May 07, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

UnAmeri-Cannes
Could it be payback for our Jerry Lewis jokes? Cannes film festival reps have announced their 52nd lineup, unspooling May 12 to 23 — and only two purely American films made the final cut for the competition. Programming chief Gilles Jacob, who decried ”the increasing rarity of [artistically] ambitious projects at the Hollywood studios,” stuck to artier fare (though some of his picks do have major-studio distribution): John Sayles’ Limbo, with David Strathairn as a haunted Alaskan fisherman who finds love with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Tim Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock, a period piece about New York theater in the ’30s with a large ensemble cast that includes John and Joan Cusack, Bill Murray, and Susan Sarandon. Meanwhile, two Franco-American coproductions have Stateside cineasts intrigued. David Lynch will tell The Straight Story, about two brothers reunited after a 400-mile lawn-mower road trip. Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law) has the hitman opus Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Look for the loudest critical contretemps to emerge vis-a-vis Dogma, Kevin Smith’s allegedly sacrilegious comedy, which will show out of competition.

Open Mike
Now is the time on the movie version of Sprockets when we dance! Or is it? Three months ago, Mike Myers, Michael McCullers, and Jack Handy finished writing The Dieter Movie, built around Myers’ old Saturday Night Live character, the kinky German talk-show host. Producer Brian Grazer (EDtv) calls the script ”fantastic” and says though there’s no director yet, ”we’re gonna start in the fall,” anticipating a release sometime in 2000 by Universal. But eine minute, you cheeky monkeys. Myers’ camp will not confirm that the actor will star as the Teutonic nipple tweaker just yet. ”There’ll be no decisions until Austin Powers 2 opens [in June],” says his publicist. ”There are 10 things that could potentially happen.” One high-profile possibility: Warner Bros.’ live-action Scooby-Doo. Reportedly, Myers would write and star as Scooby’s sidekick Shaggy — how appropriate for the International Man of Mystery.

Mouths Wide Open
Having bared her flesh on Broadway, Nicole Kidman will now flex her pipes on screen. She’s been cast as a Parisian prostitute and nightclub star in the tentatively titled Moulin Rouge, a drama with music, set in 1899 from Aussie filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet). Ewan McGregor will costar as a young poet in love with Kidman’s courtesan.

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