”Borat” signs book deal
Borat, the character played by British comedian/actor Sacha Baron Cohen, has signed a book deal with Flying Dolphin Press, an imprint of Random House, Inc.’s Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group. The dually-titled book, Touristic Guidings To Minor Nation of U.S. and A. and Borat: Touristic Guidings To Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, will be released in hardcover on November 6. One half will be a guide to America for Kazakhs and the other half will be a guide to Kazakhstan for Westerners. It will include text, illustrations, and four-color photographs. No word yet on whether Wal-Mart will sell a book containing photographs of and/or taken by Borat.
Mike Myers to star in Mitty
Mike Myers will star in a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for 20th Century Fox. The story is about a daydreamer who uses his vivid imagination to escape from mundane, ordinary life. The project has been in the works for years, with Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy both attached to star at some point, and Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard among the directors showing an interest. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. last set it up at Paramount with Mark Waters (Mean Girls) directing and Owen Wilson starring, but it fell apart in 2005 when the studio couldn’t agree on a female lead to play opposite Wilson. Goldwyn is now producing the movie at Fox with Myers in the lead and Jay Kogen, a writer and producer on The Simpsons, Frasier, and CBS’ The Class, writing a new script. Myers is scheduled to next start work on Paramount’s Marco Schnabel-directed comedy The Love Guru, which will start production in September. Myers will play Pitka, a self-help guru character he created. Mitty will compete for the actor’s time with See Me, Feel Me: Keith Moon Naked for Your Pleasure, the Spitfire Pictures/Gerber Pictures drama in which he will play the hard-living drummer for the Who. Playwright Donald Margulies (Brooklyn Boy) has completed a first draft and will do a rewrite. The Who’s Roger Daltrey is aboard as a producer. Myers is also attached to star in How to Survive a Robot Uprising, and is in early discussions with New Line and director Jay Roach for a fourth installment of the Austin Powers series that tells the story from the viewpoint of Dr. Evil. (Variety)
Fox, CBS win season’s ratings
Fox and CBS were the season’s leaders in key ratings categories, with Fox — home of the top two shows of the year with the two weekly editions of American Idol — winning for a third straight year in the coveted adults 18-49 category. Although Idol cooled a bit as the season progressed, the two nights were down just slightly compared to the record-setting pace of a year ago. CBS won for a fourth straight year in adults 25-54 and made it five years in a row in total viewers. ABC would have edged out CBS as No. 2 in 18-49 if sports were tossed out of the mix. ABC is also the only network that will finish up compared to a year ago in May sweeps. NBC remained at the bottom for a third straight season despite having the season’s top new show in Heroes, which was also the season’s top scripted show. The networks’ combined delivery of adults 18-49 declined by five percent (14.3 rating vs. 15.1) compared to last year. (Variety)
Scorsese launches film preservation group
Martin Scorsese is launching the World Cinema Foundation, which will work to preserve and restore neglected films. The director made the announcement at Cannes alongside an all-male panel that also included directors Stephen Frears, Wong Kar Wai, Walter Salles, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Scorsese said the new group was needed, pointing out that 90 percent of the world’s silent films are now gone. The new nonprofit will make rescuing Ahmed El Maanouni’s 1981 Moroccan music documentary Trances one of its first orders of business. (Hollywood Reporter)
Gugino, Boreanaz starring in basketball movie
Carla Gugino (Night at the Museum, HBO’s Entourage) and David Boreanaz (Fox’s Bones) will star in Our Lady of Victory, a basketball drama directed by Tim Chambers. The movie, set during the 1972 feminist movement, tells the true story of newlywed Cathy Rush (Gugino), who becomes the head basketball coach at a small, all-girls Catholic college. She eventually leads the team to the first national championship in women’s basketball, while the school’s nuns fight to keep the owners from selling the institution and its land to developers. Boreanaz is playing Rush’s husband. Marley Shelton (Grindhouse) will play a nun, and Ellen Burstyn (The Wicker Man, Requiem for a Dream) will play the mother superior. Whitney Springer is producing along with Burstyn and Shelton, and former Philadelphia 76ers owner Pat Croce will executive produce. Production begins this week. (Hollywood Reporter)
Warner buys Kaufman/Roach comedy pitch
Warner Bros. Pictures has purchased an original comedy pitch from writer Ken Kaufman (Curious George), with Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers) on board to direct. The off-center comedy is about two party-loving buddies who are as close as brothers. When one of them dies in an accident, the other succumbs to grief, until he meets a stranger who resembles his dead friend, only shorter and nerdier. He then sets out to corrupt him and refashion him into his lost buddy. (Hollywood Reporter)
World of Wonders developing three reality shows
Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s World of Wonders Prods. (WE’s Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter, Oxygen’s Tori & Dean: Inn Love) is developing three reality-series projects: Allison Margolin: The Dopest Attorney in Town, centered on a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in medical-marijuana cases while working for her family’s practice; Beauty School Dropout, which focuses on actor Jim J. Bullock (Too Close for Comfort) as he launches a second career as the would-be owner of a hair salon; and Jeffree Star, about a 20-year-old cross-dresser with pink hair who has 550,000 friends on MySpace. (Variety)
Fox sets record, winning 15th straight week
Fox’s two nights of American Idol last week and strong showing by House gave the network top ratings for a network-record 15th consecutive week. (Variety)
Portishead to debut new material at U.K. music fest
British trip-hop outfit Portishead will debut new material, intended for their first studio record since their self-titled 1997 album, at the All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Nightmare Before Christmas festival, to be held Dec. 7-9 at Butlins Holiday Camp at Minehead, England. The group will also curate the event. The rest of the lineup has not yet been announced. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Rush & Molloy: Kurt Russell is disappointed that Weinstein is releasing the double-feature Grindhouse as two films in Europe.
Ben Widdicombe: Alcoholics Anonymous member Lindsay Lohan has lined up Svedka vodka to sponsor her 21st birthday blowout in Las Vegas.