— FAN ASIA DreamWorks’ new horror flick The Ring is only the first of a wave of remade Asian movies with some serious star power attached. The current craze has studios snapping up the rights to Eastern titles and pairing them with talent like Tom Cruise, who will produce a remake of Hong Kong’s The Eye for Paramount, and Robert De Niro, who is attached to produce Universal’s adaptation of the Japanese thriller Chaos. (The mania isn’t limited to live-action: Warner Bros. will remake the animation classic Akira.) Producer Roy Lee, who has brokered over a dozen such deals in the last year — including The Ring — says that because Asian movies are improving in quality, seeing how a movie can translate ”from Seoul to Hollywood isn’t that difficult.” Plus, in a world of few novel ideas, there’s a vast supply of titles to be mined: Lee says that in Korea alone, there are 6,000 movies waiting to be discovered.
— INDIAN BURN It might have been simpler for writer-director Willard Carroll (Playing by Heart) just to buy some remake rights of his own. Instead, he’s hit a snag with his project Marigold, an $8 million musical that he plans to begin filming in India in February: Salman Khan (Hello Brother), who was slated to play the romantic lead, is now facing possible charges on an alleged hit-and-run that left a bystander dead. Says Carroll, who describes Marigold as an Indian Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film: ”The information that comes out of India is so sketchy, and what we hear from people we trust is [that] he wasn’t driving…. But if it doesn’t work out, there are plenty of people clamoring for the part.”
— ROLE REVERSAL Michelle Pfeiffer is considering going from being a murderess in White Oleander to playing a victim in August and Everything After. Pfeiffer, who would costar opposite Gary Sinise, says, ”It’s about a group of people who collectively have a near-death experience.” As everyone knows, in Hollywood it’s kill or be killed.