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Elston Gunn's WEEKLY RECAP

Father Geek reporting in with Elston's once a week step into the past so those of you who may have missed out on some movie news during your busy work-week can play catch-up in the most effective way with everything collected together for you in one spot. A regular weekly column we here at AICN's Geek Headquarters in Austin, Texas have dubbed the...




* Ann-Margret joins TAXI, starring Jimmy Fallon, Queen Latifah, Gisele Bundchen, Jennifer Esposito, Christian Kane, Henry Simmons and Ana Cristina De Oliceira, for 20th Century Fox and helmer Tim Story.

* Billy Zane has joined the cast of John Sayles' SILVER CITY, starring Maria Bello, Danny Huston, Chris Cooper, Kris Kristofferson, Cheech Marin, Daryl Hannah, Richard Dreyfuss and David Clennon star.

* William H. Macy and Steven Schachter ("Door to Door") will reteam for BELLE OF INDIANA in which Macy will star and Schachter will direct from a script he co-wrote with Janet Faust for Intuition Prods. It's a psychological thriller set in rural Indiana during the early 1900s and centers on Belle, who is deserted by her husband, and Jennie, Belle's ward who is prone to wild behavior. After trying to run the farm on their own, the duo advertise for a male employee only to have an endless supply of handsome farmhands show up. However, the men soon end up disappearing one by one.

* Steve Carell ("Daily Show," BRUCE ALMIGHTY) has joined the cast of Woody Allen's new movie for Fox Searchlight and signed to star in SLEEPOVER for MGM. Allen's pic will star Josh Brolin, Brooke Smith, Will Ferrell, Amanda Peet, Zak Orth, Wallace Shawn, Gene Saks, Vinessa Shaw, Radha Mitchell, Chloe Sevigny and Jonny Lee Miller.

* John Diehl will star opposite Michelle Williams and Richard Edson in Wim Wenders' new film for InDigEnt and IFC Films. A look at anxiety and estrangement in America, pic will be shot on digital.

* Lance Henriksen has been cast in ALIEN VS. PREDATOR for Fox and director Paul W.S. Anderson. He'll play a billionaire industrialist who finances an expedition to the Antarctic to uncover an ancient pyramid and insists on joining the scientists on the journey. When they arrive, they discover two alien races engaged in the ultimate battle. The script was written by Anderson and Shane Salerno and the project begins shooting in late October in Prague.

* Rachel Blanchard ("7th Heaven") will co-star in Paramount's WITHOUT A PADDLE alongside Seth Green, Dax Shepard and Matthew Lillard for director Steve Brill.

* Dean Cain, Tim Curry, Jennifer Tilly, Laurie Holden and Jon Lovitz star in RILEY for producer David Devine. It's about a chatty golden retriever who, along with his animal behaviorist friend (Dean Cain), works to keep their inherited billions out of the hands of a scheming lawyer (Tim Curry) and his wife (Jennifer Tilly). Pic co-stars Laurie Holden and features Jon Lovitz as the voice of Bailey.

* AnnaSophia Robb will join Jeff Daniels, Dave Matthews and Eva Marie Saint in the 20th Century Fox family pic BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE for director Wayne Wang.

* Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese will co-star opposite Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams in the Paramount comedy MEAN GIRLS for director Mark S. Waters (FREAKY FRIDAY).

* Jennifer Connelly in talks to star in the remaked of the Japanese thriller DARK WATER for director Walter Salles, Disney and Pandemonium Films. It's about a mother and her daughter moving into a new apartment where they are haunted by the ghost of a young girl whose family used to live in the building. Production begins in January.

* Alex Borstein and Michael Massee join Halle Berry, Sharon Stone and Benjamin Bratt in the cast of CATWOMAN for Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow and French director Pitof.

* Cate Blanchett and Martin Henderson (THE RING) will star in LITTLE FISH for director Rowan Woods and Porchlight Films. Set in the Little Saigon district of Sydney's western suburbs, the pic will center on a woman who struggles to escape her past.

* Toni Collette is in talks to star in JINDABYNE, a psychological drama following three men who trek into mountain country on a fishing trip and discover the body of a murdered girl, for director Ray Lawrence (LANTANA).

* Busy Philipps and Maitland Ward will star opposite Marlon and Shawn Wayans in Revolution Studios' comedy WHITE CHICKS for director Keenen Ivory Wayans. Shooting begins Oct. 19 on the story of two black police officers who must go undercover in the Hamptons as two Caucasian socialites.

* Ice Cube and Lee Tamahori will replace Vin Diesel and Rob Cohen as lead actor and director, respectively in the upcoming sequel to XXX. Diesel and Cohen have opted out of the pic which will begin production in the summer and hit theaters in 2005. Simon Kinberg penned the script.


* Jeremy Haft will direct the psychological thriller URGENCY, written by Barry Levy, for Regent Entertainment. The company is also developing COLOR BLIND, based on a script by Peter Sullivan from a pitch by C. Thomas Howell and Jim Snider.

* Maverick Films picked up two feature projects from writer/director Sarah Kelly: the comedy VALET DAZE and dramedy THE BLESSED VIRGINS.

* Don Rhymer is set to rewrite Paramount Pictures/Deep River Prods.' THE HONEYMOONERS, an urban version of the classic TV series with Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps playing the Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton roles, respectively.

* Jon Favreau is in negotiations to direct Drew Barrymore in the comedy DATE SCHOOL for DreamWorks Pictures. It's about a woman who is determined to find love but is lousy at dating. She then turns to a dating instructor for help.

* Jose Luis Massa (CHIQUITITAS) is directing the father-and-son comedy A BRILLIANT SON, written by Daniel Botti (MOEBIUS). It's about a boy and his dog, parrot and workaholic father as they chase down the thieves of a priceless painting. Julian Weich and Sebastian Francini star.

* Volker Schlondorff (THE LEGENDS OF RITA) will direct DER NEUNTE TAG (THE NINTH DAY), which examines the real-life story of Monsignor Jean Bernard, who spent nearly two years imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp and later became bishop of Luxembourg.

* Miramax acquired Stephen Hauser's political thriller script THE SILENCE OF SIX about a man who takes money to ask a cryptic question during a presidential forum and then finds himself running for his life.

* Laeta Kalogridis will write a new version of the script for DC Comics' live-action WONDER WOMAN for producer Joel Silver, Leonard Goldberg and Warner Bros. Pictures.

* Laurence Malkin and Chad Thumann have written a remake of the 1971 heist thriller THE ANDERSON TAPES for Columbia Pictures and producer Laurence Mark. The original starred Sean Connery, Christopher Walken and Dyan Cannon and centered on a career thief paroled from prison who resides in a posh apartment building with his girlfriend. With financing from the mob, the thief plans to rob the building, unaware that his every move is being recorded by law enforcement officials hoping to take down the crime kingpins.

* Peter and Bobby Farrelly will direct THE THREE STOOGES at Warner Bros. early next year for a summer 2005 release. The movie will be an adventure that revolves around the Stooges characters originated by Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Jerome "Curly" Howard. Script was written by the Farrellys and Mike Cerrone.

* Columbia Pictures picked up FAT MAN, written by Mike Reiss ("The Simpsons") about an 800-pound man who drops 600 pounds with the help of a nurse he becomes infatuated with. Adam Sandler's Happy Madison will produce.

* Ridley Scott will direct the Crusades-era epic KINGDOM OF HEAVEN for 20th Century Fox and Scott Free Prods. Shooting is expected to begin in January in Morocco. William Monahan wrote the script. Set in the 12th century, the drama focuses on a young blacksmith who becomes a knight and helps defend Jerusalem against the Crusaders. There is also a love story, as the young knight falls in love with a princess. Orlando Bloom is being considered for the lead.

* Nick Cassavetes is set to direct the Fine Line Features drama FIVE DOLLARS A DAY, written by Neal H. Dobrofsky and Tippi Dobrofsky. The pic is about a son who is forced to reunite with his con artist father for a cross-country odyssey.

* Akiva Goldsman will adapt Dan Brown's bestselling novel THE DA VINCI CODE for director Ron Howard, producers Brian Grazer and John Calley, and Sony Pictures Entertainment. The book concerns clues embedded in paintings by Leonardo da Vinci that unlock secrets that cut to the core of Christianity.

* Christopher Nolan will direct THE EXEC, based on Doug Miers cult comicbook, for Warner Bros. and producers David Heyman, Emma Tomas and Akiva Goldsman. Jonathan Nolan will write the script. Comic is a slightly futuristic look at a society where corporations govern and business is waged like warfare.

* Sarah Watt will direct LIFE STORY, a project combining animation with live action about four people grappling with unexpected and life-changing news, for Footprint Films and Maze/Fortissimo.

* Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman are collaborating on an untitled horror film, which they will also produce, for Columbia Pictures.

* Dean Parisot is set to direct Columbia Pictures' remake of FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, produced by Brian Grazer and starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. The remake was scripted by Judd Apatow and Nicolas Stoller.

* Bryan Barber is in talks to direct the comedy HOLY WAR which Artisan Entertainment picked up in turnaround from Fox Searchlight Pictures. The story centers on a rivalry between two preaching cousins -- one with a struggling traditional church, the other with a state-of-the-art tabernacle -- which comes to a head when they start competing for the loyalty of a new female parishioner with a great singing voice. David Dean Bottrell scripted.


* Miramax Films and producer Jane Startz are developing Gail Carson Levine's (ELLA ENCHANTED) next book, THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE with Mark Friedman writing the script. It's the story of a timid young princess seeking to free her kingdom from a mysterious and deadly illness that threatens to take the life of her older sister, Meryl.

* DreamWorks purchased the rights to Philip Kerr's children's book THE AKHNATEN ADVENTURE with Steven Spielberg possibly directing or producing. It's about a pair of well-heeled Manhattan twins whose new wisdom teeth hold secret powers understood only by their eccentric Uncle Nimrod, who explains that the teens are actually genies. Their powers are put to the test in Egypt, where they must fight against an evil genie.

* Lindsay Dunlap and her Ember Entertainment Group have picked up the feature film rights to the 1960s television series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." The series centered on Napoleon Solo and Illya Kullyakin, the two agents of the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) who teamed on various adventures to fight evil, namely a group of bad guys called Thrush.

* Disney and Spyglass have greenlit THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, which will shoot in London next year. Garth Jennings will direct for producer Nick Goldsmith, the duo is known as Hammer & Tongs.


(NOT from the trades)

* Scorpion Mezcal is sponsoring a trip for 2 to the Mezcal Tequila Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico for a winner of the Creative Screenwriting Open Tournament! For more information, visit

* The Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar is returning to Denver: October 11 & 12 and Houston: October 18 & 19. Visit for details.

* The new "Halloween IV: The Special Limited Edition" novelization has just been released. Check out the author's site at

* The first annual BOSTON FANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL (BFFF) is pleased to announce initial titles for this year's inaugural session which runs from October 17 - 23, 2003. For more info, check out

* Resfest will make its debut in Washington DC, running from October 3 through October 5 at National Geographic's Grosvenor Auditorium. Now in its seventh year, Resfest provides a leading showcase for innovative film, music, art, design and technology. Check out their website at

* PULL OUT, about a woman who travels a bumpy road to self-discovery and submits herself to frank analysis by six men, inclduing her father, who speak out with alarming candor about her libido and its discontents, screens in competition at the 11th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival which will be held Wednesday, October 22nd through Sunday, October 26th, 2003 in East Hampton, New York.

* Read an exclusive interview with writer Terry Southern or see John Waters' five coolest porno titles at a new web site, based on the popular hipster handbooks The Catalog of CoolRead and Too Cool, at

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