News From Hollywood

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh and William Keck
Updated October 04, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

— WALKING THE WALK For the next feather in his cap, Four Feathers director Shekhar Kapur is negotiating to make Long Walk to Freedom, based on Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography. Kapur is already counting on Morgan Freeman (who has met Mandela) to be his leading man, and hopes to begin filming in South Africa next year. ”Morgan has the dignity required for the role,” says Kapur. ”I know of no other actor who has that wisdom that I see in Nelson.”

— THE LIZARD’S KING Bill Paxton, who directed this year’s murderous drama Frailty, is getting goofy on us: He’s starring in Club Dread, an R-rated comedy written by the five comedians better known as Broken Lizard (Super Troopers). Paxton, who is wrapping up filming in Mexico this week, plays Coconut Pete, a burned-out rock star-turned-resort owner. ”He’s a wild-ass character,” says Paxton, who performs four original Lizard songs in the film and decrees his own voice ”not bad.” Between laughs, Paxton has been thinking about his next directorial project, a remake of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? called Victory Boulevard, about two ex-boxer brothers.

— FURTHERMORE Emmy-nominated comedian Bernie Mac is planning to remake 1967’s interracial-marriage dramedy, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which costarred Sidney Poitier and Spencer Tracy. Mac says he’ll honor the original — ”you can’t tamper with it in the wrong way” — and that the film will still pack a moral punch…