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Jennifer Garner, Diane Lane, and other casting news

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Is Jennifer Garner the next Tom Hanks? Sort of. She’s in talks to star in ”13 Going on 30,” for which she’d earn $3 million, the Hollywood Reporter says. The paper describes the movie as a female ”Big,” about a gawky adolescent who is transformed into a popular, full-grown adult babe. Garner would shoot the film next year, when her hit series ”Alias” goes on production hiatus.

After all the turmoil Diane Lane has endured on screen lately — losing her boyfriend to a hurricane in ”The Perfect Storm,” getting into a messy and lethal love triangle in ”Unfaithful” — she should finally get to be relaxed and happy in ”Under the Tuscan Sun.” The Hollywood Reporter says she’s negotiating to star in the romantic comedy, based on Frances Mayes’ best-selling memoir about buying and restoring a villa in the Italian countryside. Writer/director Audrey Wells (”The Truth About Cats and Dogs”) will shoot the movie in September on location.

Rhymin’ crimefighter Underdog is flying into the multiplex. Disney is making a live-action movie version of the Saturday morning staple, Reuters reports. Like that other Saturday morning cartoon canine, Scooby-Doo, Underdog will be a computer-generated character in a live-action world. Disney hopes to have the movie in theaters by 2004.

”High Crimes”’ Jim Caviezel is hitting the road in ”The Highwayman,” Variety reports. He’ll play a man hunting for the serial killer who murdered his wife, a man who drives a 1972 El Dorado. Caviezel’s character also drives a 1970s muscle car. Sounds very fast and furious.

Great minds in Hollywood think alike, which is why we get two simultaneous movies about asteroids, or three simultaneous CIA thrillers this month, or two upcoming projects about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Variety reports that Fox is challenging Universal on the ancient Greek battlefield. Universal’s project, to be directed by Michael Mann (”Ali”), is ”Gates of Fire,” based on Steven Pressfield’s 1998 novel of that name. Fox has commissioned an update of its 1962 movie about the battle, ”The 300 Spartans.” The screenwriter is Erik Jendresen, who knows from dueling projects; his adaptation of Richard Preston’s ”Crisis in the Hot Zone” was scrapped when the similar, virus-themed ”Outbreak” got made first.

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