Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Elston Gunn's WEEKLY RECAP!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

The sun rises each morning and sets each night. The earth continues to turn. And Elston Gunn files his Weekly Recap. Yep... all is as it should be.

TAKEN FROM VARIETY AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

CASTING

* Ice Cube will star in BARBERSHOP, the MGM comedy about a day at a barber shop on Chicago's South Side. Tim Story will direct the pic which begins production early next year after Ice Cube finishes New Line's FRIDAY AFTER NEXT for director Marcus Raboy. That film starts shooting in the fall for a Thanksgiving 2002 release.

* Samuel L. Jackson is in talks to star opposite Jennifer Lopez in TICK-TOCK for Columbia Pictures and director Steve Norrington. Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry wrote the script about an amnesiac who wakes up in the custody of the FBI and finds out that he is the prime suspect in a series of bombings in Los Angeles. Shooting starts by the end of the year.

* Frances McDormand is in final talks to star in the family drama LAUREL CANYON for writer/director Lisa Cholodenko (HIGH ART). Christian Bale is also eyeing the project, which follows a strait-laced young man who, after completing medical school, returns to his now-vacant childhood home with his fiancee by his side. However, he discovers his pot-smoking, record-producing mother is still living in the house. At first, he detests her way of life, but when his bride-to-be falls for the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, he and his mother attempt reconciliation. Production is expected to begin Oct. 15.

* Faye Dunaway, Clifton Collins Jr. and newcomer Ian Somerhalder join James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Kip Pardue in Lions Gate Films' THE RULES OF ATTRACTION, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, for director Roger Avary.

* Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a The Rock, may star in a couple of Universal Pictures projects, including an untitled pitch from writer Brian Helgeland (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL), as well as HUNTING BRONZE, an action comedy by Joseph C. Muscat. That project centers on a bounty hunter who tries to grab a fugitive before a vengeful rogue cop finds and kills him.

* Dustin Hoffman is attached to star in the comedy HEAD CASE, a project for New Line to be written by David Wiger, about the relationship between a young, highly ranked male tennis player and his sports psychologist. Hoffman will also produce through his Punch Prods. banner.

* Christina Ricci will join Ioan Gruffudd, Kerry Fox and Stephen Dillane in Granada Films' supernatural thriller THE GATHERING for director Brian Gilbert and Samuelson Prods. Anthony Horowitz wrote the script about a first century that is discovered near an English countryside town. Meanwhile, a young American backpacker gets involved in a car accident and accepts help from a female driver and her family only to become drawn into their troubled world. The girl starts to hallucinate and believes she's being followed, raising the question whether or visions are from a concussion or a second sight related to the church. Shooting begins Sept. 3 in England.

DIRECTOR/WRITER ATTACHMENTS

* Christina Ricci will make her directorial debut on the indie dark comedy SPEED QUEEN, written by Brian Price, about a fast-food clerk who goes on a lethal road trip with a man and woman and then tells her story to an author while on death row.

* Matt Johnson sold his action script TORQUE to Warner Bros. for Original Films to produce. The plot is being kept under wraps.

* Peter Segal and Fred Wolf (TOMMY BOY) will write the romantic comedy VENUS DOWN for Paramount as a directing vehicle for Segal (NUTTY PROFESSOR II: THE KLUMPS). The story follows an arrogant goddess of love who takes a challenge laid down by her father, who is convinced that she cannot win the love of a mortal without her powers within one month.

* Phil Beauman's action buddy comedy script DA UNKNOWN SOLDIER (aka AWOL) was purchased by New Line Cinema for Ice Cube to possibly star in and produce. The screenplay is about two cousins -- one in the Army, the other still living in the 'hood. The two switch places for a couple of hours so the soldier can visit his family. However, when he returns, he finds out that war has been declared and his cuz is headed for the battlefield.

* Universal Pictures has picked up the dramatic thriller pitch HANDS OF TIME from writer Joanna Johnson about a man who goes back in time to look for the person responsible for killing his wife.

* Ed Spielman will script the Warner Bros. pic AMERICAN SAMURAI, a feature adaptation of his long-running television creation "Kung-Fu" for Warner Bros. Spielman will also serve as executive producer while Adam Schroeder Prods. will develop and produce the film.

* David Goyer will write BLADE 3, as part of two-picture deal with New Line Cinema, as well as an original script that he'll also direct for his Ghostlight banner. Goyer is also adapting and expected to direct MURDER MYSTERIES, based on the Neil Gaiman short story, for Miramax Films -- where he also has an option to write/direct a pic based on the Marvel Comic series DR. STRANGE. On top of all that, Goyer has also scripted GHOST RIDER for Dimension/Crystal Sky. That pic was supposed to begin production soon, but director Steve Norrington chose to helm TICK-TOCK instead. Goyer claims a new director is being sought with hopes that Nicolas Cage is still attached to star.

* Donald Martin (upcoming THE DAY I WENT MISSING for Wes Craven) and Anna Chi (KILLING ME SOFTLY assoc. prod.) will write the period epic WOMEN WARRIORS OF THE YANG FAMILY for Miramax Films and producer Janet Yang. The project is inspired by the 9th-century A.D. legend, centering on the Yang family women and their conflicts between love and duty as they try to recover the body of a son lost in battle, while also defending their nation from invasion.

* Antoine Fuqua (BAIT, upcoming TRAINING DAY) will direct Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci in the Revolution Studios pic MAN OF WAR about a special military unit leader sent to an African jungle on a rescue mission. Shooting begins in February.

* Steven Spielberg is in final talks to direct Leonardo DiCaprio in the true crime pic CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, based on the autobiography of Frank Abagnale Jr., for DreamWorks. Abagnale Jr. had kited $6 million worth of bad checks in all 50 states and in 26 foreign countries before he turned 18. Production may begin in January. No word on whether or not actor James Gandolfini is still attached.

* Renny Harlin is in talks to direct the action/thriller MINDHUNTERS for Intermedia Films. The story centers on new recruits of the FBI's psychological profiling division training on a remote island to track serial killers. The trainees go through a trial by fire when they discover a killer is among them. Wayne Kramer penned the original script with subsequen rewrites by Kevin Brodbin, Kario Salem, Cary Bickley and Yuri Zeltzer. Production begins in November

* Will Smith and James Lassiter's Overbrook Entertainment are joining forces with Absolute Entertainment to develop a remake of the 1980 comedy flick NINE TO FIVE for Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rob Edwards is writing the script, which will feature three black women at a workplace, with Jada Pinkett Smith possibly taking a role.

* Writer/director Michael Hoffman (RESTORATION) will direct the comedy DOMESTIC PARTNERS for Imagemovers and DreamWorks Pictures. Production is expected to begin early 2002. The story focuses on a marketing executive who claims that his straight roommate is his gay partner in order to scam health benefits from the company where he works. When his gay boss takes him under his wing, the roommates try to keep the truth hidden. Paul Cohen wrote the script with a rewrite by Don Roos (BOUNCE).

* Ice Cube and John Witherspoon will write FROM THE OLD SCHOOL for New Line Cinema as a starring vehicle for Witherspoon. It's about four elderly black men who try to keep a local thug's from replacing their longtime corner store with a strip club. Ice Cube will also produce the project with Matt Alvarez.

* Philip Kaufman will direct and playwright John Guare will script a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 pic SUSPICION for Dimension Films and RKO Pictures. The new script will take place in San Francisco. Kaufman is also set to direct PRISON FISH and hopes to get started on SUSPICION within a year.

* Absolute Entertainment picked up the pitch COUSINS from scribe Luce Gordon and hip-hop emcee Nas Escobar. It's about a young inner-city man who inherits an enormous ancestral home in the Deep South, only to find out it's haunted by scheming ghosts.

* Barry Sonnenfeld is near a deal to produce and direct MOIST, based on the upcoming novel by Mark Haskell Smith, for DreamWorks Pictures. The story centers on a morgue attendant whose grisly task of delivering a severed limb to the Los Angeles County Coroner takes a crazy turn when the head of L.A.'s Mexican Mafia, to whom it belongs, comes looking for it.

* Icon Prods. grabbed the script DON WAYNE WYOMING with Will Ferrell attached to star. Jerry Collins and Boyd Hale wrote the screenplay about two guys who follow their dream of driving an 18-wheel truck.

* Simon Kinberg will write AIR SHOW for Wonderland/Columbia Pictures about the world's largest air show being attacked by terrorists, and it's up to a Navy pilot and female rookie Blue Angel to resolve the crisis.

* David Fincher is attached to direct Nicolas Cage in an adaptation of the 1992 comic book HARD BOILED by Frank Miller and Geoff Darrow for Warner Bros. Pictures. The studio is currently in talks to pick up the rights to the sci-fi comic about a killer robot that believes he's a tax collector. The book was published by Dark Horse Comics.

* Rod Lurie (THE CONTENDER, THE LAST CASTLE) will direct KNOWING for Columbia Pictures. Ryne Pearson wrote the story about a time capsule buried behind a grade school is discovered early due to a water-main break, revealing the chilling predictions of a child clairvoyant from forty years earlier. The chairman of the town's historical society finds out that one child accurately foretold some of the greatest tragedies in recent history and sets out to prevent a terrible event that has yet to happen.

* Pete Sollett (FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING short) is shooting a feature in New York, starring Victor Rasuk and Judy Marte, about a self-styled Romeo bent on seducing a woman who appears to be well beyond his reach.

* Art director/production designer Perry Andelin Blake will direct Revolution Studio's MASTER OF DISGUISE, co-written and starring Dana Carvey, about the last remaining survivor of a family of masters of disguise. Shooting begins Sept. 24.

* Disney acquired the comedy pitch WHITEBREAD from writer/director Peter M. Cohen (WHIPPED). John Herzfeld will produce. The pic is a fish-out-of-water comedy set in black fraternities.

* Producer Joel Silver has nabbed the action/thriller spec TRACE EVIDENCE by Jeanne Lusignan about a down-and-out female cop who becomes obsessed with determining the identity of a man who was tortured and left for dead. Ultimately, she becomes embroiled in a struggle against a corrupt Drug Enforcement Agency.

MISCELLANEOUS PRODUCTION TIDBITS

* Producer David Permut and filmmaker Terry Benedict have secured the life rights of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, who was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner despite refusing to bear arms on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and subsequently shunned by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance. He refused an easy exit and served with conscientious objector status. He won his Medal of Honor after saving 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa, without firing a single shot. Benedict will write the screenplay.

* London-based Film Four has optioned for Killer Films writer Randall Sullivan's Rolling Stone magazine article "The Murder of the Notorious B.I.G." The article is now being expanded to a book by Sullivan titled "LAbyrinth," which also was optioned by the company. The article and book center on detective Russell Poole's investigation into the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. as well as the implication of Death Row Records' Suge Knight and the origins of the L.A.P.D.'s Rampart scandal.

* Hyde Park Entertainment has optioned W.L. Ripley's thrilling novel SPRINGER'S GAMBIT, with Kurt Russell attached to star. It's about a Mob accountant who turns to a former Secret Service agent for protection from the gangster who wants him terminated and the cops who want him as a witness.

* Miramax has dropped Spike Lee's film version of the popular Broadway musical RENT. Lee is now focusing on a feature about Joe Louis and his famous fight with Max Schmeling in 1936.

* The new Bond film will feature a V12 Vanquish from Britain's Aston Martin carmaker. Germany's BMW AG has been Bond's car of choice in the last three films. Production on the new film begins in January. The Aston Martin was featured in the early Bond films beginning with GOLDFINGER in 1964.

GUNN SHOTS

* Visit http://www.cinemachine.net for info on a documentary about legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta--currently in postproduction. Composer Basil Poledouris is providing the score.

* Interested in film trailers shown in BIGstream? Check out FILMSPEED at http://www.filmspeed.com/topten. The site also has "classic" trailers.

This week wasn't without it's interesting news: Christina Ricci takes the director's chair (yet will topline THE GATHERING). *** Spielberg takes the reins of CATCH ME... *** Ice Cube is busy as hell. *** BLADE 3 begins already? *** Dana Carvey to come back. *** Philip Kaufman to remake Hitchcock. *** David Fincher to develop HARD BOILED. *** James Bond gets his Aston Martin back. *** Lots o' news scripts & pitches. It's all good, right? RIGHT?!? Shut up and Talk Back.

Until next week...

Elston Gunn

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
Top Talkbacks
Trending