Plus: Zellweger, Connick Jr. set for ''Chilled in Miami,'' Letterman going on Oprah's show, Belushi making feature directorial debut, and more...
Thornton, Basinger tapped for Informers
Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, and Brandon Routh are in negotiations to join the ensemble cast of Informers, a drama adaptation of the novel written by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction). Already cast are Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Ashley Olsen, Austin Nichols (John From Cincinnati) Lou Pucci (Thumbsucker), and Jon Foster. The story is set over a week in 1983, in the nihilistic world of Ellis’ youth in Los Angeles. It’s comprised of seven intersecting storylines, involving movie executives, rock stars, a vampire, and other morally challenged characters. Thornton will play a movie exec, and Basinger will portray his wife, Routh has been cast as the vampire, and Olsen plays a sexually promiscuous girl. Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers) is directing and Senator International is financing with Marco Weber producing. Production will start in October. Thornton next stars in Mr. Woodcock, which opens Sept. 14, and starts shooting Tulia with Halle Berry in the fall. Basinger was last seen in The Sentinel and next stars in While She Was Out, directed by Susan Montford. (Hollywood Reporter)
Zellweger, Connick Jr. in talks for Chilled
Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. are in negotiations to join Danish writer/director Jonas Elmer’s (Let’s Get Lost) comedy Chilled in Miami for Gold Circle Films. The story is about a Miami businesswoman who’s transferred to middle-of-nowhere Minnesota. Zellweger will film New Line Cinema’s Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa, opposite Viggo Mortensen, this fall ahead of starting work on Chilled, which starts shooting in January. Connick Jr. most recently appeared in the Lionsgate thriller Bug. (Variety)
Letterman doing Oprah’s show
David Letterman will make his first appearance ever on The Oprah Winfrey Show on Sept. 10, seemingly putting an end, once and for all, to the 10-year rift between the two talkshow hosts. Letterman has frequently made jokes at Winfrey’s expense, and in 2003 she said she wouldn’t go on his show because she’s tired of him targeting her. Things have been on the mend since 2005, however, when Winfrey went on Letterman’s show. Then, last February, they were in a Super Bowl commercial together in which they spoofed their supposed animosity for one another. (Variety)
Jim Belushi to make feature directorial debut
Jim Belushi will make his feature directorial debut on the Lionsgate movie The Catch, based on the real-life story of 42-year-old Marty Reichman, who, with his life in shambles, decided to keep a promise to his father by returning to college and made the football team as a tight end. Belushi will also star in and produce the film. David Murray, who wrote the upcoming football biopic Lombardi, will write the script. Belushi has directed more then 30 episodes of his ABC sitcom, According to Jim, which he also executive produces. He will finish shooting the 18-episode seventh season of the series by January and start work on Catch by March. (Variety)
Family Guy available for Xbox download
Through a deal between Microsoft and Fox, Xbox 360 game console users will be able to download and own episodes of the Fox animated series Family Guy. The downloads will be offered through Microsoft’s Xbox Live Video Marketplace, which already has movies available from Warner Bros., Paramount, Lionsgate, and New Line and TV shows from CBS, NBC Universal, and MTV Networks. Some of the content is offered in high-def. Seasons one and two of Family Guy will be available starting next week, with subsequent seasons rolling out later. (Variety)
Three join Murphy’s NowhereLand
Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food), DeRay Davis (School for Scoundrels), and Ronny Cox (Deliverance, Robocop, Total Recall) will star opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount Pictures’ comedy NowhereLand directed by Karey Kirkpatrick. Parker plays the separated wife of Murphy’s character, who doesn’t understand his fascination with their 6-year-old daughter’s imaginary world, which Murphy explores to help solve his work problems. Davis plays a longtime friend to Murphy’s character, a therapist. Cox plays the humorless boss who suspects Murphy’s character of insider trading but doesn’t care as long as he gets results. Parker next stars opposite Martin Lawrence in Universal Pictures’ The Better Man, due in theaters in February. Davis stars opposite Will Ferrell and Andre Benjamin in the upcoming New Line Cinema comedy Semi-Pro. The veteran Cox has appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows in his career. (Hollywood Reporter)
Former Dancing with the Stars winner hosting new dance show
Former boy band member Drew Lachey, who won season two of Dancing With the Stars, will host ABC’s new midseason dance competition, Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann. The show features Dancing with the Stars judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba as they form rival performance groups and face off week to week in various song and dance battles. The show is based on the hit U.K. series Dance X and comes from Dancing with the Stars producer BBC Worldwide America. ABC will air six episodes in the winter of 2008. Lachey, Nick Lachey’s younger brother and a former member of 98 Degrees, previously hosted the 2006 Miss USA Pageant. (Variety)
Roadside acquires 2006 Toronto winner
Roadside Attractions has acquired U.S. rights to Bella, the winner of last year’s People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Alejandro Gomez Monteverde’s romantic drama stars Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard (The Good Shepherd) as a young, single waitress fired from her job right after discovering that she is pregnant. The restaurant’s chef (Mexican star Eduardo Verastegui) develops a bond with her that helps each discover truths about themselves. Lionsgate, which purchased a minority stake in Roadside in July, will handle all domestic ancillary distribution. The film will be released on Oct. 26. (Hollywood Reporter)
AP via Yahoo!: El DeBarge was arrested last weekend for domestic violence. He was held without bail because of two outstanding warrants related to narcotics cases.
Ben Widdicombe: Although New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady flew all the way to Los Angeles just before a preseason game so he could be there for the birth of his son, ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan would only let Brady see the baby for a short time and did not visit with him herself.