Daniel Craig starring in WWII drama
Plus: Frank E. Flowers tapped for Fox's ''Taps'' remake, Universal acquires Jason Bateman comedy pitch, Distant Horizon doing updated Fu Manchu movie, and more...
Daniel Craig tapped for Defiance
Daniel ”007” Craig is starring in the World War II drama Defiance, which Edward Zwick will write, direct, and produce. Zwick, who last directed Blood Diamond, has had the project on his plate for the past eight years after acquiring film rights to Nechama Tec’s nonfiction book of the same name. The true story is about four Jewish brothers living in Nazi-occupied Poland who escape into the forest, where they join Russian resistance fighters in battling the Nazis and trying to save the lives of other Jews. Shooting is scheduled to start in September, and Craig will squeeze it in before starting work on the next Bond movie, Bond 22, which is set to begin production sometime this winter for a November 2008 release. Craig will next be seen in The Invasion, which opens Aug. 17, and His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, which releases Dec. 7. The actor stars opposite Nicole Kidman in both movies. (Variety)
Frank E. Flowers attached to Fox’s Taps
Twentieth Century Fox has tapped writer/director Frank E. Flowers (Haven) to pen the screenplay for a remake of the 1981 movie Taps, which starred Timothy Hutton, Tom Cruise, and Sean Penn. Flowers may also direct. In the Harold Becker-directed original, a group of cadets seize control of their military academy just as construction crews arrive to tear it down and make room for condos. Flowers will start work on the screenplay immediately. (Variety)
Universal acquires Jason Bateman’s Remarkable Fellows
Universal has acquired the action buddy comedy pitch The Remarkable Fellows from Jason Bateman, who will star and produce. Joe Carnahan, who worked with Bateman on Smokin’ Aces, will write and direct. The story is about two brothers who take over the family business, which involves exacting revenge for clients. Bateman will play one of the brothers. Carnahan will write the script before he begins work directing White Jazz, the adaptation of James Ellroy’s book, which will star George Clooney. Bateman is set to start the Peter Berg-directed Tonight, He Comes alongside Will Smith and Charlize Theron. He’ll next be seen starring with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner in Berg’s The Kingdom, which Universal will release on Sept. 28, and then stars with Natalie Portman in the Zach Helm-directed Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which Mandate and Fox Walden will release on Nov. 16. (Variety)
Distant Horizon doing Fu Manchu movie
South Africa-based Distant Horizon is developing a movie based on the 1960s arch-criminal mastermind Fu Manchu, originally played by Christopher Lee. The project will be produced by Distant Horizon president Anant Singh and Brian Cox along with indie producer Harry Alan Towers and actress Maria Rohm. Towers and Rohm were key figures in several of the ’60s Fu Manchu projects starring Lee: The Vengeance of Fu Manchu, The Blood of Fu Manchu, and The Castle of Fu Manchu. Singh said the movie will re-invent Fu Manchu as an anti-hero in a more socially conscious world and that it will address the xenophobia of the original. (Hollywood Reporter)
LaBeouf, Fox voicing Transformers game
Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox will voice their characters in Activision’s Transformers: The Game, which comes out for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and PC on June 19. The game will also feature characters that look like the actors. DreamWorks and Paramount’s live-action Transformers movie, adapted from the Hasbro toys, opens on the Fourth of July. (Hollywood Reporter)
HBO promotes viral sharing of new pilot
HBO has launched an online marketing campaign for new comedy series Flight of the Conchords that allows viewers to access it on video-sharing sites and to embed the pilot episode on blogs, websites, and social-networking profiles, like MySpace. Conchords is about a music comedy duo transplanted from New Zealand to New York’s Lower East Side. (Hollywood Reporter)
Beyonce leads BET award nominations
Beyonce leads all nominees with six BET award nods, including best female R&B artist, best collaboration (with Jay-Z on both ”Deja Vu” and ”Upgrade U”), video of the year (for ”Irrreplaceable” and her duet with Shakira on ”Beautiful Liar”), and the viewer’s choice award. Earning three nominations each are Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, Akon, and Gnarls Barkley. First-time nominee Robin Thicke grabbed two nominations, as did the late Gerald Levert, Ludacris, Diddy, Ne-Yo, and Mary J. Blige. The 7th annual BET Awards will be televised live on June 26 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: The Office star Jenna Fischer was out with friends at the restaurant Buddakan on Monday (May 14) when she slipped and fell down the marble steps, breaking four bones in her back and causing her to cancel an appearance on Conan and a shoot for Harper’s Bazaar. The actress’ rep says she is fine and should make a full recovery in time to shoot the next season of Office.
Cindy Adams: At the ABC upfronts, Jimmy Kimmel got in some good zingers on Rosie O’Donnell, Paris Hilton, and Katie Couric .