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Cusack tapped for indie action thriller

Plus: Britney Spears makes first concert appearance in three years, Warner options another graphic novel from ”300” author Frank Miller, ”Spider-Man 3” opens to record numbers across Asia, and more…

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John Cusack
Amy Graves/Wireimage.com

John Cusack to star in Stopping Power
John Cusack will star in the indie action thriller Stopping Power for Intermedia Films and director Jan de Bont (Speed, Twister). He will play a test pilot involved in a series of high-speed chases to save his kidnapped daughter from an escaped thief. Writer Skip Woods (Swordfish) is on board to pen the film with Eric Red (The Hitcher). The movie will be one of six projects Intermedia Films’ new sales and distribution company, IM Global, will be marketing at this year’s Cannes. Cusack will next appear later this year in the Iraq war drama Grace is Gone. (Hollywood Reporter)

Britney does first set in three years
Britney Spears made her first public concert appearance in three years late Tuesday (May 1) night with a short, 15-minute set at the House of Blues in San Diego. She wore knee-high go-go boots with a short white skirt and a pink bra top that showed off her new, svelte body. She also wore a long brown wig to cover her crop-top head, a result of her meltdown scalp shave last February. Joined on the small club stage by four back-up dancers, Spears did a few songs from her earlier albums, including set-opener ”Baby One More Time,” before calling it a night after just a quarter of an hour. Rumors had been circulating about the set for the past week, and some attendees paid upwards of $125 for the chance to see the star perform the short set. The House of Blues’ marquee advertised the show as ”The M&Ms,” and the club’s website has ”The M&Ms” playing another show in Anaheim on Wednesday (May 2) and a third show in West Hollywood on Thursday (May 3). (AP via Yahoo!)

Warner options Frank Miller’s Ronin
Warner Bros. has optioned rights to Frank Miller’s graphic novel Ronin, with Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard) set to direct a live-action adaptation. Warner previously adapted Miller’s graphic novel 300 into a hit movie. Ronin is about a ronin, or disgraced samurai warrior, who bears the shame of having allowed his master to be assassinated by a shape-shifting demon in 13th century Japan. When the master’s sword is unearthed in mid-21st century New York, the ronin and the demon are brought to life and battle gangs of mutants and thugs to try to take possession of the sword. The movie will be produced by Gianni Nunnari and Nick Wechsler, who also produced 300. It will be shot using the blue- and green-screen shooting techniques employed in 300. ( Variety)

Spider-Man 3 opens to record numbers across Asia
Spider-Man 3 set box office sales records in all of the eight Asian markets that premiered the movie on Tuesday (May 1). Japan’s premiere hauled in $3.5 million, besting Spider-Man 2‘s $3.4 million; the Korean premiere pulled in $3.4 million; Hong Kong $959,000. Records were also set for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The film opens in the U.S. this Friday (May 4) to a record number of screens, with several theaters planning early midnight screenings. (Hollywood Reporter)

Emma Roberts tapped for Wild Child
Emma Roberts (Nickelodeon’s Unfabulous) will star in Universal Pictures and Working Title’s Wild Child, a Nick Moore-directed comedy that will begin production this summer. The 16-year-old Roberts (Julia’s niece) will play a spoiled Malibu princess whose penchant for wildness drives her father to send her to a strict, all-girls English boarding school. She will appear this summer as the title character in Warner Bros.’ movie adaptation of Nancy Drew. (Variety)

Warner on board for DiCaprio’s environmental documentary
Warner Bros. has acquired the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced documentary The 11th Hour, which features interviews about the earth’s ecosystem with more than 50 scientists, thinkers, and world leaders, including former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev, scientist Stephen Hawking, former head of the CIA R. James Woolsey, and sustainable design experts William McDonough and Bruce Mau. DiCaprio also narrates the documentary. The film premieres at Cannes this month, and Warner plans on a fall release in the U.S. through the studio’s specialty film division, Warner Independent Pictures. (Hollywood Reporter)

Newhart sidekick Tom Poston dies at 85
Tom Poston, the clueless everyman on TV comedies Newhart and Mork and Mindy, has died at 85 after a brief illness. ”[Poston] will be sorely missed and was an important part of the Newhart family,” Bob Newhart said in a statement. ”Tom was always the ‘go to guy’ on Newhart in addition to being a good and longtime friend.” Poston’s movie credits include Cold Turkey, The Happy Hooker, Christmas With the Kranks, Beethoven’s 5th, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. He is survived by wife Suzanne Pleshette, 70, who he worked with on Newhart, and his children, Francesca Poston of Nashville, Jason Poston of Los Angeles, and Hudson Poston of Portland, OR. (CNN)

Nash acquires film rights to Christmas in July
Bruce Nash’s Nash Entertainment has acquired feature film rights to Christmas in July, a movie based on the convention of professional Santas that takes place each July in Branson, MO. More than 300 bearded jolly fat men in red suits gather each year to hold sessions on how to correctly ”ho-ho-ho,” how to properly groom one’s beard, and how to deal with unruly kids. A reality TV show may follow the film. (Variety)

Kopelsons acquire Scott fantasy novel
Kopelson Entertainment’s Arnold and Anne Kopelson have purchased screen rights to the upcoming Michael Scott novel Otherworld. The Kopelsons will produce the movie adaptation, with Scott set to adapt the screenplay himself. The book is a contemporary fantasy about ancient demons unleashed by global warming. Scott’s novel The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel was optioned by New Line in November. (Variety)

Columbia adapting Antony Moore novel
Columbia Pictures has optioned Antony Moore’s upcoming novel The Swap and has set it up with producer John Calley for a feature comedy adaptation. The story is about an out-of-shape comic book dealer who is invited to his high school reunion and gets involved with murder, romance, and the revelation of a long-held secret. Calley is also co-producing the Da Vinci Code sequel, based on Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons, with Brian Grazer. (Variety)


Page Six: Neve Campbell is expected to marry her long-term boyfriend, British actor John Light, this Saturday at a secret Malibu location.

Rush & Molloy: Beyonce’s father, Mathew Knowles, denies having a beef with R&B star Ne-Yo, who co-wrote the No. 1 hit ”Irreplaceable” with his daughter.