— PERRY WRINKLE Here’s how a director never wants to start his day: receiving a phone call informing him that his leading man will not be appearing on set that morning, or the next, or the one after that. In February 2001, director Reginald Hudlin (Boomerang) got news that Matthew Perry, then costarring with Elizabeth Hurley in Hudlin’s romantic comedy Serving Sara, would be taking a hiatus for rehab. ”It was a big surprise,” Hudlin admits, ”but the main thing is to be really calm, because if you’re freaked, everyone is.” Fortunately, there were only a couple of weeks of production remaining, so with Perry absent, Hudlin hit the editing room and put together a rough cut of the film. By May, Perry was back, and Hudlin was able to complete filming shortly before Hurley became pregnant with producer Stephen Bing’s baby (much to Bing’s apparent surprise). With Sara’s release scheduled for Aug. 23, Hudlin will likely next work on one of three projects he has in development: a family comedy, a political satire, or a musical. Says the director, ”At the beginning of my career, I used to make plans, but now I realize that’s insanity.”
— FURTHERMORE Disney’s Freaky Friday remake is in preproduction, with Annette Bening playing the mother and Mark Waters (The House of Yes) directing. While the search is still on for the teen who will play the body-switching role originated by Jodie Foster in 1976, we hear that Tom Selleck is being considered to play Bening’s clueless fiance…. Screenwriter Mike White (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl) seems to like actor Jack Black (Shallow Hal). White has written a new vehicle for Black, who previously starred in the scribe’s Orange County. Paramount will produce The School of Rock, a comedy about a musician who pretends he’s a fourth-grade substitute teacher.