Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster pair for Nim’s Island
Abigail Breslin and Jodie Foster are close to signing deals to star in Nim’s Island, a fantasy movie based on the book by Wendy Orr and Kerry Millard. The story is about a young girl who is lost at sea with her scientist father and communicates electronically with a person she imagines to be a character from a book but is in fact a reclusive author. Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin (Little Manhattan) will direct for 20th Century Fox. Shooting starts this summer. Separately, Breslin has also been cast as Kit Kittredge in Picturehouse and HBO Films’ American Girl movie, inspired by the popular line of dolls and accessories. Writer Ann Peacock (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) penned the script, and a director will be set shortly. Filming begins June 4. (Variety)
John Goodman, Susan Sarandon in talks for Speed Racer
John Goodman and Susan Sarandon are in talks to play the title character’s mother and father in the live-action Speed Racer movie, due out next summer. Emile Hirsch has already been cast as Speed; Goodman would play Pops, a race car owner and builder; Sarandon would play the Racer family matriarch, also a member of Speed’s Mach 5 Go Racing Team. Casting is still under way for Speed’s girlfriend, Trixie, and his mysterious rival Racer X. Larry and Andy Wachowski are writing and directing with Joel Silver producing for Warner Bros. (Hollywood Reporter)
Sandler, Fanning, Pirates win top honors at Kids Awards
Adam Sandler was named favorite male movie star and Dakota Fanning took favorite female movie star at Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards on Saturday (March 31). Justin Timberlake hosted and also won favorite male singer. Favorite movie was Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, accepted by Orlando Bloom. Winners were determined by Nickelodeon viewers with some 40 million votes said to have been cast. Victims of the show’s traditional green sliming included Timberlake, Tobey Maguire, and Steve Carell. (Reuters)
HBO greenlights movie about 2000 presidential election
HBO has attached Sydney Pollack (Three Days of the Condor, Absence of Malice) to direct Recount, a scripted movie about the 2000 presidential election. The movie will air on HBO next spring just ahead of the country’s 2008 election in November. No one has been cast yet. Actor Danny Strong (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) wrote the script. Shooting is scheduled to begin by summer. (Variety)
Disney taps Paulson to write Adventures in Babysitting remake
Disney has tapped Tiffany Paulson (Nancy Drew, Fast Girls) to write the remake of 1987’s Adventures in Babysitting. The movie will star Miley Cyrus and Raven Simone with Lynda Obst producing. The original starred Elisabeth Shue as a suburban high school senior whose dull night of babysitting turned into an unexpectedly adventurous evening following a call for help from a friend. (Variety)
Screen Gems to adapt documentary about heroic lawyer
Screen Gems has acquired rights to On Moral Grounds, a documentary about a lawyer who took on an insurance giant that cheated Holocaust survivors, with an eye to adapt it into a dramatic feature remake. The documentary chronicles the work of Lisa Stern, a lawyer who waged a long-shot battle against the insurance company Generali and came away with a landmark settlement for Holocaust survivors, which led to a $5.2 billion fund that German companies established to pay reparations. (Variety)
Penhall to adapt McCarthy’s The Road
Writer Joe Penhall (Enduring Love, The Long Firm) will adapt Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for John Hillcoat (The Proposition) to direct. McCarthy’s novel about a father and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world was recently selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club. Producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz acquired rights to the book last fall. (Variety)
Dash Mihok, Timm Sharp get pilots
Dash Minhok (Hollywoodland) has been cast in ABC TV Studio’s comedy pilot based on the Geico insurance caveman ads; Timm Sharp has joined the cast of CBS comedy pilot I’m in Hell as the annoying roommate of star Jason Biggs’ character. (Variety)
Nine Inch Nails Web campaign promotes new record
Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails is using a multifaceted Web campaign to promote the upcoming Year Zero album, due April 17. In addition to a series of song leaks traced back to USB drives found in bathrooms at European NIN concerts, there are also messages hidden in NIN t-shirts and a series of cryptic websites, including www.iamtryingtobelieve.com, www.bethehammer.net, www.anotherversionofthetruth.com, and www.churchofplano.com. (Billboard/Reuters)
Caviezel set for indie crime thriller
Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ, The Thin Red Line) is in negotiations to star in Only in New York, an indie crime thriller directed by Pitof (Catwoman). The story, written by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld and Geebee Dajani, is about a recently paroled street hustler struggling for redemption amidst the combustible New York elements that once did him in. Production is scheduled to start in June. (Hollywood Reporter)
Comedy Central launches online stand-up school
Comedy Central has launched ”Crash Course in Comedy,” which comprises 10 broadband video stand-up comic classes designed and instructed by Ted Alexandro (Comedy Central Presents). The Hyundai-sponsored site allows users to create a custom avatar that delivers their material. Users can then post their routines for peers to rate. (Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Matthews confirms summer stadium tour
The Dave Matthews Band will embark on a 36-date U.S. amphitheater tour that will start on July 8 in Bridgeview, IL and end on Oct. 2 in Los Angeles. Supporting acts will include Xavier Rudd, Toots and the Maytals, Umphrey’s McGee, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Pete Yorn, the Roots, the Wailers, Robert Earl Keen, and Stephen Marley. Presale tickets will be available to members of the Warehouse, DMB’s official fan club, through April 9. Public sales begin April 21. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Timbaland keeps alive his beef with producer Scott Storch.
Liz Smith: Jerry Hall says all four of her children with Mick Jagger are dyslexic.
Rush & Molloy: Late Conde Nast editor Leo Lerman wrote in his journals that Steve McQueen was bisexual.
Ben Widdicombe: Christina Ricci says her new Narnia tattoo represents her ”hellish childhood,” but won’t dish any details.