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Elston Gunn's WEEKLY RECAP

Father Geek here presenting Elston Gunn's current edition of his long running weekly AICN column devoted to the review of the previous week's news from Tinseltown sooooo all you overworked geeks out there who can't find the extra time to catch it all firsthand during the work week will have a single, easy to find spot from which to pluck the tasty morsels of Hollywood news to feed your desire to keep ahead of the mainstream print media's film coverage. Well, here it all is, just waiting for you to discover and devour it, prepare now to sink your teeth into...




* Djimon Hounsou and Steve Buscemi join the cast of Michael Bay's THE ISLAND for DreamWorks. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson also star.

* Laura Harring (MULHOLLAND DRIVE), Danny Trejo and David Keith star in ALL SOULS DAY: DIA DE LOS MUERTOS for Mindfire Entertainment's CFQ Films and director Jeremy Kasten (THE ATTIC EXPEDITIONS).

* Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Mario Van Peebles, Burt Young and Jaclyn DeSantis are in talks to join Jay Hernandez and Luis Guizman in CARLITO'S WAY: THE BEGINNING, a prequel for Universal. Michael Bregman will direct his own script. Martin Bregman will produce.

* Anthony Hopkins will star in Roger Donaldson's THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN. Diane Ladd, Paul Rodriguez, Bruce Greenwood and Chris Lawford round out the cast. Hopkins stars as motorcycle legend Burt Munro, who, after perfecting and modifying his 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle, ventured across the world to fulfill his lifelong ambition to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He ended up setting a new world land speed record.

* Jamie Foxx is attached to star in THE EXECUTIONER'S GAME, an upcoming spy thriller by Gary Hardwick, which Neal Moritz's Original shingle is producing for Columbia. It concerns a black operative for an ultra-secret government organization who must track down and assassinate his mentor, who has gone rogue. Hardwick will adapt his novel for the bigscreen.

* Tim Robbins and Julie Christie have joined Sarah Polley in El Deseo's THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS for director Isabel Coixet. Javier Camara and Leonor Watling also are in the cast. The pic follows a female survivor of the Yugoslavian war in a world of men on an oil rig. It is skedded to shoot in November in Ireland.

* Alan Cumming will star in and produce writer/helmer Ali Selim's period piece WEDDING PHOTO, with Ned Beatty, Lois Smith, Tim Guinee, Elizabeth Reaser, Gil Bellows and Tom Gilroy rounding out the cast. Set in 1920s Minnesota, the project follows the epic journey to the altar of Inge, a mail-order bride who arrives in in the Midwest from Norway. Cumming will play a father of nine kids whose farm is being repossessed by a malicious banker.

* Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman are in talks to join the cast of LUCKY SLEVIN for director Paul McGuigan, FilmEngine, Ascendant Pictures and Capitol Films. Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu and Ben Kingsley also star. Story, by Jason Smilovic, concerns a man who's confused with the friend whose apartment he is staying in and forced by a gangland boss to assassinate his archenemy's son.

* Brandon James Routh has signed to play the title role in the new SUPERMAN film for director Bryan Singer and Warner Bros.

* Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Uma Thurman and Ashley Judd are in negotiations to star in a remake of the 1939 comedy THE WOMEN for writer/director Diane English, New Line, Jagged Films, Ascendant Pictures and Capitol Films. Shooting begins in February.

* Jennifer Garner is in negotiations to star in the romantic comedy CATCH AND RELEASE, which Susannah Grant (28 DAYS, ERIN BROCKOVICH) wrote and is directing for Columbia Pictures. Pic, described as an emotional romantic comedy, centers on a woman who must deal with the untimely death of her husband and the revelation of secrets he kept from her.

* Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, James D'Arcy and Rachel Hurd-Wood will star in AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, a gothic ghost story written and directed by Courtney Solomon (DUNGEONS & DRAGONS). The film is based on events that took place in Tennessee during the early 1800s. Solomon adapted his screenplay from Brent Monahan's book THE BELL WITCH: AN AMERICAN HAUNTING.

* Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Lucas Black are in negotiations to star in JARHEAD, based on the Gulf War memoir by Anthony Swofford, for director Sam Mendes and Universal. Laz Alonso (EYES), Brian Geraghty (ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL), Jacob Vargas (TRAFFIC) and Evan Jones (8 MILE) also star. William Broyles adapted the book into a screenplay.

* Jim Turner ("ARLI$$") has been added to the cast of BEWITCHED for director Nora Ephron.

* Tony Curtis has been cast as a Holocaust survivor in Atlantic Alliance and Heritage Pictures' LOVE IS A SURVIVOR. The project follows the true story of Herman Rosenblat, who managed to survive the Nazi death camps with aid from a young woman whom he later fell in love with and married. Maia Morgenstern, Thomas Sangster and Sky McCole Bartusiak round out the cast. Philip Saville (THE GOSPEL OF JOHN) is helming, from a script by Harris Salomon and Matt Salzberg.

* Vinnie Pastore ("The Sopranos") has been cast in Guy Ritchie's action drama REVOLVER. Ray Liotta and Jason Statham star in the feature in which Pastore plays a quirky tough guy.

* Sienna Miller is in talks to play Edie Sedgwick, a '60s icon and one of Andy Warhol's muses, in the indie pic FACTORY GIRL for director George Hickenlooper. Bob Yari Prods. is financing. The film revolves around an unconventional love triangle of sorts that developed among Sedgwick, Bob Dylan and Warhol.

* Madonna will head the voice cast of the big-budget CGI-animated ARTHUR, directed by Luc Besson, which the director's Europa Corp. also is producing. The project is adapted from a series of children's books written by Besson, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. Ten-year-old Arthur, in a bid to save his grandfather's house from developers, goes in search of treasure hidden in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in harmony with nature. The film, scheduled for a 2006 release, will include some live-action sequences.


* Jim Sheridan will direct 50 Cent in LOCKED AND LOADED for Paramount Pictures and MTV. Written by Terence Winter, the project tells the story of an orphaned kid who turns away from crime and lands a successful musical career.

* Disney Co. grabbed Barry Stringfellow's pitch BREAK A LEG about an ambitious but unruly high school soccer coach who gets axed from his job for politically incorrect behavior. The only job he is able to get after being fired is to coach a dismal team at a performing arts high school.

* Writer Josh Olson (David Cronenberg's upcoming A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) will first come on board an untitled Willie Nelson Western, which Steven Bing is producing for New Line Cinema. Details are being kept under wraps, but it's described as a twist on the classic Western revenge story. Olson will then segue into New Line's ALONE, the tale of an agoraphobic high schooler who, after learning that her house is haunted, must either overcome her phobia or die.

* Revolution Studios has picked up the musical screenplay pitch ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (THE COMMITMENTS), which will utilize classic Beatles songs. Gross Entertainment will produce. It's a love story about a British boy and an American girl set against the backdrop of the social upheaval of the 1960s. Although not about the Fab Four, the musical will use their songs to drive the narrative, with the actors singing and dancing to the classic tunes.

* Jonathan Liebesman (DARKNESS FALLS) will direct DEAD ASLEEP for New Line Cinema. Penned by Carter Blanchard, the story centers on a small town that becomes infested with a species of killer bugs that come out at night. They burrow inside their victims' bodies, killing people from the inside.

* John Woo will direct THE RED CIRCLE, an updated remake of the Jean-Pierre Melville-directed 1970 French pic LE CERCLE ROUGE for Paramount. Jeff Pinkner will script the action thriller for Lion Rock Prods. The original noir tale starred Alain Delon and centered on a thief who is released from prison the same day a murderer escapes police custody. The outlaws pair up and commit a heist as a relentless cop closes in.

* Wes Craven has purchased Marshall Moseley's spec WILD CARD for Dimension to finance. Craven will develop the screenplay with an eye to direct. Script was one of the three finalists in the most recent Project Greenlight screenplay competition. It concerns a con-artist couple who target a wealthy mark only to see things go horribly wrong.

* Producer David Permut (FACE/OFF) has acquired the rights to the screenplay GOODBYE DALI, penned by Yaniv Raz and veteran actor Allan Rich, a comic look at Rich's relationship with the Spanish painter. It's based on Rich's real-life friendship with Dali, follows Rich's struggles and misadventures as a young art dealer in commissioning original works from the flamboyant and eccentric artist. The surrealist drags the young man all over Spain in a game of bait and switch.

* Brian Dannelly (SAVED!) is in talks to direct ARMY GEEK for Fox 2000. Dannelly and his writing partner, Michael Urban, also are working on the script written by Joe Wein. Depth of Field is producing. It's a coming-of-age tale about a directionless high school graduate who eventually becomes a man at an Army boot camp where he's whipped into shape by his female drill sergeant.

* Judd Apatow will make his feature directorial debut on THE 40 YEAR-OLD VIRGIN for Universal Pictures. Apatow co-wrote the script with Steve Carell (ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY), who will star in the comedy.

* Keenen Ivory Wayans will direct LITTLE MAN for Revolution Studios and also will handle writing and producing chores along with Shawn and Marlon Wayans, who will star in the film. Shawn Wayans will star as a man anxious to be a father who mistakes an extremely short-statured, baby-faced criminal on the run as his newly adopted son.

* Pamela Gray (A WALK ON THE MOON) has been hired to adapt Judy Blume's novel DEENIE for Disney. Blume's bestseller concerns a young woman's struggle to define herself independently from the dreams and expectations her parents have for her.

* Constantin Film will start filming its adaptation of children's book DER RAUBER HOTZENPLOTZ (HOTZENPLOTZ THE THIEF) in May. Gernot Roll (NOWHERE IN AFRICA) will direct and Armin Rohde will star.

* Tim McCann (REVOLUTION #9) will direct ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER, a remake of the 1946 classic for indie banner T.H.E.M.E. Entertainment. Original pic tells the tale of a mobster sent to Hell who is given a few more days on Earth by the Devil to try and redeem himself. Todd Baker penned the adaptation and will produce.

* Director Nanni Moretti (THE SON'S ROOM) has begun pre-production on IL CAIMANO (THE CAIMAN).

* Roger Avary (PULP FICTION) is writing a bigscreen adaptation of the Konami vidgame franchise SILENT HILL, with Samuel Hadida producing and financing the project. Christophe Gans (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF) is on board to direct the supernatural thriller for Hadida's Davis Film Prods. and Konami Corp. The filmmakers aim for a March start date.

* Columbia Pictures has acquired Barry Levy's political thriller VANTAGE POINT for Original Film to produce. The RASHOMON-style thriller is about the assassination of the president, told from five different perspectives.

* Catherine Hardwicke (THIRTEEN, LORDS OF DOGTOWN) is set to helm VIVALDI for Columbia Pictures. The feature about Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi will be produced by Imagine Entertainment. Kevin Lund and TJ Scott are in negotiations to pen the project, which revolves around the forbidden romance between the young composer, who was a priest, and his muse, which inspired his masterpiece "The Four Seasons."

* Michael Mayer has signed to direct Fox 2000's MY FRIEND FLICKA from a script by Larry Konner and Mark Rosenthal. Based on the classic novel by Mary O'Hara, the film centers on determined teenage girl whose father gives her the horse of her dreams. It's set against the backdrop of a modern, working ranch in Wyoming.

* Darren Star ("Sex and the City") is in talks to direct the romantic comedy 100 WEDDINGS for Working Title Films. Written by Ellen Simon and Erin Cramer, the story follows a cynical war reporter who gets demoted to the wedding beat, where she has to cover 100 weddings before she can get her old job back. Along the way, she finds love.

* New Line Cinema has tapped Gotham playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to write the bigscreen adaptation of German author Cornelia Funke's fantasy novel INKHEART. It's about a girl whose father has the power to bring characters from books to life by reading aloud. When a villain from a rare children's fable kidnaps the man, his daughter and a group of friends, both real and fictional, have to rescue him.

* Dean Parisot is attached to direct a remake of THE LAVENDER HILL MOB for Odd Lot Entertainment. Produced by the Ealing Studios in 1951 and directed by Charles Crichton, the original featured Alec Guinness as a mild-mannered bank clerk who comes up with a plan to steal a fortune in gold bullion from his employer. David Sussman will adapt the screenplay. Ealing contract writer T.E.B. Clarke penned the original script, which won an Academy Award. Guinness' role earned the actor the first Oscar nom of his career.

* Mike Jones is adapting Michael Simmons' young-adult novel POOL BOY for East of Doheny. Michael Schultz (WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED) will direct. Story is about a rich, arrogant 15-year-old named Brett Gerson. When his dad is jailed for insider trading, Brett's forced to take a summer job assisting the old guy who used to clean his swimming pool.

* David Schneider and Drew Daywalt will pen the bigscreen adaptation of the vidgame title HUNTER: THE RECKONING for director Uwe Boll and producer Shawn Williamson. Story follows a group of men and women who become aware of supernatural monsters preying on humanity and are imbued with special abilities to combat them.


* Regency has inked a deal to develop its first computer-generated animated feature, based on bestselling kids book OLLIE THE OTTER by Kelly Alan Williamson. Story follows a courageous sea otter who leads a group of domesticated sea park friends to open water to save his family from perishing at the hands of a rogue and amazingly vain killer whale.

* Velvet Steamroller is working on several film projects including 2001 MANIACS, which the company is teaming with Raw Nerve, Bloodworks and the Steel Co. The film picks up where Herschell Gordon Lewis' cult classic TWO THOUSAND MANIACS left off. It stars Robert Englund and Lin Shaye, which follows a group of sex-crazed college kids who must fight against the ghoulish residents of Pleasant Valley, Ga. Velvet Steamroller is also rolling ahead with THERE'S A GOD ON THE MIC, a documentary examining Kool Mo Dee's controversial book. It centers on the rapper's 17-element rating system for ranking the greatest MCs of all time. The film will feature concert footage and interviews with rap stars including Will Smith, Melle Mel, Chuck D and Doug E. Fresh. The film was written, directed and produced by Kool Mo Dee and Nemeroff.

* Germany's Victory Media is financing the film adaptation of Noah Gordon's bestselling novel THE PHYSICIAN. Victory will co-produce with Marco Weber of Atlantic Streamline, who picked up the rights to the book earlier this year. The novel is about an 11th century Englishman who travels to Persia to study medicine. Director Uli Edel is in talks to helm the project, which has yet to be cast.

* Creative Production Group has secured feature rights to GOOD TIMES, the 1970s Norman Lear sitcomsitcom that captured the life of an African-American family living in a Chicago housing project.

* Bill Bonanno, son of late mob boss Joseph Bonanno, has partnered with Anthony Tarantola to form Halfway to Tucson Prods. Their first project, THE AZTEC EAGLES, is a fact-based film about Mexican pilots who fought in the Pacific in WWII. Betty Kaplan (LOVE AND SHADOWS) will write and direct. They have set up two additional projects: the Michael Gottlieb-scripted PIPE DREAMS, about pals who run afoul of the mob; and ASHTABULA MOON, a script by Alison Faubert, Barney Cohen and Katherine Wallack, about an aging rocker who tries to make a comeback.

* Jonathan English's fantasy horror MINOTAUR has fallen victim to restructuring at Studio Babelsberg. Changes will reduce it to a service studio for big, fully financed productions. The studio pulled out from the project, which it had agreed to co-finance.


(NOT from the trades)

* Visit the KING KONG production diary archive at

* Exactly 50 years after the release of the original Godzilla film by Toho Co., Ltd. in Japan, Toho announces the special 50th anniversary celebration for the "King of the Monsters" with 2 events taking place November 28-29, 2004 in Los Angeles, including a special Godzilla float at the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the world premiere of his latest film Godzilla Final Wars at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Until next week...

Elston Gunn

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