NEWS ROUNDUP

Rodriguez Directing New 'Barbarella'

Plus: Turturro, Lane, Fanning starring in ''Nutcracker'' film, ''Addams Family'' getting Broadway treatment, Paula Abdul breaks her nose, and more...

RODRIGUEZ
Image credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
RODRIGUEZ

Robert Rodriguez helming Barbarella
Robert Rodriguez will direct Universal's adaptation of the sci-fi comic Barbarella. The character was made famous by the 1968 movie adaptaion, which starred Jane Fonda and was produced by Dino De Laurentiis, who is also producing the new film with Martha De Laurentiis. The futuristic mercenary character Barbarella (which actually debuted in 1962 in a French comicbook series written and illustrated by Jean-Claude Forest) roams the universe of a distant future, undertaking missions that require fearlessness, ingenuity, sensuality, and often lead to sex. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are developing an original adventure for the new movie. Purvis and Wade co-wrote Casino Royale and recently finished the next Bond movie, which has a working title of Bond 22. Rodriguez, who is currently in theaters for Planet Terror, one-half of the Grindhouse double feature he co-directed with Quentin Tarantino, was expected to next take on an adaptation of The Jetsons or Land of the Lost, but his attention will now be turned toward helping Universal get Barbarella fast-tracked into theaters by 2008. (Hollywood Reporter)

Turturro, Lane, Fanning starring in Nutcracker movie
John Turturro, Nathan Lane, and Elle Fanning will star in a $65 million fantasy musical inspired by Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. The project will be directed by Russian helmer Andrei Konchalovsky. Lane's character gives the Nutcracker doll to Fanning, and Turturro plays the evil Mouse King. The movie, Nutcracker — The Untold Story, is based on the fairy story that inspired the ballet. Tim Rice is contributing lyrics to eight new songs using Tchaikovsky's scores, from The Nutcracker as well as other concertos and symphonies. Shooting starts in July. (Variety)

Addams Family getting Broadway treatment
Composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) is writing the songs and Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) will provide the book for a Broadway musical production of The Addams Family. The story will be based on the cartoons of Charles Addams, about a ghoulish family comprised of father Gomez, mother Morticia, uncle Fester, and daughter Wednesday, which appeared for more than 50 years in the New Yorker. The cartoons inspired several TV series, including the 1960s live-action sitcom, along with two features, but the musical will be based solely on the cartoons. It is unknown whether the production will be granted rights to the familiar theme song used in the TV sitcom. The show is scheduled to hit the Rialto for the 2009-10 season. (Variety)

Richard Gere starring in, producing Hachiko
Richard Gere will star in the drama Hachiko: A Dog's Story, which is being financed by Inferno Entertainment. Gere will also produce with Inferno's Bill Johnson and Vicky Shigekuni Wong. They are working on choosing a director for the project. Gere will play a college professor who forms an unbreakable bond with an abandoned dog he takes in. The movie is based on a true story and inspired by the 1987 Japanese film Hachiko monogatari. Production begins in September. Gere will next be seen in Killer Films' drama I'm Not There and TWC's Spring Break in Bosnia. He also stars with Diane Lane in the George Wolfe-directed Nights in Rodanthe, Warner's adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks book. (Variety)

Paula Abdul breaks her nose
Paula Abdul broke her nose when she tripped and fell trying to avoid stepping on her pet chihuahua. Although she is in pain, the accident will not cause her to miss this week's final two episodes of American Idol, and she will appear without bandages. ''She's standing 10 feet from me and you'd never know anything happened to her,'' said her rep David Brokaw. (People)

Sony acquires Long Good Friday at Cannes
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisition Group paid $25-$30 million at Cannes for the Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil, AVP: Alien vs. Predator) remake of The Long Good Friday. The 1980 original, released in the U.K., was directed by John Mackenzie and featured Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren in a gangland story based on London. The remake, which is scheduled to start shooting next year, will transport the story to Miami. Friday is one of several major pickups for Sony at Cannes this year, following acquisitions of 88 Minutes, which stars Al Pacino, Legion, Scott Stewart's directorial debut, and James Gray's We Own the Night, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall, and Eva Mendes. (Variety)

Hughes brothers directing Book of Eli
Albert and Allen Hughes (From Hell) will direct The Book of Eli, a postapocalyptic Western about a lone hero who must fight his way across the wasteland of postapocalyptic America to protect a sacred book that might hold the key to saving the future of humanity. The project was written by Gary Whitta for Warner Bros. Pictures. Joel Silver is producing with Silver Pictures' Susan Downey and Erik Olsen. The Hughes are also attached to direct The Ice Man, a hit man biopic, and Kung Fu, based on the 1970s TV series. The studio hopes to start production in Eli sometime this year. (Hollywood Reporter)

Stern, Del Deo doing Chorus Line documentary
James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo (The Year of the Yao, So Goes the Nation) will direct and produce Every Little Step: The Journey of A Chorus Line, a documentary about the iconic Broadway musical. The movie will chronicle the making of the current Broadway revival of the musical and will include footage of the show's late creator, Michael Bennett, along with new interviews with the composer, Marvin Hamlisch, co-choreographer Bob Avian, onetime New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, and the original 1975 production's breakout star, Donna McKechnie. The film is in post-production and aims to be ready for the Toronto Film Festival this September. (Hollywood Reporter)

Former ER showrunner tapped to helm ABC's Women's Murder Club
Former ER showrunner Scott Gemmill will serve as executive producer/showrunner on ABC's Women's Murder Club, about four girlfriends (Angie Harmon, Laura Harris, Aubrey Dollar, Paula Newsome) who solve tough murder cases. Gemmill has also worked on Fox's Jonny Zero, which he created, as well as CBS' Smith and JAG. (Hollywood Reporter)

McCall tapped for ABC's Carpoolers
Writer/producer Marsh McCall (Just Shoot Me, My Big Fat Greek Life) has been tapped to executive produce ABC's upcoming comedy series Carpoolers. The show is about four men (Fred Goss, Jerry Minor, Jerry O'Connell, Tim Peper) who carpool to work together each day. McCall most recently created and executive produced the short-lived NBC comedy series Twenty Good Years. (Hollywood Reporter)

NBC open to continuing The Apprentice
Although The Apprentice was not part of NBC's upfront lineup announcement last week, the network is still open to continuing the series. Donald Trump said that he will not do another season because he is ''moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture,'' but Trump is reportedly under contract to return to the show should NBC pick up a seventh season. Last season's Apprentice, which moved the show from New York to Los Angeles, was the lowest-rated so far. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kenneth Branagh tapped for Valkyrie
Kenneth Branagh Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets will appear alongside Tom Cruise in the Bryan Singer-directed Valkyrie, a WWII drama. Branagh will play a German general who mentors Cruise's character and hatches a plan to assassinate Hitler. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander wrote the script, which is based on a true story. Shooting is scheduled to start this July. (Variety)

Eva Mendes starring in Curve
Eva Mendes has been tapped to star in action-thriller Curve for Neal H. Moritz and Benderspink. The story is about a young woman's struggle to survive when she finds herself at the mercy of a psychopathic killer after taking a detour into a remote area outside of New York City. (Variety)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: A young fashion student has changed her name to ''Katee Holmes'' and is launching a porn career by having her alleged virginity taken in her first movie.

Rush & Molloy: Oprah says she was stunned to learn — through the press — that her 74-year-old father, Vernon, is writing a book about her.

Originally posted May 22, 2007
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