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News From Hollywood

News From Hollywood -- Leonardo DiCaprio will likely star in ''Catch me If you can,'' while Tim Allen could play ''The Cat in the Hat''

Director Gore Verbinski is lining up a stellar cast to support Leonardo DiCaprio, who will likely star in Catch Me if You Can. The film is based on the life of the cunning con man Frank W. Abagnale, who was eventually recruited as a consultant by the FBI. Verbinski, who is in postproduction on The Mexican, starring Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and James Gandolfini, is now in discussions with Chloe Sevigny, Gandolfini, and Ed Harris.

Charming Theodor Geisel’s widow, Audrey, into selling the rights to the Grinch was a challenge even for producer Brian Grazer, a self-proclaimed ”professional begger.” After Geisel ixnayed his first pitch (”inappropriate,” says Geisel, who has contractual approval over Seussian matters), Grazer told director Ron Howard to hop on a plane and have a new idea by the time he landed. ”We had talked about including other Seuss characters, but Audrey didn’t want that,” says Grazer. Geisel says she’s thrilled with the results, but the ultimate hat-tipping may be that days after Geisel saw the film, The Cat in the Hat rights became available to Grazer. Geisel has already met with Tim Allen about the part.

Dimension has optioned sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick’s ”The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford,” about a scientist who invents a machine that brings inanimate objects to life, as a possible starring vehicle for Roberto Benigni.

— Additional reporting by Jeff Jensen