Plus: Hopper, Lane, Grammer, Tucci tapped for ''Swing Vote,'' NBC looking to renew ''The Apprentice,'' Prince plays into the wee hours in hometown Minneapolis, and more...
Esposito tapped for indie drama
Jennifer Esposito (Crash, WB’s Related) will star alongside Val Kilmer in the indie drama Conspiracy for director Adam Marcus (Snow Days), who also co-wrote the film with Debra Sullivan. Esposito will play a hardworking single mother and survivor of an abusive marriage who becomes involved with a wounded special-ops Iraq War veteran (Kilmer) after he arrives in her Arizona town to visit an old friend. Things get complicated when he learns that his friend has disappeared and can’t even find anyone in the town who will acknowledge that the man was ever there. (Hollywood Reporter)
Hopper, Lane, Grammer join Swing Vote
Dennis Hopper, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, George Lopez, and newcomer Madeline Carroll will join Kevin Costner in the comedy Swing Vote, directed by Joshua Michael Stern from a script he wrote with Jason Richman. Costner, who?s financing the film and producing, plays an apathetic working-class single dad who?s thrust onto the world stage when the presidential election comes down to his single vote. Hopper and Grammer will play the two candidates, while Lane and Tucci will play their campaign managers. Lopez will play the local TV station manager who sees his town invaded by the political machinery of both parties. Shooting is scheduled to begin July 23. (Variety)
NBC mulling Apprentice renewal
Sources say there is a strong possibility that NBC’s The Apprentice will get another season following talks between executive producer Mark Burnett and executive producer/star Donald Trump. NBC could make a deal for another season of the reality show before the network’s presentation next week during the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour. Mark Burnett Prods. confirmed that discussions are taking place but emphasized that there is no deal. In May, Trump issued a statement saying that he had told NBC that he was ”moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture,” but NBC responded by saying that Trump was contracted to do a seventh installment of the series if the network decided to pick it up. The Apprentice has watched ratings fall since its debut in 2004, with the mot recent cycle, which relocated from New York to Los Angeles, getting the lowest ratings so far. (Hollywood Reporter)
Prince comes home to Minneapolis
Prince played three shows over 12 hours in his hometown of Minneapolis on Saturday, wrapping up at about 4 a.m. when the police shut him down. The artist started at a department store to promote his new cologne, doing nine songs in a 45-minute set, before moving on to the Target Center arena later that night. He then did an after-hours set at First Avenue, the club he made famous in the movie Purple Rain, his first appearance at the venue since 1987. He didn’t go on at First Avenue until 2:45 a.m., and the police shut him down at 4 a.m., according to city law. Fifteen songs and 70 minutes into his 24-song set, Prince announced from the stage: ”The authorities say we gotta go. We always listen to the authorities. I promise I’ll be back.” (Hollywood Reporter)
Kevin Pollak joins Shark
Kevin Pollak (Numb) is joining CBS’ legal drama Shark as recurring character Lloyd Cutler, the new Los Angeles District Attorney who beat out Jeri Ryan’s character in her bid for reelection. Pollak previously worked with series star James Woods in Casino. Also joining the cast as a recurring is Kevin Alejandro (Drive) who will play William Lyons, a street-smart, tough prosecutor specializing in organized crime. Shark returns for a second season next fall in a new Sunday 10 p.m. slot. (Hollywood Reporter)
Sony cuts PS3 price by $100
Sony cut the cost of its Playstation 3 game console by $100 to $499 in North America in hopes to boost sales, which have lagged since the unit’s November 2006 launch. Sony is also introducing a new, higher-end PS3 with a larger, 80-gigabyte hard drive and a free game for $599. Microsoft?s Xbox 360 costs $399, and Nintendo?s Wii, which isn?t nearly as powerful as the other two consoles, costs $249 and is easily outselling its competitors. Nintendo sold 338,000 Wiis in the U.S. and Canada in May, while Microsoft sold 155,000 Xbox 360s, and Sony sold just 82,000 PS3s. Gamers also complain that the PS3 needs a stronger lineup of exclusive game titles. (Variety)
Rupert Friend tapped for Young Victoria
Rupert Friend (Pride and Prejudice) will star opposite Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria. Friend will play Prince Albert to Blunt’s Queen Victoria in the movie about the royal’s turbulent early rule and her marriage to the prince. Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee will helm from a script by Julian Fellowes. Graham King and Martin Scorsese are producing. No studio is attached to the project, which begins shooting next month. King has a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, while Scorsese has a new producing and directing deal with Paramount, which gives the studio the option to own half of any movie Scorsese directs or produces elsewhere, as well as to co-distribute. Friend will also appear in the upcoming The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which he is currently shooting for Miramax, and The Last Legion for the Weinstein Co. (Variety)
Cavemen getting a makeover
Upcoming ABC comedy series Caveman, based on the Geico insurance advertisements, has tapped Sam Huntington (Superman Returns) to play a new caveman character, Andy, who is the younger brother of Joel (Bill English). Andy replaces Jamie, Joel’s easygoing little bother character played in the pilot by Dash Mihok. The series will not launch with the pilot but with a new first episode, which is said to provide back-story on the characters. The pilot episode will air later in the series, with Jamie’s scenes reshot. (Hollywood Reporter)
People.com: The FBI questioned Clay Aiken after he was shoved by a fellow passenger during a disagreement on a flight to Tulsa.
Page Six: Missy Elliott and Keyshia Cole both downed shots of booze at 11 a.m. before shooting their video for Cole’s song, ”Let It Go,” at New York nightclub Home. Cole ordered a double lemon drop shot and Elliot did a double shot of Patron.
Ben Widdicombe: Denise Richards was expecting ex Richie Sambora to propose to her during a Hawaii vacation last February, according to a friend. Instead, she got dumped, but the pair kept up appearances as if they were still together.