Plus, news about Minnie Driver, Colin Firth, Heather Graham, DMX, Clive Owen, Angelina Jolie, Chris Kattan, Shaggy, and others

By Gary Susman
Updated October 10, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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THE WRITE STUFF Some Hollywood screenwriters who specialize in thrillers have said they could never have devised a scenario as unlikely as terrorists hijacking planes using knives and box-cutters, then slamming those planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Still, the U.S. Army is relying on such screenwriters to help anticipate future terrorist plots and come up with counterterrorist strategies. An ad hoc group of writers and directors began brainstorming last week at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technology.

They include people who’ve done terror- and spy-themed work — ”Die Hard” screenwriter Steven E. De Souza, ”Fight Club” director David Fincher, ”MacGyver” scriptwriter David Engelbach — as well as some less likely creative types, including directors Spike Jonze(”Being John Malkovich”), Mary Lambert (”The In Crowd”), and Randal Kleiser (”Grease”). The army started the ICT with a grant in 1999, hoping to enlist filmmakers, video game creators, and computer scientists to develop virtual reality simulations as training programs for soldiers. The current group of moviemakers has already consulted twice with the Pentagon via teleconference, though the ICT has declined to make public the nature of its advice….

REEL DEALS Hot on the heels of her breakup with Josh Brolin, Minnie Driver is heading to Vancouver to shoot ”New Cardiff,” where she’ll play a woman who dumps her fiancé, ”Bridget Jones’s Diary”’s Colin Firth. (Don’t worry about him; he then gets to take up with Heather Graham.) Mark Herman (”Little Voice”) is directing the film, which begins shooting October 15.

For a still-untitled remake of ”M,” the classic 1931 Fritz Lang thriller about a child killer (Peter Lorre) hunted by both cops and criminals, director Andrzej Bartkowiak is reteaming with rapper-actor DMX, producer Joel Silver, and Warner Bros. They’ve all worked together before on ”Romeo Must Die” and ”Exit Wounds.”…

Corky Romano

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