Who's making deals in the week of November 11, 2006 -- The biggest upcoming projects in entertainment

MOVIES Michael Caine: trusted butler, kindly doctor, and…stringy-haired pothead? Believe it. In The Children of Men (directed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban‘s Alfonso Cuarón), the versatile Brit pops up in a small but crucial role. ”The film is set in the future, [in the year] 2020, and I play an old hippie who’s stuck in the ’60s,” says Caine of the sci-fi epic costarring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. ”I’ve got very long hair, a beard, little dark glasses, and I smoke pot all the time.” Speaking of dark trips, any progress on a Batman Begins sequel? ”It’s next year, I think, but [first] I’m doing a picture with [Batman costar and director] Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan in January called The Prestige, which is a much smaller film. It’s about a couple of homicidal magicians who are trying to kill each other.” Shades of Death Trap…. Settle down, boys: Alias‘ Jennifer Garner will produce and possibly star in Sabbatical, an erotic thriller (!) for Disney (!!) about a married couple’s no-strings-attached break gone wrong…. Meanwhile, Garner’s former (damn you, J.J. Abrams!) Alias costar Michael Vartan is getting acquainted with his inner Steve Irwin. The actor will join Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland) as giant-crocodile bait in the action thriller ]ITALIC {Rogue}]…. Malcolm in the Middle‘s Justin Berfield is so keen to produce a Jerry Garcia biopic, he’s optioned the rights to two Garcia biographies. Wait, weren’t you only 9 when the Grateful Dead frontman died in 1995? ”Well, I am kinda young, but I’m a fan. And my dad is a huuuge fan. He’s the one who turned me on to it.”

TV Polly Bergen has signed on for MTPOTUS duties — that’s mom to the prez of the United States — on ABC’s Commander in Chief. The actress, who also played the first female U.S. president, in the 1964 movie Kisses for My President, will begin her stint on the hit Geena Davis show Nov. 29…. Überproducer Jerry Bruckheimer’s newest project for Fox may hit a little close to home for his colleagues. Titled American Crime, the series pilot will revolve around L.A.’s high-powered celebrity lawyers and their clients.