STAR STRUCK Less than three months after her split from husband Jim Threapleton, Kate Winslet is reportedly dating ”American Beauty” director Sam Mendes. The BBC quotes Mendes as saying, ”We are having a relationship. It’s in the early days, and we are very happy.” He tells London’s Daily Mail, ”I am delighted to express my happiness at being with Kate.” He also assures the newspaper that, although he met Winslet before her separation from her husband, ”we didn’t acknowledge what we were feeling about each other until sometime in September. It was absolutely appropriate, as I was not in a relationship and neither was Kate. I was very careful to ensure that I was not endangering her marriage. Indeed, it was already over, and I came along well after.” Several days, at least.
’11’TH HOUR Not many saw ”Out of Sight,” and ”Ocean’s 11” hasn’t even opened yet, but George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh are hoping to work together a third time. The actor and director are hoping to attach themselves to the remake of ”Solaris,” the 1972 sci-fi classic by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem. James Cameron is producing the picture, which is expected to shoot in April.
Meanwhile, Clooney is making his directorial debut with ”Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” the Chuck Barris biospoof, which features his ”Ocean’s” costar Julia Roberts, who is also appearing in Soderbergh’s current production of ”Full Frontal” (now on its third title in as many months), his sort-of-sequel to ”sex, lies, and videotape.”
On Dec. 6, Clooney, Soderbergh, Roberts, and others from the ”Ocean’s” cast (Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt, and knee surgery permitting, Don Cheadle) will fly to an undisclosed location in Turkey for a dinner and premiere screening with U.S. troops.
REEL DEALS Also in the synergy department: If you were New Line Cinema, and you had the opportunity to adapt Cartoon Network’s ”Samurai Jack” into a movie, would you make an animated or a live-action feature? Why not both? That’s the plan, with the live version going to ”Rush Hour 2” director Brett Ratner. Writing the screenplay will be series creator Genndy Tartakovsky, who’s also developing the ”Powerpuff Girls” animated feature for Warner Bros. All these companies are AOL Time Warner outlets (as is EW.com), so expect cross-promotion aplenty….
Martin Lawrence plans to star in ”The Bomb,” a comedy that’s being described as an urban gloss on ”10.” Lawrence would play the Dudley Moore part of a man undone by his obsession with a beautiful woman. The film has been in development for ages, under a series of writers (including Darryl Quarles, who cowrote Lawrence’s ”Big Momma’s House” and ”Black Knight”), which explains the dated slang of the title, as well as the pre-Sept. 11 assumption that viewers will go to a movie with the word ”bomb” in the title. Or maybe Warner Bros. just wanted to make it easy for Gene Shalit to write his review….
After taking on aliens and Sonny Liston, Will Smith is ready to take on the tobacco industry. The ”Ali” actor is in talks to star in ”Runaway Jury,” based on the John Grisham novel about a tobacco lawsuit. Mike Newell (”Donnie Brasco”) is negotiating to direct….
Dude, where’s my Shaolin fighting style? Seann William Scott is joining Chow Yun-Fat in ”Bulletproof Monk” Based very loosely on the underground comic, ”Monk” will feature Chow as a martial arts master who takes under his wing a streetwise American boy (presumably not played by the erstwhile Stifler). Directing will be music video veteran Paul Hunter (”Lady Marmalade”)….
A record 51 foreign-language films, five more than last year, have been submitted for Academy Award consideration this year. Under Oscar rules, each country may submit only one movie. Countries entering the competition for the first time include Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, and Uruguay. Submissions need not have opened in the U.S., although those that have or will soon include ”Amélie” (France), ”No Man’s Land” (Bosnia-Herzegovina), ”Our Lady of the Assassins” (Colombia), and ”The Son’s Room” (Italy).