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Week in Review...

  • Dana Stevens (FOR LOVE OF THE GAME) will adapt THE DIVE for James Cameron and 20th Century Fox. Cameron is expected to direct the feature, which is based on the true-life love story between free divers Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras and his wife, Audrey Mestre.

  • William Moreing is adapting SCARED STIFF, with Scholastic Books authors Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner to pen the script. Story concerns a teenage brother and sister who live above their parents' mortuary business. They must stop the corpse of a mass murderer that has come back to life and is out for revenge.

  • Jason Todd Ipson will direct THE FIRST VAMPIRE, a horror feature set in 4th century Scandinavia, for Relativity Management and Asgaard Entertainment.

  • Todd Kessler ("Blues Clues") and his No Hands Prods. partner Rebecca Goldstein have reacquired from Miramax the fully developed teen romantic drama KEITH. The project, based on a script Kessler wrote with David Zabel, will mark Kessler's directorial debut. It's about a 17-year-old who thinks she's got it all figured out until she falls for a guy who has nothing to lose. No Hands is teaming up with Furst Films.

  • Paramount Pictures grabbed JERSEY DUKES, a pitch for a comedy that will be scripted by Fred Wolf (JOE DIRT) and produced by Lorne Michaels. It's a romantic comedy involving a New Jersey mob boss who sends a crew over to England to check on his daughter's impending wedding to a royal. The mobsters discover that England is ripe for mob expansion, especially once they are offered help by some dukes and duchesses in need of money to hang on to their country estate.

  • Nick Cassavetes is set to direct IRON MAN for New Line Cinema, Marvel Studios and Angry Films. Based on the long-running Marvel comic book series, it's the story of Tony Stark, a driven inventor and executive who straps on billions of dollars in armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage. The project is written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter.

  • Harold Ramis is directing an untitled laffer for Sony, penning the screenplay and producing with Owen Wilson, who'll likely star. Storyline of the historical comedy is being kept under wraps.

  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch parliamentarian who wrote the script for murdered filmer Theo Van Gogh's short pic SUBMISSION, is working on SUBMISSION II, the second part of what was intended as a trilogy on the treatment of women in Islamic society. Ali, who has been in hiding since Van Gogh was murdered Nov. 2, has denied rumors she might step down from her post in the liberal VVD party but said she would remain in hiding as long as the risk was considered high.

  • Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) is directing QIAN LI ZOU DAN JI (RIDING ALONE FOR THOUSANDS OF MILES), returning to the quieter themes of his earlier work. In his new pic, set in the 1920s, a Japanese man travels to China with his dying son to learn the local opera of Yunnan Province. Ken Takakura (POPPOYA) and Kiichi Nakai (WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH) star.

  • Director Mira Nair (VANITY FAIR) and writer Jason Filardi (BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE) are teaming on GANGSTA M.D., a Bollywood remake that's been set up at 20th Century Fox. Story focuses on a low-level gangster who keeps his criminal life a secret from his mother by telling her he is a medical doctor. When his mom discovers his criminal lifestyle and threatens to disown him, he's forced to do the one thing that would make her proud: become a doctor.

  • Katherine Laupot will write a paranoid thriller for Contrafilms to produce for New Line Cinema. Details on the film's story is being kept under wraps.

  • Glenn German and Adam Rogers will write MAD DOG, AN ENGLISHMAN for Kevin Misher Prods. Based on an original idea by Misher, the story is a fish-out-of-water action comedy about a rogue Chicago cop forced to travel the globe to solve a crime committed in his own back yard.

  • Rupert Wainwright will direct the remake of John Carpenter's classic horror thriller THE FOG for Revolution Studios. Debra Hill, David Foster and Carpenter are producing the film, which Cooper Layne is penning from the screenplay written by Hill and Carpenter for the original 1980 film.

  • New Line bought the rights to make a romantic comedy out of the pop culture phenomenon book HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU: THE NO-EXCUSES TRUTH TO UNDERSTANDING GUYS. Co-authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo will write the script. The book is a non-fiction advice forum for women who seem in denial when their men make excuses to keep them from committing. The hard fact is, the guy is probably not interested in the woman. The pic will be about a hard-line advice guy who falls for a woman who seeks him out because she can't figure out the men in her life.

  • Hoyt Yeatman will direct G-FORCE, a live-action/CGI family feature film, for Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney. Yeatman has been developing the project at his newly formed production venture Whamaphram Prods., which is set to produce both computer-generated and animated film projects integrating animated characters into live-action settings.

  • Chris Columbus will direct and produce SUB-MARINER, based on the Marvel Comics icon for Universal Pictures, from a script by David Self (ROAD TO PERDITION). Avi Arad and Kevin Misher are producing the pic along with Columbus and his 1492 Prods. The project is based on Marvel's first superhero, Prince Namor, a half-amphibian man from the kingdom of Atlantis. A troubled rebel with a fierce temper, he has both helped the human race and fought against it when humankind polluted his underwater kingdom.

  • Disney picked up the pitch OH HAPPY DAY, an English-language remake of the Danish pic of the same name, for Mandeville Films and Fuse Entertainment to produce. Pitch, penned by Heather Hach (FREAKY FRIDAY), centers on a woman and how her life was changed by her involvement with a gospel choir.

  • Tim McCanlies (SECONDHAND LIONS) will adapt the Piers Anthony novel SPELL FOR CHAMELEON for Warner Bros. Pictures and director Wolfgang Petersen. It's about a young man who lives in a country where everyone possesses magical powers and faces exile if he can't figure out what his own powers might be.

  • David Ayer (TRAINING DAY) will direct HARSH TIMES, starring Christian Bale, Eva Longoria and Freddy Rodriguez, about a coming-of-age story about two South Central L.A. men in their 20s. Bale and Rodriguez play the friends, with Longoria appearing as Rodriguez's girlfriend.

  • Beacon Communications has set up Joshua Safran's script RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS as a potential starring vehicle for Ashton Kutcher. Beacon will produce with Katalyst Films. It centers on a suicidal young man rescued by a reclusive novelist who inspires him to find his way in life.

  • Renny Harlin will develop and direct a feature based on the upcoming graphic novel FULL MOON FEVER for producers Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter. Story, created by comicbook writer Joe Casey for publisher AIT/Planet Lar, is set in the not-too-distant future. A group of blue-collar workers is sent to repair the deserted first lunar base on the dark side of the moon; they soon discover they're not alone as they fall prey to a pack of ravenous werewolves.

  • Spitfire Pictures have set Justin Haythe (THE CLEARING) to write SNITCH, a drama inspired by a PBS "Frontline" documentary. "Frontline's" David Fanning and Haythe will exec produce the crime drama about how a shift in U.S. drug laws toward federal mandatory sentencing minimums compels the guilty to snitch on others. In many cases, that means rewarding the guilty and punishing the not-so-guilty. Haythe will dip into the docu for the fact-based story of a man whose son makes a foolish mistake and stands to pay with a long prison stretch. The parents are coerced by prosecutors to buy their son's freedom by delivering up a dealer.

  • Mobius Entertainment has purchased THE CLEANER, a spec script by the writing team of Steven List and Astrid Neal. Comedy centers on a hellish temp hired by companies whenever they want one of their employees to quit. He meets his match when hired to get rid of someone who proves to be even more annoying than he is.

  • Bull's Eye Entertainment and FilmColony's Richard Gladstein have teamed to option Mark Svenvold's nonfiction book ELMER MCCURDY: THE MISADVENTURES IN LIFE AND AFTERLIFE OF AN AMERICAN OUTLAW. Aaron Mendelsohn will script the story of McCurdy, an American outlaw shot in 1911, who re-entered the public consciousness in the '70s when a movie crew preparing to shoot in a funhouse in San Bernardino County tried to move a hideous neon-orange mummy. It fell to the ground, revealing a full set of bones that turned out to be McCurdy's. Pic will begin after the skeletal discovery, as the outlaw is brought back to his hometown for a proper burial. It then delves back into the past and a major train robbery McCurdy was reputed to have orchestrated.

  • Charles Picerni will direct the comedy RETIREMENT for his own Corner Stone Pictures. Jack Warden, George Segal, Ossie Davis and Rip Torn are in talks to star in the pic, which follows four men who undertake a road trip to stop one's daughter from marrying the wrong guy. Billy Burke (LADDER 49) will play the romantic lead.

  • Florian Baxmeyer will direct Studio Hamburg Intl. Pictures' production of the English-language pic THE MYSTERY OF SKELETON ISLAND, the first in a trilogy based on THE THREE INVESTIGATORS books by the late Robert Arthur. Filming will start next year in South Africa.

  • Paramount Pictures grabbed PALMS FITNESS, the romantic comedy pitch from Nicholas Stoller for Dylan Sellers to produce. Story centers on star-crossed lovers -- a young man from a humble Nebraska background who takes a job as a trainer at a fitness club and becomes involved with a highly educated young woman. Tale's set in an upper-crust community outside Miami, where Stoller grew up.

  • Mike Figgis will direct New Line Cinema's GUILTY PLEASURE about a young couple who engage in a menage a trois as a last sexual fling before their wedding.

  • Jeff Nathanson will direct GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST for Walt Disney Studios. He will replace Mark Waters, who boarded the project in June. Story centers on a bachelor who goes to his younger brother's wedding, where he is visited by the ghosts of past girlfriends.

  • Matthew Vaughn is in talks to helm THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., a big-screen adaptation of the classic TV series, for Warner Bros. Pictures. The series, which ran on NBC from 1964-68, featured the espionage adventures of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, agents of United Network Command for Law Enforcement (U.N.C.L.E.) who fight the forces of T.H.R.U.S.H. (Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity).

  • Victor Salva will direct PEACEFUL WARRIOR, based on the Dan Millman bestseller, for Sobini Films, DEJ Prods. and Inferno Distribution It's the story of a top college gymnast who has a chance encounter with an unusual man at an all-night gas station that sets him on a spiritual quest and changes his life. Pic, adapted by Kevin Bernhardt, Anthony DiPietro and Bob Dolman, starts shooting Feb. 15.

  • The Mount Film Co. has picked up HIGH TIMES, a spec by Jason Mundy and Gregg Moscot, with Graham Aldis attached to direct. Story chronicles the lives of two Valley teens who become cocaine dealers in the 1980s.

  • Mark Gordon is producing SAFETY LAST, loosely based on the Harold Lloyd silent picture, at Sony. Playwright Keith Bunin will pen the screenplay. The 1923 film starred Lloyd as a store clerk who organizes a contest to climb the outside of a tall building; circumstances force him to make the perilous ascent himself. New version will also feature the elaborate, choreographed physical comedy that was the trademark of the early silent films. Earlier this year Sony Pictures Releasing acquired domestic theatrical rights to Harold Lloyd's films through the Harold Lloyd Trust. Theatrical engagements of the restored, uncut films will begin in early 2005, with retrospectives in major cities, after which the pics will be available to theaters on an individual basis.

    - Elston Gunn

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