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Who's making deals in the week of April 23, 2004

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TELEVISION Halle and Oprah. We’re not even gonna use their last names for this item! They’re teaming up for the Oprah-produced telepic Their Eyes Were Watching God, adapted from the Zora Neale Hurston classic. A few days after Halle won the Oscar, Oprah asked her to play Janie. ”And I think I about had a conniption,” Halle says. ”I’ve always wanted to play that character.”

MOVIES And now, a happy Hollywood story. Fledgling filmmaker Bret Carr posted a funny two-minute spoof of The Passion on passionoftheheist.com (”Bagels and lox!”), and the attention (315,000 hits and counting) won him a distribution deal for Lou, the scant-budgeted festival fave he wrote, directed, and stars in, about ”a violent, homophobic stuttering boxer-turned-inspirational speaker.” Best of all, Carr says he pitched Lou to Steven Spielberg years ago, when Spielberg stopped to admire his street-painting oeuvre. ”Spielberg said, ‘I love that story, it’s just too independent in scope. Make your career, invite me to a screening, and we’ll talk about what’s next.”’ But, says Carr, ”he’s a tough guy to get a hold of.”… Hellboy was heavenly, so what’s Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman, doing next? ”I’m actually prepping a film to direct in the fall,” he says. ”It’s called Wooden Lake.” It revolves around two twentysomething brothers. And Hellboy 2? ”I don’t know what Guillermo [del Toro, the director] has up his sleeve,” Perlman says. ”But I know him. He’s going to try to top himself.”