By William Keck and Gregory Kirschling
Updated August 08, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

MOVIES Scandal junkies, have we got a film for you! Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder are teaming up with fellow tabloid favorite Woody Allen for the director’s next film, another as-yet-untitled concoction with a top secret plot…. Sydney Pollack is getting ready to direct The Interpreter, and he wants Nicole Kidman to play a U.N. translator who gets mixed up in — what else? — murder!… Dennis Quaid (Jaws 3-D) is easing into Jimmy Stewart’s boots, committing to play the aviator who, marooned in the desert, helps rebuild a plane in a remake of Stewart’s 1965 Flight of the Phoenix…. Naomi Watts (The Ring) is Betty Ann Waters, in a film about the real-life high school dropout turned hot, plucky lawyer.

TELEVISION Chris O’Donnell — that nice young man — playing a guy accused of killing his pregnant wife?!? That’s the shocking premise behind his three-episode guest stint next season on The Practice…. Promising something ”extraordinarily epic,” Joss Whedon tells us he’s working on a feature film version of his TV flop Firefly, which he wants to start shooting next year. Mr. Loose Lips also says he’s trying to get Sarah Michelle Gellar to schedule time as Buffy in two episodes of Angel next season.

BOOKS It’s a vast right-wing conspiracy! Conservative gabber Ann Coulter (Slander and Treason) is plotting with Crown on a two-book deal reportedly worth $3 million…. Hail Mary! Producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and director Peter Berg (Very Bad Things) are turning Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger’s book about small-town high school football players, into a stirring movie.