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Reel World

News From Hollywood

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— HIGH-INTEREST BOND It’s always good not to take your job too seriously. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the 1999 Bond installment The World Is Not Enough, and are now on set for their new Bond project, Die Another Day, due to hit theaters in November and starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry. But the two are also behind a spy send-up, Johnny English, which Rowan Atkinson (a.k.a. Mr. Bean) is currently filming. ”You could say it was a conflict of interest, but we didn’t call [Johnny English] 007 1/2,” says Wade. ”And he didn’t drive an Aston Martin, he drove a Bristol.” But when English was put on hiatus after Sept. 11 — ”Suddenly a comedy with terrorist elements became not very funny,” explains Purvis — and the pair had to devote themselves full-time to Bond, William Davies (Twins) was brought on to rewrite English. ”Now,” says Wade with a laugh, ”[English] is driving an Aston Martin.” Once Purvis and Wade are done with Die, they’re getting out of the spy game: Their next project is The Wycked World of Brian Jones, a biopic about the late founder of the Rolling Stones. Jones will begin filming in September, with Stephen Woolley (The Crying Game) producing.

— FURTHERMORE Actress Bai Ling (Anna and the King) has been cast opposite Jude Law in the futuristic tale World of Tomorrow, in which Law will play the hero and Ling his adversary. According to Ling, Gwyneth Paltrow is negotiating for a part as well…. Charlton Heston is gunning for a renaissance. The NRA spokestar, who takes a beating in Michael Moore’s Cannes prizewinner Bowling for Columbine, is following up his cameo in the Planet of the Apes remake by lending his voice to a new cause: He’ll be heard as the chariot racer in an animated version of Ben-Hur.

(Additional reporting by William Keck)