Stallone doing ''Death Wish'' remake?
Plus: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel starring in David O. Russell political satire, Shia LaBeouf arrested in Chicago, major movie studios equipped to weather the writers strike, for now, and more...
Stallone in talks to star, direct
Sylvester Stallone is in talks to star in and direct an MGM remake of the classic 1974 film Death Wish, which starred Charles Bronson as a man who goes vigilante after his wife and daughter are attacked. Scribes Michael Ferris and John Brancato (Terminator 3, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins) are writing the script. Stallone is eyeing the project after his latest installment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky Balboa, grossed $150 million worldwide. Stallone is also doing another installment of Rambo, which is due early next year. ”We hope to get a deal done with Sylvester Stallone to direct and star, and like the Rocky and Rambo films, we see this as another potential franchise for him,” said MGM chief operating officer Rick Sands. Production is scheduled to start in March, though like all projects, that date is subject to developments in the writers strike. (Variety)
Gyllenhaal, Biel starring in Nailed
Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel will star in the risque political satire Nailed for director David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings), who will also co-write the screenplay with Al Gore’s daughter, Kristin Gore, a former writer on Futurama. Biel is set to play Sammy Joyce, an awkward small-town receptionist who has a nail accidentally shot into her head, eliciting wild sexual urges. Gyllenhaal plays an immoral congressman who takes advantage of her sex drive and capitalizes on her crusade as Joyce heads into her own career in politics. Production is scheduled to get underway in January. Neither actor has signed a contract for the film, and their commitment to Nailed could depend on juggling other features: Gyllenhaal recently joined Doug Liman’s untitled Moon project for DreamWorks and Jim Sheridan’s Brothers for Relativity Media. Biel is slated to star in and produce the crime thriller Die a Little for United Artists. (Hollywood Reporter)
LaBeouf arrested in Chicago
Shia LaBeouf was arrested early Sunday morning (Nov. 4) in downtown Chicago. He allegedly refused to leave a Walgreens store at 757 N. Michigan Ave., according to a police spokesperson, and was arrested on a misdemeanor count of trespassing at about 2:25 a.m. after a security guard called the police. He posted bail at about 7 a.m. No other details were released. Walgreens’ and LaBeouf’s spokespeople declined comment. The actor is due in court on Nov. 28. (Chicago Tribune)
Movie studios shouldn’t feel strike for months
Major movie studios are well stocked on scripts and shouldn’t feel a real effect of the writers strike for a few months, some reports are saying. The studios have been scrambling to stock up on scripts for much of the past year for high-profile projects that will shoot next year for a 2009 release. While TV will feel an impact almost immediately, with late night shows going expected to go dark starting today and pilot season in jeopardy, some 50 features are said to be in preparation for shooting in the coming months, with many still to be cast. If the strike lingers, producers will, however, have to get creative in how scripts are reworked during filming. It is being reported that actors in comedies might be allowed to improvise, or that directors, producers, or actors will be allowed to do rewrites as long as they’re not WGA members. (Variety)
Showtime greenlights fourth season of Weeds
Showtime has approved a fourth season of its half-hour series Weeds, starring Mary-Louise Parker as a pot-dealing widowed mother in the suburbs. The network has ordered 13 episodes and is set to start production in April, pending a long writers strike, for a summer premiere. Weeds ranks as Showtime’s most-watched original comedy series, with its current Season 3 outperforming the previous season by 19 percent. Its total viewership divides almost equally between men and women (51 vs. 49 percent). (Hollywood Reporter)
Christenson starring in Beast of Bataan
Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in the last two installments of Star Wars, will star in Beast of Bataan, which tells the true story of the trial of Masaharu Homma, the Japanese general who was implicated in the Bataan Death March. Based on Lawrence Taylor’s book A Trial of Generals, the story takes place after the 1942 Death March, in which 10,000 American and Filipino POWs died on a forced march to captivity. Christensen is playing Homma’s young lawyer, trying his first case and fighting against the death penalty for his client, who is being tried for war crimes by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Koji Yakusho, who played the father of Rinko Kikuchi’s character in Babel, is in negotiations to portray Homma. Willem Dafoe and William Hurt also are in talks to join the film, which will be directed by Fred Schepisi (Evil Angels). (Hollywood Reporter)
NBC orders Kings pilot
The threat of a writers strike didn’t prevent NBC on Friday (Nov. 2) from greenlighting production on Kings, a modern retelling of the King David story. The pilot will be penned by Michael Green (Heroes) and directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend). The show will be set in a modern metropolis that serves as the center of a kingdom financed by a wealthy entrepreneur who’s benefited from a constant state of war. For the first season, a young solider will face off as a David vs. a much stronger Goliath and will ultimately end up running the kingdom. Green started his career on the first season of Sex and the City, and in addition to writing on Heroes since its first season, he is also currently co-writing the upcoming feature adaptation of Green Lantern with Greg Berlanti. (Variety)
Conroy, Manning, Patton tapped for Walking Madison
Frances Conroy (Shopgirl, Six Feet Under), Taryn Manning (Hustle & Flow), and Will Patton (A Mighty Heart) have joined the cast of indie psychological thriller Walking Madison. They will appear alongside already cast Elisabeth Shue and Sarah Roemer (Disturbia). Katherine Brooks (Loving Annabelle, The Simple Life, The Real World) is writing and directing. The story is about a mentally ill woman (Roemer) who locks herself in her apartment for 30 days with no food, telephone, or outside stimuli. Conroy plays Dolly, Madison’s mother and a religious zealot who has her own mental-health issues; Manning plays Margaret, a fellow patient with sociopathic tendencies who resides at the psychiatric hospital with Madison; Patton plays Madison’s loving but emotionally absent father. Shooting is set to begin today (Nov. 5). (Hollywood Reporter)
Break.com soliciting striking writers
Online video site Break.com is asking striking writers to contribute content to the site, offering $5,000 to the highest-rated video created by a striking scribe. WGA strike rules prohibit writers from creating digital content, but Break CEO Keith Richman said that he wasn’t convinced that the WGA would strictly enforce that clause. ”Let’s test it and find out,” he said. Many insiders believe the guild is unlikely to crack down on writers who write for sites unaffiliated with struck companies, such as YouTube and Yahoo, instead focusing on sites like MySpace, whose parent company is News Corp. (Hollywood Reporter)
Scrubs‘ series-end in limbo
The writers strike has put in limbo the final six episodes of Scrubs, which might prevent creator-executive producer Bill Lawrence from finishing his series’ seven-year run the way he planned. ”What I care about more than anything right now is getting this thing settled so it’s either a short strike or no strike,” he said on Friday. ”Right now, I fear that a lot of the writers have no real clue just how tough this is going to be. I’d imagine things will get very grim sometime after Christmas.” (Hollywood Reporter)
People.com: Katie Holmes finished the New York Marathon on Sunday (Nov. 4) at about 3:30 p.m., with a final time of 5:29:58.
Page Six: Slash stopped by Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show to promote his autobiography Slash, where he talked about how he cheated on his second wife the night before their wedding, his mom’s affair with David Bowie when he was 10 years old, and how she and a friend would do drugs with him when he was 12. He also revealed that the Guns ‘N’ Roses song ”Sweet Child O’ Mine” was created from a guitar riff he made up on the spot. ”I never thought it would be a song.”
Rush & Molloy: Naomi Campbell received praise from terrorist groups after a Halloween visit to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during a trip to the South American country.