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The Deal Report: May 13, 2005

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MOVIES When the Deal Report called Will Arnett on the Illinois set of You Are Going to Prison, a ”dark comedy” in which he plays an ”entitled son of a judge” who meets Chi McBride (Boston Public) in the slammer, he still didn’t know if he and the Arrested Development gang would be back for a third season. But he’s not down! He and frequent AD directors Joe and Anthony Russo have cooked up two big-screen comedies: the tentatively titled Brad Can’t Lose, which ”delves into sibling rivalry,” and an untitled project that’s written by another AD pal, Chuck Martin, and stars Arnett as a slacker out to impress his high school dream gal. Oh, and from now on, Arnett will be working only with brothers named Russo. ”The Wachowskis asked me,” he sighs. ”I said, ‘You guys change your name or this isn’t gonna happen for Matrix 4!”’. . .Meryl Streep has signed to star in The Devil Wears Prada, which, of course, is not a sequel to 1989’s She-Devil but an adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s best- selling roman à clef about the fashion-mag world. Streep will incarnate the evil editrix said to be based on Vogue’s Anna Wintour. Mmmwaaaa. . . .Penélope Cruz is reteaming with her All About My Mother director, Pedro Almodóvar, on Volver, a comedy shooting in Spain this July. Excellent! Cruz will come with subtitles again!

TELEVISION No diss to America’s Office star Steve Carell, but the DR missesRicky Gervais. So yippee that he’ll be back with Extras, the first BBC/HBO comedy series co-production (no U.S. airdate has been set). ”I play a struggling actor [who] never gets a line in anything, and I come across A-list celebrities [like] Kate Winslet and Ben Stiller,” says Gervais, who co-wrote and codirected the ”quite filmic” series with his Office cocreator, Stephen Merchant. ”It’s about excruciating social faux pas.”. . .Two months out of the pokey and Martha Stewart can’t be stopped! There’s her Apprentice spin-off, and now NBC’s Martha, a daily daytime how-to show exec-produced by reality TV king Mark Burnett. Who says crime doesn’t pay?