By Gregory Kirschling
Updated October 22, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

TELEVISION Kelly Preston, so great in Space Camp, will join Joey for a two-episode arc starting Nov. 4 as an old high school friend of Drea de Matteo’s Gina. And Mr. Show innovator Bob Odenkirk, introduced last week as Joey’s nemesis, Brian Michael David Scott, will return throughout the season.

MOVIES In August, Mark Ruffalo told EW he was up for the DreamWorks romancer If Only It Were True with Reese Witherspoon, but since Columbia’s All the King’s Men with Sean Penn filmed at the same time, he couldn’t do both. Now, thanks to super-precise scheduling by the studios, he can! ”It’s a miracle,” he says. ”It’s almost impossible to get two studios to talk about [scheduling] like that — it’s like crossing into the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation area,” he laughs. And now, in If Only, he’ll play ”a pretty depressed guy” who ”moves into an apartment that’s haunted by the spirit of a lively young woman who’s in a coma” (that’s Reese). ”It’s a comedy, but I don’t go for just the straight-up comedy stuff, so it has a really nice dramatic romance behind it.” Partway through, he’ll break to play ”the brother of Kate Winslet and the son of Meryl Streep” — a guy who’s ”out of touch with the workings of modern politics” and ”a little crazy” — in King’s. Jude Law costars. So, heavy-hitting cast! ”I know,” he says. ”It’s scary, man.”… The Darwin Awards is the website that gives prizes to people who die stupid deaths, like the woman smoking cigarettes while dousing anthills with gasoline. The Darwin Awards is a romantic comedy that will star Winona Ryder and Joseph Fiennes as investigating lovebirds on the cross-country trail of a Darwin Award candidate.

BOOKS James Frey’s 2003 memoir A Million Little Pieces was about kicking his huge chemical dependencies. The Deal Report loved it, and is pleased to deal-report that Frey’s ”funnier” (his word) follow-up memoir, My Friend Leonard — about the further ”f—ed-up adventures” of the author and his mysterious MLP rehab buddy ”Leonard” — will hit in May. ”It’s Tuesdays With Morrie if the two guys were us, instead of being prim and proper,” he says. ”I think this book is gonna sell more copies [than MLP],” predicts Frey, who also wrote the screenplay for the MLP movie. ”People like friendship books.”