Parker Posey to star in Amy Sherman-Palladino pilot
The film actress is on board as the lead in The Return of Jezebel James, the anticipated Fox comedy pilot from Amy Sherman-Palladino, the Gilmore Girls creator who left the show in the wake of the merger between UPN and The WB. In the new pilot, Posey will play a single children’s book author who asks her younger sister to carry a baby for her. (For more details on the pilot, read EW.com’s interview with Sherman-Palladino.) In other pilot-casting news, Matthew Lillard will lead the NBC ensemble comedy Area 52, about government employees who guard an extraterrestrial, and Anthony Anderson is attached to Fox’s drama K-Ville, about police officers in post-Katrina New Orleans. (Hollywood Reporter)
In the works: A Milli Vanilli movie
The story of Milli Vanilli, the duo who saw their Best New Artist Grammy revoked when it was discovered they didn’t actually sing on their debut album, is coming to the big screen: Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to make a film following their rise and fall, with Jeff Nathanson (screenwriter of Catch Me if You Can and the upcoming Rush Hour 3) attached to write and direct. Fabrice Morvan, the surviving member of the group (Rob Pilates died in 1998), is cooperating with the project, which, Nathanson says, will tell the Milli Vanilli story from their point of view. (Variety)
Al Franken announces bid for U.S. Senate seat
Is he good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, do people like him? Al Franken, the comedian, political commentator, and cofounder of the left-wing radio station Air America, announced on Wednesday that he is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota. ”I’m not a professional politician. I know I’m going to make some mistakes and this is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 55-year-old told listeners on his final broadcast of ”The Al Franken Show.” (Reuters)
Arctic Monkeys, the Killers win Brit Awards
At the U.K. version of the Grammys, the bands each picked up two awards: Arctic Monkeys won kudos for best British group and best British album, while Las Vegas’ the Killers were awarded best international act and best international album. Other winners at Wednesday’s ceremony included Justin Timberlake (international male solo artist), Amy Winehouse (international female solo artist), Nelly Furtado (female solo artist), and the reunited boy band Take That (best British single). (Reuters)
Fall Out Boy debut at No. 1
The rockers’ fourth disc, Infinity on High, sold 260,000 copies to debut as the week’s No. 1 album, according to SoundScan figures. Other notable debuts: High School Musical alum Ashley Tisdale’s Headstrong entered the chart at No. 5, and country singer Jason Michael Carroll made a strong debut at No. 8 with his Waitin’ in the Country. The Grammys also boosted sales for a few of the artists who performed on Sunday’s broadcast: Justin Timberlake, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, and Mary J. Blige all saw increased sales of their most recent albums. (Variety)
Don Cheadle is ShoWest’s male star of the year
The Oscar-nominated actor, whose upcoming movie Reign Over Me (with Adam Sandler) is due March 23, will be feted at the annual film-industry convention, held March 12-15 in Las Vegas. Stars earning the honor in recent years include Hugh Jackman (2006), Matt Damon (’05), and Jude Law (’04). (Hollywood Reporter)
Will Arnett to star in Space Invader
The actor, best known for his role as GOB on TV’s Arrested Development, will also co-produce the Fox Atomic big-screen comedy, about a love triangle on a space station. (Variety)
Gregory Smith, Christopher Eccleston on board for The Dark Is Rising
In 20th Century Fox and Walden Media’s big-screen adaptation of Susan Cooper’s fantasy series, Smith (TV’s Everwood) plays the older brother of the teenage hero (played by Alexander Ludwig), who travels through time to battle evil. Eccleston (who currently plays Claude, the invisible man, on Heroes) is the movie’s villain. Shooting is slated to begin later this month, with Ian McShane and Frances McDormand also starring, and David L. Cunningham directing. (Hollywood Reporter)
Legendary Disney artist dies
Peter Ellenshaw, who won an Oscar for his work on Mary Poppins and created visual magic in live-action films 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Treasure Island, died Monday at age 93. The artist began working for Disney in 1947 and stayed there until 1979 (though he did briefly come out of retirement in 1990, to do matte paintings for Dick Tracy). (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Cindy Adams: Will a class-action case be brought against TrimSpa in the wake of Anna Nicole Smith’s death?
Rush & Molloy: Daniel Baldwin will reportedly leave a Malibu rehab center tomorrow.
Ben Widdicome: Apparently, Imelda Marcos has become a YouTube fan, uploading films of herself from her heyday as the Philippines’ First Lady.