News Briefs

According to Empire Online McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator Salvation) has signed with Disney to direct the update of 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.

In further Disney news from Empire, Garrett Hedlund (Eragon, Friday Night Lights) has signed on to star in Disney’s Tron sequel, now titled simply Tron joining returning cast members Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner who will be reprising their original roles.

The government’s $1.34 billion coupon program that would help viewers offset the cost of analog-to-digital converter boxes reached its funding limit Sunday. Now, anyone who requests one of the $40 coupons will be placed on a waiting list, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration says. There are currently 103,000 people on the list. The boxes range from $40 to $70, and can be purchased without a coupon. The shortage is being attributed to a late surge in coupon requests, December request more than doubled Octobers. Digital transition will take place on Feb. 17. When the switch happens, the more than 70 million TVs in the U.S. that receive free, over-the-air broadcast signals via an antenna or “rabbit ears” will be unable to watch their television without a digital converter box.

New Line has hired Eagle Eye director DJ Caruso to make Jack The Giant Killer. The film takes a grown-up look at the Jack And The Beanstalk fairy tale, according to Variety. The plot will see a princess getting kidnapped which throws a long-standing peace accord between men and giants into chaos.

According to WENN Twilight’s Robert Pattinson was forced to drop out of Rosario Dawson’s (Seven Pounds, Eagle Eye) indie pic Parts Per Billion due to scheduling conflicts with New Moon, the sequel to Summit’s Twilight.

Reelz says that Adam Shankman (The Pacifier, The Wedding Planner) will produce an adaptation of the 1958 musical Bye Bye Birdie. Shankman directed the hit musical Hairspray in 2007 and is a former choreographer. Columbia Pictures hopes the musical vet will breathe some new life into the long-gestating adaptation, which has undergone a number of different incarnations, including a proposed re-imagining with a hip-hop star in the lead.

The newest name to be added to the call sheet for Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables is Mickey Rourke. Rourke will be joining Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Forest Whitaker. Rourke will play an unscrupulous arms dealer who becomes the go-to guy for a group of mercenaries planning to topple a South American dictator.

Variety reports Quantum Quest, the independently financed 3-D animated film being made in conjunction with NASA, has assembled its voice cast. William Shatner, Chris Pine, James Earl Jones and Hayden Christensen will topline the voice cast of the $10 million pic that is being financed by Taiwanese toonshop Digimax. Samuel L. Jackson, Amanda Peet, Jason Alexander, Sandra Oh, Mark Hamill, Abigail Breslin and Spencer Breslin round out the voice cast. Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong also will lend his voice, marking his bigscreen debut. Directed by Dan St. Pierre (a supervisor on The Lion King and The Little Mermaid) and Harry Kloor (producer of the series Earth: Final Confilct), Quantum Quest will bow first in Imax and subsequently in conventional theaters in late 2009.

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