NEWS ROUNDUP

Roberts Doing Joan Root Movie

Plus: Hawn starring in, directing ''Ashes to Ashes,'' Lee set to direct ''Kane and Lynch,'' networks working out deal with advertisers for DVR viewing, and more...

ROBERTS
Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
ROBERTS

Roberts starring, producing Joan Root film
Julia Roberts will star in and produce a movie, inspired by a Vanity Fair article, about wildlife conservationist Joan Root for Working Titles Films. Root was murdered in her home in Kenya earlier this year. David Magee (Finding Neverland) is writing the screenplay. Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce with Roberts through her production company, Red Om. The as-yet untitled movie will follow Root's life making documentaries around the globe with her husband, Alan. After their divorce, Root returned to Kenya where she worked toward saving Lake Naivasha from the ecologically damaging flower farm industry. She was subsequently shot and killed. Shooting is scheduled to start early next year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Hawn to star in and direct Ashes
Goldie Hawn and husband Kurt Russell will star together in the comedy Ashes to Ashes. Hawn will also make her feature directorial debut on the movie from a script she wrote with Jeremy Pikser (Bulworth). The story is about a woman who travels through India to Kathmandu to bury her husband's ashes but loses them along the way. Pre-production is slated to begin this fall. Russell is currently in theaters for Grindhouse. (Variety)

Jieho Lee set to direct Kane
Jieho Lee (The Air I Breathe) is in negotiations to direct Lionsgate's adaptation of Eidos Interactive's upcoming video game Kane and Lynch. The story is about a mercenary, Kane, and a medicated psychopath, Lynch, who meet while being transported to death row and team to seek revenge on a shadowy organization for which Kane once worked. Shooting is scheduled to start sometime this fall using one of two scripts currently in development. (Variety)

Networks, advertisers working out deal on DVR viewing
Advertisers are working out a deal with networks in which they would pay for advertisements viewed within 72 hours of their initial air date. Advertisers traditionally have not paid for viewing after initial air date, but the increased use of time-shifting via DVR devices has forced networks to seek a new model. Nielsen Media Research estimates overall DVR penetration at 17.2 percent in the United States, but some urban markets are much higher. (Variety)

Columbia acquires rights to Own the Night
Columbia Pictures has acquired North American rights to We Own the Night, a drama from director James Gray (The Yard) that has generated considerable buzz at Cannes this year. The $25 million film, which Gray also wrote, stars Joaquin Phoenix as a New York nightclub manager in the 1980s who is trying to save his brother (Mark Wahlberg) and father (Robert Duvall) from the Russian mafia. It will release this fall. (Hollywood Reporter)

Thee actors join cast of The Heavy
Shannyn Sossamon (One Missed Call), Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Rush Hour 3), and Stephen Rea (V for Vendetta) have joined Parkland Pictures' crime thriller The Heavy for screenwriter-director Marcus Warren. The story is about a henchman, played by Gary Stretch, who is forced to forgive a debt to his shady boss (Rea) by assassinating his own brother, a high profile politician. The plan begins to unravel when he uses a student's (Sossamon) apartment for the crime and gets a corrupt detective (Jones) on his trail. Pre-production is already underway. (Hollywood Reporter)

Meirelles directing Love's Labors Lost
Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (Blindness) will direct a romantic comedy based on Brazilian screenplay writer Jorge Furtado's novel Love's Labors Lost. The story is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's comedy and follows the lives and loves of a group of international students. Meirelles' O2 Filmes will produce with Furtado, who is adapting his novel for the screen. Shooting is scheduled to begin in 2009. (Hollywood Reporter)

Carl Wright dies at 75
Actor Carl Wright (Barbershop, Big Momma's House) died of cancer at his home in Chicago on Saturday (May 19). He was 75. Wright began his career as a tap dancer and comedian and later appeared in movies including Soul Food, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and The Cookout. (AP via Yahoo!)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Lindsay Lohan was spotted out in New York dancing the night away and swigging vodka straight from the bottle.

Rush & Molloy: Kid Rock abruptly left a restaurant in Cannes when ex-wife Pamela Anderson walked in.

Originally posted May 21, 2007