Josh Wolk
August 17, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

CASTING Perhaps ”Wild Wild West” sobered Will Smith up: He’s possibly heading away from comedies, to play a caddie who advises Matt Damon, a 1940s golfer, in ”The Legend of Bagger Vance,” a drama directed by Robert Redford…. Meg Ryan will play a wife whose tragedies in her life only strengthen her marriage in ”This Man This Woman”…. Minnie Driver stars as a beauty contestant wannabe in Sally Field‘s feature directorial debut, ”Beautiful”…. Nathan Lane is developing a biopic of Jackie Gleason, in which he’d play the Great One…. The wonder of pile drivers is coming to the big screen in ”Ready to Rumble,” in which Oliver Platt (”Lake Placid”) plays an ex-WCW champ who tries to regain his title with the help of superfans David Arquette and Scott Caan (”Varsity Blues”)…. And you thought the reunion of Black Sabbath was a big occasion: Tim Conway and Ernest Borgnine who last worked together in the 1966 comedy ”McHale’s Navy,” have reteamed to provide guest voices for an episode of Nickelodeon’s animated ”SpongeBob SquarePants.” The cameos will air on Aug. 21, and Harvey Korman will be heard to cry, ”What about me?”

BOOKED The lineup of musical acts is starting to come together for the MTV Video Music Awards on Sep. 9. So far, Lauryn Hill, Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys, TLC, Nine Inch Nails, Jay-Z, Kid Rock, and DMX are scheduled to perform.

REEL DEAL Doug Liman (”Go”) has been lured to direct the big-screen adaptation of the Robert Ludlum thriller ”The Bourne Identity,” all about an amnesiac spy trying to remember which side he’s on. If this film is a success, Universal is hoping to create a franchise, with two more Bourne books to bring to the movies.

COURT REPORT Aggravated battery charges against 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell were dropped in Miami when the state attorney’s office said witnesses gave too many conflicting accounts. Campbell was arrested on July 5 for allegedly smashing a bottle of Jack Daniels over another man’s head at a Miami nightclub.

LAWSUIT The widow of Michael Landon has filed a $5 million defamation suit against the Globe for the article ”Michael Landon: The Awful Truth,” which reported that the late star was a fan of drugs and pornography. Cindy Landon said ”these statements are untrue,” but a Globe attorney said, ”It’s a frivolous lawsuit, and we intend to vigorously defend [against] it.”

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