Plus, Lauryn Hill, ''Blair Witch,'' WCW Nitro, Rosie O'Donnell, 'N Sync, and more
CASTING Jennifer Aniston has signed on to ”Against the Glass,” a comedy about a woman who agrees to have her therapy sessions observed by a psychology class, and then discovers her ex-boyfriend is watching her too. It sounds Jung-a-riffic!…. Jack Lemmon has joined Matt Damon and Will Smith in Robert Redford’s period golf movie, ”The Legend of Bagger Vance”…. Lauryn Hill will star in and produce ”Sauce,” about a woman who inherits her grandmother’s BBQ sauce company and then falls in love with a competitor. Finally, someone will expose the behind-the-scenes machinations in the high-stakes world of condiments…. Michael Rapaport will take the comic-relief buddy role in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s next film, ”The Sixth Day,” in which Arnie discovers that he’s been replaced by a clone.
REEL DEALS The team behind ”The Blair Witch Project” is moving to TV, creating a Fox show called ”Fearsum,” which follows the creator of a website that reports on freaky occurrences…. Just call Ice Cube a Produca with Attitude: He’s signed a two-year deal with Artisan Entertainment to develop movies with budgets of $3 million or less. This is in addition to the first-look deal he already has with New Line for slightly more pricey pictures…. The writer and producers of this year’s hit ”Varsity Blues” are creating a new WB drama about a first-year high school teacher.
CLOBBERIN’ TIME TNT’s Monday-night ”WCW Nitro” was going to be cut down from three hours to two, but a recent boost in ratings now has the network wondering whether to stick with the original marathon length. ”Nitro” had been regularly walloped by ”WWF Raw,” which airs on the same night on USA, and the WCW director had said 60 fewer minutes of men being dropped on their head would keep the show ”fresh,” according to Variety. But then new head writers began and last Monday’s show shot up more than a full ratings point, so TNT may want to keep the show at its current length.
IN THE SPIRIT Rosie O’Donnell will release a Christmas album this year called, creatively enough, ”A Rosie Christmas.” But if the thought of undiluted O’Donnell makes you feel Grinchy, don’t panic: She’s stacked the album with guest voices like ‘N Sync, Lauryn Hill, Celine Dion, Cher, and — to make her own voice sound more mellifluous by comparison — Elmo the Muppet.
REVAMPED After years of injustices in the Academy Award documentary category (including ”Crumb” and ”Hoop Dreams” not getting noms), the Academy has finally revamped its nomination process. Whereas previously any member (regardless of what kind of moviemaker he or she was) could vote on which of the year’s 60-70 docs should be in the final 5, now some 50 nonfiction filmmakers hand-picked from a documentary executive committee will narrow down the year’s work into a semifinals list of 12. Then any member can vote on that list to narrow it down to 5.