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Who's making deals in the week of March 18, 2005

The biggest upcoming projects in entertainment

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MOVIES When the Deal Report learned that Molly Shannon was joining Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette biopic, we said, let us eat cake! ”I’m so excited!” squeals Shannon, who’ll play the aunt of Jason Schwartzman’s Louis XVI — and a confidant of Kirsten Dunst’s infamous queen. ”She’s a manipulative, bitchy character [who] has nothing better to do than sit around and dis people.” Délicieux!… How does Alejandro González Iñárritu describe his next movie, Babel (due ’06), which Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, and Gael García Bernal are negotiating to star in? ”It’s this theory about the butterfly that leaves Tokyo and there’s a storm in New York.” Come again? Says the poetic director, collaborating here for the third time with screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, ”It’s the last of the triptych of crossing stories that starts with Amores Perros, then 21 Grams. This one [takes place] on a global scale, in Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and Japan, and will be like a cultural prism that [shows] how we are all connected.” Gotcha. We think.

INTERNET The Blair Witch Project codirector Daniel Myrick has kept a pretty low profile since what he affectionately calls ”the fiasco with Blair 2.” The guy doesn’t much care for big corporate studio culture these days, so he wrote and directed The Strand, a ”modern-day soap” set in Venice Beach, Calif., that he’ll webcast on the strandvenice.com for 99 cents an ep, starting March 15. (Kevin Smith cameos!) ”My philosophy is, we keep it lean and mean and find niche audiences on the Web,” says Myrick. ”Then you’re not beholden to networks, executives, or advertisers, or anything.”

TELEVISION Hello, Lifetime? Deal Report here. Hey, why don’t you ring Rick Schroder to talk about the part he’s gonna play in your mostly female series Strong Medicine. Rickster still doesn’t have a clue: ”I’ve never had a discussion with anybody about the character. I don’t know if he’s a doctor. He could be a nurse for all I know.” Throw the guy a bone!