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Writers, studios to resume negotiations

Plus: Seth Rogen signs on to Kevin Smith comedy, Katherine Heigl starring in ”The Ugly Truth,” Tim Burton teams with Disney for two 3-D movies, and more

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Writers Guild of America Awards
Reed Saxon/ AP

WGA strike: Two sides agree to talk
Leaders of the Writers Guild of America will resume negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on November 26, according to a joint statement released by both groups. This announcement comes 12 days into a work stoppage that brought TV and movie productions to a halt. No other details were forthcoming, though it seems the AMPTP have dropped their insistence that writers would have to return to work before the producers would come back to the bargaining table. (Variety)

Rogen, Mewes, Banks cast in Smith’s Zack & Miri Make a Porno
Seth Rogen has signed on to star alongside Elizabeth Banks (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Jason Mewes (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame) in writer-director Kevin Smith’s comedy Zack & Miri Make a Porno. Rogen and Banks will play the title roles, two childhood friends who round up their buddies to shoot a porno flick to help them pay off a debt. Mewes plays a supporting role. Smith and producer Scott Mosier will partner with the Weinstein Co. and Dimension Films for the project. Porno, which is scheduled to start shooting in January, marks the seventh collaboration between Smith and Bob and Harvey Weinstein, a relationship that dates back 13 years to Smith’s debut feature Clerks. Rogen recently appeared in Knocked Up and Superbad; Banks recently appeared in Invincible. (Hollywood Reporter)

Heigl tapped for Ugly Truth
Katherine Heigl will star in The Ugly Truth, Lakeshore Entertainment’s romantic comedy about a love-challenged morning show producer (Heigl) who is thrown into a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. Naturally, his obnoxious yet clever ploys lead to a surprising result. The Legally Blonde team of director Robert Luketic and writers Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith will reunite for Truth, which is scheduled to start shooting on April 15. Heigl starred in last summer’s Judd Apatow hit Knocked Up and will next be seen in 27 Dresses for Fox 2000. Luketic’s next film, 21, is being distributed by Sony. His previous movies include Monster-in-Law and Win a Date With Ted Hamilton!. (Hollywood Reporter)

Strike shutters Canada-shot Battlestar, Bionic
The writer’s strike has caused the shut down of production on Vancouver-shot Bionic Woman and Battlestar Galactica. NBC’s Bionic was set to shoot through Dec. 12, but actually had to shut down on Nov. 9 because it ran out of available scripts. Likewise, Sci Fi’s Battlestar was expected to shoot into next March but will actually stop production Friday (Nov. 16) because it too has shot all of its scripts. Ken Ferguson, president of Toronto Film Studios, says that the weakness of the American dollar compared to Canadian currency is also playing a role in any shooting up North. (Hollywood Reporter)

Burton teams with Disney for two 3-D projects
Director Tim Burton is teaming with Disney for two 3-D movies, Alice in Wonderland and Frankenweenie. First up is Alice, based on the Lewis Carroll story, which will combine performance-capture imagery with live-action footage. Production is set to begin early next year and wrap by May. The director will then move on to helm and produce Frankenweenie, based on his 1984 short film about a pet dog brought back to life by his loyal owner. That movie will use stop-motion animation and be shown in digital 3-D. (Variety)

Talks reportedly underway to bring back late night shows
Reps for major late night talk shows, including Letterman, Leno, and Conan, have quietly started backchannel talks on how to bring back their shows in the next few weeks, Variety reports. Production could start as soon as Dec. 3 or Dec. 10, according to the trade pub. All the major late night shows have been dark since the WGA strike began on Nov. 5. Because nobody wants to be the first to return to the air, the talks are reportedly trying to hash out a plan to bring back at least two shows from different networks at the same time. The WGA raked Ellen DeGeneres over the coals after she continued taping her show through the strike. Publicly, reps for late night shows have said they will remain dark for the time being but that they are constantly evaluating their options moving ahead, and a WGA rep says there have been no talks about granting waivers. ”Late night hosts who are WGA members are prohibited by our strike rules from performing writing services,” the rep said. ”As many of the hosts have themselves commented, it is extremely difficult to produce first-rate shows without writers.” Late night producers say about 20 percent of their shows are scripted with the rest filled with interviews and musical performances. (Variety)

Kanye West producing on new Mos Def record
Kanye West will produce tracks on Mos Def’s as-yet untitled upcoming record. Mos Def recently appeared on the track ”Drunk and Hot Girls” from West’s new Def Jam album, Graduation. (Billboard)

Crossing Jordan‘s Hahn cast in Don Ready Story
Kathryn Hahn, who played Lily Lebowski on Crossing Jordan for six years, has been cast in Paramount Vantage’s comedy The Goods: The Don Ready Story for director Neal Brennan (Chapelle’s Show). The story is about Don Ready (Jeremy Piven), a used-car liquidator hired to save a struggling dealership during a Fourth of July weekend sale. Hahn will play the only woman on his mercenary sales team. Filming is scheduled to begin in December. Hahn’s other recent projects include Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road for DreamWorks and Adam McKay’s Step Brothers for Columbia, which is produced by Judd Apatow. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stewart tapped for vampire thriller Twilight
Kristen Stewart (Into the Wild, What Just Happened) will star in Summit Entertainment’s adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling teen vampire novel Twilight. Catherine Hardwicke (The Lords of Dogtown) is directing from a script by TV writer Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, The O.C.) Stewart will play Bella Swan, a 17-year-old who finds herself attracted to Edward, a vampire whose nemesis comes to town and sets his sights on Bella. Summit is looking to build a franchise from Meyer’s book and its sequels, which have topped the New York Times and USA Today best-selling lists. Production on Twilight is slated to start in February. Stewart is currently shooting Adventureland opposite Ryan Reynolds and Jesse Eisenberg for director Greg Mottola. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS moves to dismiss Rather lawsuit
CBS filed a motion to dismiss Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against the network, calling it ”a regrettable attempt… to remain in the public eye, to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations.” Rather’s suit claims CBS breached his contract by not giving him sufficient air time following his involvement in a September 2004 60 Minutes II segment that relied on questionable documents in claiming that President Bush received preferential treatment during his service in the Texas Air National Guard in the early 1970s. (Variety)

CELEBRITY NEWS

People.com: Lindsay Lohan turned herself into jail on Thursday (Nov. 15) to serve her minimum 24-hour sentence as part of a plea deal in her two DUI cases, and was released some 84 minutes later. The early release was attributed to ”overcrowding.”

Page Six: Sex and the City‘s Chris Noth’s live-in girlfriend, actress Tara Wilson, is reportedly pregnant, though the actor’s reps would not confirm. The couple is not engaged and has no known plans to marry.

Rush & Molloy: Kim Kardashian said she agreed to pose nude for Playboy’s December issue ”because I’m not one of those stick-skinny girls you see. I felt like girls today need to see a normal body.”