''Harry Potter'' and ''Hardball: A Season in the Projects'' made movie news for April 14, 2000

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated April 14, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Trouble with Harry
With Warner Bros. anointing Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire) as the director of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, one passed-over contender could be feeling less than celebratory. Brad Silberling (City of Angels) was approached by studio execs more than two years ago, but after J.K. Rowling‘s series began appearing on the best-seller lists, bigger names like Steven Spielberg expressed interest. Still, Silberling wasn’t completely dismissed: With Spielberg possibly on board for the first Potter, the young director was considered for a sequel. But now that Columbus has won the honor, Silberling may be moving on with Warner Bros.’ family drama Baby’s in Black, in which Susan Sarandon is expected to star. Silberling won’t comment, but a source close to him says he is ”devastated…. He saw the whole movie so vividly in his head.” (Additional reporting by Jeff Jensen)

Looks like the busiest actor on the planet, Keanu Reeves, is about to take on another project. Now that Columbia has put Andrew Bergman‘s political satire The Ottoman Empire into turnaround, Reeves is circling Hardball: A Season in the Projects, a drama for director Brian Robbins. Based on Daniel Coyle‘s nonfiction book about his experience coaching baseball in Chicago’s inner city, Hardball has been in development since 1994, and was going to be Robbins’ follow-up to Varsity Blues until casting issues fouled things up. Robbins, who went on to direct Ready to Rumble, hopes to return to Hardball this summer, catching Reeves, who just wrapped Sam Raimi‘s The Gift, after he completes the romantic drama Sweet November and before he begins filming The Matrix 2 and 3 back-to-back in Australia.