Meryl Streep to star in ABBA musical Mamma Mia!
Streep has been tapped to play the lead role in the movie adaptation of the popular theater musical, featuring the music of 1970s Swedish pop band ABBA. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson will executive produce alongside ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. Phyllida Lloyd, who directed the London play as well as its Broadway incarnation, will make her feature directing debut with the movie. Universal hopes to start production this summer. (Variety)
Paramount president steps down
Gail Berman has resigned as president of Paramount Pictures, the first step in the studio’s restructuring into four distinct labels: DreamWorks, headed by co-chairman Stacey Snider; MTV Films/Nickelodeon Movies, led by Scott Aversano; Paramount Pictures, run by Brad Weston; and Paramount Vantage, headed John Lesher. With Berman’s departure, each label exec will now report directly to chairman and CEO Brad Grey. (Hollywood Reporter)
Cable dramas lead DGA TV noms
The Director’s Guild of America nominated Charles S. Dutton for Showtime’s Sleeper Cell: American Terror, Randa Haines for TNT’s The Ron Clark Story, Walter Hill for AMC’s Broken Trail, Peter Markle for A&E’s Flight 93, and Edward James Olmos for HBO’s Walkout. Winners will be announced on Feb. 3. (Variety)
New Line big-wig says no Jackson for The Hobbit
New Line co-chairman Bob Shayne told Sci Fi Wire that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will never be selected to helm The Hobbit. Jackson has a lawsuit pending with the studio over money the director says is owed to him for the LOTR trilogy, which grossed $3 billion worldwide in ticket sales. (Variety)
ABC moving ahead on new ”unscripted” series
ABC is fast-tracking The Great American Dream Vote, a new ”unscripted” show from producer Mike Fleiss, whose credits include TV’s The Bachelor and the movie Hostel. ABC has ordered five episodes, which could start to air as soon as next month. The show has contestants state their dreams and why they deserve them, and then square off against one another and compete to have those dreams fulfilled. Fleiss gave examples of potential dreams: ”A mother of quintuplets who dreams of having a proper backyard, to a 22-year-old bald guy who dreams of a life with hair.” (Variety)
Stars interview stars in Oprah’s pre-Oscar special on ABC
For her first-ever pre-Oscar special, Oprah Winfrey will have three Oscar winners interview a fellow winner they admire: Julia Roberts will speak to George Clooney, Nicole Kidman will interview Russell Crowe, and Jamie Foxx will talk with Sidney Poitier. The special will air on ABC on Feb. 22, three days before the Oscar broadcast. (Variety)
Dreamgirls soundtrack reaches No. 1 on charts
Although the album, featuring songs by Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Hudson, reached No. 1, it is the lowest-selling album ever to reach the top of the charts, with 66,000 units sold in the week that ended Jan. 7. (Variety)
Casino Royale, The Queen top Rotten Tomatoes list
The two feature films were RottenTomatoes.com’s best-reviewed movies in 2006. The website aggregates movie reviews from myriad sources and assigns a score for each film. Basic Instinct 2 was the worst-reviewed. (Reuters)
Sandra Bullock sets her sights on tango flick
Through her Fortis Films, the actress-producer is set to produce a movie adaptation of Marina Palmer’s memoir Kiss & Tango for Fox 2000 Pictures. She is considering herself for the starring role. (Hollywood Reporter)
IN THE GOSSIPS
Page Six: Angelina Jolie draws ire from adoption advocates who criticize her failure to speak candidly about the adoption of her Cambodian son, Maddox.
Liz Smith: The columnist defends Mariah Carey’s fashion sense after the singer was placed at the top of Mr. Blackwell’s Worst-Dressed list.
Rush & Malloy: Parker Posey put on quite a display speaking at the National Board of Review Awards.