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

* Ronald Harwood adapted his own play TAKING SIDES for the screen. Harvey Keitel and Stellan Skarsgard will star in the pic for director Istvan Szabo (MEPHISTO). Ronald Harwood (THE DRESSER) adapted his own play for the screen. The story follows an American officer in de-Nazification hearings that involved German conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler in Berlin after World War

* Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard will work together again--the two worked on PARIS, TEXAS--on an untitled film Wenders described as a road movie right across the United States, a family saga and, at the same time, a story that takes place in the age of the Internet and global communication. Road Movies will produce.

* Tony and Joe Gayton will write the action heist script CON GAME for Castle Rock Entertainment based on their pitch about four convicts who pull of a big heist with a perfect alibi.

* Matt Hoge will adapt Rene Steinke's novel THE FIRES for executive producer Madoona and Handprint Entertainment. It tells the story of a young woman who becomes a compulsive arsonist after being disfigured by a fire.

* Jim Herzfeld will write a sequel to MEET THE PARENTS for
Universal/DreamWorks under the supervision of director Jay Roach. No deals have been made yet for Roach to come back as the director, or for Ben Stiller or Robert De Niro to return as stars.

* Eileen Walls has sold her script, BOY TO THE WORLD to producer Wendy Finerman (FORREST GUMP) and Fox 2000. The screenplay is said to be a comedy in the tone of PARENTHOOD and FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF.

* J.D. Zeik (RONIN) will write ALIEN LEGION for Dimension Films, inspired by Carl Potts' sci-fi comic book series of the same name. The story centers on a young man who is disowned by his family, but proves himself by joining the Alien Legion.

* Alcon Entertainment picked up Chris Johnston's action thriller script HARD LOOK about an FBI agent who goes up against a bank robber who succeeds at his heists through blackmail. Alcon Ent. also optioned the film rights to PATIENT NUMBER ONE, the nonfiction novel by Rick Murdock and David Fisher about the true story of a biotech company CEO with cancer that can only be
treated with technology from his company, which is in a legal battle with a medical products giant.

* Ben Elton is penning a film version of his stage play POPCORN with Ridley Scott in talks to direct. The story is a satirical look at violence in the media and will be produced by Scott Free Productions.

* Dave Collard has written the cop thriller OUT OF TIME, which MGM has purchased. It centers on a small town cop who is double-crossed by the woman he loves.

* Frank Mugavero's script THE WHEELMAN was just picked up by Newmarket Group. The script follows a legendary getaway driver who gets involved with a group of rookie thieves whom plan to pull-off an improbably casino heist.

* Jan Oxenberg (THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT) has adapted the James Ellroy autobiographical novel MY DARK PLACES: AN L.A. CRIME MEMOIR for Myriad Pictures. Robert Greenwald (STEAL THIS MOVIE!) will direct and produce the pic which follows Ellroy into crime and drug use as an adolescent after his mother was murdered when he was 10 years old.

* Halcyon Entertainment has acquired four literary properties for development: DEEPWATER, a novel by Matthew Jones, is about a drifter who gets a job in an old motel where a secret affair pushes him to murder and insanity. Tim Metcalfe (KALIFORNIA) is writing the screenplay. Robert Girardi's romantic period drama, MADELEINE'S GHOST, is being adapted by Christopher Monger (THE ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN). Monger may also direct. Girardi's is adapting his own novel THE PIRATE'S DAUGHTER for the screen. It tells the story of a man who falls for a mysterious woman, leaves his life behind and takes a journey with her before he finds out her true identity. The fourth project, THE SETT, will have a new rewrite by Danny Taylor (THE SCORE). It's based on the novel by Ranulphcq Fiennes, and follows a man who struggles to regain his identity
after recovering from a brutal attack that destroyed his memory.

THE WHEELMAN sounds fun, TAKING SIDES could be a winner and I'm curious about what Herzfeld will do with a MEET THE PARENTS sequel. However, my pick of the week is the untitled Wim Wenders/Sam Shepard collaboration. I can't wait to see what they cook up.

-----Check out for "Developing the Monkey", a new column for the site written by writer/director Kevin Smith. As opposed to writing about comics, Smith will explore filmmaking and movie dish. More specifically, he'll chronicle his recent L.A. adventures (and events to come) involving his upcoming production currently known as VIEW ASKEW 5. Look for it.-----

-- Elston Gunn

(Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety)

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