Will Smith starring for Michael Mann | EW.com

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Will Smith starring for Michael Mann

Plus: George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio set to team for political thriller, Seth Green doing arc on ''Grey's Anatomy,'' CBS reviving ''Password'' with Regis Philbin as host, and more...

Will Smith

(James Devaney/WireImage.com)

Will Smith starring in Empire
Will Smith is starring in the Columbia Pictures drama Empire, which John Logan (The Aviator, The Last Samurai) is writing for director Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Collateral). Few details have been released on the plot, but Smith is said to be playing a contemporary global media mogul. Smith previously worked with Mann on the 2001 feature Ali, which Mann produced, and Mann previously worked with Logan on the development of 2004’s The Aviator, which Mann was initially set to direct before handing it off to Martin Scorsese. Smith next stars in the Warner Bros. drama I Am Legend, which opens Dec. 14, and is in pre-production on Seven Pounds, which reunites Smith with Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino. (Variety)

Clooney, DiCaprio in talks for North
George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio are in discussions for Farragut North, Warner Bros.’ political thriller based on the upcoming Broadway play by Beau Willimon. Clooney would direct and produce the adaptation, and DiCaprio would star and produce. The story, loosely based on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign (Willimon worked on Dean’s team during his run), is about a young, idealistic communications director who works for an inspiring, though unorthodox, presidential candidate. During the campaign, his career is done in by more seasoned political types who thrive on partisan politics, dirty tricks, and backstabbing. Clooney is currently in theaters with Michael Clayton and is in postproduction on his latest directorial effort, Leatherheads. DiCaprio is filming Ridley Scott’s Iraq War thriller Body of Lies. (Hollywood Reporter)

Seth Green doing arc on Grey’s Anatomy
Seth Green has been tapped for a two-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy. He will play a patient at Seattle Grace hospital. ”Maybe they’ll call me McSicky?” the actor quipped. Green, who executive produces, directs, writes, and does voices for Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, just finished shooting the Disney movie Old Dogs. He also does voices on Family Guy. (Hollywood Reporter)

CBS reviving Password with Regis
CBS and producer FremantleMedia North America (American Idol, The Price is Right) are developing a new version of the classic quiz show Password with Regis Philbin set to host. CBS has ordered six hour-long episodes of Million Dollar Password and is set to air them later this season. Two teams, comprised of one celebrity and one contestant, will compete to uncover passwords during the first round of the game. The winning team will then have the option of risking their prize money in a million-dollar bonus round. The new Password will be Philbin’s first gig hosting a primetime game show since Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The original Password aired on CBS from 1961-67 with Allen Ludden as host. It was revived in 1971 as a daytime game show. (Hollywood Reporter)

Fox picks up pilot from Arrested Development producer
Fox has picked up a pilot for The Church of Reggie from Arrested Development executive producer Chuck Tatham. The show is about a guy who starts his own religion. Ron Howard will serve as executive producer. The project will be Howard’s first TV project since he was EP for Arrested. (Variety)

Madonna working on deal with Live Nation
Madonna is reportedly nearing a deal that would have her leave her home at Warner Bros. for a $120 million deal with concert promotion firm Live Nation Inc. The deal would give Madonna a mix of cash and stock in exchange for allowing Live Nation to distribute three studio albums, promote concert tours, sell merchandise, and license her name. (Billboard)

Cane, Chuck, Bionic Woman get script orders
NBC ordered three additional scripts for its new series Chuck, Bionic Woman, Life, and Journeyman; CBS ordered four more scripts for Cane; and The CW ordered three more scripts for its freshman comedy Aliens in America. (Variety)

Snipes granted continuance in tax fraud trial
Wesley Snipes’ trial on charges that he falsely claimed millions of dollars in tax refunds has been delayed until January. The continuance of the original Oct. 22 trial date comes after Snipes claimed his previous attorney, William Martin, had failed to represent him properly. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hooper directing adaptation of King’s Buick 8
Tobe Hooper (the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is set to direct the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel From a Buick 8, which was optioned by Moonstone Entertainment’s Etchie Stroh and Amicus Entertainment’s Robert Katz. The story is about a mysterious Buick stored in a state trooper barracks. After one of the troopers dies, his son becomes obsessed with the mysterious vintage car. Stroh and Katz announced the project at this year’s Cannes. (Variety)

Warner Independent adapting Arsonist’s Guide
Warner Independent has optioned An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England for John Wells Prods. to produce. Brock Clarke’s book is about an accidental firebug who torches the Emily Dickinson Homestead by mistake as a young man and later becomes the prime suspect when a series of literary landmarks go up in flames. (Variety)

Potter joins TNT’s Truth
Monica Potter (Boston Legal, Saw) has been cast in TNT’s drama pilot Truth in Advertising as a recently divorced, award-winning copywriter who has just been hired at the cutthroat agency in which the show is set. She joins previously cast Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) and Tom Cavanagh (Ed) in the pilot, which starts shooting this month. (Hollywood Reporter)

CELEBRITY NEWS

People.com: Michelle Rodriguez has been sentenced to six months in jail for violating probation in a DUI case and drinking alcohol three times while wearing an alcohol monitoring device. She must report to an L.A. County Jail by Dec. 24

Page Six: Anthony Bourdain criticized Rachael Ray for endorsing Dunkin’ Donuts. ”I’m guessing she’s not hurting for money,” he said. ”She’s hugely influential, particularly with children. And she’s endorsing Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s like endorsing crack for kids.”

Hollywood Reporter: Charlize Theron has been named Esquire magazine’s sexiest woman alive. Past winners have included Jessica Biel, Angelina Jolie, and Scarlett Johansson. The issue featuring Theron hits newsstands Oct. 16.

Ben Widdicombe: Lindsay Lohan reportedly told friends she wants to move to Utah to be with her new boyfriend, Riley Giles, a 25-year-old snowboarder from California.