Deals: Mel Gibson, Scarlett Johansson, Terrence Howard
–Mel Gibson (yep, that’s him at left) will produce a miniseries based on a Dutch woman’s account of how she survived the Holocaust. ABC exec Quinn Taylor acknowledges that having the Passion director (whose father is an alleged Holocaust denier) aboard will generate controversy and publicity for the project, though Taylor tells the New York Times that Gibson won’t necessarily be promoting the miniseries himself. Or, in Taylor’s unfortunate turn of phrase, ”It doesn’t mean he’s going to be out there flogging it like he did Passion of the Christ.”
-Scarlett Johansson has taken her historical drama Napoleon and Betsy, in which she’ll play an English girl who falls for the exiled emperor, off the development shelf. No word on who’s playing Napoleon — Bill Murray? Colin Firth? Woody Allen?
-Terrence Howard will play Thurgood Marshall in The Crusaders, a drama about the landmark Brown school desegregation case, which future Justice Marshall successfully argued before the Supreme Court. To land the role, the Hustle & Flow star demonstrated his resemblance to Marshall by sending them a copy of a Time magazine cover depicting the legendary jurist, along with this EW cover from August featuring his own portrait. You’re welcome, Terrence.
-Indie production company Palm-Star options the movie rights to Bret Easton Ellis’ new autobiographical novel Lunar Park. Will the flimmakers cast Ellis as himself, or will they just let him design the website?
addCredit(“Mel Gibson: Filipe Courzo/Reuters”)