News From Hollywood

WHAT A GRIND Revolution, Disney, and Universal have all jumped on the skateboard craze in the last couple of years with dueling projects in development, but Warner Bros. may roll into theaters first, thanks to Casey LaScala’s Grind. LaScala had the idea for the road-trip/’boarding film only four months ago, but the movie is moving at a pace that would make the most extreme sporters jealous: It’s already more than halfway through production, thanks to LaScala’s side gig as president of production at Gaylord Films (which means he was essentially able to greenlight his own project, which will cost less than $10 million). Warner Bros. will release the movie in August, by which point LaScala may have moved on to yet another gig, producing another Warner Bros. film called Tempting Pandora, which is currently in development; LaScala wrote the story, about a serial killer and a profiler.

TO THE MAX When screenwriter Menno Meyjes (The Siege, The Color Purple) decided to make his directorial debut with Max, his portrait of Hitler as a young artist, Hollywood was less than thrilled. Producers balked and few actors were even willing to attend the casting call. ”I’m sitting in L.A. and no one wanted to see me,” says Meyjes. ”I was just going to go home,” when John Cusack read the script and agreed to play art dealer Max Rothman. (Noah Taylor, who played the adolescent version of Geoffrey Rush in Shine, is Hitler.) Now, Lions Gate, which will release the film Dec. 27, is backing Max’s Oscar hopes, and Cusack and Meyjes are planning their next project, a biopic about American healer Edward Casey for Revolution. Asked to describe the Casey film, which he hopes will begin shooting next summer, the neophyte director exclaims, ”It’s all about faith!” And he would know.

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