News Briefs

Brendan Frasier has been signed to star opposite Harrison Ford in an as yet untitled true-story based drama from Double Feature Films. Frasier plays biotech executive John Crowley whose two children were diagnosed with a fatal neuromuscular disorder, Ford plays the oddball scientific genius whom Fraser turns to for the pioneering treatments his kids need to survive.

Following weeks of infighting over his handling of contract negotiations, Doug Allen has resigned as national executive director and lead negotiator for the Screen Actors Guild. Allen announced that he is stepping down Monday afternoon in an email to SAG staff in which he thanked them, Variety reports. TVGuide.com’s calls to SAG reps in New York and Los Angeles were not immediately returned. David White, former SAG general counsel, is stepping in for Allen as the interim national director, while SAG senior adviser John T. Maguire will take over as chief negotiator. There are also reportedly plans to replace the entire prime time and feature negotiating committee.

The Devil Wears Prada actor Emily Blunt is in the running for a femme-fatale role in Iron Man 2, according to Variety. The British actress would play Natasha Romanoff, a Russian spy who doubles as the technologically enhanced Black Widow.

EmpireOnline reports that Neil Gaiman and Neil Jordan are teaming up on The Graveyard Book, Jordan directing Gaiman’s latest Newberry Medal winning book.

Keanu Reeves has signed on to 20th Century Fox’s big-screen adaptation of the acclaimed Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop. Set in 2071, 50 years after a massive lunar explosion decimated Earth’s population and necessitated the colonization of the entire solar system, Bebop tells the story of an elite team of Old West-style bounty hunters, or cowboys, needed to keep the peace in the new frontiers of space. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Reeves is attached to play Spike Siegel, a reformed criminal turned space cowboy and copilot of the Bebop, who, like a character from the actor’s past, is well-versed in kung fu and other combat skills, but is toting around quite a few personal demons.

A movie version of The A-Team is be back on track with Joe Carnahan directing and Tony and Ridley Scott producing. The film was last in development with John Singleton set to direct, and after he dropped out screenwriter Skip Woods wrote a draft of the script. The new film will keep the origin story we all know and love, only substituting the Gulf War for Vietnam.

Katie Holmes has signed on to star in a big-screen comedy kicking off in New York next month. According to Variety, Holmes will star alongside Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly and Paul Dano in The Extra Man, based on the novel by Jonathan Ames. The story centers on a failed playwright who begins supplementing his income by taking jobs as an escort for Upper East Side widows and who takes another aspiring playwright under his wing.

Since his Elite Squad won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and it hasn’t taken long for Hollywood to find a project for Jose Padilha’s particular talents. The Brazilian director has signed to direct the Robert Ludlum adaptation, The Sigma Protocol, for Universal, with shooting set to start in the summer. Based on Ludlum’s final completed novel, The Sigma Protocol has echoes of the Bourne franchise – it’s about a man on the run from a shadowy and hugely powerful organisation, for one thing. But the original Ludlum novel, first published posthumously in 2001, involved a Nazi conspiracy and a sinister castle high in the Alps, and all sorts of far-fetched derring-do. The movie version will instead take place in the here and now, transforming its hero, Ben Hartman, into a Wall Street hot-shot who specialises in the economy of ‘black swan events’ – events that are so large, rare and unforeseen that they dominate history (like World War I, or 9/11).

According to The Moving Picture News Strike Entertainment has acquired the rights to Shanna Swendson’s book Enchanted, Inc. and hired screenwriter Steven Rogers to pen the screenplay. The story centers on a small-town woman who comes to New York only to find out magic is commonplace in Gotham and has existed there for centuries. But because she is one of the rare creatures without the slightest bit of magic inside her, she can see through any spell. Rogers is known mostly for romantic comedies with his credits including Hope Floats, Stepmom, Kate & Leopold and P.S. I Love You. Universal-based Strike Entertainment’s recent credits include Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and the horror film Slither. The company has a number of films in development, including The Dallas Buyers Club, which stars Ryan Gosling, and an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s The Sigma Protocol. Enchanted Inc. was published in 2005.

Principal production on Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn featuring the intrepid Belgian reporter-sleuth of the same name has kicked off in Los Angeles. The first of a planned pair of 3-D motion-capture films Tintin stars Billy Eliot actor Jamie Bell in the title role and Daniel Craig playing the nasty pirate Red Rackham, whose descendants have a beef with Tintin’s pal, Capt. Haddock. Also onboard Tintin, due in theaters in 2011, are Brits Andy Serkis as Capt. Haddock, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as the Thompson twins, and Toby Jones as an as-yet unknown villain.

Sources:
E!
TV Guide
EmpireOnline
Variety
The Moving Picture News

28. January 2009 by Edward
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