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Week in Review ...

  • TV writer Jon Vitti has been hired to pen DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS for DreamWorks' remake of Francis Veber's French comic hit Le Diner de cons ("The Dinner Game") starring Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G. In the movie, a Paris publisher holds a weekly dinner party and challenges his friends to bring along the most pathetic guest possible. Vitti and Cohen worked together on Cohen's HBO skein Da Ali G Show. Vitti's has also written Fox's The Simpsons and King of the Hill. He was also a story consultant on Fox's ICE AGE and will write sequel and THE SIMPSONS feature

  • Writer Dave Kajganich has been hired by Paramount to adapt Stephen King's novel PET SEMATARY into a screenplay. This is the second writing assignment for the horror remake; earlier this year Mike Werb and Michael Colleary (FACE/OFF) were hired to work on the project. It appears that their draft is now dead. Kajganich is carving out a name for himself in the horror genre within Hollywood. He's working on a remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS for Warner Bros. and a remake of THE CHANGELING for Focus Features.

  • THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT writer/director team Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber are onboard to pen and helm A Cool Breeze on the Underground for New Line Cinema, based on the five mystery novels by Don Wilson. Underground centers on "a 23-year-old graduate student whose college education is paid for by "The Bank," an exclusive New England institution that keeps its wealthy clients happy and out of trouble. The Bank also gives him an education on how be a private investigator."

  • Scribes John Brancato and Michael Ferris have penned the script TERMINATOR 4, with help from helmer Jonathan Mostow. The trio also worked together on T3: RISE OF THE MACHINES. It is unclear if Arnold will make an appearance in this fourth installment, also no word on the story as of yet.

  • Gavin O'Connor will direct Jude Law in DEXTERITY for Paramount Pictures. Law also is producing the film with his production partner Tom Sternberg and Greg O'Connor of Solaris. The project is adapted from the book by Douglas Bauer and revolves around two employees from a factory town in New York. Karen Croner adapted the book.

  • Alan Ball has optioned TOWELHEAD, a provocative debut novel by Alicia Erian to be published in April. Ball will write the script and hopes to make his feature directing debut on the film. Set during the Gulf War, the book is a coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who must navigate a sexual obsession with a bigoted Army reservist under the oppressive eye of her Lebanese father.

  • Columbia Pictures is in negotiations to option the upcoming novel LAST ONE IN, by journalist Nicholas Kulish, for Michael De Luca. Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson will adapt the book for the bigscreen. It's the story of a mediocre male gossip columnist who is mistakenly sent to Iraq to cover the war as an embedded reporter. At first he tries to get himself sent home, but after he bonds with the soldiers and shares their experiences, he emerges as a heroic war correspondent.

  • Writer/director Michael Bregman is onboard to helm his script CARLITO'S WAY, THE BEGINNING, with Jay Hernandez set to topline. The Beginning is a prequel to Brian De Palma's 1993 CARLITO'S WAY.

  • Place your bets and deal the cards. Forest Gump scribe Eric Roth has penned the script LUCKY YOU for Warner Brothers, with Curtis Hanson at the helm and Eric Bana set to topline the project. You centers on "high-stakes professional poker"

  • Even superheros can't retire. Writer Jordan Roberts has been tapped to rewrite Adam Rifkin's original draft of ZOOM'S ACADEMY, for Revolution Studios, based on the graphic novel "Zoom's Academy" for the Super Gifted by Jason Lethcoe, with Pete Hewitt at the helm and Tim Allen to topline the project. Academy is the story of "an out-of-shape former superhero called back into action to save the world"

  • Mike Clattenburg will direct a feature based on Ricky, Bubbles and Julian, the main characters of "Trailer Park Boys," a Canadian television show about three dope-smoking ex-convicts living among friends and family in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park. Ivan Reitman will executive produce.

  • Tony Grisoni adapted BROTHERS OF THE HEAD from a Brian Aldiss short story about twins joined at the liver who form a rock band in the 1970s. Keith Fulton and Lou Pepe (LOST IN LA MANCHA) will direct.

  • Kevin Macdonald is directing an adaptation of Giles Foden's novel LAST KING OF SCOTLAND about the relationship between Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and a young British doctor.

  • Writer/director Billy O'Brien is in pre-production on the animatronic monster movie ISOLATION, about a genetic experiment which goes horribly wrong on an Irish farm.

  • Ondrej Hrebejk has dropped out of directing I SERVED THE KING OF ENGLAND, an adaptation of one of the most beloved classics of Bohemian literature, is again changing directorial hands. Bohumil Hrabal's ribald tale of life behind the scenes at a glamorous old-world Prague hotel will now either be directed by Jiri Menzel or Jan Sverak.

  • New Line snapped up Jake Shapiro's father/daughter college comedy script, WEIRDO. Pic centers on an overprotective father who's about to drop off his daughter at college. When the dad, whose dream is to become an FBI agent, becomes aware of all the potential temptations awaiting her, he manages to adopt various disguises to protect her virtue.

  • Universal has purchased the adventure comedy pitch DELAWARE MCCHOAD by Josh Greenberg for the Sommers Company to produce. Pic is a spoof on bullwhip-cracking action adventure movies centering on a wealthy but inept archaeologist who searches for artifacts nobody wants.

  • Gren Wells will script the romantic comedy HOW TO TELL HE'S NOT THE ONE IN 10 DAYS, the sequel to HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS for Paramount and producers Lynda Obst and Christine Peters.

  • Gavin and Greg O'Connor will write CLARK & LEWIS, a revisionist take on the explorers who were sent West by Thomas Jefferson in search of the mythical Northwest Passage. Gavion O'Connor (MIRACLE) will direct and and Greg O'Connor will produce through their Solaris banner for Universal Pictures.

  • DreamWorks has hired Ann Peacock to script the feature ENLISTED about a female Naval officer and a noncommissioned seaman who engage in a strictly forbidden romance.

  • Hong Kong horror directors Oxide and Danny Pang (THE EYE) will direct the English-language SCARECROW for Blue Star Pictures and Ghost House Pictures. Written by Stuart Beattie (COLLATERAL) from an original script by Todd Farmer, the project is a horror tale that follows the lives of a family moving into a run-down sunflower farm. As the farm begins to revive after years of disrepair, the family begins to notice uncomfortable and alarming changes in their father's behavior. Shooting begins in the spring.

  • Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah (creators of the new ABC drama "Life as We Know It") are writing a remake of REVENGE OF THE NERDS for Fox Searchlight and producers McG and Stephanie Savage of Wonderland. Stars Adam Brody and Brett Harrison are co-producing.

  • Jim Fall has signed on to direct the English-language remake of Thai comedy-thriller 6IXTYNIN9, to be produced by Bohemian Films and Shadowcatcher Entertainment. Story follows a young woman desperate to shake up her uneventful life by appearing on a reality show, who returns home to find that dead bodies are stacking up in her apartment.

  • Paul Schrader is set to write the script for TORCH, a drama about the obsessive relationship between singer Ruth Etting and Chicago bootlegger Moe Snyder. Pic will be a reteaming of the SEA OF LOVE team of Al Pacino, director Harold Becker and producer Martin Bregman. (Father Geek note: Sounds like a remake of an old James Cagney-Doris Day flick)

  • New Line Cinema picked up HECKLED, a comedy script from the writing team of Jeremy Haft and Ed Gonzalez. The revenge tale centers on a heckler who causes an NBA superstar to get suspended only to find his own life in chaos when the roles are reversed and the heckler becomes the heckled. The project has been developed with an eye for Vince Vaughn to star as the heckler.

  • Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox Animation and Bagdasarian Prods. will partner to produce ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, a live-action/CGI feature based on the 1950s and '60s icons. Fox plans to use a flesh-and-blood actor for the role of Dave Seville, the Chipmunks' "dad," with Chipmunks Alvin, Simon and Theodore to be CGI.

  • Sheldon Turner has teamed with producer Benderspink for BLOWBACK, an action film that Turner will write about a rescue mission to free a kidnapped engineer in Iraq.

  • Alan Swyer is making the doucmentary BEISBOL for Rhino Film about the struggles of Latinos in 1948 to become a dominant force in baseball around the world.

  • Howard Franklin will write THE BIG YEAR, a comedy being produced by Red Hour and Deuce Three Prod. at DreamWorks. Pic, an adaptation of the nonfiction book by Mark Obmascik, is about three rival bird-watchers who brave hazardous weather, competitor tactics and unhappy spouses to win the North American Big Year, an annual bird-watching competition.

  • Rob Lieber has been hired to rewrite DRIVING WHILE INFATUATED for Regency Enterprises. With Elizabeth Allen set to direct, the project follows a love-struck girl who, after flunking her driving test, borrows her stepfather's vintage muscle car for a wild night out with her friends. Allen and scribe Kyle Long co-wrote the original script.

  • Franc Reyes (EMPIRE) will rewrite and direct a remake of RKO's boxing drama THE SET-UP. The original centered on over-the-hill boxer Stoker Thompson and his battle to get back into the ring and winning form despite complaints from his wife.

  • Colin Gray and his sister, Megan Raney, are writing and directing FREEDOM'S FURY for Cinergi Prods. and Wolo Entertainment. The film revolves around the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the epic 1956 Olympic water polo semifinal match between Hungary and Russia. (Father Geek note: Nothing really to do with this flick but,Back when I was in college in the 60's my varsity debate partner for a while was a beautiful and smart blond amazon in pre-law named Cyndi who recounted great firsthand stories of the 1956 uprising. Her parents were resistance fighters who died standing up to the Russian tanks that occupied their country while the rest of the world just stood by and watched on TV, and as a 10 year old her badly wounded uncle dropped her and her younger brother into the ancient city sewers where they swam out of the beseiged capital, trekked across Europe to England, and she eventually landed in Texas... great stuff... not as cool as water polo though.)

  • New Line Cinema has partnered with Spyglass Entertainment to make the ping-pong comedy BALLS OF FURY written by Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. Garant will direct with Lennon taking a role in the film.

  • Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("Alias") will work on the script of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 3 to be directed by J.J. Abrams.

  • Fernando Leon is directing PRINCESAS (PRINCESSES) about the lives of two prostitutes.

  • Grammnet Prods. has acquired Ali Russell's ISIS pitch as a vehicle with feature and TV potential. Family action-adventure, described as being in the vein of ROMANCING THE STONE meets BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, centers on a young girl who finds the bracelet of Isis and inherits her powers in addition to awakening a dark force. Project's based on the Darren Davis comicbook of the same name.

  • Terence Winter ("The Sopranos") will script LOCKED AND LOADED, starring 50 Cent, for Paramount/MTV and producers Jimmy Iovine and Paul Rosenberg. It's the tale of an orphaned street kid who becomes a powerful drug dealer, then turns away from crime to pursue a promising music career.

    -Elston Gunn

    [Sources: Hollywood Reporter, Variety]

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