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Elston Gunn's WEEKLY SCRIPT REPORT (Major Sales, Events, and other News!)

* Rapper Nelly will star in the urban thriller SNIPES for writer/director Rich Murray, who co-wrote the script with Rob Wiser. Nelly will play a hip hop artist who is kidnapped before his album is released. Shooting begins Oct. 2 in Philadelphia. Dean Winters ("Oz"), Mpho Koaho (DOWN IN THE DELTA) and Sam Jones will also star. Fat Joe, Kool Moe Dee and Schooly D will have cameos.

* Tim McCanlies (THE IRON GIANT) will write IRON MAN based on the Marvel Comic for New Line Cinema. Marvel Studio's president Avi Arad will produce with Don Murphy and Angry Films.

* Kurt Voss (WHERE THE DAY TAKES YOU) will direct the indie comedy DOWN AND OUT WITH THE DOLLS about a Portland all-girl band called the Paper Dolls. The script is based on a story by Nalini Cheriel. Voss wrote the script. Zoe Poledouris, Kinnie Starr, Nicole Barrett and Melody Moore will star as the all-girl band. Coyote Shivers, Lemmy Kilmister, Sierra Feldner, Brenden O'Hara and Mikael Jehanno will co-star in the pic.

* Industry Entertainment picked up EDGARDO MORTARA by Rob Eshman for director James Gray (LITTLE ODESSA) to develop. It centers on the kidnapping of a 6-year old Jewish boy by the papal police in in Bologna,Italy, in 1858.

* John C. Richards (NURSE BETTY) will write the remake to the 1932 romantic comedy TROUBLE IN PARADISE for Universal Pictures about a con artist love triangle.

* Mark Loughlin and Brad Schlei have written CRASH AND BURN, picked up by Fox Searchlight, about a car race from Florida to California. It's described as a "college-age CANNONBALL RUN."

* Kopelson Ent. bought Mark Allen Smith's (THE WITCHING HOUR) sci fi time travel script BUYING TIME.

* William Nicholson has written AMERICAN CEASAR which Oliver Stone is in talks to direct for Universal. It's a modern-day Caesar and Brutus stor set in Washington where a president is becoming the Ceasar of his time forcing his aide to take action.

* Ricky Blitt will write the buddy comedy PLAIN WHITE RAPPER for Revolution Studios about a black secret service agent and a white rapper.

* United Artists bought the Jill Franklyn (MY FIRST MISTER) comedy spec PINK COMA TOES while attaching Scott Kalvert (THE BASKETBALL DIARIES) as director. Production is planned for early next year on the story of a straitlaced woman who tries to heal her ailing fiance by carrying out his wild fantasies and in doing so, she discovers a new identity within her.

* John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (FIGHTING LIKE CATS AND DOGS) have sold a pitch to the Coen Bros.' KL Line production company about a shopping mall Santa involved in illegal scams.

* Bill Witliff will write INTO THE SETTING SUN, a project in which Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg will collaborate. Spielberg will handle producing chores while Scorsese will helm the pic. DreamWorks and Warner Bros. will co-finance the film which will focus on the creation of the transcontinental railroad.

* Tommy Lee Wallace (HALLOWEEN 3, THE HOWLING 2, IT) will direct a sequel to JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES entitled JOHN CARPENTER PRESENTS VAMPIRES: LOS MUERTOS from his own script.

* Mandalay Pictures picked up the comedy script KUNG FU THEATER by Tom Jankiewicz (GROSSE POINT BLANK). It's about a comic book artist who his transported into a martial arts flick and embarks on a strange journey. Production begins in February. Paul Jay Shrater co-wrote the story and will exec produce.

* Mike Lobell Prods. has optioned HOLLYWOOD & VINE, the romantic comedy spec written by Joshua Ravtech about a movie star who must choose between love and the Hollywood life.

* Marc Guggenheim ("The Practice" staff writer) has written the romantic comedy screenplay MUSICAL CHAIRS, purchased by The Bubble Factory, which follows a group of folks who are at a wedding in an exotic resort.

* Jennifer Heath and Michele J. Wolff have written THE ULTIMATE LOW SELF-ESTEEM MOVIE, which was purchased by Miramax, about a young woman who thinks she has found the perfect guy after being dumped most of her life-though her new man is trying to kill her.

* Disney picked up the pitch BLOODY MARY from Clive Barker and writer Silvio Horta (URBAN LEGEND), who will write the script. It is based on the Miami New Times feature "Myths Over Miami" by Lynda Edwards on folkloric horror stories told in South Florida homeless shelters. Their pitch centers on one myth about a figure called Bloody Mary who lives in the Everglades and steals children during the night.

* Brian De Palma will direct the modern noir thriller FEMME FATALE from his own script about a woman who is trying to straighten out her life, but her past comes back to haunt her.

* Darren Aronofsky (PI, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) will co-write and direct the fifth installment of the BATMAN franchise for Warner Bros. He will write and develop the pic with Frank Miller, basing the script on Miller's 1987 graphic novel BATMAN: YEAR ONE.

This week was full of several script deals, I guess Hollywood is trying to pack in the projects before the impending strikes. I'm pretty excited about Tim McCanlies handling the script duties for IRON MAN and Darren Aronofsky/Frank Miller hammering out BATMAN: YEAR ONE. And I look forward to AMERICAN CEASAR as it sounds like perfect material for Oliver Stone, but my pick of the week goes to INTO THE SETTING SUN. Bill Witliff's dialogue from THE PERFECT STORM left much to be desired, but with guidance from Spielberg/Scorsese--not to mention the subject alone--we may hopefully be in for a treat.

-- Elston Gunn

(Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety)

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