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This week in Hollywood

This week in Hollywood — ”Jurassic Park III” began filming, while ”The Perfect Storm” director Wolfgang Petersen may direct Mel Gibson in ”Endurance”

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ENDURANCE TEST
Wolfgang Petersen is obviously inspired by guys with the guts to stick it out. The Perfect Storm director has spent several years developing Endurance, about explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led a group of adventurers to safety after a trip to Antarctica went awry in 1914. Originally penned by Ron Bass — ”I haven’t worked on it in 100 years,” he says — the script has since fallen to at least five other writers, including Dan Gilroy (Outbreak) and Jeff Maguire (In the Line of Fire), but has yet to pass muster. Nevertheless, Petersen thinks he’s found his hero: ”Mel [Gibson] is very interested. We’ve had a couple of conversations about it.” Gibson confirms this, saying: ”It’s a good story.” But he may have to express a little more enthusiasm, thanks to the newest manly man in town. ”Mel would be great,” says Petersen, ”but now there’s also Russell Crowe.”

THREE’S COMPANY
Speaking of Crowe…you may think you’ve got the worst job in the world, but that honor belongs to George Freeman, the very unlucky William Morris agent who represents both Dennis Quaid and Crowe, Meg Ryan’s newest, um, costar. Making things especially cozy for all: Ryan is repped by the agency as well.

CASTING ABOUT
Alessandro Nivola (Face/Off) will play a graduate student opposite Sam Neill in Jurassic Park III, directed by Joe Johnston (October Sky). Filming begins this month…. John Goodman has joined James Van Der Beek and Selma Blair in Happiness director Todd Solondz’s latest romp through suburban hell. The still-untitled film began filming in New York and New Jersey this week.
Additional reporting by William Keck

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