Travolta joins star-studded Pelham cast
John Travolta is the latest A-list actor to board director Tony Scott’s remake of the 1974 subway-train thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. He’ll play a villain who holds passengers hostage while Denzel Washington (who signed on to the movie last month) is the security chief charged with stopping him. The film, which starts shooting early next year, comes during one of Travolta’s regular moments of career upswing: After he spent years in the box office doldrums, both of his 2007 releases, Wild Hogs and Hairspray, have been impressive and somewhat unforeseen hits. Interestingly, though, rather than stick with the family-comedy genre that has served him so well of late, the actor is returning to play a bad guy in an action flick for the first time since 2004’s The Punisher. This will also be his first collaboration with Scott and Washington. (Variety)
Underworld prequel set to slay ’em
Sony Pictures has greenlit the prequel Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans. Rhona Mitra (The Number 23) will join returning stars Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy, while Kate Beckinsale will not participate. Set in the Dark Ages, the film will detail the origins of the long rivalry between the vampires and the werewolves. It will mark the feature directing debut of Patrick Tatopoulos, who was the creature-effects master for the series’ 2003 and 2006 installments, both of which were modest financial successes. Production begins in January in New Zealand. (Hollywood Reporter)
Price Is Right wins ratings showcase
It’s something almost as sweet as winning the Plinko jackpot: Drew Carey’s arrival as host of The Price Is Right has turned out to be a ratings coup for CBS. During the comedian’s first week after taking over from 83-year-old veteran Bob Barker, the game show averaged 5.4 million viewers (about level with how it fared a year ago) — and saw a hefty 10 percent rise in fans from that ever-important 18-49 age group. The show was also the No. 1 daytime program among adult men. (Variety)
Original Harry Potter copy sells for big bucks
Holy Hogwarts! An original hardcover copy of the U.K. edition of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel sold at a London auction on Thursday for $40,326. The book, bearing the British title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was part of an initial 1997 press run of just 500 copies, and it was signed by the author. (AP via Yahoo!)
Ramsay to participate in Hell’s Kitchen videogame
Videogame maker Ludia is at work on a digital version of the popular Hell’s Kitchen TV show, and sinister chef Gordon Ramsay has agreed to lend his voice and likeness to the effort. The game is expected to mirror the boot camp setup of the cooking reality program and will allow players to experiment with real recipes while, yep, being chewed out by a crass-chef avatar. (Variety)
Keitel to star in Jerry Springer: The Opera
Harvey Keitel will headline the New York premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera, an adaptation of the hit London musical comedy that has been in the works for the past four years. Keitel, who has a long history in the theater and also pops up in this fall’s film sequel National Treasure: Book of Secrets, will star in the show for two nights in January at Carnegie Hall. (Variety)
Chan channels Olympic spirit in song
Action-movie star Jackie Chan has recorded a song called ”We Are Ready” to be used as the official ditty in the countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. (Sample lyric, translated from Mandarin Chinese: ”Waiting year after year, we can see into the future, together with hard work and sweat, we’ve created the five different colors.”) The actor and martial-arts master may be known worldwide for his powerful fists, but across Asia he’s also famous for his powerful voice. This is not a joke. (Variety)
People.com: Owen Wilson grants an interview — his first since what police called a suicide attempt — to his friend, director Wes Anderson, (who directed him in The Darjeeling Limited.
TMZ via People.com: Lost star Daniel Dae Kim was arrested in Hawaii early Thursday on a DUI charge.