Plus: Universal wants Jon Heder for ''Seeking Monsters'' adaptation, Indy may have a son in ''Indiana Jones 4,'' and more...
Jason Lee cast as Chipmunks ”daddy”
My Name is Earl star Jason Lee will star as David Seville in Fox’s upcoming movie Alvin and the Chipmunks. In the 1950s cartoon series, David played a sort of father figure to the three chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, and Theodore), whose constant shenanigans as part of a singing group constantly tested his patience. The movie script was written by Jon Vitti and will be directed by Tim Hill, who also co-wrote and directed Fox’s Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and directed Disney’s Max Keeble’s Big Move and Sony’s Muppets From Space. Hill also created some 20 different shows for Nickelodeon and was head writer on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie. Production on Chipmunks is scheduled to begin March 28, and the movie has a projected Dec. 14 release date. (Variety)
Universal acquires vehicle for Heder
Universal Pictures has acquired the Nick Redfern novel Three Men Seeking Monsters: Six Weeks in Pursuit of Werewolves, Lake Monster, Giant Cats, Ghostly Devil Dogs, and Ape-Men with hopes to develop it into a movie starring Jon Heder. The Napoleon Dynamite star will next be seen in the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory. The book, which has a cult following in the UK, is about three guys who unite for one last hurrah chasing monsters and UFOs. (Variety)
Indiana Jones 4 may give Indy a son
The fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise is reportedly looking to cast Shia LaBeof as Indiana Jones’ (Harrison Ford) son. Director Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, which is producing for Paramount, are keeping the David Koepp (Spider-Man)-written story under tight wraps, and neither Paramount nor Lucasfilm would confirm the LaBeof reports. The movie is set for a Memorial Day 2008 release. (Variety)
Cast call set for new Menudo auditions
Cast calls for the new iteration of Latin supergroup Menudo are set to begin on March 31 in Los Angeles. The nationwide search for five boys who are at least 15 years old and ”appear to be less than 19” will be documented as a reality show on MTV and its bilingual sister channel MTV Tr3s. The winners already have a recording contract set up at Epic. Auditions, which will be judged by a celebrity panel, take place March 31 at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood, CA; on April 14 at Miami’s Bayside Marketplace; April 21 at Dallas’ Valley View Mall; and on April 28 at the Queens Center Mall in Queens, NY. (Reuters/Billboard)
Sigourney Weaver to star in HBO movie
Weaver has been cast as famed burlesque artist Gypsy Rose Lee in HBO’s movie Gypsy and Me. The story is based on My G-String Mother: At Home and Backstage With Gypsy Rose Lee, the memoir written by Lee’s son Erik Lee Preminger, who became her stage manager when he was 12 years old. The movie covers the end of Lee’s days doing striptease, when she transitioned to a writing career and had her life story turned into a musical. Weaver, who is currently shooting James Cameron’s epic Avatar, will executive produce with Dreamgirls producer Laurence Mark. Shooting is expected to begin by the end of the year. (Variety)
Tambor, Trachtenberg get comedy pilots
Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) has been cast in the CBS pilot The Captain, and Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will star in ABC’s untitled Washington D.C. pilot. The Captain is about a young writer (Fran Kranz) who moves into a legendary Hollywood apartment building. Tambor will play a retired TV writer living in the building. The D.C. pilot is a comedic soap about a senatorial aide (Eric Christian Olsen) who falls for the daughter (Trachtenberg) of his boss’ archnemesis. (Hollywood Reporter)
CBS makes changes at Evening News
CBS will name producer and former president of CNN and MSNBC Rick Kaplan executive producer of the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric. The move comes in light of CBS’ ranking third in nightly news ratings and is aimed at developing a harder-edged, faster-paced newscast than the one Couric has anchored since she came on six months ago. (Hollywood Reporter)
Witherspoon leaves Bunny Lake remake
Reese Witherspoon, who was set to star in the remake of Bunny Lake is Missing, has left the project five weeks before production was scheduled to start. Witherspoon was also producing the movie, to be directed by Joe Carnahan. Producers are now looking to replace the actress, and the start date is expected to be pushed back. No other details were reported. (Variety)
Little Miss Sunshine producers take on new movie
Director Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) is teaming with Sunshine producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa to direct Only Living Boy in New York for Columbia Pictures. The coming-of-age story is about a young man who is seduced by his father’s girlfriend. (Hollywood Reporter)
Star Jones hosting Court TV show
Star Jones Reynolds will host and executive produce a daily live talkshow on Court TV set to premiere later this year. The as-yet untitled show will focus on crime and justice stories with links to pop culture. Jones, who was fired from The View last spring, began her TV career with Court TV commenting on the William Kennedy Smith rape trial in 1991. (Variety)
Jesus documentary scores good ratings for Discovery Channel
An average of 4.1 million viewers (2.1 million in adults 18-49) watched the Discovery Channel’s 9-11 p.m. Sunday night broadcast of The Lost Tomb of Jesus. The telecast benefited from intense media attention sparked by executive producer James Cameron’s claims that the documentary featured new scientific evidence supporting the discovery of Jesus’ family tomb. (Hollywood Reporter)
Amazon, TiVo launch download service
Amazon.com and TiVo launched their video download service on Wednesday, which allows users to buy movies and TV programs on the Internet and download them to a TiVo set-top box for easy viewing on a television. Television show episodes are $1.99, and most movies cost between $9.99 and $14.99. Under an introductory offer, TiVo is offering $15 in free movie and TV show downloads. (Hollywood Reporter)
Blues Traveler’s Popper arrested
Blues Traveler frontman John Popper was arrested in Washington State after the vehicle in which he was riding was clocked going 111 mph by state police. A police dog search turned up weapons — including four rifles, nine handguns, and a switchblade knife — and marijuana inside Popper’s Mercedes SUV, which was being driven by a friend. Popper said he had the weapons for protection in the case of a natural disaster. Both men were booked into the Adams County Jail in Ritzville, charged with misdemeanors, and released on their own recognizance. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Kevin Federline is asking tabloids to pay $25,000 in exchange for exclusive rights to cover his 29th birthday party.
Cindy Adams: Teri Hatcher denies ever having Botox, collagen, or undergoing face work of any kind.
Rush & Molloy: Bono’s RED campaign claims Advertising Age magazine inaccurately reported the amount of money it raised for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa.