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''Museum'' director gets new gig

Plus: ”Newhart” actor Tom Poston dies, report on piracy blasts Russia and China, ”Hellboy 2” gets a villain, Peter Jackson shops ”Lovely Bones,” and more

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Shawn Levy finds next project
The director will follow up his smash hit Night at the Museum with The Way Back, a coming-of-age dramedy set up at Fox Searchlight. ”It’s very different from the movies that I’ve done, and that’s exactly why I wanted to dive in,” Levy told Variety about the film, which follows a teenage boy who finds himself through his friendship with a man who runs the local water park. (Variety)

Newhart‘s handyman Tom Poston dies
Comic actor Tom Poston, whose 50+-year television career included key roles on The Steve Allen Show (for which he won an Emmy), Mork and Mindy, and Newhart has died after a brief illness. He was 85. (Hollywood Reporter)

U.S. trade report blasts Russia, China for piracy
An annual report about the state of intellectual property put Russia and China at the top of a ”watch list” for international offenders of copyright law. The designation means those countries and 10 others named to the list will be under closer scrutiny by the World Trade Organization. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hellboy 2 gets a villain
Luke Goss will play the ruthless, power-hungry Prince Nuada in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. Previously, Goss played the evil Nomak in del Toro’s Blade II. For the Hellboy sequel, due in summer ’08, he’ll join returning stars Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, and David Hyde Pierce. (Hollywood Reporter)

Peter Jackson’s Lovely Bones up for grabs
The Oscar-winning director and his partners Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh on Monday began circulating their spec script for The Lovely Bones, a film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, to major studios for bidding — with the exception of New Line, with whom Jackson is in a legal feud over proceeds from the Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson will direct Bones, about a murdered girl whose spirit keeps watch over her family. (Variety)

Carson sidekick Tommy Newsom dies
The former Tonight Show backup bandleader has died of cancer at age 78. Ironically nicknamed by Johnny Carson as ”Mr. Excitement,” the low-key Newsom joined the show as a saxophonist in 1962, and retired alongside Carson as assistant music director in 1992. (Hollywood Reporter)

Avril Lavigne tops albums chart
The pop star’s third album, The Best Damn Thing, debuts this week atop the Billboard 200. Other notable top 10 debuts: Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero (No. 2), and American Idol season 5 star Bucky Covington’s self-titled country album (No. 4). (Hollywood Reporter)

Shortlist Prize finalists announced
The 10 musical acts up for the 2007 award, which recognizes acclaimed albums that have not yet sold 500,000 copies Stateside, are Band of Horses, Beirut, Bonnie Prince Billy, Cat Power, Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Joanna Newsom, Regina Spektor, Spank Rock, and Tom Waits. These finalists were narrowed down from an initial list of 61 nominees. A date to announce the winner has not yet been determined. (Hollywood Reporter)

HBO developing Africa-set comedy
Former South Park writer Jane Bussman is working on a half-hour comedy for the pay-cable channel about a thirtysomething teacher who leaves her life and husband in the U.S. to work in war-tarn Africa, where she meets an assortment of do-gooders, opportunists, and unlikely suitors. (Variety)

Piper Perabo signs on for Disney flick
The actress will star in South of the Border, about a spoiled Chihuahua who gets lost in Mexico and must find the way back to its home (Beverly Hills, natch). The film will be directed by Raja Gosnell (the Scooby Doo movies).

Wilmer Valderrama signs production deal
The producer (Yo Momma) and That ’70s Show actor will develop TV series for FremantleMedia North America, coproducer of American Idol. (Variety)


Page Six: Brooke Shields and her husband joined Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were spotted in Sin City together, where they dined on steak at Wynn Las Vegas and were ushered into a private gaming room.

Cindy Adams: Is Rosie O’Donnell cooking up something with CBS? Cindy overhears her talking at the premiere of Broadway’s Legally Blonde: The Musical

Ben Widdicombe’s Gatecrasher: The audience at the premiere of Suburban Girl, starring Alec Baldwin as an alcoholic, estranged father, couldn’t help but notice the parallels between the embattled actor’s real-life drama and the one shown on screen.