NEWS ROUNDUP

Rhimes Addresses Washington Drama

Plus: Barton joins two Willises in ''Sophomore,'' Lohan facing another lawsuit over 2005 crash, Kinnear, Graham tapped for ''Genius,'' and more...

RHIMES ''I feel like we wrote the show in a way that really completes the story of [Washington's character] Burke.''
Image credit: Arnold Turner/WireImage.com
RHIMES ''I feel like we wrote the show in a way that really completes the story of [Washington's character] Burke.''

Grey's creator breaks her silence
Shonda Rhimes broke her silence on Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington's exit from the show, telling Access Hollywood on Thursday (June 14) that she's happy with how his character's story ended. ''I feel like we wrote the show in a way that really completes the story of [Washington's character] Burke, and that is a really strong thing,'' she said. Burke broke off his wedding to Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and skipped out in the May 17 finale of Grey's. Rhimes added that the show will not recast the role with a new actor. ''I've said it before, I and I will say it again,'' she said. ''I don't believe in replacing one actor with another. I think [a replacement is] a little bit odd in terms of somebody who has been on the show for three years.'' The decision not to bring Washington back next season was the culmination of months of speculation after an ugly incident last fall, when the actor was accused of calling costar T.R. Knight a ''faggot'' during an on-set disagreement with castmate Patrick Dempsey. Washington reignited the controversy when he repeated the slur in front of reporters backstage at the Golden Globes in January. Washington spoke publicly about his being let go for the first time earlier this week when he talked to EW.com. ''I'm saddened by the outcome,'' he said. ''I did everything that the producers and the network asked me to do. I came back under great duress and stress, and thought I was doing the job I was hired to do. I thought that was going to speak for my future at Grey's, but apparently that wasn't the same vision that the network and studio had for me.'' Despite all the Washington drama, Rhimes told Access Hollwood that she viewed the past year as a positive one for the show. ''We won the Golden Globe this year,'' she said. ''I think the show took itself to new heights this year, I think we explored different things for women this year, I think we have had amazing guest casts this year. I think it’s been a sweet, sweet year for us.'' (Access Hollywood)

Barton joins two Willises in Sophomore
Mischa Barton has been tapped to star with Bruce Willis and his daughter Rumer in the dark comedy The Sophomore for Yari Film Group. The movie is described as a teenage take on Chinatown. Barton plays a popular Catholic high school girl who persuades a sophomore reporter to investigate the theft of SAT exams. After he reveals that the school's president and top jock are responsible, a sinister conspiracy emerges. Rumer Willis plays the troublemaking sidekick of Barton's character while Poppa Bruce plays the school's twisted principal, a Desert Storm veteran. Brett Simon is making his feature directorial debut on the movie. Simon previously directed music videos for several bands, including Good Charlotte and the Killers. Production is scheduled to begin in August. Barton recently starred in Luke Kasdan's indie drama Don't Fade Away and is filming Roland Joffe's drama Finding t.A.T.u in Russia. Rumer Willis most recently appeared in the 2005 film Hostage with her father. (Hollywood Reporter)

Lohan faces another lawsuit over 2005 car accident
Lindsay Lohan, who checked into rehab over Memorial Day weekend, has been sued again for a car crash she was allegedly involved in back in October 2005. Raymundo Ortega filed a suit on Thursday (June 14) claiming that Lohan was under the influence of alcohol when she crashed her car into his van. The lawsuit seeks at least $200,000 in damages and also names The Ivy restaurant as a defendant, claiming it served alcohol to Lohan even though she was under age (she turns 21 next month). Last month, Grandeur Inc. sued Lohan in small claims court, claiming she crashed into a company van. That lawsuit seeks $3,624.84 in damages. Authorities have said Lohan was not responsible for the crash. Lohan checked into rehab late last month after crashing her car into a curb and being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. (AP via Yahoo!)

Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham tapped for Flash of Genius
Greg Kinnear and Lauren Graham will star in Universal Pictures and Spyglass' drama Flash of Genius. The true story, based on a New Yorker article written by John Seabrook, is about the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper (Kinnear) and how he spent most of his life battling the Detroit automakers he claimed stole his invention. Graham plays his wife, who watched as her husband's obsession with legal retribution suffocated their family. Marc Abraham will make his directorial debut on the project. Production begins in July. (Variety)

Scrubs bringing back Nurse Roberts' portrayer Aloma Wright
Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence says he will bring back Aloma Wright, whose character Nurse Laverne Roberts was killed last season, as her twin sister Shirley for the seventh season of the show. Lawrence killed off Wright's character last season, believing the series would not return, but promised the actress he'd bring her back if the show did happen to get renewed. Now that NBC has announced a seventh and final season of the series, Lawrence has confirmed that he will keep his promise and bring back Wright. (Variety)

DeVito tapped for indie comedy
Danny DeVito will star in the indie comedy No Place Like Home for Capactiy Pictures. The story is about a recetly retired fireman whose plans for a nice, quiet life are ruined by his unemployed 20-something sons who still live at home with him. His wife won't let him kick the boys out, so he kidnaps her and forces the sons to fend for themselves. Sam Harper will direct from his own script. Shooting starts in August. Wayne Rice and Rich Heller formed Capacity last year. They just wrapped Finding Amanda, a drama starring Matthew Broderick and Brittany Snow with Peter Tolan directing. (Variety)

Rescue scores low ratings, but DVR expected to provide bump
The fourth-season premiere of Denis Leary's FX series Rescue Me attracted 2.8 million viewers, 1.8 million in adults 18-49. That is off 18 percent compared to last season's premiere, and 8 percent lower than the Season 3 average, but FX series generally see a 25 percent bump when DVR playback data is included, according to the network. If true, the Rescue Me Season 4 premiere would be on par or possibly higher than last season's premiere, once that data is factored in. (Hollywood Reporter)

Patrick Wilson joins Lakeview
Patrick Wilson (Running with Scissors, The Phantom of the Opera) will appear alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington in Screen Gems' thriller Lakeview Terrace. Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man, Nurse Betty) is directing. The story is about an interracial couple who move into a new home and get harassed by their neighbor, a racist LAPD officer. Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter and Will Smith are producing. Shooting starts next week. (Variety)

Vivica Fox doing Game sequel
Vivica A. will star in and produce Three Can Play That Game, the sequel to her 2001 comedy Two Can Play That Game, for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisition Group. Fox will reprise her role as Shante Smith, a relationship expert who helps women get what they want from men. The cast includes Jason Winston George (What About Brian), Jaszmin Lewis (Barbershop 2: Back in Business), Tony Rock (Life Support), and Terri Vaughn (Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls). Sony is expected to release the movie straight-to-DVD, though a theatrical release is not out of the question. The $6 million original Game film grossed $22 million at the boxoffice. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kutcher producing, possibly starring in, Columbia comedy
Columbia has acquired the comedy Father's Day as a project for Ashton Kutcher to produce and possibly star in. Kutcher recently appeared in The Guardian and Bobby, and he voiced a lead character in Sony Animation's Open Season. (Variety)

Hustle's Murray tapped for Dexter
Jaime Murray (BBC/AMC's Hustle) has landed a major recurring role on Showtime series Dexter. Murray will play Lila, an artist and former addict who becomes good friends with Dexter (Michael C. Hall), a likable Miami police forensics expert who moonlights as a serial killer of criminals. She will appear in 10 of the season's 12 episodes. For Dexter's upcoming second season, (which premieres Sept. 30), the network's top-rated drama series will air at 9 p.m. Sundays, serving as a lead-in to fellow drama Brotherhood at 10 p.m. (Hollywood Reporter)

Sundance names four projects for Documentary Lab
The Sundance Institutite has named four projects selected for its fourth annual Documentary Film Editing and Story Lab: Ngawang Choephel's political and musical history of Tibet's occupation by China, Tibet in Song; Julie Bridgham's The Sari Soldiers, which is about six Nepali women on opposing sides of their country's political conflict; Mahmoud Al Massa's Recycle, about a poor Muslim father struggling to survive in Jordan; and Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's Trouble the Water, which uses footage from a young couple rescuing neighbors in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The lab will be held June 22-29 in Sundance, Utah. (Hollywood Reporter)

IN THE GOSSIPS

Page Six: Vegas cops reveal that a Sin City madam has named Bill Clinton and Shaquille O'Neal as among her high-profile clients.

Rush & Molloy: John Waters says the flap over a Washington Blade editor's campaign to boycott the new Hairspray movie, because it stars Scientologist John Travolta, is bunk. ''If there's a picket line, there will be about two people in it,'' he said.

Originally posted Jun 15, 2007