Plus: Josh Hartnett to star in Far East drama, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy tapped for ''Hippie Hippie Shake,'' George Clooney attached to Iran hostage dramedy, and more...
Gilmore Girls comes to a close after seven seasons
The CW and Warner Bros. TV have announced that they will cease production on Gilmore Girls after this season’s final episode, which airs May 15. The announcement ends speculation that the dramedy would return for short, 13-episode run next season intended to wrap the series. The CW and WBTV released a joint statement that said: ”Announcing the final season of Gilmore Girls is truly a sad moment for everyone at The CW and Warner Bros. Television. This series helped define a network and created a fantastic, storybook world featuring some of television’s most memorable, lovable characters…. [We] promise to give this series the send off it deserves.” (Variety)
Josh Hartnett starring in Rain
Josh Hartnett has been tapped to star in I Come with the Rain, a drama to be directed by Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya) from a script he wrote. Hartnett will play a private detective haunted by a past encounter with a serial killer who heads to the Far East to seek out a man said to have the power to heal him with his touch. Canal Plus, Fernando Sulichin, and Jon Kilik will produce. Shooting starts in June in Hong Kong. Hartnett will next be seen alongside Samuel Jackson in the Rod Lurie-directed Resurrecting the Champ and in the David Slade-directed 30 Days of Night. He just finished shooting August for director Austin Chick. (Variety)
Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy join Hippie Hippie Shake
Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy (Cold Mountain, Batman Begins) have been tapped to star in Hippie Hippie Shake for Universal Pictures and Working Title, and director Beeban Kidron (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Max Minghella (Syriana) and Emma Booth (Clubland) will also star. The story is based on the memoir, Hippie Hippie Shake: The Dreams, the Trips, the Trials, the Love-ins, the Screw Ups: The Sixties, written by Richard Neville (who will be played by Murphy in the movie). It revolves around an obscenity trial involving the Australian satirical magazine Oz during the swinging ’60s in London. After the magazine was transplanted to the British capital, Neville and his cohorts became the defendants in the longest obscenity trial in English history after a sexually explicit issue caught the attention of the Obscene Publications Squad. They were initially sentenced to hard labor, but an appeal absolved them, with the provision that they stop publishing the magazine. Shooting is scheduled to start this fall. (Variety)
Clooney attached to Iran hostage dramedy for Warner
Warner Bros. has tapped George Clooney and his Smoke House partner Grant Heslov to write Escape from Tehran, a dramedy based on the true story of how the CIA got Hollywood to help create a fake movie project to smuggle Americans out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. As is the case with all Smoke House projects, the movie is a potential starring and directing vehicle for Clooney. The film is the first movie the duo will write together since they worked on 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck. Tehran stems from Joshuah Berman’s Wired magazine article about the real-life intelligence tale, which appears in the current issue. Warner has acquired film rights and set up the project with Smoke House to produce. Clooney is currently directing and starring in the 1920s sports movie Leatherheads, which Smoke House is producing for Universal. (Variety)
Columbia adapting graphic novel The Ark
Columbia Pictures has acquired the rights to Dark Horse Comics’ graphic novel The Ark, which marries the tale of Noah’s Ark with a UFO crash. Ark first appeared in 1998’s edition of anthology series Dark Horse Presents, which launched Frank Miller’s Sin City. Neal Moritz will produce Ark through Original Film, and Mark Verheiden, the creator of the comic, will write the screenplay. (Hollywood Reporter)
HBO gives Timberlake a concert special
HBO is doing a Justin Timberlake concert special from a taped performance that will take place at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Aug. 16. It will air Sept. 3. Marty Callner, who will produce and direct, is working with Timberlake on developing exclusive elements for the special. It will be HBO’s first concert since it aired a Rolling Stones special in 2003. (Hollywood Reporter)
HBO adapting Stephen King’s Boston Red Sox book
HBO is developing a miniseries based on the book Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, written by Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan. The book will be broken into to six hour-long episodes that tell the story of how the team ended its 86-year drought and won the 2004 World Series. (Variety)
MTV remixing the VMAs
In addition to holding their annual Video Music Awards in Las Vegas for the first time this year, MTV will also switch up the way it replays the show on the network. Following the live broadcast at 9 p.m. on Sept. 9, MTV’s encore presentations will be ”remixed versions that will be programmed by and for the viewers.” (Variety)
E! launching unscripted tanning salon series
E! will premiere its unscripted series Sunset Tan, which follows the lives and loves of a staff at a Los Angeles tanning salon, at 10:30 p.m. on Monday May 28. The debut will immediately follow the premiere of the new season of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s The Simple Life, and then move to Sunday at 10:30 p.m. for subsequent airings. Storylines for the first season include twins who want to tan their names on their bodies; a dead person whose final wish was to be tan; and a Hawaiian Santa Claus looking to get bronzed. Guest stars will also make appearances. (Variety)
Spears does second show
Following her surprise appearance at a San Diego club on Tuesday (May 1) night, Britney Spears did a second show on Wednesday (May 2) at a club in Anaheim, CA. The set was described as nearly identical to the Tuesday performance, lasting just 12 minutes with Spears lip syncing (sometimes badly) through older hits. She is expected to play another show tonight in Los Angeles, and a fourth show on Sunday in Las Vegas. (People.com)
Blockbuster hurt by weak rentals, pricey online service
Blockbuster reported a $49.2 million loss during the first quarter of 2007 (compared to a $4.7 million loss for Q1 2006), citing a soft market for rentals and heavy spending on its new online rental program, Total Access, which competes with Netflix. Total Access added 800,000 paying subscribers to reach 2.8 million, but so far it has been a drag on the company’s bottom line. Blockbuster said it expects Total Access to become profitable next year. (Variety)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Someone reportedly caught Lindsay Lohan partying at a private house in Beverly Hills on their cellphone video camera.
Cindy Adams: Sienna Miller is trying to boost her career by taking singing and dancing lessons and pledging to stop late-night partying.
Rush & Molloy: Insiders say Usher’s fiancee, Tameka Foster, is pushing the R&B singer toward firing his mother as his manager.
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