News Roundup: U2 writing songs for a ''Spidey'' musical
Plus: Matthew Fox set for ''Speed Racer,'' Laurence Fishburne to voice Silver Surfer in ''Fantastic Four,'' Kevin James in talks for feature comedy, and more...
U2 writing for a new Spider-Man musical
Marvel is developing a musical adaptation of Spider-Man with U2’s Bono and The Edge writing new music and lyrics for the project. Tony winner Julie Taymor is directing, and Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle, Martin McCallum, Marvel Entertainment, and Sony Pictures Entertainment are producing. Auditions are already underway, but no Broadway dates have been set yet.(Hollywood Reporter)
Matthew Fox headed to Speed
Matthew Fox is in final negotiations to play Racer X in Larry and Andy Wachowski’s live-action movie adaptation of Speed Racer. Racer X is Speed’s mysterious, masked rival and an enigmatic soldier of fortune. Emile Hersch is already on board to play Speed, as are Christina Ricci, who will play his girlfriend, Trixie, John Goodman, who will play Speed’s father, Pops, and Susan Sarandon, who’s been cast as Pops’ wife. Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver are eyeing a summer start date for a summer 2008 release. Fox will fit shooting for the movie around his Lost schedule. His next feature appearance is in Columbia Pictures’ thriller Vantage Point. (Hollywood Reporter)
Fishburne to voice Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four
Laurence Fishburne has signed on to voice the Silver Surfer for Twentieth Century Fox in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which opens June 15. Contrary to the Internet rumors that Fishburne would take on the villainous role of Galactus, the actor will embody the hotly anticipated, sleekly CG?d metallic surfer for the summer sequel. Fishburne most recently lent his vocal talent to Warner Bros. Pictures’ TMNT as the film’s narrator and is currently voicing a character in the Dirty Harry video game. With its release sandwiched just three weeks after the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and three weeks before Transformers, Fantastic Four‘s success is expected to be largely dependent on the strength of the Silver Surfer character and whether it is deemed cool enough to bring the fanboys to the theater. (Variety)
Queens‘ James in talks for Universal comedy
King of Queens star Kevin James is in negotiations to star in Universal Pictures’ comedy One Nation Under Bob. The story is about an average guy who inherits a plot of land and discovers that it is a country unto itself, making him the unlikely owner of a sovereign nation. Shady Acres’ Tom Shadyac and Michael Bostick are producing. No director is on board yet. James will make his debut as a feature film leading man in the upcoming Universal comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, starring opposite Adam Sandler. He also appeared in the Will Smith vehicle Hitch. (Hollywood Reporter)
Grey’s Washington withdraws from Emmy consideration
Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington will not submit his name for Best Supporting Actor Emmy consideration. No reason for his decision has been reported. All the other Grey’s Anatomy actors, besides leads Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, are submitting in the supporting category. (Hollywood Reporter)
Crash duo taking on Whitewater scandal
Bobby Moresco and Mark R. Harris, producers of Crash, are teaming for a feature movie based on Susan McDougal, a key figure in the Whitewater real estate scandal involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. McDougal spent 21 months in prison on civil contempt of court charges for refusing to implicate Bill Clinton while he was president. Moresco and Harris will produce the movie, and Moresco will write and direct (Moresco was also a co-writer for Crash). They have already secured rights to McDougal’s story, as well as her book The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk. The movie could release next year in the midst of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Moresco and Harris say they talked to Bill Clinton, however, and claim that he supports their movie. (Variety)
Grazer, Universal setting up Colossus remake for Howard
Universal and Imagine Entertainment are doing a remake of the 1970 sci-fi saga Colossus: The Forbin Project with Brian Grazer producing. The film is being set up as a possible directing vehicle for Ron Howard. The original movie, based on a book by D.F. Jones, introduced the idea of a government-built computer that becomes sentient and then takes control. Jason Rothenberg is writing the screenplay based on all three of the Colossus movies. Howard is next directing Frost/Nixon and with then move onto the Da Vinci Code follow-up based on the Dan Brown novel Angels and Demons. (Variety)
Elijah Wood producing his first movie
Elijah Wood has signed on to produce his first movie, teaming with Anthony Moody and Rob Malkani’s Indalo Prods. for the movie adaptation of Elliott Chaze’s noir novel Black Wings Has My Angel. Wood does not plan to star in the film. Writer Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart, Lost Highway) and writer-producer-director Christopher Peditto are penning the script. Chaze’s novel is about an ex-convict who stages a daring armed car robbery in Colorado with the help of a call girl he picked up in a backwoods Mississippi motel. The book was out of print for 50 years, and Peditto reportedly spent 10 years chasing down rights. Shooting is scheduled to start some time this year. (Hollywood Reporter)
Survivor creator Burnett eyeing scripted series
Reality TV expert Mark Burnett is looking to develop a scripted series and has tapped Ken Raskoff to help lead the effort. Mark Burnett Prods. has Survivor, The Apprentice, and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? on its impressive reality resume. Raskoff has worked as a producer/executive on more than 100 telepics, including 1986’s Return to Mayberry and 2003’s Footsteps, which starred Candice Bergen. He has been tapped to over see day-to-day development of dramas and comedies for Mark Burnett Prods., though Burnett says he will be personally involved with the projects as well. Burnett wants to make a scripted series a top priority for next season. He expressed interest in developing family-friendly fare with broad appeal. (Variety)
Leung back in Woo’s Red Cliff
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is rejoining John Woo’s $70 million The Battle of Red Cliff following Chow Yun-Fat’s sudden departure earlier this week. Leung quit the project last month due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by Takeshi Kaneshiro. No one would confirm whether Leung will now replace Chow in the role of Zhou Yu. (Hollywood Reporter)
Screen Gems taps Vacancy director for another thriller
Nimrod Antal, who makes his English-language directorial debut this weekend with the release of Screen Gems’ Vacancy, has signed on to direct another Screen Gems thriller, Armored. The story is about a young armored car guard who is persuaded by his veteran cohorts to empty the truck of its $10 million haul. Buckaroo Entertainment partners Sam Raimi and Josh Donen, and Dan Farah of Farah Films & Management will produce. Screen Gems is aiming for a fall start, and it is unknown whether Antal will try to squeeze in another project before then. (Hollywood Reporter)
Hit German game show Host! headed to U.S.
Jim Paratore’s ParaMedia has picked up rights to produce a U.S. version of the hit German game show Beat Your Host!. The show features a contestant competing against a VIP host in a series of contests, such as pole vaulting, ping-pong, and spreading soft cheese on a sandwich. If the contestant wins, they take home a cash prize. If they lose, the money goes into a pot for the next show’s contestant. ParaMedia will produce the show together with Warner Horizon Television, Warner Bros. Television Group’s primetime reality programming arm. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Rush & Molloy: Larry Birkhead has hired a lawyer to help him deny claims that he is gay.
Ben Widdicombe: Usher’s 50-year-old mother is engaged to a 36-year-old former boxer.