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Reel World

News From Hollywood

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PREACHER MAN The latest actor to suit up for a comic-book role is X-Men’s James Marsden, who’d like to play the lead in Tank Girl director Rachel Talalay’s independently produced, $20 million adaptation of writer Garth Ennis’ DC series The Preacher (which ran for five years). ”It’s about a guy [who’s] struck by lightening while he’s preaching a sermon and inherits the power of the word of God,” says Marsden. ”It’s very dark.” Marsden is trying to figure out the scheduling, with X-Men 2 due to begin filming in June.

MUSIC MEN Director Philip Kaufman (Quills) is going to camp: He’s working with Robin Williams to develop his Liberace biopic. ”Robin’s dying to do it,” says Kaufman. ”Liberace was very kitschy, but America couldn’t really recognize that the guy could be gay — they wanted him to marry. There’s something wildly humorous about [that].” And then there are the outfits: ”[He] was the father of every performer who started dressing up, whether it was Marilyn Manson, Elton John, or Elvis Presley.”

PUPPET MASTER When it comes to creepiness, Marilyn Manson’s got nothing on the lead character in Gilroy, a dark, comedic short about an actress-stalking puppet that is making the rounds in Hollywood. Written by Andrew Jacobson and Adam Epstein (Not Another Teen Movie) and directed by Jim Ryan, an assistant editor at DreamWorks animation, Gilroy is opening doors for Ryan — even if those doors are just down the hall. Ryan recently got a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg: ”I thought I was in his parking space,” says the 29-year-old; instead, Ryan won a meeting with the live-action department. The fledgling director, who is also meeting with other studios, is pitching a feature-length comedy. This time, with no strings attached. (Additional reporting by Dave Karger and William Keck)