Gervais heads to ''Early Retirement''
Plus: Katey Sagal, Chevy Chase, Christopher Lloyd in live-action ''Jack and the Beanstalk,'' ''Good Morning America'' co-anchor Robin Roberts has cancer, ''Rush Hour 3'' producer remaking ''Anderson Tapes,'' and more...
Gervais headed toward Retirement
Ricky Gervais will star in Warner Bros.’ Early Retirement, a comedy pitch about a workaholic who quits his demanding job so he can spend more time with his family. Writer Mark Perez (Accepted, Herbie Fully Loaded) pitched the idea to Mosaic Media’s Charles Roven and Richard Suckle, who then got Gervais on board and helped sell the pitch to Warner. Gervais last appeared on the bigscreen in Night at the Museum and is about to start shooting Ghost Town for DreamWorks. Perez recently sold the pitch What About Barb to Universal as a starring vehicle for Elizabeth Banks (Spider-Man) and is currently rewriting Cool School for Fox. He will also direct the comedy Cellmates for New Regency based on his screenplay. (Variety)
Sagal, Chase, Lloyd starring in live-action Jack and the Beanstalk
Katey Sagal, Chevy Chase, Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried, and Wallace Shawn have joined the cast of Avalon Family Films’ comic, live-action version of the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, which will be directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe. James Earl Jones is in talks to voice the giant. Jack will be played by Colin Ford (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale); Sagal will play Jack’s mother; Shawn will play the guy who trades Jack magic beans for his cow; and Gottfried will play a goose that lays golden eggs. Chase has a cameo as the keeper of a labyrinth Jack must get through to meet the giant, and Daniel Roebuck (Lost, The Fugitive) will play the mayor of Jack’s hometown. Most of Tunnicliffe’s credits are as a makeup effects artist on horror films, including Candyman, Exorcist: The Beginning and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. He also directed Warner Bros.’ 2002 feature Hansel & Gretel, which starred Dakota Fanning and Lynn Redgrave. (Hollywood Reporter)
Good Morning America‘s Roberts has breast cancer
Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts announced on Tuesday’s (July 31) show that she has breast cancer. Roberts, 46, said she found a lump in her breast during a self exam she gave herself the night she did a story in a tribute show about late-film critic Joel Siegel’s bout with cancer and how he was an advocate of early screening. Siegel, who appeared on GMA for 25 years, died June 29 of colon cancer. Roberts will have surgery on Aug. 3 and her prognosis is reportedly good. She will try to continue working alongside co-anchor Diane Sawyer during her treatment. (Hollywood Reporter)
Rush Hour 3 producer remaking Anderson Tapes
Rush Hour 3 producer Arthur Sarkissian has optioned Lawrence Sanders’ novel The Anderson Tapes, previously made into a 1971 movie, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Sean Connery as an ex-con in New York who doesn’t know he’s under surveillance as he tries to burglarize a high-rise apartment building. Sarkissian plans to make a new movie adaptation set in Miami. (Variety)
Eminem’s publisher sues Apple over downloads
The publisher of Eminem’s music has filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for selling downloads of the artist’s music without permission. Apple has a deal with Universal, the label that owns Eminem’s recordings, but not with the publisher, Eight Mile Style, which owns the songs and lyrics. The lawsuit asks for more than $75,000 for copyright infringement, unfair competition, and a violation of the Michigan consumer protection act, and additional damages of up to $150,000 for each song downloaded. (AP via Yahoo!)
Videogame Painkiller getting big-screen treatment
Jon Berg and Todd Komarnicki’s Guy Walks Into a Bar has acquired feature rights to DreamCatcher Interactive’s videogame Painkiller. The game is based on a character stranded between heaven and hell and forced to take part in the battle between good and evil. Painkiller started out as a first-person-shooter PC game in 2004, and was followed up by Painkiller: Hell Wars for the Xbox in 2006. DreamCatcher will release a sequel soon. Guy Walks Into a Bar produced Elf, starring Will Ferrell, and teamed with Deep River Prods. to co-produce the recently-wrapped Starship Dave, starring Eddie Murphy. (Variety)
Disney adapting Sava’s Pet Robots
Disney has acquired rights to Scott Christian Sava’s upcoming graphic novel Pet Robots and set it up with Benderspink’s Chris Bender and JC Spink for a movie adaptation. The comedic story is about high-tech robots that fall into the hands of the least likely people. Sava, founder of Blue Dream Studios, has worked on Spider-Man, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Aliens vs. Predators, and X-Men in his career as an illustrator, comicbook artist, animator, and videogame designer. (Variety)
Lawrence directing Snow and the Seven
Director Francis Lawrence (Constantine) will helm fantasy-adventure Snow and the Seven for Disney, with Scott Rudin and Andrew Gunn producing. The live-action project, based on the Snow White fairy tale, tells the story of a British girl raised in 19th-century Hong Kong who realizes her destiny is to conquer an evil force. She prepares to fight by training with seven Shaolin monks. Shooting is scheduled to start next year. (Variety)
Six Feet‘s St. Patrick joins NBC’s Backyards
Matthew St. Patrick, who played Keith on HBO’s Six Feet Under, has been cast in NBC’s one-hour pilot Backyards and Bullets, about a suburban Neighborhood Watch group gone awry. St. Patrick joins previously cast Billy Burke, Kristen Lehman, Abigail Spencer, Richard Ruccolo, Enuka Okuma, and Casey LaBow. (Hollywood Reporter)
Martha Stewart best-of series heads to DIY
Martha Stewart Crafts, a new, half-hour best-of compilation series, will air on DIY Network, starting with a Thanksgiving Day premiere. It will feature how-to segments in areas like scrapbooking, glittering, and framing, culled from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s series Martha Stewart Living. (Variety)
ABC Family orders 10 more episodes of Greek
ABC Family has picked up 10 additional episodes of the college-set drama series Greek, about a group of students who struggle to adapt to college life. The new episodes will run in early 2008. Greek stars Jacob Zachar, Spencer Grammer, Scott Michael Foster, Jake McDorman, Clark Duke, Dilshad Vadsaria, Paul James, and Amber Stevens. (Variety)
Walsh says new Eagles record near completion
Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh says the band’s first full-length studio record since 1979’s The Long Run is almost ready for release. Walsh told Billboard, ”We’re just finishing vocals and mixing it. We’re all finally signing off on it.” The guitarist says the record goes into new directions for the band, which is preparing for an extensive tour in 2008. (Billboard)
ESPN doing Bobby Valentine documentary
ESPN is doing a documentary about former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine’s transformation from a figure in America’s Major League Baseball into a hero of Japanese baseball. The two-hour Bobby V in Japan will premiere this spring. (Hollywood Reporter)
People.com: In case you live under a rock, Nicole Richie is, in fact, pregnant with boyfriend Joel Madden’s kid. Madden is in the band Good Charlotte.
Page Six: Uma Thurman was spotted kissing Swiss banker Arky Busson, who was Elle Macpherson’s boyfriend for many years and is the father of her two kids. Thurman recently broke up with businessman, hotel owner Andre Balazs.