NEWS ROUNDUP

Warner, Joel Silver Take on He-Man

Plus: Alec Baldwin back with CAA, casting rumors about ''Heroes'' and ''Prison Break,'' Mary-Kate Olsen joins ''Weeds,'' and more...

HE-MAN
HE-MAN

Warner officially on board for He-Man
Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver (The Matrix, V for Vendetta) are teaming with Mattel for a live-action adaptation of the 1980s action figure He-Man. Justin Marks has been tapped to script the movie, which will be called Masters of the Universe. The deal, which still requires Mattel's approval of a formal outline, would make this the second He-Man movie, following the 1987 flop starring Dolph Lundgren as the title character. Mattel also created a popular animated TV series in the 1980s based on the action figure. Mattel has been wary of doing another movie, having already passed on an attempt by Fox 2000 with director John Woo. The Warner/Silver movie would reimagine the franchise as a classic good vs. evil battle, using the kind of visual effects used in 300. The story is about a warrior, touted as the last hope of Eternia, which is being destroyed by technology and the evil Skeletor, He-Man's nemesis. Contrary to rampant Web rumors about the project, the lead roles have not been cast. News of the He-Man movie comes just ahead of the July premiere of DreamWorks' Michael Bay-directed Transformers, another live-action movie based on an '80s animated series and toy line. (Variety)

Baldwin back with CAA
Alec Baldwin has patched things up with CAA after parting ways with the agency in the wake of the voice mail scandal last month. Many thought the 30 Rock star's parting with CAA was the beginning of the end for the actor. After an angry voice mail he left for his daughter was leaked to the Internet, Baldwin dropped the agency and said he did not want to return to 30 Rock for its second season, preferring to devote his time to raising awareness of parental alienation (Baldwin is wrapped up in a contentious divorce with Kim Basinger). NBC, which renewed the critically-acclaimed series despite poor ratings, pointed out that Baldwin is still under contract. The return to CAA makes it likely that Baldwin will show up in August when 30 Rock begins shooting for the second season. He is also writing a book about the impact of the divorce process on fathers, and expects to have it published later this year through St. Martin's Press. (Variety)

Casting rumors for Heroes, Prison Break
NBC is rumored to be bringing four or five new characters to the second season of Heroes, including a boyfriend for Claire (Hayden Panettiere). The show is also said to be adding a 28-year-old black mother — a surrogate for Niki's (Ali Larter) son — an Irish mobster, and a hot 20-something Latina. It is believed that most characters will only do arcs on the show. Meanwhile, it's rumored that Fox's next season of Prison Break will see a wrongfully imprisoned fisherman join Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and the gang in the Panama prison. The show is also said to be adding a beautiful local woman, who is the fisherman's girlfriend, a Panamanian drug kingpin, and a female freelance operative with a government conspiracy organization. (Hollywood Reporter)

Mary-Kate Olsen doing Weeds
Mary-Kate Olsen has inked a deal that has her co-starring in 10 of 15 episodes of Showtime's dark comedy series Weeds next season. Olsen will play Tara, a devoted Christian living in the newly developed megachurch community Majestic, who becomes a love interest for Nancy Botwin's (Mary-Louise Parker) son Silas (Hunter Parrish). The role will be Olsen's first without twin sister Ashley. Since their debut on ABC's Full House at age 9 months, the two have starred together in a slew of profitable kid- and tween-oriented series and movies for television and video. Olsen looks to put a spin on her wholesome kiddy image by joining a show about a pot-dealing mom. (Variety)

Tuesday Idol ratings down, but still top Dancing
Fox's final performance episode of American Idol topped ABC's Dancing with the Stars finale, attracting 24.5 million viewers and scoring a 9.3 rating/27 share in adults 18-49 to Dancing's 2.7 million, 6.6/17. Still, Idol's ratings were down 24 percent in 18-49 compared to last year's penultimate episode. (Hollywood Reporter)

Gooding producing, starring in teen comedy
Cuba Gooding Jr., who once actually won an Oscar for his supporting role in Jerry Maguire, will produce and star in the edgy teen comedy Harold. Producers are describing the project as in the vein of Napoleon Dynamite. The story is about a premature balding young teen trying to adapt to a new high school. Gooding will play the school janitor who befriends and helps the boy. Veteran Saturday Night Live writer T. Sean Shannon will make his directorial debut from a script he co-wrote with Greg Fields. Shooting starts in August with hopes to have the movie ready for next winter's Sundance Film Festival. (Hollywood Reporter)

Anika Noni Rose voicing character in Disney musical
Anika Noni Rose (who sang with Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce in Dreamgirls) will voice Princess Tiana in Disney's musical animated feature The Princess and the Frog, which the studio plans to release in time for the 2009 holiday season. (Hollywood Reporter)

Columbia buys bounty-hunter movie pitch from Thorp
Columbia Pictures has acquired a pitch from writer Sarah Thorp (Twisted, Cornelius) and set it up with Original Film's Neal H. Moritz, whose upcoming production credits include Evan Almighty, starring Steve Carell, I Am Legend, which stars Will Smith, and Made of Honor, starring Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan. Thorp's story is about a bounty hunter who is hired to track and bring back his ex-wife. (Variety)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Donna Hogan, the 40-something sister of Anna Nicole Smith, is set to dye her hair, get her breasts surgically enhanced, and then approach Hugh Hefner about becoming a Playboy centerfold.

Rush & Molloy: Nicole Richie says she is still sober and denies that she's being treated for an eating disorder and substance abuse.

Originally posted May 24, 2007
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