Damon, Wahlberg tapped for boxing movie
Paramount is set to put Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg in the lead roles for The Fighter, a drama about boxer ”Irish” Micky Ward’s rise to the lightweight title with the help of half-brother Dicky, a boxer-turned-trainer who rebounded after struggles with drugs and crime. The actors will commit after evaluating a rewrite by House executive producer Paul Attanasio. Shooting will begin in early summer in Massachusetts. Like the real-life Ward brothers, Damon and Wahlberg are both from Massachusetts. (Variety)
Matt Dillon to star in new Coppola film
Dillon will star in Tetro, which Coppola is directing and producing. The Coppola screenplay centers on an artistic Argentine immigrant family marred by fierce rivalries, handed down through several generations. The director says the story is reminiscent of his own life and upbringing in New York. He plans to start shooting in Buenos Aries later this year. (Variety)
Julianna Margulies, Kiele Sanchez eye pilots
Margulies (ER) is set to return to TV for Fox’s drama pilot Canterbury’s Law. She would play the lead character Elizabeth Canterbury, an edgy and seasoned defense attorney. Margulies will also produce. This will be her first pilot since she left ER in 2000. Sanchez (Lost) is in final talks to join ABC’s drama pilot Football Wives. She will play the pregnant wife of a rising football star, a good-natured woman with a secret. (Hollywood Reporter)
William H. Macy, Meg Ryan to make The Deal
Macy and Ryan will star in the movie adaptation of Peter Lefcourt’s comedic novel about Hollywood. Macy co-wrote the script with Steven Schachter, who also will direct. Shooting begins in March in South Africa. Macy will play a down-on-his-luck Hollywood producer who cons a major studio into financing a $100 million script. When the leading man gets kidnapped, the picture is shut down, so the producer and a Hollywood studio exec use the funds to make a totally different movie without telling the studio. The movie was originally written for Showtime but was adapted for the big screen when the channel decided to cut back on original movies. Macy has spent the past two years on the project, raising nearly $8 million, all from non-Hollywood investors. (Variety)
Mark Ruffalo joins Brothers Bloom
Mark Ruffalo will be featured alongside Adrien Brody, Rinko Kikuchi, and Rachel Weisz in the cast of Endgame Entertainment’s The Brothers Bloom. He will play the older brother in a conman team with Brody’s character. Kikuchi will play the brothers’ partner in crime. The movie was written by Rian Johnson, who is also directing. (Variety)
Omar Sharif sentenced to probation
The 74-year-old actor pleaded no contest to hitting a Beverly Hills parking attendant in the face in June 2005 and was fined $1,000 and sentenced to two years probation and anger management counseling. The suit filed against Sharif claimed the actor was drunk when he hit the attendant. The Egyptian-born actor starred in Funny Girl and Lawrence of Arabia. (Reuters)
Queer Eye‘s Carson hosting new reality show
Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) will host Lifetime’s How to Look Good Naked, a half-hour reality series based on the successful British show. The show takes one woman each episode who hates her body and wants a makeover, and tries to change her perception of herself without resorting to plastic surgery, dieting, or exercise. The pilot will begin shooting this month. (Variety)
Leah Thompson to star in Lifetime movie
Thompson has been cast as the lead in Lifetime’s A Life Interrupted, a drama inspired by Debbie Smith, a rape survivor who successfully lobbied for anti-rape legislation. The movie will be the centerpiece of Lifetime’s Emmy-winning campaign, ”My Lifetime Commitment: End Violence Against Women.” In April, Lifetime will launch its fifth annual Stop Violence Week in Washington, which will include a premiere screening of Life Interrupted and a special appearance by Debbie and Rob Smith. The movie will debut on Lifetime at 9 p.m. on April 23. (Reuters)
VH1, BET teaming for new show
The two Viacom-owned networks are set to embark on an unprecedented collaboration by jointly developing new series pilot Wifey, produced by Queen Latifah. BET president of entertainment Reginald Hudlin (House Party and Everybody Hates Chris) will direct. If picked up, the series would air in the same time slot on both channels. The networks are splitting production costs. (Variety)
SAG launches online casting directory
The Screen Actors Guild is launching iActor, a free online casting directory that allows members to upload headshots, resumes, and video and audio clips to create profiles available for search by casting professionals. The site will launch this spring. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: The Fifty Cent/Irv Gotti feud almost came to a head at a Grammy party.
Cindy Adams: Drew Barrymore commemorates Valentine’s Day by remembering her first boyfriend.
Rush & Molloy: Lydia Hearst turned down Britney Spears’ offer to be photographed holding one of the heiress-model’s purses.
Ben Widdicombe: Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis and former L.A. Laker and The Dirt actor Rick Fox were seen kissing at a Beverly Hills restaurant.