News from Hollywood

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
September 07, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

SCRABBLE-ROUSER Even if you love playing the board game, you have to admit that Scrabble isn’t an obvious thrill-a-minute spectator sport. But two companies are betting otherwise, developing dueling properties that revolve around the game: Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys) has optioned Stefan Fatsis’ best-selling Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players, and Miramax has just spent $300,000 on the script Your Word Against Mine, by young scribes Peter Speakman, 30, and Michael M.B. Galvin, 31. (A source close to the project says Kate Hudson is Miramax’s actress of choice.) Despite the promise of a payday, Speakman and Galvin are still spell-checking for others: Speakman is an assistant at Dimension, while Galvin is temping at HBO. ”At a certain point,” Speakman acknowledges, ”theoretically, at least, I’ll start losing money by coming to work.” But until the check clears, the pair can only dream of writing full-time. Jokes Galvin, who admits he’s been overreliant on his credit cards, ”I want to do a $180 million romantic comedy with a lot of special effects. I want to cost a studio a lot of money.” Word up.

MAMA’S BOY Yet another screenwriter waiting for more than just the promise of a payday: Damon ”Coke” Daniels, who, along with his writing partner, actor Eddie Griffin (John Q), has just sold the comedy My Baby’s Mama to Miramax for seven figures, with Griffin, LL Cool J, and John Leguizamo attached to star. Daniels is still working as a telemarketer — or, as he puts it, ”You know, those people you hang up on when we call?” — and says the only change in his life so far is that people at work are auditioning for him. For his part, Daniels has no interest in appearing in his own movie, explaining, ”I’d rather be rich than famous.” Sounds like a good call.