Plus: Derek Luke replaces Wesley Snipes in Spike Lee's ''Miracle at St. Anna,'' Britney Spears' lawyer explains why she lost custody, 13-year-old Dakota Blue Richards tapped for ''Secret of Moonacre,'' and more...

By Mike Bruno
Updated October 02, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/

Writers tapped for Friday the 13th remake
Michael Bay’s revival of the Friday the 13th horror franchise has moved one step closer to happening with the hiring of writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who paired to write 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason. Bay, who most recently directed Transformers, is producing Friday for New Line with his Platinum Dunes partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. The original Friday the 13th, released in 1980, actually featured Jason’s mother as the killer, but the remake will focus on Jason himself and be set in Crystal Lake, the heavily-wooded summer camp where the original movie took place. Jonathan Liebesman is attached to direct. Liebesman previously worked with Platinum Dunes and New Line when he helmed last year’s remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Also involved are MTV and Paramount, which released the original film. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)

Luke replaces Snipes in Spike Lee’s Anna
Derek Luke (Lions for Lambs, Antwone Fisher) has replaced Wesley Snipes in a lead role in director Spike Lee’s World War II drama Miracle at St. Anna. The actor joins an ensemble cast that also includes John Turturro, James Gandolfini, Michael Ealy, Omar Benson, and Tory Kittles. Snipes pulled out of the project because it was too difficult for him to leave the U.S. (the movie is shooting in Italy) while he fights tax evasion charges. Snipes, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, previously had trouble traveling to Africa to shoot Gallow Walker. Luke will play one of four members of the U.S. Army’s all-black 92nd Division who get separated from their squad behind enemy lines. The soldiers, bitter about racism and the feeling that their own government treats its enemy better than it does them, finds humanity in the small Tuscan village of St. Anna. Luke also plays a soldier in Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs. (Variety)

Britney’s lawyer explains custody loss
A lawyer for Britney Spears told People that the singer has temporarily lost custody of her sons because she couldn’t provide a California driver’s license and was accused of not taking a random drug and alcohol test. A judge ordered on Monday (Oct. 1) that Kevin Federline gets physical custody of Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, ”until further order of the court.” Spears’ lawyer says there is no evidence that she failed a drug/alcohol test but only that she is unable to provide evidence that she took the test, which the courts treat the same as failure. Another hearing is set for Wednesday (Oct. 3). Spears has been charged with misdemeanor driving without a valid license and hit-and-run following an accident on Aug. 6. (People)

13-year-old Golden Compass star tapped for Moonacre
Dakota Blue Richards, the 13-year-old British actress who will make her film debut in the starring role in the upcoming The Golden Compass, has been tapped to star in Gabor Csupo’s The Secret of Moonacre, based on Elizabeth Goudge’s classic children’s novel The Little White Horse. Richards will play Maria, an orphan sent to live with her uncle in mysterious Moonacre Manor, where she discovers a world of magical creatures and tries to undo an ancient curse. Already cast are Ioan Gruffudd, Tim Curry, Natascha McElhone, and Juliet Stevenson. Shooting on the $27 million New Line project began this week. (Variety)

Comedy Central renews Lil’ Bush, Mencia
Comedy Central has granted a 10-epsidoe fourth season to Mind of Mencia and ordered a 10-episode second season of its new animated series Lil’ Bush. Mencia, which features comedian Carlos Mencia, averaged 1.5 million total viewers during its third season, ranking No. 1 among basic cable with men 18-24 in its time slot, Sundays at 10-10:30 p.m. The show is targeting spring for its return. Bush, which debuted June 13 to 1.5 million viewers, is also aiming to come back next spring. The show, which features a school-age version of the future president along with pals Lil’ Condi and Lil’ Cheney, originally was made as a series of animated shorts for Amp’d Mobile before being picked up by Comedy Central. (Hollywood Reporter)

ABC wins Sunday despite slip in ratings
ABC had the three highest-rated entertainment programs among young adults on the opening Sunday of the season (Sept. 30), despite Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition all slipping from their ratings a year ago. Desperate earned a 7.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, 19 million viewers overall, and was easily the top show, though it was down 23 percent year to year; Makeover scored a 4.7/12 in 18-49, 14.0 million viewers overall, which was down 26 percent compared to last year; and Brothers & Sisters opened its second season with a 5.1/13 in 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall, down 15 percent from last season. Though they both slipped year-to-year, both Desperate and Brothers seemed to be on the right track last week, earning their highest ratings since Nov. 26 of last year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Macy starring in high school comedy Bart Got a Room
William H. Macy will star in Bart Got a Room, a high school comedy from Plum Pictures about a teenager trying to find a prom date while dealing with his parents’ failing marriage. Brian Hecker (Family Attraction) will direct from his own script. The movie also stars Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Steven Kaplan, and Alia Shawkat. (Variety)

Beyonce cancels shows in protest
Beyonce has canceled her debut concert in Malaysia in protest against the country’s ultra-strict dress code and over fears of a Muslim outcry over her show. The official reason stated for the cancellation is ”scheduling conflicts,” but a source tells Reuters that the singer wanted to avoid having to change her show and facing huge protests. Last August, Gwen Stefani did a show in Malaysia despite calls from Muslim students demanding it be canceled because it was too obscene. (Reuters)


Cindy Adams: George Clooney says he’ll never give up riding motorcycles, even after his accident — but he can’t wait to give up the beard.

AP via Yahoo!: Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell has issued a proclamation declaring Oct. 2 as ”Bruce Springsteen Day in Connecticut.” Springsteen and his E Street Band open their first tour in four years tonight (Oct. 2) at the Hartford Civic Center in promotion of their new record, Magic.

Page Six: Former clients of boy-band guru Lou Pearlman (the man who launched ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys) tell Vanity Fair that their ”Big Poppa” was sexually inappropriate with young boys.