Who's making deals in the week of October 14, 2005 -- The biggest upcoming projects in entertainment


It isn’t every week that the Deal Report can salute a bit of spot-on casting, but here’s one: New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April) may soon be channeling fellow Southern belle Tallulah Bankhead on screen. She did declare: ”It’s an amazing script, and Philip Kaufman [may direct]…but I’m afraid to jinx it because it’s not definite.” In the meantime, the Good Night, and Good Luck co-star will begin prepping Learning to Drive, an ”extraordinary” drama adapted from Katha Pollitt’s 2002 New Yorker essay. Lost hottie Naveen Andrews will play the driving instructor who helps Clarkson’s character overcome a personal rough road…. At least she’s already got the accent down. Renée ”Bridget Jones” Zellweger is set to play Peter Rabbit creator Beatrix Potter in Miss Potter, a Finding Neverland-esque biopic — complete with cute kiddies and doomed lovers — for director Chris Noonan, who’s been MIA since snagging Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscar nominations for 1995’s Babe. Zellweger is also attached to The Eye, yet another Asian horror remake, currently in development at Tom Cruise’s C/W Productions…. Christian Bale and Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan are about to team up again — but not for a Bat-sequel (not yet, anyway). Bale’s in talks to headline Nolan’s The Prestige, a turn-of-the-century magician-versus-magician flick that could costar another superhero on hiatus, Hugh ”I’m more than just Wolverine and Peter Allen” Jackman.


Television crasher Owen Wilson, along with Entourage producer Larry Charles and music mogul Rick Rubin, will write and executive-produce Bert & Dickie, a comedy about a mismatched stand-up comedy duo, for HBO. The project will be Wilson’s first for TV since 1999’s Heat Vision and Jack — en Stiller’s rejected cult-fave pilot about a man (Jack Black), his genius, and his talking motorcycle (Wilson).


Cable news It Guy Anderson Cooper is about to sell his memoirs for $1 million — a ”substantial portion” of which, says his agent, Luke Janklow, will go to charity. The proposal, which has already attracted a number of publishing suitors, will cover the CNN anchor-reporter’s professional endeavors, including his highly publicized coverage of Hurricane Katrina.