DreamWorks, Stiller doing ''In Deep''
Plus: Lionsgate doing new ''Speed Racer'' series for Nicktoons, TNT's ''Closer'' premiere sets ratings record, ''Heroes'' adds six new recurring roles, and more...
In Deep set up for Stiller
DreamWorks and Ben Stiller’s Red Hour are teaming for the comedy In Deep as a potential starring vehicle for Stiller, with Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) set to direct. Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness) is doing a rewrite/reconceive of George Beckerman’s screenplay, which is about a man who fights a parking ticket and becomes increasingly enmeshed in criminal allegations. Red Hour’s Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld are producing, and Robert Weide and Romanek are executive producing. (Hollywood Reporter)
Lionsgate creating new Speed Racer
Lionsgate is launching its first animated series, bringing a new version of the 1960s series Speed Racer to Nickelodeon’s Nicktoons, which will air the first 26 episodes. The series will debut next year around the same time Warner Bros.’ live-action movie adaptation of Speed is set to hit theaters. The Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix, V for Vendetta) are directing the film. The series and the movie are not related, though the show will certainly benefit from the hype that’s sure to surround the tentpole film. The updated new series will see a young Speed Racer enter a racing academy for the fastest kids on earth and discover that he’s the son of the legendary Speed Racer from the original series. He also learns that he has a brother: the new Racer X. The new Speed will drive the Mach 6, an updated version of the original Mach 5, which doesn’t run on gasoline. Stories will revolve around Speed and Racer X teaming to prevent villains from stealing the car and investigating the mysterious disappearance of their father. Every three episodes will operate as a mini-movie but the series will also work as a daily strip. Speed’s younger brother Spritle, now headmaster of the racing academy, will return to the new series, as will his pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim, who is now a mechanical robot. This will be the third attempt to revive the 1967 original Japanese series, following short-lived projects in 1993 (The New Adventures of Speed Racer) and 2002 (Speed Racer X). (Variety)
The Closer premiere sets ratings record
TNT’s Monday night third-season premiere of its drama series The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, averaged more than 8.8 million total viewers at 9 p.m., breaking its own record set with its Season 2 premiere as basic cable’s most-watched series telecast ever. The Season 3 debut was up 6 percent in total viewers, compared to last year (8.3 million), and jumped 11 percent in adults 18-49 (2.9 million vs. 2.6 million) and 6 percent in adults 25-54 (3.8 million vs. 3.6 million). TNT followed The Closer with new drama, The Heartland, which averaged 4.3 million viewers (1.2 million in 18-49 and 1.6 million in 25-54) at 10 p.m, ranking as basic cable’s No. 2 new original series for the year. (Hollywood Reporter)
Frank Miller directing Clive Owen in Trouble Is My Business
Frank Miller has been attached to direct Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment’s movie adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novella Trouble Is My Business, starring Clive Owen. Miller previously directed Owen in Sin City. Trouble will provide Owen with a similar chance to frame the narrative with a compelling voiceover. Chandler’s book is about a hard-drinking private eye Philip Marlowe who cracks cases, busts heads, and romances femme fatales in 1940s Los Angeles. Miller’s other directorial projects currently in the works include a film based on Will Eisner graphic novel The Spirit and a Sin City sequel he’ll co-direct once again with Robert Rodriguez. Owen will next be seen starring with Cate Blanchett in The Golden Age for Universal, and in the New Line action film Shoot-‘Em-Up. He is also prepping the Tom Tykwer-directed The International for Columbia Pictures. (Variety)
Heroes adds six recurring roles
NBC’s Heroes has added six recurring roles to its upcoming second season, to be played by David Anders, Japanese pop star and actress Eriko Tamura, Barry Shabaka Henley, Holt McCallany, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Dianna Agron. Anders (Alias) will play the ancient samurai warrior Takezo Kensei, Hiro Nakamura’s (Masi Oka) childhood hero. Tamura will play a Japanese princess; Henley (Close to Home) will play Detective Fuller, a New York police officer; McCallany (CSI: Miami) will play Ricky, the ringleader of a group of Irish thugs; and Fonseca (Big Love) and Agron (Veronica Mars) will play cheerleaders in Southern California, where Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is expected to move. Fonseca’s character is sweet, while Agron’s is a mean girl. The six actors join Nick d’Agosto, who recently landed a recurring role for next season, and Dania Ramirez, who was cast as a new regular. (Hollywood Reporter)
Michael Apted directing third Narnia
Director Michael Apted (Gorky Park, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Amazing Grace) is directing Walt Disney Pictures/Walden Media’s third installment of the Narnia franchise, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Andrew Adamson, who directed the first two films in the series (2005’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which releases in 2008) will continue his involvement by also serving as a producer on the project. Dawn Treader will begin filming in January and it is set for a May 1, 2009 release. Among the cast members reprising their roles are Ben Barnes, Georgie Henley, and Skandar Keynes. (Hollywood Reporter)
Trump/MTV team for new reality show
Donald Trump and MTV are developing a new reality series that will mix The Apprentice with The Real World and star the winners of Trump’s beauty pageants. The 30-minute show, Pageant Place, will see Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA living in the same New York apartment. The show will also star former Miss USA Tara Conner as a kind of den mother and chaperone to the women. Conner was involved in a public scandal last year after reports surfaced of her drinking underage and using cocaine. The first season will follow current Miss Universe Riyo Mori, Miss USA Rachel Smith, and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair as they model, make appearances on behalf of various causes, and embark on international trips. (Variety)
The Office getting video game treatment
Publisher MumboJumbo has partnered with Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group to develop video games based on the NBC series The Office. The first title will debut in the fall as a PC game sold at retail and available as an online digital download. It will be classified as a task-management game like Diner Dash with players assuming the role of Jim Halpert (John Krasinski in the show) and interacting with such other characters as Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) and Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Additional games will roll out next year. The plan is to expand to Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable, and possibly move onto Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade and Sony’s PlayStation Network Platform. (Hollywood Reporter)
Motley Crue suing manager over Lee’s reality show forays
Motley Crue is suing its manager for $20 million claiming he pushed drummer Tommy Lee into doing two reality shows (Rock Star: Supernova and Tommy Lee Goes to College) that took him away from the band and forced them to cancel shows. Stubner didn’t make Lee available for a 2006 European tour and the band had to cancel 40 concerts at an estimated $8 million loss in ticket and merchandising sales, the suit says. The also suit claims that College was ”a ratings disaster” that portrayed Lee as ”incoherent, lazy and incompetent,” disruptive in classes, and unable to keep a beat in a school marching band and that the reality shows were part of a ”self-serving scheme” to promote Lee’s personal work at the expense of the group because Stubner got a higher commission for solo projects. (AP via Yahoo!)
Neutrogena pacts with Lonelygirl15 Web series
Neutrogena has signed a deal with the producers of Lonelygirl15 to help market the Web series, and one of the company’s young scientists will join the cast as a 22-year-old scientist who helps the series’ lead characters create a serum in order to thwart an evil org known as the Order. The new character will first appear on Monday and appear in episodes over the next two months. Neutrogena will promote the series on its own site and stream episodes. (Variety)
Medak directing Addicted
Lionsgate has tapped Peter Medak (Romeo is Bleeding, Pontiac Moon) to direct the erotic thriller Addicted, based on a novel by Zane. The story is about Zoe, a successful black art dealer whose marriage, family, and career are threatened by her overpowering addiction to sex. Medak will direct from a script written by Christina Welsh. Shooting is scheduled to start this fall. (Hollywood Reporter)
LCD Soundsystem opening for Arcade Fire
The Arcade Fire has selected LCD Soundsystem to play the fall leg of its North American tour, which begins Sept. 17 in Denver. (Billboard)
IN THE GOSSIPS
People.com: Tony Parker reveals that his July 7 wedding to Eva Longoria will take place at a castle south of Paris, but denies reports that their wedding cake will be flown in from Los Angeles at a cost of $11,000.
Page Six: A close friends says that Lindsay Lohan will stay in rehab longer than her planned one month, which ends this week, because this time she’s taking her recovery very seriously.