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Steven Spielberg bumps Tom Cruise to make ''A.I.''

Plus, the Harry Potter movie, Lance Bass, Tom Green, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more

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Steven Spielberg
Lisa Rose/Globe

REEL DEALS Steven Spielberg has decided to bump shooting ”Minority Report” with Tom Cruise back to 2001 in order to make his next project, ”A.I.”, based on a script outline by the late Stanley Kubrick. Spielberg is personally fleshing out the screenplay about a young robot boy (”A.I.” stands for Artificial Intelligence), and he plans to start shooting this July. Somewhere in heaven, Kubrick is looking down and saying, ”I don’t like the way that announcement sounded, let’s try it again!”… According to Variety, Warner Bros. has narrowed down its list of possible directors for the Harry Potter movie to four: Joining longtime front-runners Brad Silberling and Chris Columbus in the finalist ring are Terry Gilliam (”12 Monkeys”) and Alan Parker (”Angela’s Ashes”), two directors more than likely to give young Potter fans nightmares…. Guillermo del Toro (”Mimic”) has signed to direct ”Blade: Bloodhunt,” the sequel to Wesley Snipes’ 1998 vampire movie.

HE’S OKAY! Miraculous news from the ‘N Sync health front: Lance Bass thought he might have broken his ankle while rehearsing for ”Saturday Night Live” last weekend, but now he’s found out that it’s just a sprain, according to MTV News. Which means he’ll need a bandage instead of a cast, which unfortunately might not fetch as much on eBay when it comes off.

CASTING Tom Green is developing his feature-film debut, ”Freddy Got Fingered,” about a slacker who moves back in with his parents. So if you loved him molesting a goat on MTV, wait until you see it on the big screen in surround sound!… The casting announcements for ”Pearl Harbor” feel like they’ve been going on longer than WWII, and here’s another one: Kate Beckinsale (”Brokedown Palace”) will play a nurse who falls in love with Ben Affleck…. Paula Marshall (”Snoops”) and Dan Cortese (”Veronica’s Closet”) are teaming for the NBC pilot ”Tucker,” about a woman who moves back to her Texas hometown to run a hockey team with her ex-boyfriend. And with these two stars’ previous track records, this new romantic drama can’t help but be a — be a — well, it can’t help but stick to the tape…. There will be a new regular on ”Will & Grace” next season: Shelley Morrison, who has guested as Megan Mullally’s Hispanic housekeeper, will join the cast permanently.

BIG DEAL ”The Sopranos” creator David Chase has just extended his contract with HBO (reportedly for eight figures), leaving him in control through the show’s fourth season and giving him an opportunity to make his feature directorial debut. Chase will make the romantic drama ”If I Fell,” which is set in the music industry and will likely be distributed by Warner Bros. or New Line, which are both part of Time Warner, as is HBO (and Entertainment Weekly, for that matter). The film is from his own script, and he’ll likely start shooting it after ”Sopranos”’ third season is done.

TRIUMPHANT RETURN MTV is going to continue to pat teen bands like Backstreet Boys on the back with one hand while giving them a wedgie with the other. Its recent parody of boy bands, the TV movie ”2Gether,” was such a ratings success that the network is turning it into a regular series.

IN CHARGE Sarah Jessica Parker has been picked as the host of this year’s MTV Movie Awards, which will air on June 8. ”I am simultaneously thrilled, humbled, and terrified,” she said, apparently mistakenly thinking she’s been chosen to emcee the Oscars.

IN BAD SHAPE The count now stands at 18 NBC affiliates that have refused to air ”God, the Devil and Bob” because they think it’s blasphemous. While having a few stations back out makes for good publicity, having 4.23 percent of the country unable to see the animated comedy is bad news for NBC. Considering the show’s lousy reviews and middling first-night ratings, NBC may not stick with it for long. Makes you wish Brooke Shields’ sitcom had been called ”Suddenly Susan and Jehovah,” so we wouldn’t have had to endure it for four seasons.

LAWSUIT The creators of ”Homicide,” Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, are suing NBC for fraud and breach of contract, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The pair allege that the network undersold the syndication rights to the drama, a similar suit to the one that David Duchovny filed against Fox regarding ”The X-Files.” NBC denied the charges.

SPLIT Kiefer Sutherland has filed for divorce from his wife of three years, Kelly Winn Sutherland. The couple has been separated since June 30, according to the Associated Press.

IN COURT Venerable film critic Rex Reed pleaded not guilty yesterday to allegedly trying to shoplift three CDs at a New York Tower Records. The prosecutors said if he admitted guilt, they would only sentence him to a one-day counseling program on shoplifting, but he refused, according to Reuters. ”If I go to shoplifting class, fine,” said Reed, who maintains he just put the music in his pockets and forgot to pay. ”I’ll review their movie, but I’m not going to plead guilty…. I’m not guilty of anything but stupidity.” And for that you’re sentenced to a one-day course on Adam Sandler movies.