DiCaprio reuniting with ''Departed'' writer
Plus: Paramount sets up rock 'n' roll epic for Scorsese to direct, MTV launches new scripted series, and more...
DiCaprio, Monahan re-team for Confessions of Pain
Fresh off witnessing their last project together, The Departed, earn the Best Picture Academy Award, Leonardo DiCaprio and writer William Monahan have signed onto another Hong Kong remake: Confessions of Pain for Warner Bros. Pictures. The original, released last year, was created by Alan Mak, Andrew Lau, and Felix Chong, the team behind Infernal Affairs, the Hong Kong film on which Departed was based. Confessions is a thriller about a police detective who turns to his former partner turned private detective to investigate the murder of his father-in-law. As they begin to uncover evidence, they find that nothing is as it seems to be. The movie is being developed as a starring vehicle for DiCaprio, who will also produce via Appian Way alongside Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison. Monahan, who just won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Departed, will adapt Confessions of Pain and executive produce. (Hollywood Reporter)
Paramount sets up rock ‘n’ roll epic for Scorsese
Paramount Pictures is developing The Long Play, a rock ‘n’ roll epic being set up as the next directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. The project will reunite the director with The Departed writer William Monahan, who is set to rewrite the script. Scorsese will produce alongside Mick Jagger and his Jagged Films partner Victoria Pearma. Scorsese and Jagger worked together previously on a feature documentary, which is slated for a fall release. The Long Play is about two friends who lived through 40 years in the music business, from early R&B to hip-hop. Jagger originally brought the project to Disney, but the studio ultimately decided it didn’t fit its family film mold, paving the way for Scorsese and Paramount to scoop it up and hand rewrite duties to Monahan. (Variety)
MTV launching new scripted series
MTV has given the green light to half-hour drama Kaya, the network’s first new scripted series in five years. MTV describes the show as being about a teenage girl turned ”rock star on the brink of destruction and the underbelly of the music industry.” Danielle Savre (Heroes) is attached to star. MTV’s last scripted show was Undressed, which went off the air in 2002. (Variety)
James Cameron claims to have found Jesus’ tomb
An upcoming Discovery Channel documentary, produced by James Cameron, claims that a tomb unearthed 27 years ago in Jerusalem contains Jesus’ remains. Even more controversial, the documentary also claims to have proof that Jesus of Nazareth was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son, named Judah, and that the three of them were buried together. Cameron unveiled two limestone boxes he says contained the remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in New York on Monday. The documentary, The Lost Tomb of Jesus revisits a Jerusalem site discovered in 1980 when the area was being excavated for a building. It premieres on the Discovery Channel on March 4 at 9 p.m. (New York Times)
Janet Jackson to star in Tyler Perry’s Married
Jackson will star opposite Perry (Daddy’s Little Girls) in the movie adaptation of his play Why Did I Get Married. Perry will write, direct, and produce the movie for Lionsgate. Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls) and Jill Scott have also been cast. The story is about a couple that goes away with friends every winter to examine their marriages. Trouble ensues one year when someone brings along a sexy young temptress. Shooting is slated to begin March 5. (Variety)
Ice Cubs to star in David E. Talbert’s feature directing debut
Screen Gems has signed Ice Cube to star in First Sunday, a comedy set to be playwright David E. Talbert’s first feature directing project. Talbert has written more than a dozen gospel-tinged plays, including Nick of Tyme, which is currently on tour with Morris Chestnut in the lead. In Sunday, Ice Cube will be one of two men who take church parishioners hostage after a bungled robbery attempt. The churchgoers wind up converting the duo and showing them the error of their ways. Filming is scheduled to begin May 14 and the release date is set to coincide with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. (Variety)
Carrie Anne Moss to star in ABC’s Suspect
Moss is the latest actor to sign onto the ABC drama pilot, which slowly reveals the perpetrator of a crime by tracing suspects from a lineup. The actress will play a police lieutenant and the boss of the department who is tough on the outside and warm and caring on the inside. She will star alongside ER alum Erik Palladino, who will play a detective who grew up in the streets, and Kathleen Munroe (Beautiful People), who will play a young cop. Guy Ritchie is directing the pilot. (Hollywood Reporter)
Oscars see small ratings jump over last year
Sunday’s Oscars telecast on ABC saw ratings increase 3 percent compared to last year, with an average of 39.9 million viewers. Ratings increased just 0.1 points to 14.0 in adults 18-49. Sunday’s ratings were a vast improvement over 2003’s 33 million viewers (during the start of the Iraq war), but fell short of 2004’s 43.5 million. (Hollywood Reporter)
Rage, Wu Tang doing Rock the Bells this summer
A newly reunited Rage Against the Machine will perform three shows alongside Wu Tang Clan for the Rock the Bells Festival this summer: Aug. 11 in San Bernardino, CA, Aug. 18 in San Francisco, and July 28 at New York’s Randalls Island. The rest of the festival’s lineup has not been released. Rage had previously said that its reunion show at Coachella this April would be their only performance together. Guitarist Tom Morello has already scheduled solo shows under his Nightwatchman moniker. Wu Tang is finishing its first album since 2001, 8 Diagrams. They last performed as a group with the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard in 2004’s Rock the Bells. (Billboard)
Underwood, Rhames team for indie drama
Blair Underwood will make his feature-directing debut on The Bridge to Nowhere, starring Ving Rhames. The movie is about the rise and fall of four blue-collar men who create a high-priced escort service. Shooting is scheduled to begin in March. (Variety)
Madonna in legal dispute over prison movie
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered Madonna’s Maverick Films and Beverly Hills-based Inferno Distribution to report back on May 22 to provide an update on mediation efforts over a legal dispute involving competing plans to make a movie on prisoner abuse and set a Jan. 16, 2008 trial date, in case the dispute isn’t settled by then. Maverick Films sued in October, claiming Inferno unfairly represented itself to gain access to confidential information about Maverick project The Stanford Prison Experiment. In December, Inferno countersued for slander, unfair competition, and interference with contractual relations, alleging that it was trying to make an English-language version of a German movie that examined the psychological effects of prison. (Variety)
Drake Bell to star in Virtus feature
Drake Bell (Drake & Josh) has signed a producing deal with Virtus Entertainment and is set to star in The Miracle of Santa Rosa, based on an American who returns to his ancestral home in Italy to spread his father’s ashes. Drake & Josh‘s January 2004 debut scored Nickelodeon’s highest ratings for a series premiere in almost 10 years. (Variety)
Nick eyes unicorn comedy
Nick Movies has purchased Joe Aucoin’s comedy fantasy spec Unicorn, about a sherbet-pooping unicorn and its relationship with a single father whose 5-year-old daughter wants a unicorn of her own. Smart Entertainment’s John Jacobs is producing. (Hollywood Reporter)
Sony sells Japanese anime series to Adult Swim
Sony sold 50 episodes of Blood+ to Adult Swim, which plans to air the half-hour Japanese anime series Saturdays as part of its late-night anime block, starting March 10. The series, based on the 2000 hit Japanese anime film Blood: The Last Vampire, which is also being adapted into a live-action movie directed by Ronny Yu, is about a high school senior named Saya Otonashi who, unable to remember the past, must rediscover her destiny in order to defeat vampires that threaten her loved ones. (Hollywood Reporter)
Idol contestant’s friend says controversial photos are not Barba
Amanda Coluccio, the close friend with whom Antonella Barba auditioned, says the American Idol semifinalist is not the subject of the most sexually graphic photos circulating on the Internet. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Sources say Eddie Murphy left the Oscars in a huff when he didn’t win Best Supporting Actor.
Cindy Adams: Now that she’s a mother, Maggie Gyllenhaal is ditching Manhattan for Brooklyn to escape the paparazzi.
Rush & Molloy: Friends say Jay-Z didn’t come to the Oscars with Beyonce simply because he’s bored by awards shows.
Ben Widdicombe: A guest who attended Paris Hilton’s birthday party says the socialite’s L.A. home features a stripper pole in the living room and walls covered with photos of herself.