Keanu Reeves will play a serial killer
Plus, Courtney Love just wants to direct, and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince will remake his old albums
CASTING After the success of ”The Matrix,” Keanu Reeves seems to be returning to mainstream Hollywood. He is considering starring in ”Shooter,” an action flick about an ex-sniper trying to figure out who framed him for murder. But it’s not a wholehearted return to the blockbuster world for Reeves: He’s also set to costar in the indie ”Driven,” playing a serial killer who constantly foils the detectives trailing him…. Kate Winslet and Geoffrey Rush may costar in “Quills,” the story of the Marquis de Sade. Winslet would play the maid of the infamous erotic writer (Rush). Joaquin Phoenix is considering the part of the priest who runs the asylum where the Marquis is imprisoned. Philip Kaufman (”Henry and June”) will direct…. Nick Nolte is in great demand after his Oscar nomination for ”Affliction,” and now he’s torn between the theater and the movies. He has an offer to head to Broadway in ”The Unexpected Man,” a hit in London that follows the inner thoughts of two strangers sitting next to each other on a train as they consider talking to the other. Meanwhile, he’s considering a Merchant/Ivory film script, ”The Golden Bowl,” based on the Henry James novel…. Aaron Eckhart (”Your Friends and Neighbors”) has joined Julia Roberts in ”Erin Brockovich,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. Eckhart is the biker neighbor who cares for the kids of a legal secretary (Roberts) while she’s helping to win an enormous suit.
BRANCHING OUT Courtney Love has set up her first film as a producer, the coming-of-age comedy ”I Think We’re Alone Now,” and she’s hoping that Dimension Films will let her direct it, too. ”I’m going to make a real pitch to direct this movie, and I know they’re going to say no,” she told the New York Times. ”Usually I just persist and get it done. But in this case if there’s a rational reason, I’ll listen to it.”
RERECORDING Since he can’t recover the rights to the 17 albums he recorded for Warner Bros. from 1978-96, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince has announced that he will rerecord each of them and release them himself. The Artist broke loose from Warner in 1996 after a long-lasting feud where he complained about loss of control of his recording career. He says that the new versions will sound better than the old ones because of the more modern recording technology.
CAST TROUBLE Kevin Sorbo may leave the syndicated ”Hercules” series in the middle of next season if his salary demands aren’t met. Variety reports that the actor is in the middle of contract renegotiations, in which his request is significantly different from the studio’s offer. The 1999-2000 season has begun shooting in New Zealand, but Sorbo is signed for only eight more episodes. If his renewal deal falls apart, Universal would have to get a new Hercules for the remainder of the season.
THE ODDEST EXHIBIT Representatives of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum in Hollywood have announced that they’d like to buy Pamela Anderson’s recently removed breast implants for an exhibit they have on the lengths people go to for beauty. Anderson’s spokesperson says the actress is not considering donating or selling her ex-silicon, and that Ripley’s request was a publicity stunt.
COLLECTOR’S GRIEF Charlie Sheen is taking his baseball cards and going home. The actor had loaned his collection of rare cards to the All-Star Café in New York for an exhibit in the Charlie Sheen Room, but two employees stole 27 of them last year and sold them to memorabilia dealers. The FBI has recovered all but two of the pilfered cards, but Sheen is not allowing the restaurant to remount them, saying “I am deeply saddened that such precious artifacts have been mutilated in the hands of amateurs for the pursuit of greed.”
CRITIC’S CHOICE Roger Ebert is helping to organize a new film festival that won’t be crawling with film execs looking for the next big thing. It’s called the Overlooked Film Festival, and it will center on older films that the film critic believes never received their just acclaim. The movies at the festival, which begins Wednesday at the University of Illinois in Champaign, will range from early silents to 1982’s ”Tron.”