rover, a cat who grows up in Dogtown by accident and returns to Catopolis to find his roots. Cuthbert will voice Cleo, Rover's love interest, who also is sought after by Simon, a ruthless cat-box-litter exec, voiced by Tucci. Cumming is set to play Newton, Rover's guide and friend in Catopolis. Supporting characters will be voiced by Fred Willard, Catherine O'Hara, Billy Idol, Rip Torn and Chazz Palminteri, among others. Flix Ip directs from a script by Aaron Mendelsohn and Kevin Munroe.
* Beyonce Knowles is in negotiations to star in DreamWorks' DREAMGIRLS, Bill Condon's adaptation of the Broadway hit that's a thinly veiled story of the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes. The film retains Tom Eyen's book and lyrics as well as Henry Krieger's music.
* Ray Liotta, Rachel Blanchard, Glenne Headly and Shaun Sipos are set to star in the indie comedy COMEBACK SEASON for writer/director Bruce McCulloch, Endgame Entertainment, Myriad Pictures and ThinkFilm. The pic follows a married man who, after cheating on his wife, moves in next door with the local high school football star as they both try to win back the hearts of the women they love.
* Timothy Hutton will star in THE KOVAK BOX for director Daniel Monzon (THE HEART OF THE WARRIOR), Filmax Entertainment and Estudios. David Kelly, Lucia Jimenez and Gary Piquer complete the key cast. Hutton plays a sci-fi writer who is trapped after being lured to an island to host a conference. Monzon and Jorge Guerricaechevarria (FERPECT CRIME) scripted.
* Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid and Morgan Freeman (in the role created by Otis Young) are in talks to star in LAST FLAG FLYING, a sequel to THE LAST DETAIL that takes place 30 years later. Darryl Ponicsan has written the sequel.
* Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies have been cast in the supernatural thriller WHISPER for director Stewart Hendler and Gold Circle Films. Callies plays the girlfriend of a convict/kidnapper, to be played by Holloway, in the story of a New England-set kidnapping of a young boy. The screenplay is from producer-turned-writer Chris Borrelli.
* Forest Whitaker will star as Idi Amin in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, a political drama that Kevin MacDonald is directing for Fox Searchlight. James McAvoy also has been cast to star in the film, which is being produced by Slate Films along with Cowboy Films. Film Four and DNA are co-financing the project. Set in the 1970s, the film is based on Giles Foden's award-winning novel that blends history and fiction. It centers on a Scottish doctor who, though a twist of fate, becomes the hand-picked personal physician of the then-new president of Uganda.
* Disney is in talks with Mark Wahlberg to star in a film based on the underdog story of Vince Papale, a Philadelphia Eagles fan who answered an open tryout and emerged with a spot on the team. The film will be directed this summer by Ericson Core for Mayhem Pictures. Brad Gann and Mike Rich wrote the script. Papale was a 30-year old bartender who'd lost his teaching job and his wife, when incoming Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil decided to shake up his lethargic team by inviting fans to compete for a roster spot.
* Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette will star in Big Beach's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, a road-trip comedy for directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Michael Arndt wrote the script about the cross-country journey in a VW bus of a family bent on getting an 8-year-old to the finals of a beauty pageant.
* Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Anne Moss and Kim Cattrall star in SNOW CAKE for Rhombus Media and Revolution Films. Marc Evans directs from a script by Angela Pell. It centers on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a shy, tortured man who is traumatized after being involved in a fatal car accident.
* Aishwarya Rai will star in Rajkumar Santoshi's SAAMNA (CONFRONTATION), about an Indian guru who exploits his devotees. Pic co-stars Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar while Nana Patekar will play the guru.
* Olivier Martinez and Agnes Bruckner have signed on to star in MGM/Lakeshore's werewolf film BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE, adpated by Ehren Kruger from Annette Curtis Klause's novel about a teenage werewolf who has spent her life trying to hide the fact that she is part wolf. She must choose between her love for a human and her family after her relationship with a visiting American threatens to expose her secret. German helmer Katja von Garnier directs.
* Kristin Chenoweth has boarded Columbia Pictures' RV, starring Robin Williams, for director Barry Sonnenfeld. The comedy follows a man and his dysfunctional family who rent an RV and head for the Rockies, ending up in a campground community. Chenoweth plays Mary Jo, a stay-at-home business woman who sells products out of her trailer and a member of that community. Cheryl Hines is also cast. Original script was written by Geoff Rodkey. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel wrote the most recent draft.
* Gina Gershon, Wyclef Jean, Sunny Mabrey, Johnny Messner and Brian Stokes Mitchell have joined the cast of HDNet Films' drama ONE LAST THING... for director Alex Steyermark. It stars Cynthia Nixon as the mother of a terminally ill son, played by Michael Angarano, who makes a bizarre last request involving a supermodel.
* Ty Burrell (IN GOOD COMPANY) will star opposite Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr. in FUR for director Steven Shainberg (SECRETARY). He will play Allan, the husband of famed '60s photographer Diane Arbus. Production begins in New York in May.
* Adam Scott (THE AVIATOR) will star opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in Focus Features' untitled supernatural thriller. It's about a Midwesterner being stalked by her ex-b.f. and haunted by nightmares of a past murder. Asif Kapadia directs the thriller, now lensing in Austin, Texas.
* Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have picked up the comedy CAMP COUTURE to star Emma Roberts. Ian Southwood is writing the project. The fish-out-of-water story follows a spoiled, trendy teen who is forced by her parents to go to a "regular" camp filled with misfits and not the famed elite fashion camp known as Camp Couture that she would like to attend.
* Michelle Rodriguez, Taryn Manning, Oliver Hudson, Hill Harper and Eric Lively will star in the indie horror project THE BREED for director Nick Mastandrea, First Look Media, DEJ Prods. and exec producer Wes Craven. The project follows five young friends who vacation on a peaceful deserted island only to discover that the canines they befriend are genetically altered and possess a frighteningly high level of intelligence -- with an appetite to match. Ian Somerhalder had been announced to star in the film but since has dropped out.
* Ian Somerhalder is in negotiations to star in PULSE, a horror movie that Jim Sonzero is directing for Dimension Films. Based on the Japanese horror movie KAIRO and written by Ray Wright, the pic centers on a group of college students who discover that a computer hacker friend of theirs unwittingly pirated a strange wireless signal that opened a doorway for a terrifying evil to cross over into the world. As it spreads, everyone in its path is consumed, and the students must race to find a way to stop it. Kristen Bell ("Veronica Mars") and Steve Talley also star.
* Zooey Deschanel has been cast in FAILURE TO LAUNCH for Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Prods. Deschanel joins Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey in the comedy about a thirtysomething guy whose parents are desperate to get him to move out. When he finally meets the girl of his dreams, he grows suspicious that his conniving parents might have had a hand in the matter. Tom Dey is set to direct the picture from a script by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember.
* Lucy Liu will star in the horror/thriller RISE for Ghost House Pictures. Written and to be directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, the film will begin principal photography this summer. Liu will play a reporter who wakes up in a morgue and discovers she's no longer among the living. She vows revenge against the vampires responsible for putting her there and hunts them down one by one. Kingsgate Films and Carsten Lorenz are producing.
* Barbra Streisand and her Barwood Films have joined the Gary Smith Co. and Sonny Murray in acquiring the rights to MENDEL'S DWARF and have set Peter Dinklage to star. The novel, by Simon Mawer, centers on the life and work of Dr. Ben Lambert, a scientist who struggles to unravel the genetic secrets of achondroplasia (dwarfism) as well as his entangled relationship with a woman. Sonny Murray is scripting.
* New Line Cinema has picked up the rights to MEG, Steve Alten's horror adventure about a prehistoric shark, with Jan de Bont on board to direct. The story features a 80-foot-long prehistoric shark -- scientifically known as Carcharodon megalodon and believed by some to be an ancestor of the great white shark -- which terrorizes the California coast. Two men from opposite points of view are forced to come together to neutralize the threat. Shane Salerno is rewriting Alten's script. Producing are Ken Atchity, Nick Nunziata, Guillermo Del Toro, Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin and Chi-Li Wong.
* Transition Productions co-founders Kevin Harrison and Kemp Curley are directing FIRST DESCENT a snowboarding documentary and the first first project of MD Films, a new film division Mountain Dew has created to produce action/sports movies. Universal Pictures is in negotiations with PepsiCo. to distribute the film.
* Brad Anderson will direct THE CRAZIES, a remake of George Romero's 1972 horror-thriller set up at Paramount-based Penn Station. Anderson will be reteamed with writer Scott Kosar (THE MACHINIST). The pic will update the storyline of the original, in which inhabitants of a small Pennsylvania town are beset by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply.
* Stephen Sommers will write and direct a remake of the 1951 sci-fi film WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE for Paramount and the Sommers Co. In the original, scientists discover that another planet is veering dangerously close to Earth, and they make plans for a small group of humans to leave the planet before the inevitable deadly collision.
* Gold Circle Films has picked up the comedy spec RIZZLE PIZZLE SIZZLE by Adam Farasati and Ethan Furman for producer Jennifer Klein. Pic is about a former Rock, Paper, Scissors champion who reunites his ragtag team of misfits to defeat his arch nemesis at the annual RPS tournament.
* Leigh Whannell and James Wan and Leigh Whannell (both of SAW) will direct and write, respectively, the horror pic SILENCE for Universal and Lions Gate.
* Noam Murro will direct STRANGERS, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN for Warner Bros. Pictures. Story concerns a psychiatrist who murders an exec's clingy mistress and wants him to return the favor by killing the shrink's sister. David Seltzer adapted the Patricia Highsmith novel. Rand Ravich did a rewrite. Polly CohenPolly Cohen is the Warners exec on the project.
* New Line has picked up the comedy JEFF THE DEMON from writers Tom Scharpling and Joe Ventura for American Work and Radar Pictures. It's the story of two high school losers who find a book that allows them to summon a power from the netherworld. The demon, Jeff, helps them win every battle and right every wrong in their lives, but they quickly discover that having all of their dreams come true can cause problems.
* Simon West is in talks to direct a remake of the 1979 cult horror flick WHEN A STRANGER CALLS for Screen Gems. Jake Wadewall is writing the script. The studio also is developing a sequel called WHEN A STRANGER RETURNS.
* Stuart Beattie (COLLATERAL) will pen an Australian-set, period epic for helmer Baz Luhrmann. The project, a romance that is being compared to GONE WITH THE WIND, is being kept under wraps. Beattie will also rewrite Universal's vidgame adaptation SPY-HUNTER, which is to star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson with John Woo directing.
* Writer/director Cess Silvera (SHOTTAS) is in talks to direct rapper T.I. in GRAND HUSTLE. Silvera, who scripted the drama, also is weighing offers for SHOTTAS 2, a film he's written and will direct that would be a sequel to a film never released due to piracy. Silvera has also directed the screen debut of Jayceon Taylor (aka the Game) in THE MILLIONAIRE'S BOYS CLUB.
* Joshua Marston (MARIA FULL OF GRACE) will write and direct his next project, temporarily titled THE IRAQI CONVOY PROJECT for Warner Independent Pictures. It's based on the true story of American truckers who have made a one-year commitment to drive goods for U.S. contractors through the Iraqi war zone because of financial hardships back home. Cherry Road Films will finance the development of the project.
* Phil Joanou has signed to direct Sony's GRIDIRON GANG, which rapper Xzibit is in negotiations to board for Original Films. Script by Jeff Maguire concerns a dedicated probation officer -- played by Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson -- who puts together a football team of juvenile-detention inmates to compete against local high school teams. Xzibit would star as the assistant coach of the team.
* Richard Shepard (THE MATADOR) will write and direct SPRING BREAK IN BOSNIA for Warner Independent, Intermedia and Cherry Road Films. Bosnia-set drama is drawn from an Esquire magazine article by Scott Anderson about journos Sebastian Junger and John Falk, who made a half-hearted attempt to catch Radovan Karadzic, an alleged architect of ethnic cleansing. The correspondents were promptly mistaken for CIA agents and came close to finding their target.
* Jay Scherick and David Ronn (GUESS WHO) are in talks to write the bigscreen version of BAYWATCH for DreamWorks. Pic is on the fast track with the hope of a 2006 summer release. ContraFilm is producing with "Baywatch" creators Michael Berk, Doug Schwartz and Greg Bonann. Michelle Berk will exec produce and Eli Roth will co-produce.
* Betty Thomas is in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to direct JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE, written by Jeff Lowell. It centers on the heartbreak endured by three girls from different high school cliques. When each is successively and unceremoniously dumped by the class heartthrob, they cross social lines to collaborate on the ruination of their hunky nemesis.
* Paramount has picked up THE MAN WHO KNEW EVERYTHING, Mike Reiss' ("The Simpsons") spec script preemptively and setting it up at Happy Madison.
MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION TIDBITS
* Computer animation firm Critterpix Studios will produce the best-selling children's book OLLIE THE OTTER, a 3D feature based on Kelly Alan Williamson's book about a sea otter caught in a fisherman's net.
* Sony has acquired the Isaac Adamson novel TOKYO SUCKERPUNCH for Ed Solomon to adapt into a feature for Tobey Maguire to topline. Maguire Entertainment and Red Wagon will produce. Novel's protag Billy Chaka writes a column that casts him as macho hero living in a surreal, amped-up Tokyo. When his book gets turned into a movie, Chaka flies to the city for the premiere and hates it enough to clash loudly with the director, who ends up murdered.
* Pasadena Pictures' production manager Zack Urbina (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1413904) has inked a deal to produce the limited exhibition 35mm short film A CIGAR AT THE BEACH. Cigar was written and will be directed by actor turned director Stephen Keep Mills (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0444791). Mills' previous short HOTEL LOBBY was nominated for a Young Artist Award.
* Dallas Producer Andy Stark is in the final stages of post-production on DANGALANG, an indie feature from first time-writer/director J. Fabian. Expect a Dallas premiere this summer.
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