At Home with the Range
Okay, pardners: Break out your cowboy boots and Johnny Cash records for your shot to star in That’s How I Got to Memphis, screenwriter Topper Lilien’s directorial debut. A musical romance about two country singers, one a white man, the other an African-American woman, Memphis will feature a soundtrack by executive producer Quincy Jones. The female lead will be cast with an unknown, says Holly Sorensen, senior VP of Production at Shooting Gallery, who adds that the male star’s singing voice won’t be dubbed. ”The number of guys age 35 to 45 who can sing is very [limited],” she says. ”We’re calling agents and asking ‘Can Matthew McConaughey sing?”’ Other possibilities: Kurt Russell, who has played Elvis; Dennis Quaid, who has played Jerry Lee Lewis; and Treat Williams. Memphis will begin shooting later this year, once Lilien finishes work on Pearl Harbor.
He may have overstayed his welcome at the podium, but Spanish director Pedro Almodovar apparently didn’t say his fill in English when he accepted his Oscar for All About My Mother: He recently began writing his first script in his second language. Almodovar, who is simultaneously working on another Spanish project, has yet to decide which will be his next film, but Mother star Penelope Cruz has told him to count her in for either, once she finishes filming Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with Nicolas Cage, and the Spanish-language Without News From God this fall.
Two to Tango
On May 11, indie titans Artisan and Miramax announced their first collaboration, a sequel to 1987’s $63-million- grossing Dirty Dancing. ”Harvey Weinstein and I had lunch [over] the largest sushi platter I’ve seen in my life,” says Artisan co-CEO Amir Malin. ”Harvey starts to pig out and asks, ‘Whatever happened to Dirty Dancing?”’ A 10-minute negotiating session followed, during which the execs agreed to split costs, with Artisan providing the rights, domestic distribution, and half the financing, and Miramax offering talent connections and overseas distribution. The film will be set in South Beach and the companies are eyeing Ricky Martin and Natalie Portman or Jennifer Lopez to star.
— Daniel Fierman
We hear that director Milos Forman is considering following Man on the Moon with another tale of bizarre American celebrity, The Monica Lewinsky Story. His agent says this is the first he’s heard of it.