STEVENS SPIEL He’s co-founder and president of the prolific indie production house Franchise Pictures and has just been named president of Franchise Classics, so please don’t harp on the former acting career of Andrew Stevens, the square-jawed 44-year-old son of Stella, who’s in Sundance shepherding movies starring the likes of Cameron Diaz (Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her) and Kevin Spacey (The Big Kahuna). “It’s like being Ted Kennedy and hearing ‘Chappaquiddick, Chappaquiddick’ every time I make a new deal,” says Stevens, who starred in the miniseries The Bastard back in 1978, as well as numerous Skinemax thrillers a decade later. In his new role, Stevens will greenlight and oversee the company’s smaller projects. ”I wouldn’t call it low-budget product,” says Stevens. ”That sounds like a negative. What do we call ’em? Golly. I would call ’em specialty pictures…pictures that studio-based indies are keen to distribute but didn’t want to risk actually making.” — Steve Daly
CAN YOU DGA IT? I see red, people. Such might be the sentiment of likely Oscar contender Anthony Minghella (The Talented Mr. Ripley) after the Directors Guild of America ignored him for a feature-film nomination Jan. 24. In fact, it’s a green season for DGA nominees. Of the five nominated directors — M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Michael Mann (The Insider), Frank Darabont(The Green Mile), and Sam Mendes (American Beauty) — only Darabont has received a feature-film DGA nod before, for 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption. The snub all but dashes the Oscar hopes of Minghella and fellow shutout Norman Jewison (The Hurricane). Only four times in 51 years has the DGA’s best director — to be named March 11 — not won the Oscar. Were Minghella or Jewison to take home the gold, it would be the first time ever for a DGA non-nominee. “I don’t think they stop hoping,” says an awards insider. “But given the history, the odds of them winning an Academy Award are now kind of slim.” — Gillian Flynn
FURTHERMORE Rumor has it that Cate Blanchett will not have Hannibal on her plate. Instead, she’ll star with Giovanni Ribisi and Keanu Reeves in the psychological thriller The Gift for director Sam Raimi. This would mean that Raimi won’t be able to fit Spider-Man in his schedule, leaving David Fincher and Chris Columbus as the top candidates to bring the web slinger to the screen.