Casting news: J. Lo, Natalie Portman, and others -- Watch for J. Lo as a superheroic shrink, Natalie Portman as a Civil War waif, Pierce Brosnan as a romance-minded divorce lawyer, and others

Fans of Spider-Man, Batman, the Hulk, and other superheroes know that comic book crusaders can be intensely neurotic. But who can they turn to for psychoanalytic advice? How about J. Lo? Columbia is developing ”Shrink!” as a vehicle for Jennifer Lopez to produce and star in, playing a superheroine-turned-therapist for folks like her who still fight crime in their underwear. The project is based on the Internet comic strip by Marvel Comics vet Rob Liefeld, which runs at

A month after receiving an offer, it looks like Natalie Portman will join the cast of ”Cold Mountain,” the adaptation of Charles Frazier’s best-selling Civil War novel. She joins an already high-powered cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Giovanni Ribisi, Kathy Baker, and Brendan Gleeson. ”The English Patient”’s Anthony Minghella will direct the movie, which shoots next month. The role, a pregnant country gal, shouldn’t be too big a stretch for Portman, who played a rural expectant mother in ”Where the Heart Is,” and who plays the future mom of Luke and Leia in the current ”Star Wars” trilogy.

In his next movie, Pierce Brosnan has a license to litigate. Variety reports that he’ll be starring in ”Laws of Attraction,” playing a divorce lawyer who marries one of his own kind, only to fall prey to the same kinds of troubles that beset his clients. Shooting starts this fall.

If you’ve been waiting for a Latina ”Waiting to Exhale,” you can finally breathe. Variety reports that ”Exhale” director Forest Whitaker is producing ”Papi Chulo,” a comedy about three women from different cities who conspire to turn the tables on their mutual womanizing boyfriend. Roselyn Sanchez (”Rush Hour 2”), Sofia Vergara (”Big Trouble”), and singer Jaci Velasquez play the women; Mexican telenovela star Eduardo Verastegui stars as the cad. Linda Mendoza directs the film, which starts shooting next month.

After ”At First Sight,” you’d think Mira Sorvino would turn down another role as a woman who looks after and falls in love with a blind guy. But she’s starring in ”The Beauty of Jane,” a period piece about an Englishwoman who rekindles her romance with a wealthy suitor after he’s blinded. (She fools him by assuming an American accent.) Sorvino is also producing the film, which director Dan Ireland (”The Whole Wide World”) will shoot in London this fall.

Cold Mountain
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