Wahlberg to star in Shyamalan's ''Happening'' | EW.com

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Wahlberg to star in Shyamalan's ''Happening''

Plus: David O. Russell adapting book from Al Gore's daughter, Paula Patton starring opposite Keifer Sutherland in ''Mirrors,'' and more...

(Evan Agostini/Getty Images; Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

Wahlberg in Fox’s Happening
Mark Walhberg will star in M. Night Shyamalan’s next movie, The Happening, for 20th Century Fox. The director had Wahlberg in mind when he first inked a deal with Fox. The actor, who is also shooting Fighter for Darren Aronofsky, plays a man who takes his family on the run when a major natural disaster threatens their existence. Shyamalan is again teaming with Barry Mendel (Unbreakable, Sixth Sense), who will produce with Sam Mercer. Shooting starts in August with a June 13 (Friday the 13th), 2008 release date already set. (Variety)

Russell adapting Kristen Gore’s novel for Columbia
David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings) will adapt and direct Washington D.C.-based comedy Sammy’s Hill, based on a novel by Kristen Gore (Al’s daughter), for Columbia Pictures and Red Wagon. The story is about a young congressional aide on Capitol Hill in search of Mr. Right. Russell is working with Gore, Dave Jeser, and Matt Silverstein on the screenplay. The novel is said to have as strong satirical element that Russell is expected to exploit for the movie. (Hollywood Reporter)

Paula Patton starring in Mirrors
Paula Patton (Deja Vu, Hitch) has been cast opposite Keifer Sutherland in Mirrors, directed by Alexandre Aja. The story is about a cop-turned-department store security guard who discovers evil in the store’s mirrors, which he traces to a schizophrenic patient’s spirit trapped in a mirrored hospital room. Patton will play Sutherland’s soon-to-be ex-wife. (Hollywood Reporter)

Swank developing remake of Intimate Strangers
Hilary Swank is developing a remake of Patrice Leconte’s 2004 French film Intimate Strangers for Paramount Pictures with Kelly Fremon writing the script. She may star and produce. The story is about a woman who believes she is visiting a new therapist and winds up baring her soul to an accountant. (Variety)

Tarantino considering longer Death Proof for Cannes
Quentin Tarantino is considering screening an extended version of Death Proof at Cannes this May. In U.S. theaters, the movie is one-half of the double feature Grindhouse, which also features Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, but the films are being split into two separate releases in non-English-speaking markets. It is unknown whether Death Proof will get a competition spot at this year’s Cannes. (Variety)

Desperate Housewives writer exits show
Joe Keenan, former writer for Frasier, is exiting the show after one season to work on original material. Keenan is credited for helping executive producer Marc Cherry revive the series and penned the renowned episode ”Bang,” which had characters being held hostage in a supermarket by Laurie Metcalf’s character. There have been reports of tension between Cherry and Keenan, though the split is officially being described as amicable. (Variety)

Leoni, Duchovny option story about Reader’s Digest founders
Through their And Then production company, Tea Leoni and David Duchovny have optioned American Dreamers, a book about Reader’s Digest founders DeWitt Wallace and Lila Acheson Wallace, written by former editor Peter Canning. It is unlikely that the duo will act in the movie. The book describes how the founders were manipulated, once they became wealthy, into allowing the magazine to be a pulpit for a conservative agenda and a tool for the CIA and FBI. Canning had to cut hundreds of pages from the book in order to secure a publisher, but they will be included in the movie adaptation. (Variety)

ABC casts newcomers in Geico caveman series
ABC has cast newcomers Nick Kroll as Nick, Bill English as Joel, and Kaitlin Doubleday as Kate in ABC TV Studio’s comedy pilot based on the Geico insurance caveman ads. (Variety)

MPAA sanctions After Dark over Captivity ads
The Motion Picture Association of America has withheld a rating from After Dark’s horror movie Captivity until it clears all future promotion material as well as the location and venues of ad buys. The ruling follows an uproar caused by graphic ads for the movie depicting a woman being kidnapped, tortured, and killed. This is the first time the MPAA has made such a ruling, and it may effect the movie’s May 18 planned release date. (Variety)

Sweeney Todd limited release set for December
Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, will open in time for Christmas this year with a Dec. 21 limited domestic release date. The film will see wide release on Jan. 11. The movie also stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Jayne Wisener. (Variety)

Raimi producing projects for multiplatform Fearnet
Sam Raimi will produce the first two original series for the multiplatform horror/thriller brand launched by Sony, Comcast, and Lionsgate late last year. Each series will be a seven-episode weekly serial running three to five minutes. They will be available on all Fearnet platforms: on-demand cable, streaming Internet video, and mobile devices. The first project, Devil’s Trade, about three teenagers who find themselves cursed after buying an item off a website, will launch in June with Toby Wilkins directing. The second series will serve as a prequel to 30 Days of Night, the feature from Raimi’s Ghost House and Columbia Pictures about vampires who feast on an isolated Alaskan town. That series will launch ahead of the film’s October release. (Variety)

Weinsteins tap Gosnell for The Book Club
The Weinstein Co. has tapped director Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Big Momma’s House) to helm the romantic comedy The Book Club, about a man who blackmails the female members of a book club into helping him get back his estranged girlfriend. (Variety)

Paramount options Reich novel
Paramount has optioned The Rules of Deception, the first of a two novel series from author Christopher Reich with Lorenzo di Bonaventura set to produce. The story is about a doctor who finds himself in the middle of an international conspiracy that could result in nuclear war in the Middle East. Di Bonaventura previously worked with Reich’s agent, Richard Pine, when he adapted author James Siegel’s Derailed into a movie, and has another Siegel book, Deceit, in development at Universal. (Variety)

‘Til Death wins time slot off Idol
Fox’s comedy ‘Til Death won the 9:30 p.m. Wednesday slot with a 6.3 rating/16 share following the 9 p.m. American Idol results show, which drew 26.9 million total viewers and a 10.9/28 in the 18-49 demo. (Hollywood Reporter)

Killers, Flaming Lips tapped for Spider-Man 3 soundtrack
The Flaming Lips, the Killers, Snow Patrol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Jet are among the artists that will appear on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack, due May 1. A special edition of the soundtrack is also in the works. Spider-Man 3 opens May 4. (Billboard)

Lurie tapped for Straw Dogs remake
Rod Lurie (The Contender) will direct a remake of the 1971 thriller Straw Dogs for Screen Gems with writer Reed Steiner (The Shield) penning the screenplay. The original was about a young American man and his English wife who face vicious local harassment after moving to rural England. The remake is expected to take place in the U.S. (Hollywood Reporter)

Soto to star in Mortadelo and Filemon
TV actor Eduard Soto will star as Mortadelo in Miguel Bardem’s Mortadelo and Filemon, a movie adaptation of the Spanish comic book series depicting the clumsy antics of hapless secret agents. Pepe Viyuela will reprise his role as Filemon, which he portrayed in 2003’s The Great Adventures of Mortadelo and Filemon, the adaptation directed by Javier Fesser. (Hollywood Reporter)

Cillian Murphy, Matthew Rhys tapped for Best Time of Our Lives
Cillian Murphy (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Batman Begins) and Matthew Rhys (ABC’s Brothers & Sisters) will star alongside Kiera Knightley and Lindsay Lohan in Capitol Films’ The Best Time of Our Lives, which is being directed by John Mabury. The story is about Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Rhys), his wife Caitlin (Lohan), his childhood friend Vera Phillips (Knightley), and her eventual husband William Killick (Murphy). (Hollywood Reporter)

Montecito, DreamWorks pick up Creepy Kid
Montecito Pictures and DreamWorks have picked up The Creepy Kid, a comedy spec from Los Angeles bartenders Ethan Furman and Adam Farasati. It is being described as Big Daddy meets The Exorcist. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sirius launching TV service for Chrysler
Sirius Satellite Radio is launching a backseat television service exclusively for DaimlerChrysler cars later this year. The service will include Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Channel, and Time Warner Inc.’s Cartoon Network, and will be available in 2008 model year cars in the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge lines for sale later this year. The system will cost about $470, which includes the first year of service, and then $7 a month in addition to the $13 a month for Sirius satellite radio for subsequent years. (Hollywood Reporter)

News Corp. launches Prom Queen on MySpace
News Corp. has partnered with MySpace to launch its serialized mystery Prom Queen, from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s Vuguru production company, exclusively on their website on Sunday, April 1 at 7 p.m. EST. The series comprises 80 90-second videos focusing on the final two years of high school. Other sites can pick the series up after a 12-hour exclusive on MySpace. (Hollywood Reporter)

Paris Hilton faces jail for violating probation
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office said that Paris Hilton violated terms of her probation by knowingly driving on a suspended license and faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail. Hilton’s Bentley convertible was pulled over on Feb. 27 for speeding down Sunset Blvd. with its headlights off. She was driving on a suspended license, the result of a DUI conviction from last September that sentenced her to 36 months probation. A hearing is set for April 17. (People.com)

Alec Baldwin offers to pay soldier’s tuition
Alec Baldwin has offered to pay for a soldier’s college tuition once she returns home from the Iraq war after reading a story, published in the March 4 New York Times, about her last day with family before leaving for training. Baldwin’s spokesperson said Pvt. Resha Kane’s story reminded the actor of his own 11-year-old daughter, Ireland. Baldwin called the soldier’s mother at work to offer the financial assistance. Kane says she wants to be a biochemist once she leaves the military in three years. (AP via Yahoo!)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: George Clooney vehemently denies having anything to do with the leak of video footage of director David O. Russell cursing out Lilly Tomlin on the set of I Heart Huckabees.

Rush & Molloy: News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch says he’d support New York mayor Michael Bloomberg over Rudy Giuliani if the fellow billionaire ran for president.