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This week in Hollywood

This week in Hollywood — ”The Mod Squad,” Robert Redford, and Noah Taylor made movie news the week of April 3, 1998

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The Mod Couple

At press time, Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan) and Casey Affleck (brother of Good Will Hunting‘s Ben Affleck and best known for his small role in that film) were vying to costar opposite Claire Danes in MGM’s update of The Mod Squad. ”They are both very good actors,” says Michael Nathanson, president of MGM. ”It’s going to be a tough call.” The other main characters in the film version, to be directed by Scott Silver (johns), are expected to be cast by early April. With Danes’ arrival, the role portrayed by Michael Cole in the 1968-73 TV series became one of the most sought after for young actors. Of the original crime-busting trio, only Clarence Williams III, who played the dashikied Linc Hayes, is definitely on board for a cameo — although the filmmakers are not ruling out appearances by Cole and Peggy Lipton.

Noah’s Arc

Noah Taylor, who won raves for his performance as tortured teen prodigy David Helfgott in Shine, has emerged with another intense character-driven role. The Australian will star in the indie film Simon Magus, a drama written and to be directed by newcomer Ben Hopkins. Taylor plays an outcast, considered brilliant by some and an idiot by others, who becomes friends with a poetry-writing Polish count played by Rutger Hauer. Embeth Davidtz, last seen in The Gingerbread Man, costars as a mutual friend.

He Got Game?

He’s played an incompetent thief, a con artist, and an outlaw, but no role as wicked as a master of government covert operations. Now Robert Redford, who’ll be seen this summer in The Horse Whisperer, is attached to star in the Universal espionage thriller Spy Game as a 30-year veteran agent who, on the eve of retirement, gets involved in the case of a lifetime.

Furthermore

Isn’t it ironic? DreamWorks’ Terry Press, one of the highest-ranking female marketing executives in Hollywood, may end up with a credit on a movie from arch-rival studio Disney. Press, who followed Jeffrey Katzenberg from Disney to DreamWorks, will likely get a producing credit on one of three comedy pitches her husband, Andy Marx, and his writing partner Tony Peyser set up at Walt Disney Pictures.

Sony Pictures Entertainment plans to announce April 1 that, to cut costs, it will bring its Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures under one banner. Amy Pascal, president of Columbia, is expected to run what will become Columbia/TriStar Pictures.

An executive shuffle is imminent at Warner Bros.: Not only is the studio looking to replace recently fired marketing chief Chris Pula, it’s also expected to shake up its production ranks in the wake of such box office duds as Fathers’ Day, The Postman, and Sphere.