News Briefs

Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) has signed on to play Sho’nuff in a remake of Berry Gordy’s 1985 cult classic, The Last Dragon, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The plot focuses on a Bruce Lee-obsessed martial-arts student who masters the power of “the glow” and faces off with the neighborhood heavy. As originally played by the late Julius Carry, Sho’nuff, aka the Shogun of Harlem, goes around shouting, “Am I the baddest mofo lowdown around this town?” To which his henchmen reply: “Sho’nuff!”

Marvel has tapped Joe Johnston, the effects whiz (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark) turned director (The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park III), to direct its hugely anticipated comic book adaptation First Avenger: Captain America, according to the Hollywood Reporter. First Avenger will be set in WWII, as was the original comic, and pit the iconic flag waver against archnemesis Red Skull.

Gary Oldman is joining Denzel Washington in Allen and Albert Hughes’ postapocalyptic action drama Book of Eli, playing the despot of a small town seeking a powerful book guarded by a lone warrior (Washington).

All major actors from the vampire flick Twilight have signed on for the 2010 sequel New Moon. The pending sequel, which centers on mortal heroine Bella (Kristen Stewart) and werewolf Jacob’s (Taylor Lautner) growing friendship, has many fans worried whether fan favorite Lautner will be prepared to step into his enormous werewolf shoes. “I’ve got this to say about Taylor. He told me the other day that he had gained 14 pounds since I last saw him,” Hardwicke told USA Today.

Samuel L Jackson is teaming up with writer-director Brian Goodman to try to make fire-fighter drama The Fallen. Actor-turned-director Goodman, who is winning rave reviews for his Boston-set crime pic What Doesn’t Kill You, has been busy working on the script for the film, which follows the lives of a group of Boston firemen and deal with one of them becoming hooked on painkillers after an injury.

Christopher Ciccone will make his feature directorial debut with Usonian Entertainment’s teen thriller Twist. He has directed music videos for his sister Madonna. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Usonian’s Nathan Folks and Andrew Nagel will produce the feature, co-produced and written by Jay Milner and Karyn Milner of Clouded Leopard Prods. No production date has been set.

Dylan McDermott, Zoe Saldana, Lake Bell, Nick Stahl, Paz Vega and Shannen Doherty have joined the ensemble cast of Burning Palms, an indie drama satirizing Los Angeleno stereotypes via five interlacing story lines. says that Michael Cera and real-life girlfriend Charlyne Yi are starring in the unconventional comedy Paper Hearts. According to The Hollywood Reporter, indie film insiders are excited about about the indie, starring Michael Cera and others from Judd Apatow’s talent stable, that is expected to debut at next year’s Sundance Film Festival. “It’s pretty much ‘the one,’ at least as far as festival programmers are concerned,” one seller said. Those familiar with Paper Hearts describe it as part-documentary, part-scripted comedy about the real-life relationship between Cera and his girlfriend, Charlyne Yi, another member of the Apatow acting crew (she played the pigtailed stoner in Knocked Up). Like Cera’s recent Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, music also is a key theme. Nicholas Jasenovec, a relative unknown who has worked on past Apatow titles, makes his directing debut with the film. The film will debut at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, (aka The Jonas Brothers) along with younger brother Frankie will make their first feature-film foray toplining Walter the Farting Dog. Based on the hugely popular kid books, the film focuses on some musical siblings who must take care of their aunt’s odiferous pooch. According to Variety, another set of famous siblings obsessed with bodily-function hijinks, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, are in talks to direct for 20th Century Fox.

Natalie Portman is leading the Don Roos-directed family drama Love and Other Impossible Pursuits as a young mother trying to connect with her stepson.

Adrien Brody makes a run for it as The Courier, an indie film about a deliveryman trying to avoid the cops and hand over a prized package to a mysterious mobster.

USA Today

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