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Mike Bruno
March 21, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Jolie to star with Freeman, McAvoy for Universal
Angelina Jolie will star alongside Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy in Wanted, an action movie that Timur Bekmambetov will direct for Universal. Jolie will play an assassin who teaches McAvoy’s character the tricks of the trade after his father, another assassin, turns up dead. The script, an adaptation of a graphic novel, was written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and rewritten by Dean Georgaris (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life), who tailored the female assassin character for Jolie. Shooting is scheduled to start in May. Jolie has been busy of late: She next stars as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B, which opens June 22. She then stars in Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf, which opens in the fall. She’s also slated to star in Atlas Shrugged, an adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel, which should start shooting sometime this year, and in director Clint Eastwood’s drama The Changeling, which is preparing for a fall start. (Variety)

Macdonald to direct American adaptation of State of Play
Universal Pictures has tapped director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) to helm State of Play, an American movie adaptation of the British miniseries. Brad Pitt, who signed onto the project last year, will star as a reporter who was once close to a congressman whose mistress has been killed and helps head an investigation into her murder. Matthew Michael Carnahan wrote the script. Andrew Hauptman will produce with Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. Paul Abbott, who wrote the original miniseries, will be executive producer. Shooting is scheduled to begin in November. (Variety)

Extras ends after two seasons
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have confirmed that there will not be a third season of the British comedy Extras. The writer-actors, who also created the original British version of The Office, said they will eventually end the series with a one-off special, as they did with Office, but no details were available about that project. Extras, which airs on HBO in the U.S., is about comic actor Andy Millman and his haphazard agent, Darren Lamb. (Variety)

Horror movie pulls plug on ad campaign
After Dark Films will remove 30 billboards and 1,400 taxicab tops in the Los Angeles area depicting graphic images of a woman being abducted, tortured, and murdered in promotion of the upcoming horror movie Captivity. On Monday, After Dark agreed to take down the ads, which first appeared on March 13, after receiving a barrage of phone calls objecting to the disturbing images of star Elisha Cuthbert. After Dark CEO Courtney Solomon said the campaign was a mistake resulting from the wrong files being sent to the printer and that distribution partner Lionsgate hadn’t seen or approved the ads. Captivity, directed by Roland Joffe, is about a man and a woman who are being held captive. It is scheduled to open May 18. (Hollywood Reporter)

WIP teaming with David Gordon Green for two movies
David Gordon Green is in talks to write and direct a movie adaptation of John Grisham’s nonfiction book The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town for Warner Independent Pictures and George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s production company Smoke House. The book is about Ron Williamson, a man who spent 10 years on death row in Oklahoma after being wrongly accused of murder. WIP and Smoke House bought rights to the book in December. WIP also bought worldwide distribution rights to Green’s Snow Angels, starring Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. The movie, which premiered at January’s Sundance Festival, is an adaptation of Stewart O’Nan’s 1993 novel about a separated couple (Beckinsale and Rockwell) in a small town whose lives take a turn for the worse when the woman begins an affair with the husband (Nicky Katt) of her best friend (Amy Sedaris). (Hollywood Reporter)

Jane Curtin tapped for ABC comedy pilot
Curtin has joined ABC’s comedy pilot Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office as the feared and respected assistant to ”nice girl” Jayma Mays, who is struggling to make it in the corporate world. Separately, Lex Medlin (Happy Hour) will co-star opposite Ricki Lake in ABC’s comedy pilot The Middle, about the daily life of a lower middle-class family seen through the eyes of the mom, played by Lake. Medlin will play her husband. (Hollywood Reporter)

Channing Tatum to star in adaptation of Sparks novel
New Line Cinema has tapped Channing Tatum (Step Up) to star in a movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ Dear John, which was published last fall. New Line previously adapted Sparks’ The Notebook. John is about a soldier who comes home on leave and falls in love with a conservative college student he plans to marry, but they struggle as time and distance take a toll on their commitment to each other. Temple Hill partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey will produce. (Variety)

Pathe, BBC developing Margaret Thatcher movie
Pathe, one of the financiers of The Queen, it teaming with BBC Films to develop a script about Thatcher that focuses on the 17 days leading up to the Falkland Islands War in 1982. The former British prime minister’s decision to send forces to the Falklands and recapture the territory from Argentina helped reverse her declining popularity. (Variety)

HBO taps Ray writer for Robert Johnson biopic
HBO Films has tapped James L. White, writer of the Oscar winning movie Ray, to pen the screenplay for a movie about the life of musician Robert Johnson. Mississippi Delta bluesman Johnson died in 1938 at the age of 27 but has been posthumously recognized as a seminal figure in both blues and rock and roll. Johnson’s son Claud is cooperating on the as-yet untitled project, which HBO will release either in theaters or on the cable pay channel. (Variety)

Stuart Rosenberg dies at 79
Rosenberg, director of 1967’s Cool Hand Luke and1979’s The Amityville Horror, died of a heart attack at age 79. Luke was nominated for four Academy Awards, with George Kennedy winning Best Supporting Actor. The movie also earned Rosenberg a Director’s Guild Award nomination, but he lost to Mike Nichols, who made The Graduate the same year. Rosenberg’s last movie was My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys in 1991. (AP via Variety)

Chili Peppers, Pumpkins tapped to headline Reading/Leeds festivals
The Red Hot Chili Peppers and newly reunited Smashing Pumpkins will join Razorlight as the headliners at this summer’s Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK, which begins Aug. 24. Other acts at the three-day, outdoor festival include Kings Of Leon, Arcade Fire, Fall Out Boy, Bloc Party, and Nine Inch Nails. (


Page Six: After dumping The Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti, Kirsten Dunst is now dating Razorlight’s Johnny Borell.

Rush & Molloy: The Qantas flight attendant with whom Ralph Fiennes allegedly had a mile-high affair told an Australian tabloid that she used to be a prostitute. Shanna Moakler is back together with husband Travis Barker but denies that she is pregnant.

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