Claire Danes joins ''T3'' a month into production. Plus, news about Jennifer Lopez, Winona Ryder, David Fincher, Jamie Foxx, ''Spider-Man,'' Michael Jackson, Will Ferrell, John F. Kennedy Jr., Kid Rock, Walter Matthau, and others
Claire Danes
Credit: Claire Danes: Ronald Asadorian/Splashnews/NewsCom


REEL DEALS OK, ”The Mod Squad” was a disaster, but Claire Danes will get to try her hand at action heroics again as a last-minute addition to the cast of ”Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines.” She was brought in on Sunday, replacing starlet Sophia Bush (who had a bit part in ”National Lampoon’s Van Wilder”) as the love interest for Nick Stahl‘s John Connor. Bush had been playing the role since shooting began a month ago, but the filmmakers felt she played too immature in her scenes with Stahl. (Danes is a grizzled 23.) ”This was a difficult decision because Sophia is a talented and charismatic performer,” director Jonathan Mostow said in a statement. ”However, we feel, after reviewing the dailies, that her appearance and manner play younger than what we wanted for the role. We look forward to working with Sophia on future projects.” Danes had a window of availability, having temporarily terminated her Yale education between her junior and senior years. It’s rare but not unheard of for an expensive blockbuster already in production to replace a key player with someone more mature; that’s what happened to Stuart Townsend (”Queen of the Damned”), who was booted from ”The Lord of the Rings” and replaced at the last minute by Viggo Mortensen….

”Carmen” has been modernized several times, including the 1954 ”Carmen Jones,” which earned an Oscar nomination for Dorothy Dandridge, and MTV’s recent ”Carmen: A Hip-Hopera,” which starred Destiny’s Child‘s Beyoncé Knowles. Now Jennifer Lopez will try her hand, with an update scripted by Craig Pearce (”Moulin Rouge”). Pearce is clearly Universal’s go-to guy for musical screenplays nowadays, having just sold the studio a rewrite of ”Jesus Christ Superstar.”…

Can Winona Ryder be funny opposite Adam Sandler in this summer’s comedy, ”Mr. Deeds”? She certainly proved she has a sense of humor by appearing on the cover of the current issue of W Magazine in one of those ”Free Winona” t-shirts. Inside, she doesn’t discuss her shoplifting case (she’s due in court tomorrow, and she’s pleaded not guilty), but she does laugh at the many tabloid reports linking her to various famous men — erroneously, she says. ”I often wonder if, when they read they’re linked to me, maybe they’ll give me a call.” One famous guy who does call often, she says, is Al Pacino, her ”incredibly attractive” co-star in the upcoming ”Simone.” ”He’s an insomniac. We talk in the middle of the night… I don’t sleep, he doesn’t sleep. So it is very normal that we call each other at two in the morning. I just love him so much. I find him just irresistible, and there is this age difference between us,” but they’re just friends. She also says she never dated Beck (”I wish”), and that she’s still close to Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner, even though he was, like, three rock star boyfriends ago….

They’ll remake anything nowadays. Paramount is prepping ”The Reincarnation of Peter Proud,” a reincarnation of a not-exactly-classic supernatural thriller from 1975. The studio wants David Fincher to direct, though the ”Panic Room” director is already on sequel duty for Paramount’s ”Mission: Impossible III.”…

Jamie Foxx, whose marble-mouthed performance as Drew ”Bundini” Brown in ”Ali” left many moviegoers wondering, “What’d I Say?”, will star as Ray Charles in ”Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story.” Mark Rydell, who directed the biopic ”James Dean” last year for TNT, will direct.

Another musical biopic in the works is ”Django,” about jazz’s greatest guitarist, Django Reinhardt. Director Frank Marshall tells Variety that Reinhardt is, indirectly, the reason he grew up in the film business. He says that listening to the Gypsy guitarist on the radio in the 1930s inspired his father, Jack Marshall, to become a musician and move to Hollywood; the elder Marshall eventually wrote the guitar-driven theme song to ”The Munsters” and is credited with the famous arrangement of Peggy Lee‘s ”Fever.” Writing the screenplay will be Janus Cercone, who spent two years tracking down Reinhardt’s son to acquire the movie rights and got him to sign two days before he died. Marshall has produced dozens of movies, but his most recently released feature as a director was 1995’s gorilla thrilla ”Congo,” while Cercone’s last produced screenplay was ”Ed,” the baseball-playing-chimp movie that nipped Matt LeBlanc‘s film career in the bud. How the filmmakers’ expertise with monkeys will play out in a music biopic remains to be seen.

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