Plus, Britney Spears, ''That '70s Show,'' Danny DeVito, L7, Richard Simmons, and more
CASTING After dabbling in darkness in ”American Beauty,” Kevin Spacey may take a more uplifting approach in ”Pay It Forward,” to be directed by Mimi Leder (”Deep Impact”). In it, Spacey would play a troubled teacher whose encouragement to a student to start passing along kindness to people he meets ends up inspiring the whole depressed town. Cynics would be advised to skip this one.
PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE Britney Spears has formed a charitable foundation that will fund a new performing-arts camp for underprivileged kids, to be built in the Berkshires next year, according to MTV News. Spears will soon hold a contest on her website where fans can help come up with a name for the new camp. And no, the Oh My God Britney Rocks Sooooo Much Camp is not a viable title.
RENEWED, AND THEN SOME Fox has extended ”That ’70s Show” for two more years, ensuring that it will be sold into syndication and its creators will be able to afford all the bell-bottoms they’ll ever need. The sitcom has been the network’s only high note on Tuesdays, with ”Ally” and ”Party of Five” both performing poorly.
REEL DEAL Danny DeVito may end his directing hiatus (his last film was 1996’s ”Matilda”) with ”Revelations,” a religious thriller about a cop who foils the assassination of a cardinal.
SUPERDEAL Sony continues to load up on the rights to comic-book titles: The studio is finishing a deal to turn Daredevil — the Marvel Comics blind-lawyer-turned-crimefighter — into a movie, adding it to Sony’s superhero roster that includes Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. Sadly, Little Lulu remains on the market.
THREATENED L7 had to call off a video shoot in Texas for its new song ”Crackpot Baby” when lead singer and guitarist Donita Sparks got a bomb threat on her cell phone on Nov. 13, according to MTV News. ”We’ve pissed off a lot of people during our career, especially this year,” wrote guitarist Suzi Gardner in a statement. ”It could have been anyone from anti-pro-choicers to Lilith Fairers.” Now the shoot — which will be directed by actor Viggo Mortensen (”Psycho”) — has been bumped back to mid-December.
AXED Richard Simmons‘ syndicated show, ”The Dreammaker,” has been yanked after 13 weeks, during which it averaged a lowly 0.8 rating. But by signing off, Simmons is helping his favorite cause: TV just lost some dead weight.
HONORED Mike Nichols and Elaine May will receive a career tribute hosted by Steve Martin at this year’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in February. The funny duo, who went their separate ways in the early ’60s, have been creatively reunited in the ’90s as the writing/directing team behind ”The Birdcage” and ”Primary Colors.”