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Week in Review ...


  • David Mirkin will rewrite and direct SPORTS WIDOW, a romantic comedy that Reese Witherspoon will star in and produce through her Type A Films production company for Universal Pictures. Witherspoon would play a wife who lost her husband to televised sports events but decides to take back her life and ends up one-upping her football-obsessed husband by becoming an expert on the sport.

  • Steven Zaillian will direct ALL THE KING'S MEN, based on Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a populist Southern politician, for Phoenix Pictures and Columbia Pictures. Sean Penn is being sought to play Willie Stark. The production is aiming for a September shoot in New Orleans.

  • Warner Independent Pictures has acquired Ignacio Darnaude's treatment THE RED HOUSE, which WIP is developing with Cherry Road Films. Alan Sereboff has been hired to pen the screenplay. Drama concerns the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of six revolutionary artists and freethinking visionaries who built the Red House in 1860 as a communal place to live free from the moral constraints of the repressive Victorian age. Their provocative lifestyle, however, turned this celebrated landmark into the site of one of the most shocking scandals to hit celebrity-crazed London society.

  • Warner Bros. has optioned the script SYDNEY WHITE & THE SEVEN DORKS, penned by Chad Creasey, for producer Clifford Werber. The project is an updated version of the SNOW WHITE fairy tale set among students in their freshman year of college in the Greek system.

  • Dimension Films has bought an untitled horror pitch by scribes Carey and Chad Hayes (upcomgin HOUSE OF WAX remake) for Platinum Dunes to proudce. Project, set on a college campus, was hatched by Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. Story details are being kept under wraps.

  • Screenwriter Clay Tarver will direct MEN MAKING MUSIC, MUSIC MAKING MEN, a comedy set in the world of competitive barbershop choruses, for Disney.

  • Documentary filmmaker George Butler (PUMPING IRON, THE ENDURANCE) is producing and directing TOUR OF DUTY, a film on Democratic candidate John Kerry, which will hit theaters during the peak pre-election period. Based on Douglas Brinkley's bestselling book of the same name, the film will focus on Kerry's Navy tour of duty in Vietnam, the years of peace advocacy that followed and how each contributed to shape his political life thereafter. Butler began work on the project in early 2003 and plans to have the film completed by Labor Day.

  • WorldWide Pictures is partnering with Silver Pictures on the sequel to DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. Gerry Lively is directing the pic, which is to be shot in Europe this year.

  • Summit Entertainment has acquired the script TIME TRAVEL FOR DUMMIES by Stephen Falk and Francis Stokes. Story concerns three hapless pals who make use of a time machine to get out of life's chores, with unexpected consequences.

  • Sony grabbed Franz Wisner's upcoming memoir HONEYMOON WITH MY BROTHER for Gold/Miller to produce. Wisner's tale began when, in the course of a month, he was demoted from his executive job and dumped by his fiancee days before they were to walk down the aisle. He decided to hold the wedding anyway, followed by a honeymoon with his estranged brother, Kurt. What followed was a two-year adventure that took the men around the world.

  • Todd Komarnicki will write a a modern-day remake of Alfred Hitchcock's romantic thriller TO CATCH A THIEF for Paramount and Original Film. Miami-set story will leave the basic plot intact: A reformed jewel thief scrambles to clear his reputation while being framed for a series of elaborate robberies from the super-rich.

  • Dominik Graf (A MAP OF THE HEART) will direct ROTER KAKADU, written by Michael Klier and Karin Astroem, for X Filme. Daniel Bruehl (GOOD BYE LENIN!) will star as one of the three leads in the pic which takes place in 1961 in the East German city of Dresden weeks before the building of the Berlin Wall. It revolves around a real-life underground jazz and rock 'n' roll club called the Roter Kakadu (Red Cockatoo).

  • Peter Care has come aboard to develop and direct TOWN CREEK for Warner Bros. Pictures. The horror spec script, sold to the studio by former English professor Dave Kajganich, centers on two brothers who experience a haunting.

  • DreamWorks has optioned Jennifer Vogel's memoir FLIM-FLAM MAN: A TRUE FAMILY HISTORY with Jez Butterworth (BIRTHDAY GIRL) attached to direct. Wonderland Films will produce. Vogel's tome describes growing up with an extraordinary criminal, John Vogel, as a father. An armed robber, arsonist and counterfeiter, Vogel was also a classical music enthusiast and failed novelist. However, while he wanted the finer things in life, he wasn't interested in the struggle necessary to earn them. When he became a fugitive after forging $20 million in currency, the author was forced to come to terms with the dad she loved. Butterworth will adapt the screenplay with his brother, Tom.

  • Tim Story (BARBERSHOP) will direct Marvel Comics' THE FANTASTIC FOUR at 20th Century Fox. Production is expected to begin in August with Constantin Film, Avi Arad and 1492 producing.

  • Director Gary Fleder (RUNAWAY JURY) is in talks to develop MGM's 9/11 drama COUNTER-TERRORIST based on the real-life story of FBI counterterrorism agent John P. O'Neill, who lost his life in the World Trade Center attacks. The project originated as an article in the New Yorker written by Lawrence Wright, who is adapting the story for MGM.

  • Nicole Kassell (THE WOODSMAN) will direct Michael Douglas the feature adaptation of Arthur Miller's play THE RIDE DOWN MT. MORGAN for Atmosphere Pictures. Douglas will also produce.

  • National Geographic Feature Films is developing KRAKATOA, an epic adventure/love story set amid the 1883 volcanic explosion off the coast of Java. Gavin Scott is scripting.

  • Producer John Goldwyn has optioned rights to Sabin Willett's novel PRESENT VALUE about a successful couple who loses everything when the husband is accused of insider trading and the wife consequently loses her prestigious appointment at a highflying law firm.

  • New Line Cinema picked up HONEYMOON WITH HARRY, an unpublished first novel by screenwriter Bart Baker, for Karz Entertainment to produce. The novel concerns a recovering self-destructive womanizer who loses his fiancee in a car accident two days before their wedding and ends up going on his honeymoon with the fiancee's father, who detests him, so they can scatter her ashes.

  • Universal has optioned Jennifer Weiner's upcoming novel LITTLE EARTHQUAKES about three pregnant women who meet in yoga class and become friends as they share the joys and pains of childbirth and motherhood.

  • John Goldwyn and producer Sara Colleton have optioned Sabin Willett's PRESENT VALUE about a have-it-all family -- headed by a toy company exec and a corporate attorney -- whose comfortable world is upended when the company's stock tanks and the husband is arrested for insider trading. The wife loses her job, their houses are repossessed and the husband begins questioning his life.

  • Director Mira Nair (VANITY FAIR) will oversee three features in a joint venture with India's largest poultry producer, Venkateshwara Hatcheries. Nair will choose the scripts and helmers as well as guide the projects. The poultry company will pick up the tab for the films -- estimated at a total of $10 million.

  • Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment have abruptly decided they are nixing the fire disaster pic 3000 DEGREES to have been directed by Danny Boyle. Though relatives of some of the victims and firefighter groups in Worcester had strongly opposed the making of the film, the decision to scratch production was made after the Intl. Assn. of Fire Fighters told producers that out of allegiance to those families, its members would not assist the pic's production.

  • John Woo has optioned Nintendo's video game franchise METROID. He will produce the sci-fi movie and has the option to direct. The movie will center on the origins of the game's female protagonist, sexy bounty hunter Samus Aran, and relate her adventures battling the insidious life-sucking Metroids and their controlling force, Mother Brain.

  • Lions Gate Films is fast-tracking its own zombie film, FLIGHT OF THE DEAD, with production set to begin in September. The story follows two zombies being shipped back to their homeland after they are captured. But when the deadly creatures come unexpectedly to life aboard an airplane, they begin to wreak high-altitude havoc.

  • Focus Features' new Rogue division has come aboard a U.S. remake of the Korean horror hit PHONE. The story centers on a reporter who changes her cell phone number after publishing a controversial article that results in death threats. But when a friend's daughter answers the new phone and exhibits increasingly bizarre behavior, the reporter begins to investigate a mysterious string of deaths that have haunted her phone number's previous owners.

  • Robert Rodriguez's resignation from the DGA has jeopardized Paramount's development of A PRINCESS OF MARS. As a DGA signatory, the studio is required to hire only guild directors. Rodriguez is in talks with Paramount, trying to come up with a solution.


    (NOT from the trades)

  • Jesus: The Action Figure. Check out the ad (and, if you wish, contact the filmmaker) at

  • Joshua J. Smith's TRIPLE THREAT is located at . It's described as taking "an 80's John Hughes type script and shoot it like a Hong Kong Movie and you have Triple Threat (the Asian version of Sixteen Candles on roller skates)."

  • Wo&Co wants you to check out some of their shorts at They recommend REQUIEM FOR A KREME, HOMECOMING, I LOVE YOU, SPORTS and U.B.E.

  • Anil D. Nataly was asked by stella artois (a very popular brand of beer in europe) to submit a short for their sites' competition. His 4 BARS EACH has made the finals and he wants you to check it out at (click on the cert 18 link).

  • There's a petition protesting the cancellation of "Angel" find out more at

  • The flash trailer for the upcoming DBPro/DPG Visions comic book series, Mike S. Miller's The Imaginaries, has debuted on both websites at and

  • The *new
  • (expanded) dates for Telluride IndieFest 2004 are now: August 31 - September 5 (making it a 6-day event)! To enter, please go to:

  • ST. AWESOME AND THE SHOTGUN KNIGHTS is currently in production with Felissa Rose playing a bad ass assasin chick, SLEEPAWAY CAMP's Jonathan Tiersten playing a corrupt cop that has a henchmen with tourettes, lead singer of the band CKY playing the lead villain Deuce, Texas Chainsaw Massacres Edwin Neal playing a gas station attendent, BASEketballs Dian Bachar, and Ron Jeremy slated to make a cameo as a perverted high school teacher. Expect a winter 04 release.

  • Writer/comedienne, Iris Bahr is in talks with director Mike Hurst and producer/writer Ben Trebilcook to bag the role of Federal Agent Josephine Mackenna in DAISY SCARLETT: SEMPER OCCULTUS.

  • Hollywood Film Festival is calling for entries for their Hollywood Screenplay Awards. For more info visit

  • Zachary Scott Theatre Center (ZACH) in Austin, TX will host a screening of THE LINE KING, the award winning documentary of the life of Al Hirschfeld, famed theatre and film caricaturist, 3:30 pm Saturday, April 17. His daughter, Nina (Hirschfeld) West, will also be joined by theatre historican and Al Hirschfeld's widow, Louise Hirschfeld, for a conversation with the audience. For more info on the theatre center, visit

    Until probably two weeks from now (due to unforseen circumstances) ...

    Elston Gunn

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