NEWS ROUNDUP

Pacino, De Niro Pair for Indie Thriller

Plus: Samuel Jackson in talks for Frank Miller's ''Spirit,'' ''300'' star Gerard Butler tapped for ''Nim's Island,'' MGM interested in Rob Schneider's directorial debut, and more...

DE NIRO AND PACINO
Image credit: Thomas Concordia/WireImage.com; Vera Anderson/WireImage.com
DE NIRO AND PACINO

Pacino, De Niro pair for Righteous Kill
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will team for Righteous Kill, a $60 million indie thriller from Nu Image's Millennium Films and Emmett/Furla Films. The actors will star as cops chasing a serial killer. Jon Avnet (88 Minutes, Fried Green Tomatoes) will direct and produce. Writer Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man) penned the script. Nu Image's Avi Lerner and Randall Emmett, two of the project's six producers, did not disclose any other plot details or the source material, but Emmett said that the idea for the film came from the actors' desire to work together. De Niro and Pacino both starred in The Godfather: Part II, but they had no scenes together, and they had two scenes in the movie Heat. Lerner says the actors will be paired in scenes throughout the new movie. Shooting for Kill begins Aug. 6 in Connecticut, with additional shooting in New York to follow. (Variety)

Samuel Jackson in talks for Spirit
Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations for a role in director/writer Frank Miller's adaptation of the comic book series The Spirit. Jackson would play the Octopus, The Spirit's mysterious nemesis. The Spirit is a young cop who was murdered in the line of duty but was reborn as a masked mystery man. The Octopus is a meek lab assistant who reinvented himself as a psychotic nightmare that kills anyone who sees his face as he attempts to wipe out the fictional city in which the story is set. The comic book series was created by the late Will Eisner. Miller, who last directed the movie 300, said that he's still seeking an actor to play the title character. The Spirit will be Miller's first solo directing project, following his co-direction on Sin City with Robert Rodriguez. (Hollywood Reporter)

300's Butler tapepd for Nim's Island
Gerad Butler (300) has been tapped to star opposite Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) in Fox Walden's adaptation of Wendy Orr's kids' book Nim's Island. The husband-wife directing team Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin are helming. The story is about a girl who lives on a tropical island with her father, whose boat runs into trouble one day, leaving the girl to fend for herself. She survives by emailing the author of the book she is reading for help. The trio ultimately unites to save the island from careless tour companies. Shooting is scheduled to start in July for an April 2008 release. Butler will next be seen starring opposite Hilary Swank in the dramedy P.S., I Love You, which Warner Bros. will release on Dec. 21. Following work on Nim's Island, Butler is set to star in Lakeshore Entertainment's futuristic thriller Game, which is slated to start shooting in January. (Variety)

MGM set to acquire Rob Schneider's directorial debut
MGM is in late negotiations to acquire U.S. rights to Rob Schneider's directorial debut Big Stan. Schneider stars in the movie as a geeky conman sentenced to prison. Terrified of being raped, he enlists the aid of a martial arts guru (David Carradine) to teach him kung fu. His newfound skills result in his becoming an unlikely hero once he gets inside the prison. The movie was shot last year. (Variety)

Universal/Focus sign deal with Mexican directors
Universal Pictures and its specialty arm Focus Features signed a deal with the new independent production company formed by Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Babel). Under terms of the deal, Universal will fully finance and co-own five movies, which will have a combined budget of around $100 million. The group was widely expected to land a deal with Universal, which released Children of Men and del Toro's Hellboy 2. (Variety)

House gets post-Super Bowl slot
Fox announced that House will air immediately after next season's Super Bowl, which airs live on Feb. 3 from Glendale, AZ. (Hollywood Reporter)

Grey's Wilson tapped for SoapNet's Emmy coverage
Chandra Wilson, who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, will host SoapNet's live two-hour special from the Daytime Emmy Awards red carpet on June 15. Wilson, an avowed soap opera fan, once had a recurring role on ABC's One Life to Live. (Hollywood Reporter)

Italian production company doing Suspiria remake
Italy-based production company First Sun has acquired the rights to make an English-language version of Dario Argento's 1977 horror classic Suspiria. The original story was about an American ballet dancer who arrives at a prestigious German dance academy and stumbles upon the school's dark history involving witches and the occult. First Sun chief Luca Guadagnino said he is seeking an international director for the project, not necessarily one associated with horror. Production should begin some time in 2008. (Hollywood Reporter)

Bo Diddley doing better after stroke
Bo Diddley, 78, is up and walking around the Omaha, NE hospital where he is being treated for a stroke he suffered on Sunday (May 13), but he is still having trouble communicating. Diddley's manager said the stroke left him with no physical disability but had affected the left side of his brain, impairing his speech and speech recognition. It is unknown if he will ever be able to perform again. (Billboard)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: A maitre d' bounced Ice T and his wife Coco from a bottle-service table at Maxim magazine's Hot 100 party to make room for Hilary and Hayley Duff.

People.com: Ann Heche's divorce fight with husband Coley Laffoon is getting nasty, with Laffoon calling her a poor parent who exhibits ''bizarre and delusional behavior.''

Rush & Molloy: Jay-Z toasted R&B singer Ciara as the new face of his Rocawear ladies line at a dinner held in New York on Wednesday (May 16).

Originally posted May 18, 2007
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