NO ORDINARY JOE Now that Tom Cruise has handed Joe Carnahan the reins to ”Mission: Impossible 3,” what will become of the other projects the in-demand Narc director was circling? As Carnahan starts work on M:I-3, scheduled to bow on Memorial Day 2004, progress has slowed on what was expected to be his next film, the Paramount/DreamWorks drug-cartel drama ”Killing Pablo,” starring Javier Bardem. Though Carnahan is still working on Pablo in his increasingly limited spare time, another project he was planning, the Harrison Ford thriller ”A Walk Among the Tombstones,” is in development purgatory now that its star and busy director are no longer attached.
TWEEN SCENE Hilary Duff and Amanda Bynes are about to graduate to the big time. On the heels of ”Agent Cody Banks”’ $14 million weekend, Disney Channel staple Duff is gearing up for the May 2 big-screen version of her quirky comedy ”Lizzie McGuire” and is set to star in Warner Bros.’ ”A Cinderella Story.” (We’ll see whether she appears in MGM’s just-announced Banks sequel.) ”It’s her combination of empowerment and vulnerability that’s accessible,” says Disney Channel exec Rich Ross, who agreed to end McGuire’s 65-episode run so that Duff could launch her film career. ”She’s authentic — you won’t see her on the cover of Maxim.” Meanwhile, Nickelodeon alum Bynes, who now stars on The WB’s ”What I Like About You,” plays a free-spirited teen in ”What a Girl Wants,” opening April 4. ”Everyone wanted this part,” says director Dennie Gordon. ”Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Alexis Bledel…but when I met Amanda, I knew she was the one to carry the movie. The boys think she’s hot, and the girls think she could be their best friend.”