''Lovely Bones'': Wahlberg in, Gosling out
Plus: CBS axes ''Viva Laughlin,'' Brangelina will produce HBO series, WGA members overwhelmingly approve strike, ''Superman'' sequel looking for writers, and more
Mark Wahlberg replaces Ryan Gosling in Lovely Bones
Wahlberg will now play the grieving father of a murdered girl in director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s acclaimed novel The Lovely Bones. Sources told Variety that Gosling, currently promoting Lars and the Real Girl, left the project on Friday over creative differences, though he had already put on 20 pounds and a beard for the part. Jackson’s Bones — also starring Rachel Weisz as the girl’s mother and newcomer Saoirse Ronan as the girl, who looks down on her family from heaven — begins shooting today in Pennsylvania. (Variety)
UPDATE: Viva Laughlin tanks, gets the ax
Though it was led in by ratings monster CSI, which drew 21.22 million viewers on the night, Viva Laughlin tanked in its debut last Thursday, attracting just 8.39 million. The show later aired its second episode at 8 p.m. on Sunday, but was quickly canceled by CBS on Monday. Meanwhile, in other ratings news, on Friday ABC’s Women’s Murder Club dropped 20 percent from its debut week, but still topped CBS’ Moonlight and NBC’s Friday Night Lights in overall viewers (in the coveted 18-49 demo, however, Moonlight led the pack). (Variety)
Brangelina to produce HBO project
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will produce a drama series about the politics inside an international aid organization and the lives of humanitarian workers in hot zones. Scott Burns, who cowrote The Bourne Ultimatum, will write the as-yet-untitled drama, and also serve as a co-producer alongside Pitt, Jolie, and Jolie’s longtime manager, Geyer Kosinski. The project is said to be a passion project for Jolie, who has been a U.N. goodwill ambassador since 2001; in 2003 starred in a film with similar themes (Beyond Borders). (Hollywood Reporter)
Writers Guild members overwhelmingly approve strike
Claiming the biggest turnout in the organization’s history, leaders of the Writers Guild of America have gotten the green light to go on strike from a whopping 90.3 percent of voting members. Should WGA leaders not reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers by Oct. 31, when a current contract expires, they must then decide whether to actually call the strike. The groups are at odds over pay issues, particularly writers’ compensation for Internet content. WGA leaders, however, are optimistic that the high turnout and resounding approval will turn the tables their way: ”We’re hoping now that the resounding voice of our members will convince the [studio] CEOs and the cooler heads to prevail and to begin to bargain over these issues,” president Patric Verrone told the Hollywood Reporter. If an extended strike were to occur, it would have a major impact on Hollywood, likely putting several ”go” projects on the shelf and, some speculate, leading to more reality TV. (Hollywood Reporter)
Superman writers won’t return for sequel
Michael Daugherty and Dan Harris, who wrote the script for 2006’s Superman Returns, have decided they won’t reunite with director Bryan Singer for a Warner Bros. sequel. Their decision comes amid speculation that the studio is looking to reboot the franchise by casting a new Man of Steel, not just for a future Justice League project but also for the Supes sequel; the studio denies those plans and says that Brandon Routh is likely to don the blue tights again. ()
Zooey Deschanel cast in Jim Carrey’s Yes Man
The Warner Bros./Village Roadshow movie follows a guy (Carrey) who changes his life by saying ”yes” to everything that comes his way; Deschanel will play the love interest in the film, directed by Peyton Reed (The Break-Up, Bring It On) and based on British author Danny Wallace’s memoir. (Hollywood Reporter)
TV castings: Joshua Jackson will do arc on Grey’s Anatomy
Starting with this season’s 11th episode, the Dawson’s Creek alum will guest as a doctor on ABC’s soapy hit. In other casting news, Carrie-Anne Moss has joined Ryan Murphy’s new FX show Pretty Handsome (formerly known as 4 oz.), playing the wife of a transsexual (Joseph Fiennes) who decides to undergo a sex-change operation. And Larenz Tate has been cast in NBC’s upcoming police drama Blue Blood. (Variety)
Angela Bassett, Noah Wyle cast in Nothing but the Truth
The movie (from Yari Film Group) follows a reporter (Kate Beckinsale) who goes to jail after refusing to reveal a source; Bassett plays her newspaper editor, and Wyle is the lawyer who defends her. Rod Lurie (The Contender) will direct the thriller, which also stars Vera Farmiga, Alan Alda, Harry Lennix, and David Schwimmer. (Hollywood Reporter)
Knight Rider TV movie gets director
Steve Shill, who recently directed Spike TV’s limited series The Kill Pit, will take on NBC’s two-hour redo of the 1980s David Hasselhoff series. Previously, Mr. and Mrs. Smith director Doug Liman (who’s exec-producing the Knight Rider project) had been eyed to go behind the camera, but scheduling conflicts wouldn’t allow. (Hollywood Reporter)
Eva Longoria, Jason Biggs, Rob Corddry land comedy
In Lower Learning, Longoria will play an inspector assigned to investigate an elementary school run by a shady principal. Biggs and Corddry have also been cast, joining Ed Helms, Monica Potter, and Kyle Gass. Mark Lafferty will direct from his script for Starz Media and Ambush Entertainment. (Variety)
MySpace airs its own TV show
The social-networking site today begins airing ”Roommates,” a faux-reality show following college roomies post-graduation. The series will air in three-minute webisodes, and users are encouraged to steer the show by suggesting plotlines. MySpace is looking to build on the success of ”Prom Queen,” a popular Web series that debuted on MySpace but, unlike ”Roommates,” was not exclusive content. (Variety)
People.com: Kid Rock and five members of his entourage were arrested in Atlanta on misdemeanor charges of simple battery following a fight at a waffle house.
Page Six: An L.A. producer claims Ellen DeGeneres also ”re-gifted” a dog she’d given the talk show host two years ago.
People.com: Britney Spears regains visitation rights of her two children.
People.com: Marc Anthony’s dedication to his wife Jennifer Lopez at a concert spark further speculation that she’s pregnant.