News Roundup: Bates reuniting with ''Titanic'' stars
Plus: Douglas starring in ''Tragic Indifference,'' Coen Brothers set up ''A Serious Man'' with Focus/Working Title, Kevin Bacon starring in HBO's Iraq War movie, and more...
Kathy Bates to star alongside Titanic costars in Revolutionary Road
Kathy Bates will join Titanic co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Sam Mendes’ 1950s-set drama Revolutionary Road for DreamWorks. The story, adapted by Justin Haythe from Richard Yates’ critically acclaimed 1961 novel, is about a suburban Connecticut couple and the deterioration of their relationship. Bates will play Mrs. Givings, who sells the couple their home and introduces them to the town. Also added to the project are Michael Shannon (World Trade Center, Vanilla Sky), who will play the son of Bates’ character, and Zoe Kazan (Fracture), who will play Maureen, secretary of DiCaprio’s character, with whom she embarks on an affair. Shooting starts in June. (Hollywood Reporter)
Douglas to star in Tragic Indifference
Michael Douglas will star in Tragic Indifference, a drama about a landmark liability case filed against Ford Motor Company that exposed the automaker’s indifference to flaws in its SUVs. Douglas has been considered a strong possibility to star since he first attached himself to Adam Penenberg’s 2003 book, Tragic Indifference: One Man’s Battle With the Auto Industry Over the Dangers of SUVs. Douglas will play the attorney who took Ford to court on behalf of a single mother from Texas who was paralyzed and nearly died after an accident in 2000. The attorney won a huge settlement for his client, as well as an order for Ford executives to come to her bedside to apologize for the incident. Douglas’ Further Films will produce with Todd Wagner, Mark Cuban, and Marc Butan’s 2929 Prods. Douglas next appears in King of California. (Variety)</p
Coens set up second project with Focus and Working Title
Joel and Ethan Coen set up A Serious Man with Focus Features and Working Title, the second (along with Burn After Reading) of a two-movie deal the brothers made with the companies. Both stories are being kept under wraps, but Man is being described as a dark comedy in the vein of Fargo. Burn After Reading is set to start shooting this summer with Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Frances McDormand. Past Coen Brother movies with Working Title include Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Man Who Wasn’t There. (Variety)
Kevin Bacon to star in HBO Iraq War film
HBO has tapped Kevin Bacon to star in Taking Chance as Lt. Col. Michael Strobl, an officer in the Iraq War who accompanies the body of fallen U.S. soldier Chance Phelps as it is returned home for a burial in Wyoming. Ross Katz, who produced In the Bedroom and Marie Antoinette, will make his directorial debut on the movie. Katz is also writing the script with Strobl, adapting it from the soldier’s short story of the same name. The project is set to start shooting this summer with HBO planning to air it some time in 2008. (Variety)
Hip-hop summit suggests new words for voluntary censorship
Hip Hop Summit Action Network leaders Russell Simmons and Benjamin Chavis suggested that the recording and broadcast industries should voluntarily censor the words ”bitch,” ”ho,” and ”nigger” from clean versions of future recordings. The announcement follows radio personality Don Imus’ firing after he called members of Rutgers University’s mostly black woman’s basketball team ”nappy-headed hos.” (Variety)
Scorsese attaches himself to Golden Door
Martin Scorsese has attached his name to Miramax’s Italian movie Golden Door, Emanuele Crialese’s tale of Sicilian immigrants to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century. Scorsese has been added to the film’s marketing materials and will introduce the movie at a Tribeca Film Festival screening next week. It opens May 25 in New York and June 1 in Los Angeles. (Variety)
Primus’ Les Claypool set to make feature directorial debut
Les Claypool, singer and bassist best known for his work in the 1990s band Primus, will make his feature directorial debut on Electric Apricot, a comedy about the jam band movement purchased by National Lampoon. The movie is set to be released as National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot — Quest for Festeroo later this year. (Variety)
Housewives hits all-time low ratings
ABC’s Desperate Housewives hit an all-time low in the ratings on Sunday (April 22) night, attracting 15.6 million viewers and scoring a 6.0 rating/14 share in adults 18-49. That was one-tenth of a point lower than its previous low set on Easter Sunday, April 8. Nevertheless, Sunday’s Housewives still ranked as the night’s top show, placing well ahead of second place Deal or No Deal (9 million, 2.6/6), and along with ABC’s Extreme Makeover, helped win the night for the network. (Hollywood Reporter)
Dre, Eminem, Timbaland to produce new 50 Cent record
Hip-hop artist 50 Cent has acquired the production services of Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Timbaland for his upcoming record Curtis, due June 26. Eminem, Akon, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, Robin Thicke, and Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls will be featured guests on the album. (Billboard)
Tucker tapped for The Ruins
Jonathan Tucker (The Black Donnellys, In the Valley of Elah) will star in The Ruins, DreamWorks’ adaptation of the best-selling Scott B. Smith novel. Red Hour Films’ Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld are producing. Tucker will star as Jeff, an ambitious premed student, in the thriller about a group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when Jeff persuades them to go on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins. Production starts in late May. (Hollywood Reporter)
Universal theme parks building Simpsons ride
A new ride tied to the Simpsons movie will launch in Spring 2008 at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort. The deal also includes provisions that allow actors dressed like Simpsons characters to roam the parks, and the creation of new souvenir stores dedicated to selling Simpsons-themed merchandise. ”The ride is designed to duplicate the Simpsons home-viewing experience, only at high speed and with lots of screaming,” said Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The ride will replace the long-running Back to the Future attraction, which will shutter at both parks after Labor Day. (Variety)
Csupo takes on two new family fantasies
Gabor Csupo (Bridge to Terabithia) is set to direct to two new family fantasies: The Moon Princess and The White Giraffe. Princess, based on Elizabeth Goudge’s 1946 children’s book The Little White Horse, is about a 13-year-old girl’s adventure into a magical world where she must banish an ancient curse. It is set to shoot this summer with Colin Firth cast as the girl’s uncle and further casting underway. Giraffe, based on Lauren St. John’s forthcoming children’s book, is about a young heroine who goes to live on a wildlife preserve in South Africa with a grandmother she never knew she had, after the death of her parents. There, she discovers a mythical white giraffe and tries to unlock the mystery of why everyone is keeping it a secret. The movie, which has already cast AnnaSophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), will be released by 20th Century Fox and Walden Media through Fox Walden. (Variety)
Regis returns to Live with Letterman as guest
Regis Philbin will return to Live With Regis and Kelly on Thursday (April 26) with David Letterman as a guest. Philbin, 75, had triple bypass heart surgery earlier this year, and co-host Kelly Ripa has been doing the show with guest hosts while he recovered. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: While speaking at N.Y. Women of Communications’ Matrix Awards, Rosie O’Donnell dropped the F-bomb, grabbed her crotch, and told Donald Trump, ”Eat Me” in front of 2,000 guests, including 17 high school girls who won scholarships.
Liz Smith: Observer columnist Joe Conason says uber-conservative pundit Ann Coulter is guilty of felony voter fraud for knowingly falsifying information on her voter registration form.
Rush & Molloy: Andrei Melnichenko, a 35-year-old Russian billionaire, is said to be paying Jennifer Lopez about $2 million to do a 40-minute set at his wife’s 30th birthday party — that’s $50,000 a minute.