Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
December 01, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

SMOKE BREAK
Although it’s been smoldering for years, the adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s 1994 novel Thank You for Smoking has finally been reignited at Icon, Mel Gibson’s production company. A satire about the tobacco industry, Smoking ”needs to be politically incorrect in every way,” says Gibson. ”The first script just wasn’t nasty enough for me, but now I think we’re getting a line on it.” Another Buckley satire, Little Green Men, about aliens in Washington, D.C., is in development at New Line.

TAXI DRIVEN
Joel Schumacher (Tigerland) is in talks with DreamWorks to direct Collateral, a drama about a Manhattan cab driver who realizes he’s playing chauffeur to a hitman. (Mimi Leder, director of Pay It Forward, was previously attached to the project.) ”I may do it if I can get the right cast,” says Schumacher, who adds that because of the anticipated strike, ”everyone is booked right now.” The director is currently shooting Phone Booth, a thriller that will reteam him with Tigerland star Colin Farrell.

FURTHERMORE
Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) will begin filming his next project, Ararat, in June. Producer Robert Lantos describes the film as ”a contemporary piece that deals with the events of the Armenian holocaust.” Egoyan has also written the script. Lantos is currently in production on Claire’s Hat, in which Gina Gershon and Juliette Lewis take each other on in a case of mistaken identity.

Additional reporting by Daniel Fierman

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