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Week in Review...

  • Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE) will write JOHNNY BLAZE for DreamWorks/Imagine as a star vehicle for Eddie Murphy. It's an action comedy about an old-school rapper who retires and becomes a private eye who solves crimes within the hip-hop world.

  • John Leonetti will direct a sequel to THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT from a script being written by Michael Weiss for FilmEngine and Benderspink. Story will follow a new character who, like Kutcher in the first, finds he can travel through time. As he changes past events, though, they have unexpected consequences in the present.

  • Sony Pictures is in talks with Marvel Entertainment to turn KILLRAVEN, into a sci-fi tentpole pic, with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan in talks to adapt the 1970s comicbook series. Set in a future where mankind has been enslaved by an alien race, storyline follows a man who, though born in captivity, rises through gladiatorial battles to become the leader of a group of revolutionaries. Called the Freemen, his warrior-slaves unite in an attempt to drive the invaders off the Earth.

  • Jim Herzfeld (MEET THE FOCKERS) has been tapped by Disney to do a rewrite on TOY STORY 3, which Bradly Raymond (LION KING 1 1/2) is in talks to direct.

  • Writer Ronald Harwood and producer Mark Milln (both of BEING JULIA) are reuniting for a biopic of another stage diva, legendary ballerina Margot Fonteyn, for Hogarth Pictures. The Fonteyn movie is based on the bio by Meredith Daneman. It delves into Fonteyn's turbulent marriage to a Panamanian hoodlum, which saw her arrested for his part in a coup plot, and explores her extraordinary late-flowering onstage partnership with Rudolf Nureyev, which lasted until she was 60.

  • Larry Kasanoff will direct the 3-D toon FOODFIGHT! for Lions Gate Family Entertainment and his Threshold Animation Studios. The pic takes place in a supermarket that comes to life after hours. Hilary and Haylie Duff are among those voicing the pic. Movie includes promotion-friendly characters such as Mr. Clean, Charlie the Tuna and Twinkie the Kid. Kasanoff directs from a screenplay by Brent Friedman, Rebecca Swanson and Sean Derek, based on a story by Kasanoff and Joshua Wexler.

  • Matthew Vaughn (LAYER CAKE) is set to direct X-MEN 3 for 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment. Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, is set to return. Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart are still in negotiations. The project will begin filming in mid-July for release May 26, 2006, which marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.

  • DreamWorks has purchased the comedy pitch OPPOSITE DAY by Nicholas Stoller. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will produce. Project is about a man who learns to appreciate his life when everything in it is suddenly the opposite of what it normally is.

  • Jose Rivera (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES) will adapt COMPOSITIONS IN BLACK AND WHITE, the Kathryn Talalay book that's being developed as a star vehicle for singer Alicia Keys, for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Marc Platt is producing with Halle Berry and Vincent Cirrincione. Keys is attached to play Philippa Schuyler, a woman who grew up a child prodigy, the first child of color to become a nationally prominent musician. Schuyler was composing music by the age of 5, but racial and gender bias prevalent in the 1930s proved a crushing burden for her.

  • Ben Affleck will direct his adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel GONE, BABY, GONE for Touchstone Pictures. Pic will shoot this fall in Boston, and Affleck will not act in the pic. It's about a pair of private detectives in a working-class Boston neighborhood who are hired to search for a kidnapped 4-year-old girl. Alan Ladd, Dan Rissner and Sean Bailey will produce.

  • Paul W.S. Anderson will write and direct Paramount's DEATHRACE 3000, a remake of the cult Roger Corman pic DEATHRACE 2000, for Corman, C/W and Impact Pictures.

  • Atlantic Streamline has acquired Thomas Thonson's dark comedy spec ROCKWELL about a troubled teen who incites chaos while pursuing the car that he believes will solve all his problems.

  • Wych Kaosayananda (BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER) will write and direct ROUND FIVE, a pic about an Asian-American who spends 20 years as a Buddhist monk after accidentally killing a friend in a Thai kick-boxing bout. for producer Barrie M. Osborne (LORD OF THE RINGS).

  • Darren Lynn Bousman will direct SAW 2 for Twisted Pictures and Lions Gate. Shooting begins May 2 in Toronto for a Halloween release. Bousman wrote the screenplay, which he developed with Leigh Whannel, writer and co-star of the original pic, and James Wan, the pic's director.

  • Mark Helfrich is set to direct GOOD LUCK CHUCK for New Line Cinema. The romantic comedy is about a man who breaks up with his longtime girlfriend only to see her get engaged to the next guy she dates. The same pattern occurs with his next girlfriend and continues to repeat. He finds himself becoming a lucky charm for women who all want to date him, and a comedy of errors ensues. Josh Stolberg scripted.

  • John Lee Hancock will adapt and direct the revenge drama DEAD I WELL MAY BE for Universal Pictures and Anonymous Content. Written by Adrian McKinty, the book follows a street-savvy illegal immigrant from Ireland who lands a job as an Irish mob enforcer in New York in the early 1990s.

  • Ron Howard will direct THE SERPENT AND THE EAGLE for Paramount and Imagine about the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1520. Brian Helgeland will write a new draft of the script on how the Spanish conqueror Hernando Cortez plundered the Aztec nation aided by an Aztec princess-turned-slave.

  • Michael Lembeck (THE SANTA CLAUSE 2, CONNIE AND CARLA) will direct Tim Allen in THE SANTA CLAUSE 3 for Disney. Production will begin in November. Ed Decter and John Strauss are writing the screenplay. In the newest installment, Santa, aka Scott Calvin, struggles to keep his new family happy while battling Jack Frost, who is trying to take over Christmas.

  • George Hickenlooper will helm the coming-of-age thriller BLUE MOUNTAIN for Carson Signature Films and Chapman Ventures. Story, set in a small Southern town, concerns a stolen gun that may have been linked to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. Pic's backdrop stems from the theory that RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan did not act alone. Script was penned by Darby Connor. Beaux Carson, Heidi Levitt and Donald Zuckerman will produce.

  • Ben Affleck and Neo Art & Logic partners Joel Soisson and Mike Leahy have optioned Rick Carr's script DOES ANYBODY HERE REMEMBER WHEN HANZ GUBENSTEIN INVENTED TIME TRAVEL? Sci-fi comedy was one of three final scripts under consideration to be produced for the third season of "Project Greenlight." The other losing finalist, WILDCARD by Marshal Moseley, was optioned by Wes Craven through his Craven/Maddalena Films.

  • Salvador "Chava" Cartas will direct Gussi Films' MOTOCROSS, starring Iran Castillo, Daniel Martinez and Ximena Sarinana, about two brothers on their way to Las Vegas to attend the U.S. Motocross Open. Gussi has also committed to the next film by Jorge Ramirez-Suarez (RABBIT ON THE MOON) about five families who wreck their apartments while searching for rumored treasure hidden in the building. Gussi is expected to put up most of the budget.

    -- Elston Gunn
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