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Elston Gunn's WEEKLY RECAP

Father Geek here with Elston's Report for this week on the stories out of Hollywood you may have missed from last week...




* Greg Kinnear joins Billy Bob Thornton in THE BAD NEWS BEARS, the remake of the 1976 Walter Matthau starrer that Richard Linklater is directing for Paramount Pictures. Glenn Ficcara and John Requa (BAD SANTA) are scripting.

* LL Cool J is joining the cast of LAST HOLIDAY for Paramount Pictures. He will play an ex-con who has a secret crush on Queen Latifah's character in the remake of the 1950 British comedy. Wayne Wang is directing.

* Campbell Scott, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jennifer Carpenter are joining the cast of Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment's untitled exorcism project. Scott Derrickson is directing the horror thriller based on true events involving the Catholic Church officially recognizing the demonic possession of an 18-year-old German college freshman. The young woman died during her exorcism, and a priest stood trial for causing her death. The script, written by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, unfolds with different points of view recounting the events.

* Gael Garcia Bernal (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) is set to star in Michel Gondry's new project THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP. Gondry penned the script, which is being revised. The story is being kept under wraps because of the changes in the script, but it is known to switch back and forth from dreamlike sequences to reality.

* Ed Harris and Diane Kruger will star in Myriad Pictures' COPYING BEETHOVEN for director Agnieszka Holland about the love and obsession that Ludwig van Beethoven developed for his assistant while he was working on his "Symphony No. 9."

* Rick Gonzalez (BIKER BOYZ, THE ROOKIE) will star in the indie chase thriller GET TITO for writer/director Umberto Gonzalez. Story concerns a Latino clerk trapped in uptown Manhattan who goes on the run from both the mob and the cops for murders he didn't commit. He also grabbed a role in WAR OF THE WORLDS.

* Mischa Barton is in final talks to join Parker Posey and Danny DeVito in the indie feature THE OH IN OHIO for director Billy Kent. The film tells the story of a young woman married to her childhood sweetheart and seemingly blessed with the perfect life, except that she has never had an orgasm. When she leaves her husband, he tries to regain his manhood by pursuing a young student, to be played by Barton. Adam Wierzbianksi wrote the screenplay, and Ambush Entertainment is producing.

* Bruce Willis is joining the cast of ALPHA DOG for New Line, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and A-Mark Entertainment. Willis will play the father of the main character in the film, which is inspired by real events and tells the story of Johnny Truelove, a young man from Southern California's San Gabriel Valley whose ambition is to follow in his father's footsteps. When one of Johnny's plans goes awry, his father is forced to step in and save his son from a life behind bars. The film also stars Emile Hirsch, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake and Dominique Swain.

* Lauren Holly, Lacey Chabert, Rachel Miner, Mykelti Williamson, Angus Macfadyen, Roger G. Smith and John Doman will star in the political thriller FATWA by Scott Schafer. It centers on the life of junior senator Maggie Davidson, who is battling personal demons and finds herself in the middle of a deadly terrorist plot. John Carter will direct for Flaisher Films and Green Valley Entertainment.

* Taye Diggs, Jesse Martin, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Idina Menzel are in talks to reprise their RENT roles for the bigscreen adaptation to be directed by Chris Columbus and Revolution. Columbus will share script credit with Stephen Chbosky.

* Justin Kirk and Tanna Frederick will star in HOLLYWOOD DREAMS for director Henry Jaglom. Rosemary Marks is producing through the Rainbow Film Co. The story follows a girl from Iowa who comes to Hollywood to become a famous actress and develops a complicated relationship with an up-and-coming actor. David Proval ("The Sopranos"), Melissa Leo (21 GRAMS), Paz de la Huerta (THE CIDER HOUSE RULES), Zack Norman (FESTIVAL IN CANNES) and Karen Black also star.

* Stuart Townsend (HEAD IN THE CLOUDS) and Amy Smart (STARSKY AND HUTCH) will join Seth Green in the romantic comedy THE BEST MAN for director Stefan Schwartz from a script he co-wrote with Ed Roe. Green will play the fiercely loyal but slightly devious and porn-addicted semiloser Murray, who is trying to help his best friend win the girl of his dreams.

* Bryce Dallas Howard (THE VILLAGE) will star in Warner Independent Pictures historical drama MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, written by Jimmy McGovern (PRIEST), for Scott Free and BBC. The film will chronicle the rise to power of the Catholic queen.

* Annabella Sciorra has been cast in Sidney Lumet's drama FIND ME GUILTY alongside Peter Dinklage and Vin Diesel for Stratus Films Co. Story is based on the trial of New Jersey's Lucchesi crime family, the longest Mafia trial in U.S. history.

* Mark Ruffalo has signed on to play the killer Perry Smith in Warner Independent Pictures/Killer Films' EVERY WORD IS TRUE, about Truman Capote and the writing of IN COLD BLOOD. Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow and Toby Jones also star. Doug McGrath directs.

* Maggie Gyllenhaal and Billy Crudup have joined Julianne Moore and David Duchovny in the romantic comedy TRUST THE MAN, written and to be directed by Bart Freundlich.


* Richard LaGravenese is directing PS, I LOVE YOU for Warner Bros. Pictures. Wendy Finerman is producing. Based on the novel by Cecilia Ahern, the story centers on a grieving young widow who discovers that her late husband has left her a list of tasks revealed in 10 messages, delivered anonymously, intended to ease her out of grief and transition her to a new life. Steve Rogers is adapting the novel.

* Ed Zwick is in talks with Columbia Pictures to direct, produce and co-write the romantic comedy HAPPY ENDINGS. Details on the story line are being kept under wraps. Zwick's Bedford Falls partner Marshall Herskovitz will co-write and produce the project with Zwick.

* Stone Village Pictures has optioned the rights to James Ellroy's recently published collection of stories DESTINATION: MORGUE! L.A. TALES. Ellroy will adapt the material. The book encompasses 14 pieces, some fictional and some based on real-life incidents about Los Angeles and includes three novellas that focus on a tough-skinned LAPD cop who is assigned to a case involving a famous actress being stalked.

* Tim McCann is set to helm a remake of the 1946 film ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER for T.H.E.M.E. Entertainment about a mobster who has a few days to redeem himself. The film will be produced by Todd Baker, who also has written the screenplay.

* Charles Sturridge will write and direct LASSIE for Odyssey Entertainment, Classic Media and Firstsight Films. Shooting starts in England, Scotland and the Isle of Man in the spring. The remake of 1943's LASSIE COME HOME is the tale of the collie who, on the eve of WWII, lives with the hardworking family of 9-year-old Joe Carraclough in Yorkshire. When the local mine is closed down and Joe's father loses his job, the boy is forced to sell Lassie to the mine's wealthy owner. Taken 500 miles away to the duke's remote castle in Scotland, Lassie frees herself and sets out for home.

* Moonstone and Tobe Hooper have launched TH Nightmare, a venture that will produce, market and distribute horror and thriller genre films. Hooper will direct two of the initial films, including the first, MARKED. Written by scribes Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch (THE TOOLBOX MURDERS), it's the story of an LAPD detective who discovers that Japanese demons are involved in a series of brutal murders.

* Columbia Pictures has purchased the comic pitch CONFESSIONS OF A LITTLE LEAGUE COACH with Robbie Fox (SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER) set to write the script and Jonathan Mostow to direct. Story concerns a father with a weak past who tries to redeem himself by coaching his son's Little League team, only to find himself unable to resist when in scoring position with his players' gorgeous moms.

* Stephen Susco (THE GRUDGE) will pen DIBBUK BOX for Ghost House Pictures. Story is a fictional retelling of L.A. Times writer Leslie Gornstein's article "Jinx in a Box," about an antique wooden box purchased on eBay that contained an evil spirit and was brought to America by a Holocaust survivor after WWII. The pic will center around a cursed relic containing mysterious familial tokens that is mistakenly purchased. The new owner must solve its mystery to save her own family.

* Stuart Beattie (COLLATERAL) has been hired to adapt 30 DAYS OF NIGHT based on the comicbook series by Steve Niles. Pic is set in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the U.S. In the middle of winter there, the sun sets and does not rise for more than 30 days and nights. From the darkness comes an evil force that strikes terror on the town, and all hope is pinned on a husband-and-wife cop team. Ghost House Pictures and Senator Films are producing.

* Andrew Kevin Walker (SEVEN) will write a remake of the gritty French crime thriller LE CONVOYEUR for Paramount Pictures. Original pic begins as a man drives with his son behind an armored car. When masked gunmen pull a heist on the vehicle, they open fire on the car behind them, killing the boy. Suspecting an inside job, the grieving father takes a job at the armored car company, bent on avenging his son's death.

* Frank Cottrell Boyce will adapt Homer's THE ODYSSEY for producer David Heyman and Regency Enterprises. It's the epic tale of Odysseus and his 10-year journey home after the Trojan War, during which he is confronted by natural and supernatural threats including shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the sea god Poseidon. Heyman's version will have a different perspective.

* Stevie Long (STARSKY & HUTCH) has penned an original action comedy script about a high school vice principal who is forced to rely on the ESPIONAGE FOR DUMMIES manual when his identity becomes crossed with that of a U.S. superspy. Armed only with the superspy version of the manual, he must try to save the world. Lion Rock Prods. has reached an agreement with Wiley, publisher of the FOR DUMMIES series, to create the project.

* Jeff Nathanson (RUSH HOUR, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN) will rewrite the fourh INDIANA JONES installment for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

* Carl Ellsworth will write SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS for DreamWorks and producer Don Murphy. It's based on the comicbook by Grant Morrision, in which a time-travel experiment gets the world stuck in Halloween night. It's up to four kids to defeat the evil in their town.

* Peter Berg will direct THE KINGDOM for Universal and producer Michael Mann. Matthew Michael Carnahan has been set to writer the script. It's the story of a team of U.S. government officials who work with a Middle Eastern government to investigate a recent bombing. The film is based on an idea that was brought to the studio by Berg and Mann.

* Michael Cooney (IDENTITY) will write ARGONAUTS for DreamWorks. Story takes place on the eve of WWII, when a group of treasure hunters think they've figured out the location of the fabled sunken ship of Jason and the Argonauts, a vessel whose contents are believed to contain the mythical Golden Fleece.

* Ronny Yu has dropped out of New Line Cinema's SNAKES ON A PLANE and has been replaced by David Ellis (CELLULAR). Written by John Heffernan and David Loucka, pic is a thriller in which a witness to a mob hit must travel from Hawaii to the mainland to testify. Accompanying him on the flight is a crate of 250 poisonous snakes, which are to prevent the witness from getting to the trial.

* Revolution Studios has picked up the romantic comedy MADE IN ITALY for Storyline Entertainment to produce with Sara Endsley on board to rewrite Julie Sherman's original script. The story centers on a female executive for a chain of gourmet food stores who travels to Italy and falls in love with the handsome Italian olive oil producer with whom she is hoping to close an important business deal. However, before putting pen to paper, she must win over his very traditional family, including his overbearing mother, who still runs his life and who immediately dislikes her.

* John Curran will direct FIVE DOLLARS A DAY for New Line Cinema. Written by Neal H. Dobrofsky and Tippi Dobrofsky, the pic revolves around a son who is forced to reunite with his con artist father for a cross-country odyssey.

* Larry Gross (48 HOURS) is set to write and direct NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU for Beverly Hills Film Studios. Principal photography is set to begin early next year. Beverly Hills Film Studios will produce.

* Miguel Arteta is set to direct the DreamWorks comedy DATE SCHOOL, written by Abby Cohn and Mark Silverstein, about a woman who's unlucky in love and turns to a dating instructor for help. Red Hour Films is producing, along with Firm Films.

* Simon Beaufoy (THE FULL MONTY) will write the romantic comedy IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME for Paramount and Guy Walks Into A Bar. It's about a man in his late 20s who's unaware of his personal deficiencies in romantic pursuits. He assembles former girlfriends to explain his lack of success, passes out and decides to make himself over in pursuit of an ideal woman, only to discover he no longer likes his new self and has fallen in love with another woman.

* Revolution Studios has acquired rights to remake the 1980 John Carpenter horror film THE FOG. Cooper Layne (THE CORE) will write the script for producers Carpenter, Debra Hill and David Foster.

* Patricia Cardoso (REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES) will direct THE JANE PLAN for Walt Disney Pictures. Penned by John Strauss, Ed Decter, Ron Burch and David Kidd, the film follows a powerful real estate magnate who does everything in his power to win back his assistant when she quits before his biggest deal ever.

* Michael Chabon will write SNOW AND THE SEVEN, a retelling of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS for Disney. Yuen Wo Ping will direct. Original draft of script was written by Josh Harman and Scott Elder; this version will be a retelling of SNOW WHITE with a martial arts/Chinese fantasy twist.

* The son of Akira Kurosawa will make his feature directorial debut from an unfinished script by his late father. Hisao Kurosawa will complete the script, whose working title is ONI. It's about a blond-haired samurai's struggle to discover his destiny in 16th- century Japan.

* Jeff Roda (LOVE LIZA) is writing THE SIEGE OF FULTON AVENUE, a film based on the New York magazine article by David Amsden. Contrafilm is producing for DreamWorks. Pic will be based on the real-life standoff between police officers in Westchester County, N.Y., and a house full of partying teens.

* Wes Anderson will co-write with Noah Baumbach and direct Roald Dahl's THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX as a stop-motion animated feature for Revolution Studios. The book tells the story of a crafty fox who finds himself and his family targeted for death by the three dumb, plug-ugly farmers who tire of sharing their chickens with the critter.


* Comic book powerhouse Platinum Studios and Gold Circle Films have signed an agreement to produce 10 pictures. The first four projects to fall under the agreement have been identified. Readying for production as early as next year, the projects include the thriller SEEN, which focuses on a photographer who finds himself stalked after accidentally photographing a crime. A second thriller, CASTING SHADOWS, revolves around a group of friends whose seemingly harmless magical games turn serious when one of them turns up dead. Based on the comic book stories by Alan Moore, BOOK OF MERCURY is about a magical book with the power to rewrite the future. IN LAW AND ORDER is an action comedy about an FBI agent forced to team up with his tough-cop dad and his mother-in-law, a fiery liberal judge.

* Writer/director Vincent Ward has ankled his troubled costume drama RIVER QUEEN, starring Samantha Morton. Producer Don Reynolds would not discuss the reasons for Ward's departure, but confirmed that it was the result of a situation that had developed 24 hours before the decision was made. Shoot has been dogged by problems including unseasonably cold conditions, Morton's illness and co-star Cliff Curtis' car crash. Before the shoot started, an advertisement placed in a local newspaper by a fringe Maori activist group calling itself "the chiefs of Aotearoa (Maori name for New Zealand)" warned of disaster for the project.

* The Boston Red Sox's World Series win has forced a rewrite of Fox 2000's FEVER PITCH, which is set during the 2004 Red Sox season. The movie's writers, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, have been in rewrite mode to incorporate the championship run.

* Paramount Pictures and producer Scott Rudin will develop a remake to THE BLOB about a jelly-like substance that crashes from space and grows as it consumes every human in its path.

* HANNIBAL novelist Thomas Harris is writing BEHIND THE MASK and producer Dino De Laurentiis is planning to bring the story to the bigscreen in 2006. The project is a prequel featuring the Hannibal Lecter character, focusing on "the creation of a monster" and involve complicated casting. The new Harris book and the subsequent film will be set in the 1940s in Europe.


(NOT from the trades)

* Jaguar just launched the first in a series of Webisodes to promote three new models of its X-TYPE premium compact range Each webisode will be unveiled each week for the next five weeks. webisodes combines original footage with animation from Peter Chung. Visit for more.

* Check out the trailer of THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS at The film will be distrubuted by Wood Entertainment.

* Julian Richards' THE LAST HORROR MOVIE scooped BEST FILM and its star Kevin Howarth BEST ACTOR at THE NEW YORK CITY HORROR FILM FESTIVAL which took place at the Tribeca Film Center, October 23rd - 25th. See the trailer at The film's site is

* BAHX Films Presents the U.S. premiere of HIKIKOMORI: TOKYO PLASTIC directed by New York filmmaker Adario Strange. Opening night is Friday, November 5th, 7:30pm at the Imaginasian Theater located at 59th Street and 2nd Ave. in Manhattan. Additional shows are scheduled for Saturday Nov. 6th, 7:30pm, and Sunday Nov. 7th, 7:30pm. Visit for more.

* Adam Nadler's horror/comedy screenplay, TUNNELMAN!, about an army of zombies in the New York subway, has received 2nd prize from the 2004 Hollywood Film Festival.

Until next week... Vote Naked.

Elston Gunn

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