Wednesday, July 28, 2004

POPCORN: Developments in Development

Due to the lack of any interesting news in the past week.... Here are some development updates from the trades and various internet sources to wrap your brain around.  Anything that looks promising is in green.  Enjoy.

Annapolis: "Jordana Brewster  and James Franco for Walt Disney Studios. Justin Lin is helming the feature about a boy from the wrong side of the tracks whose dream of attending the U.S. Naval Academy becomes a reality.

Courtney Crumrin: Regency Enterprises and Fox 2000 Pictures have optioned Ted Naifeh's "Courtney Crumrin" series of comicbooks to develop as a potential fantasy franchise. Series follows a teen who must contend with being a social outcast at a snobby new school while simultaneously moving in with her warlock uncle and learning how to harness magic. 

Nine Lives: Helmer Rodrigo Garcia has seduced a big-name cast for indie drama "Nine Lives". The story is a series of vignettes, offering glimpses into the lives of nine women, played by Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carrillo, Glenn Close, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Amanda Seyfriend, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn. Additional cast includes Stephen Dillane, Dakota Fanning, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Joe Mantegna, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Mary Kay Place, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Miguel Sandoval and Aidan Quinn.  

Nowhere Men: Ben Affleck for Disney in the adventure feature "Nowhere Men." The ensemble adventure is described as "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Men in Black."

Smoke: Gold Circle Films has picked up supernatural thriller spec "Smoke," the story of a physically abused dancer who flees her home for an apartment complex where she has premonitions of a tragic fire.

Soul Mates: Columbia Pictures has acquired the pitch "Soul Mates" by Luke Greenfield, who also will direct. "Soul Mates" is described as a romantic comedy that charts a relationship between a man and woman who fall in love in high school. The film chronicles their ups and downs over many years, showing how these two are destined to be together, though life and timing keeps them apart.  ... This has potential as we saw in Harry Met Sally for comedy and The Way We Were for Drama... they gotta bring something new to the table.

The Girl Can't Help It: Fox 2000 and Forest Whitaker are teaming to remake the 1956 comedy "The Girl Can't Help It," which starred Tom Ewell and Jayne Mansfield. The music-driven original followed the story of a talent agent (Ewell) who is hired by a mobster (Edmond O'Brien) to turn his musically challenged girlfriend (Mansfield) into a big star.  ... I wanna see Cameron Diaz as the star (think the karaoke scene in My Best Friend's Wedding).

The Legend of ZorroRufus Sewell is joining the cast of Columbia Pictures' "Legend of Zorro," the sequel to "Mask of Zorro," in which original cast members Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are reuniting with director Martin Campbell.

A Little Trip to Heaven: Julia Stiles will join Forest Whitaker in psychological thriller "A Little Trip to Heaven." The production starts filming in Iceland and Minnesota in mid-August. The script, about a dead scam artist with a million-dollar life insurance policy.

Chasing the Whale: Twentieth Century Fox-based Regency Enterprises has made a deal with John Stockwell to rewrite and direct the casino drama "Chasing the Whale." Story is set in the world of high stakes casino gambling, in which "whales" -- big betting players like billionaire gambler Kerry Packer -- can lose millions on any given night.

City of Men: Helmer Fernando Meirelles' O2 Filmes is developing a sequel to multiple Oscar nominee "City of God." Lensing for the sequel, titled "City of Men," is slated to begin in 2006.

Die Hard 4: "Twentieth Century Fox has hired Doug Richardson to rewrite "Die Hard 4," which is being developed under the supervision of star Bruce Willis. Richardson will be rewriting a script by Mark Bomback, who redrafted a pre-existing Fox script called "World War"

Family Portrait: Gold Circle Films has optioned the Graham Masterton thriller "Family Portrait," with J.T. Petty to adapt. Story concerns a corrupt clan who have achieved immortality via a magic ritual that allows their souls to remain trapped forever within an ancient painting.

Find Me Guilty: Vin Diesel will star in "Find Me Guilty," to be directed by Sidney Lumet in New York this October. Based on a true story and scripted by T.J. Mancini and Robert McCrea, pic concerns a mobster who refuses to play the rat and instead defends himself in court.  Lumet, thumbs up, Diesel.. thumbs down.  Who knows what this will deliver.

Skinny Dip: Mike Nichols has bought screen rights to "Skinny Dip," the new novel by Carl Hiaasen ("Strip Tease"), and intends to direct and produce the adaptation. The story is about a crooked bureaucrat/biologist in danger of losing his lucrative business when his wife finds out about his pollution scam. So he tosses her off the back of a cruise liner, far out in the Atlantic. Unfortunately for him, his curvy wife is surprisingly buoyant, and floats on a bale of marijuana until she is rescued by an ex-cop.

Tennis, Anyone?: Donal Logue has spent his hiatus making his feature directing debut on "Tennis, Anyone," an independently financed comedy. The black comedy is set in the world of celebrity tennis tournaments, where the stakes are small and the battles are bitter. Logue pulled double duty, appearing in the film along with Kirk Fox, Jason Isaacs, Paul Rudd, Stephen Dorff, Henry Thomas, Greg Lauren, Danny Trejo, Kylie Bax, D.W. Moffett and Noah Wyle.

The Tortilla Curtain: Kevin Costner and Meg Ryan will team in "The Tortilla Curtain," the story of two families, one wealthy and experiencing suburban angst, the other illegal immigrants from Mexico trying to make a new life for themselves.

Trophy Wife: John Herzfeld to direct for Universal the thriller "Trophy Wife." Story revolves around an executive at a powerful global bank whose seemingly unstoppable rise to the top is derailed when his mistress and his wife conspire to destroy his career.

Book of Skulls: British screenwriter Terry Hayes is teaming with director William Friedkin on Paramount Pictures' "Book of Skulls." The "Dead Calm" writer has been hired to adapt Robert Silverberg's sci-fi novel for studio-based Alphaville. The psychological thriller follows four college students who discover an ancient book containing the secret to eternal life -- except that it comes with a price. - One the players alone, this has excellent potential.

Man About Town: Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is in negotiations to be the woman to Ben Affleck's "Man About Town." Mike Binder is directing from his script. " Town" is the story of a top Hollywood talent agent (Affleck) who seems to have it all. But it all starts to unravel when he finds out that she is cheating on him and his journal has been stolen by a journalist who could expose him. - They've seen The Player, right?

Mr. Woodcock: Billy Bob Thornton has signed to star in the New Line Cinema comedy for helmer Craig Gillespie and Bob Cooper's Landscape Pictures. The script centers on a young man who returns to his hometown to stop his mother from marrying his old high school gym teacher (Thornton), who made life a living hell for him and many of his classmates. - The title alone has me rolling...

Pretty Persuasion: Director Marcos Siega has started lensing the indie dark comedy "Pretty Persuasion" with a cast that includes Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods, Jane Krakowski, Christopher Meloni, Selma Blair, Danny Comden, Jaime King, Stark Sands, Elizabeth Harnois, Adi Schnall, Michael Hitchcock and Robert Joy. Described as Election meets Heathers the project is a comic satire about a high school girl (Wood) who turns her exclusive Beverly Hills private school upside down when she accuses her English teacher of sexual harassment.  - This is a definate must see!

The Guided Man: "Saved!" writer-director Brian Dannelly has boarded Sobini Films' romantic comedy "The Guided Man." A modern Cyrano story, "Guided Man" is a romantic comedy about an introverted guy who comes to rely on a new service that allows someone to see, hear, feel and speak through him in order to give him confidence around women.  



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