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

- Mike White (CHUCK & BUCK) has written THE GOOD GIRL for which Jennifer Aniston is in talks to star in THE GOOD GIRL for director Miguel Arteta and producer Matthew Greenfield. Shooting begins in March and will tell the story of a young woman who works as a small town discount store clerk and has an affair with the new cashier because she is unhappy with her infertile husband. She and her new boyfriend try to steal money from the store's safe only to have him killed by a security guard.

- Sony-based Escape Artists and producers Steve Tisch, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal have picked up the psychological thriller pitch KNOWING by novelist Ryne Pearson (TOP TEN and SIMPLE SIMON, which was made into MERCURY RISING). The plot involves a man opening a time capsule and releasing a twisted turn of events.

- Steven Gary Banks and Claudia Grazioso will write the comedy pic THE OTHER BILLY DRAKE for The Robert Evans Co. about a man who is proud to be the world's biggest jerk and is inadvertenly killed while robbing an old folks home. He is later sent to heaven because he has only broken seven of the 10 commandments and is given a week to go back to Earth and break the last three commandments to prove he is rotten enough to go to hell.

- Michael Weller (RAGTIME, HAIR) will write a script chronicling the life of Spanish painter Francisco Goya, his art, politics and his being a target of the Inquisition. Milos Forman will direct the feature for producer Saul Zaentz. Production is not expected to begin until the spring or summer of 2002 in Spain.

- Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal have sold their dramedy pitch to Revolution Studios as a vehicle for Julia Roberts. The plot is being kept a secret, but it's said to be set in the late 1950s and will center on a boarding school teacher

- Writer/director Neil Jordan has optioned, and may adapt, Peter Carey's novel THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG about a 19th century Australian bandit named Ned Kelly who is portrayed more as a folk hero than a criminal. Jordan and Stephen Woolley will produce the project.

- Revolution picked up the pitch RODEO CLOWNS from Mark Gibson and Phil Halprin. Eddie Griffin is attached to star.

- A.C. Weisbecker's upcoming republished book COSMIC BANDITOS is being written for the screen by Abbe Wool (SID AND NANCY) and Jimmy Fishman (DESPARATE BUT NOT SERIOUS producer) for the Shooting Gallery. John Cusack will star in and produce the pic about a group of Colombian marijuana smugglers on the run in the jungle. One of them is an American expat who, through the laws of subatomic physics, realizes that their lives are governed by particles.

- Paramount Pictures-based MTV Films has optioned Tom Perrotta's comedy script HOMETOWN BOYS for Bona Fide Prods. It's about a former Jersey high school basketball star playing professional ball in Italy. He returns home to recover from an injury, take care of his elderly father and find himself persuaded to coach at his old school with interesting results. Perrotta wrote the novel ELECTION for which the 1999 movie is based.

- Revolution picked up the David Kendall pitch THE MESSENGER as a vehicle for Eddie Griffin to star and Ed Decter to direct. It's about a Gotham bike messenger who gets superpowers from a talisman he meets.

- Justin Heimberg, Jason Heimberg and Jeff Sank have written T & A (aka TRUTH AND ART), purchased by Outlaw Pictures, about the owner of a burlesque club who has his "performers" doing Shakespeare in the nude (saying it's "art") to prevent a councilman from closing down the place.

- Disney picked up David Koepp's and John Kamps' script THE SUPERCONDUCTING SUPERCOLLIDER OF SPARKLE CREEK, WISCONSIN for Koepp to direct and Barry Sonnenfeld and Gavin Polone to produce. The science fiction comedy script centers on a small-town sheriff and the physicist whose team of scientists has built a particle accelerator beneath the town.

THE GOOD GIRL, the Milos Forman/Goya project, the Koepp/Kamps script, and the Neil Jordan/KELLY GANG pic all sound like great stuff, but I think HOMETOWN BOYS is my pick of the week. I'm a big fan of ELECTION and I hope Tom Perotta's script delivers.

-- Elston Gunn

(Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety)

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