William Keck and Gregory Kirschling
June 13, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT


Lady-killer Tom Cruise is nearing a deal to play a contract killer in Collateral, the new DreamWorks project from Ali director Michael Mann. He’d play an assassin who kidnaps a cabbie to chauffeur him around on a one-night killing spree…. A star is born! Bryce Dallas Howard — Ron’s daughter — is in negotiations to replace Kirsten Dunst in The Woods, M. Night Shyamalan’s next scary movie…. Nicolas Cage (Fire Birds) has John Hancocked to star in Jerry Bruckheimer’s National Treasure, about a treasure map scribbled on the back of the Declaration of Independence…. Director McG (Charlie’s Angels 2) tells us he’s McCircling a biopic of motorcycle man Evel Knievel: ”It’ll be a sort of Raging Bull take on his life.”

BOOKS Successfully launching the second phase of his plan for total world domination, Houston Rocket Yao Ming is writing a memoir for Miramax, planned for fall 2004.

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