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''Tomb Raider'' is gearing up for a summer 2001 theatrical release

Plus, who will narrate the big-screen treatment of ”Grinch”?

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Pamela Anderson, Barb Wire
Gramercy Pictures

A warning to any actress who thinks she’s up to the task of playing power-punching, butt-kicking ”Tomb Raider” Lara Croft, from the man who would make her a big-screen star: ”No movie made from a videogame has ever worked.” That said, director Simon West (”Con Air”) is hoping his summer 2001 adaptation of the phenomenon will be to Paramount what ”Batman” was to Warner Bros.: a big-budget, billion-dollar box office franchise. West replaced Stephen Herek (”Mr. Holland’s Opus”) after Herek jumped to the Mark Wahlberg starrer ”Metal God,” and rehired ”Raider”’s first set of writers, Patrick Massett and John Zinman.

”I read all the back drafts and the one I liked best was theirs,” says West. ”It’s the classic Hollywood development system where you go back to where you started.” Now, West is searching for an unknown actress who can start playing the ”James Bond of archaeology” this June. ”We don’t want to ram a Hollywood star into this thing, because Lara is visually [known],” West says. ”To some, she’s the perfect woman, though others would say she’s a total male fabrication of what a woman should be.” One tip for aspiring talent: Leave the Wonderbra at home. West says that when it comes to ”his Tomb”-raiding type, he’s more of an ”Alien”-bashing Sigourney Weaver than a ”Barb Wire”d Pamela Lee kind of guy.

Here’s a gig that requires no toning, just tone: narrating this winter’s live-action adaptation of ”Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” starring Jim Carrey. Producer Brian Grazer says he and director Ron Howard considered using Boris Karloff’s voice-over from the 1966 animated TV special, but decided ”we didn’t want to create a bridge for comparison between the two.” They have also casually discussed Kevin Spacey (”he has a pretty cool voice,” says Grazer) and rapper Busta Rhymes, but Grazer says they have yet to determine who has the perfect pitch.

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