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Wiseman directing ''Escape From NY''

Plus: Cera starring in ”Youth in Revolt” adaptation, ”Weeds” season premiere gets huge ratings, HBO acquires ”Granny” documentary, and more…

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Avik Gilboa/WireImage.com

Wiseman tapped for Escape
Director Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard) is in final negotiations to helm the upcoming New Line remake of Escape From New York, which stars Gerard Butler as Snake Plissken. John Carpenter, who directed the 1981 original, starring Kurt Russell as Snake, will serve as an executive producer on the remake. Black Hawk Down writer Ken Nolan is penning the script. The original was set in a futuristic 1998, after the island of Manhattan had been turned into a giant maximum-security prison. When the U.S. president’s plane crashed on the island, authorities forced Plissken to go in and rescue him. The remake will start with Plissken’s origin story before moving into the original movie’s plot. Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard has grossed more than $335 million worldwide. The director started out in production design before moving on to direct Underworld and Underworld: Evolution. (Variety)

Cera starring in Youth in Revolt
Michael Cera (Superbad) is starring in Dimension Films’ adaptation of C.D. Payne’s 1993 novel Youth in Revolt. The story is about Nick Twisp, a teenager who meets the girl of his dreams while on a family vacation and turns his life upside down to be with her. The book has been published in multiple countries, turned into a play, broadcast over the radio, and given birth to a series of novels centered on Nick Twisp. Cera says he’s read Payne’s book four times and has a signed copy. Cera first made a name for himself as George Michael Bluth on Fox’s Arrested Development. He will next appear in Jason Reitman’s Juno for Fox Searchlight, and will reunite with Superbad producer Judd Apatow for Year One, a comedy directed by Harold Ramis and co-starring Jack Black. (Hollywood Reporter)

Weeds premiere gets huge ratings
The Monday (Aug. 13) night third-season premiere of Showtime’s Weeds attracted 824,000 viewers in its 10 p.m. slot, up 43 percent over last year’s season premiere, and was the most-watched episode ever. Showtime’s new show, Californication, starring David Duchovny, benefited from the strong lead-in, averaging 550,000 viewers at 10:30 p.m. for its premiere episode, which is Showtime’s best scripted comedy debut ever. Entertainment president Bob Greenblatt said a second season of Californication is ”a good bet.” (Variety)

HBO acquires Run Granny Run
HBO has acquired Run Granny Run, a documentary about a 94-year-old politician. The film won the audience award at this year’s South by Southwest. The movie tells the story of Doris ”Granny D” Haddock, who at 90 years old, in 1999, attracted attention when she walked across the country to support campaign finance reform. Then, at age 94, she ran for the New Hampshire Senate seat as the Democratic candidate. She is still active in politics today: she spoke at rallies for John Kerry in 2004 and is expected to take part on the upcoming presidential election. HBO will first air the documentary on Oct. 18, and then re-air it on Election Day, Nov. 6. (Variety)

Sci Fi cancels Painkiller Jane
The Sci Fi Channel has pulled the plug on Painkiller Jane, the action hero series starring Kristanna Loken, after it completes its first season on Sept. 21. The announcement follows the premiere of the new Sci Fi series, Flash Gordon, which scored the channel?s best series premiere numbers this year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Fox orders new game show Nothing But the Truth
Fox has ordered seven episodes of the new game show Nothing But the Truth, which straps contestants to a lie detector and asks then 21 extremely personal questions while family and friends sit by watching. The show is already a hit in Colombia. Contestants are able to walk away whenever they want, sometimes after being told the category of the upcoming question first, such as ”infidelity.” The show is starting production immediately, aiming for a fall debut. (Variety)

Fourth hour of Today will ”loosen up”
The additional fourth hour of NBC’s Today show, which debuts next month, will cover the same types of topics the first three hours does, but will also provide a chance to ”loosen up a little bit,” according to executive producer Jim Bell. ”I think there will be days when it’s a little more talk, it’s a little more spontaneous, a little less formatted,” Bell said. ”It’ll be reminiscent of the old co-op breaks when you had to fill two or three minutes.” Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, and Hoda Kotb will co-host the additional hour. David Gregory, Giada De Laurentiis, and Tiki Barber will make regular appearances. Matt Lauer and Merideth Viera are not involved in the fourth hour. (Hollywood Reporter)

Turturro self-distributing his Romance & Cigarettes musical
John Turturro will self-distribute his $11 million musical Romance & Cigarettes, which stars James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Aida Turturro, Elaine Stritch, Eddie Izzard, and Amy Sedaris. The story is about a Queens construction worker (Gandolfini) who gets in trouble when his wife (Sarandon) discovers he has a lusty mistress (Winslet). The characters break into songs ranging from James Brown to Engelbert Humperdinck to Bruce Springsteen. The movie was filmed in 2004 and premiered in 2005 at the Venice Film Festival, but been caught in limbo since Sony merged with MGM in 2005. It has received mixed reviews, being described as ”almost impossible not to adore” by some, and ”downright unwatchable” by others. It will be given an open-ended theatrical release Sept. 7 at New York’s Film Forum. (Hollywood Reporter)

Open Water duo reunite for legal thriller
Writer-director Chris Kentis and producer Laura Lau, the duo behind the indie hit Open Water, are reteaming on an untitled legal thriller for Paramount Vantage. The story is about a young woman who is arrested for a crime she didn’t commit and descends into a state of psychological terror as she defends herself. The project is aiming for an early 2008 production start. (Variety)

Ryan Craig casts his indie Small Town Saturday Night
Chris Pine, Shawn Christian, Bre Blair, John Hawkes, Robert Pine, Lin Shaye, Muse Watson, and Brent Briscoe are starring in the indie movie Small Town Saturday Night for writer/director Ryan Craig. The story is about a country musician who struggles to balance his career aspirations with his desire to be with the woman he loves. Craig has directed videos for country Western artists and will use his Nashville relationships to include country music star cameos, such as a score composed by Steve Dorff, and a soundtrack featuring Phil Vassar and a title song from Chris Young. The film is currently shooting. (Hollywood Reporter)

Singh tapped to direct The Unforgettable
Tarsem Singh (The Cell) will direct the science fiction thriller The Unforgettable for Warner Bros. Pictures. The story is about a cop who realizes that he is not human and uncovers a war between good and evil aliens. It is based on the video game The Condemned: Criminal Origins. (Hollywood Reporter)

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