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Elston Gunn's WEEKLY RECAP

  • Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi will write the feature adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX for Universal Pictures and director Sylvain Chomet. Gary Ross is producing through his Larger Than Life Prods.

  • J.T. Petty is writing/directing THE BURROWERS for Lions Gate Films and Blue Star. Horror film set in the Wild West is described as ALIEN meets THE SEARCHERS.

  • Mira Nair will direct Kal Penn, Zuleikha Robinson, Irrfan Khan and Tabu in THE NAMESAKE, an adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning novel, for Fox Searchlight, Indian United Television Motion Pictures (UTV Motion Pictures) and Japanese Entertainment Farm. Kate Hudson is in talks to join.

  • Lorene Scafaria sold her comedy script THE MIGHTY FLYNN for Warner Independent and Heyday Films. It's about a corporate efficiency expert whose job it is to fire people and whose whole life is turned upside down when he is sacked.

  • Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro will adapt Jennifer Weiner's novel LITTLE EARTHQUAKES for Universal. The book centers on a trio of pregnant women who meet in yoga class and become friends as they share the joys and pains of childbirth and motherhood.

  • Peter Greenaway plans to shoot NIGHTWATCHING, a film on the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. The story will concentrate on the creation of "The Nightwatch," considered by many to be Rembrandt's most famous painting, and the impact it had on his private life.

  • John Curran (WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE) will direct Edward Norton in period drama THE PAINTED VEIL for Warner Independent Pictures and Stratus Film Co., with Naomi Watts in talks to star. Set in 1922 London, story concerns a restless married woman who sets out on an odyssey of self-discovery that begins with cheating on her conservative scientist husband and ends with battling cholera in the Far East. Ron Nyswaner adapted the script from the novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

  • Seven Arts Pictures has optioned the rights to the script DEAL, written by Gil Cates Jr. and Marc Weinstock, which Cates is attached to direct. The story is set against the world of high-stakes poker and follows an ex-gambler who meets up with a hot-shot, card-playing college student and teaches him a few things about the game. Then the aging pro returns to the game he left 30 years ago and must face his protege in the finals of the world series of poker.

  • Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft will write the remake to the 1965 Jerry Lewis comedy FAMILY JEWELS for Paramount/Nickelodeon. Project, which has been in development for several years, centers on an orphaned rich girl who must choose between relatives fighting for custody of her while discovering that her chauffeur is also her best friend.

  • Veteran animator and visual effects supervisor Kevin Kutchaver has written and will direct the retro sci-fi comedy RESCUE ROCKET X-5 for his new production company Sheer Force of Will Pictures. Company plans to make two or three pics a year, all shot on HDV.

  • Marcus Raboy (FRIDAY AFTER NEXT) will direct WHITEBREAD for New Line Cinema. Project tells the fish-out-of-water story of a wealthy white teenager who, in order to avoid losing his inheritance, is forced to join his grandfather's blue-blood fraternity -- only to discover it has become all black. Peter Cohen wrote the initial draft of the script; Rob Lieber wrote the latest.

  • David Steinberg will write LOVE AT SECOND BITE, a sequel/update of 1979's LOVE AT FIRST BITE, for Tony Thomopoulos and George Hamilton. Hamilton also is producing and is in talks about reprising his role as Dracula. The pic takes place 25 years later, centering on Dracula's Americanized son, who has rejected his family's heritage and is getting married to a human. Trouble ensues when he learns that his vampire relatives are coming to America for the wedding.

  • Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio and screenwriter John Logan (THE AVIATOR) are in early talks develop a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1948 classic DRUNKEN ANGEL for Warner Bros. Kurosawa's film, which was set in postwar Japan, centered on a young criminal who is being treated for tuberculosis by an alcoholic doctor. Scorsese will also direct a big-screen adaptation of Japanese author Shusaku Endo's book SILENCE for Hollywood Gang.

  • Warner Bros. snapped up Kim Barker's romantic comedy spec LICENSE TO WED about a young couple who must endure a hellish marriage prep course.

  • Twentieth Century Fox has picked up Eileen Walls's script WHO'S YOUR MOMMA about a group of bored and frustrated suburban mothers who form a garage band and begin to write and perform songs about the often-ignored realities of motherhood.

  • Mount Film Co. has optioned and commissioned a rewrite of scribe Gregg Moscoe's original screenplay MAN, WOMAN, CAR, which is inspired by a true story concerning a battle between legendary sports car manufacturer Enzo Ferrari and one of his early customers, a wealthy American woman.

  • William Butler will direct Ventana Media Group's feature DEAD GRRL, written by Bruce Sakow, about a group of teens who throw an impromptu party while babysitting a pampered pageant child, who turns out to be a killer.

  • Katt Shea sold her new script THE TUTOR to Phoenix Pictures for Robert Chartoff and Lynn Hendee to produce. Shea also is attached to direct the pic, based on Peter Abraham's latest suspense book. Story revolves around an affable, brilliant man who moves in with a family to help their son improve his SAT scores. After earning their trust, he then subtly exploits each household member, imperiling the family.

  • Cheech and Chong are in the final stages of writing a script for a feature film and hope to start production sooner rather than later.

  • James Cox (WONDERLAND) will direct the supernatural thriller THE REAPING for Warner Bros. and Dark Castle. Story, based on a spec by Brian Rousso and penned by the team of Chad & Carey Hayes, is centered on a woman who debunks religious phenomena coming to a small town.

  • Robert Cort Prods. has picked up Kara Holden's romantic comedy pitch MY GIRLS about a strict school principal whose quiet, conservative fiancee turns out to harbor outrageous secrets.

  • David Marconi will direct the geopolitical thriller THE INFORMER from his own script for Mimi Polk Gitlin's newly formed Lion Eyes Entertainment. It's a post-9/11 thriller centered on an FBI agent who battles bureaucracy to root out terrorists.

  • DreamWorks has picked up BLADES OF GLORY, a comedy by Jeff and Craig Cox set in the world of men's figure skating, with Red Hour Films' Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld producing with First Entertainment. Story concerns two former rivals who, stripped of their gold medals from the 2002 Winter Games and permanently banned from the men's singles Olympics figure skating competition, exploit a loophole in their suspensions and join forces to compete in the pairs category.

  • Anton Corbijn will direct a feature biopic of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, based on the biography TOUCHING FROM A DISTANCE, for Claraflora, Deborah Curtis and Tony Wilson.

  • Paul Greengrass is set to write and direct THEY MARCHED INTO SUNLIGHT, an adaptation of the Vietnam War-era book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning David Maraniss, for Universal and Playtone. The book focuses on parallel stories that took place on two days in October 1967. On one side of the world, U. of Wisconsin students protested against Dow Chemical for its production of napalm. The peaceful antiwar demonstration escalated into a riot. At the same time, a platoon of U.S. soldiers was ambushed by Viet Cong. A fierce firefight claimed the lives of 61 Americans. The two unconnected events galvanized opposition to the war on college campuses.

  • Jeff Lowell has sold the romantic comedy pitch FETCH to Sony for Original to produce. Pic is described as LOOK WHO'S TALKING but with a dog instead of a baby.

  • Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) is in talks to direct SCOTT PILGRIM'S PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE for Universal Pictures and Marc Platt Prods. The project tells the story of a young slacker who meets the woman of his dreams but finds that he can win her only by first battling and defeating her seven evil ex-boyfriends. It's based on the graphic novel SCOTT PILGRIM VOLUME 1, written by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

  • Thomas Dean Donnelly and Josh Oppenheimer will adapt AIRBORN for Sommers Co. and Universal Pictures. Based on a children's book by Kenneth Oppel, the project tells the tale of a 15-year-old boy who works on a luxury airship that is part dirigible, part passenger cruise ship. When pirates attack the airship, the boy, along with a female partner, embark on an adventure that includes strange flying creatures, secret lairs, nasty villains and uncharted volcanic islands.

  • Marcus Nispel (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE) will remake the 1987 Norwegian suspense/actioner PATHFINDER for Phoenix Pictures. Original pic followed the exploits of warring tribes in ancient Norway. But in the new version, with a script by screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis, story concerns the little-known skirmishes that took place between the Vikings and Native Americans a thousand years ago. When a Viking boy is left behind, he is adopted and raised as an Indian despite his straw-blonde hair. When a Viking raid wipes out his village, he becomes his adopted people's savior in battling the Norsemen Ken Watanabe is in talks to star.

  • Ericson Core will direct the Disney/Mayhem Pictures football drama INVINCIBLE based on the true story of a Philadelphia Eagles fan who emerged from a publicity stunt open tryout to become an impact player on the team.

  • Martin Campbell will direct CASINO ROYALE, the 21st James Bond film, which also was the title of Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, published in 1953.

  • Julie Taymor has come on board to direct the musical ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE for Revolution Studios. The project, which will feature 18 songs by the Beatles, is a love story about a British boy and an American girl set against the backdrop of the social upheaval of the 1960s. Although not about the Fab Four, the musical will use their songs to drive the narrative, with the actors singing and dancing to the classic tunes. Script was written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (THE COMMITMENTS). Production is expected to begin in September for a Thanksgiving 2006 release.

  • Columbia Pictures and Mandate Pictures have picked up YEAR OF WONDERS, a drama written by Tim Bogart to be produced by Alan Riche, Peter Riche and Peter Schlessel. The story centers on a father who is recovering from the death of his wife and takes his daughter on a trip to experience the Seven Wonders of the World and in the process reclaim their lives.

  • Microsoft has hired Alex Garland (28 DAYS LATER) to adapt the HALO videogames into one movie. Garland's screenplay will then be offered to studios as a complete script and rights package.

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