Broadway stagehands go on strike
More than two-dozen Broadway shows are going dark Saturday, as stagehands went on strike. For the past three months, stagehands have been in contract negotiations with producers; the two sides have been at odds over work rules and staffing requirements. The strike will affect 25 shows, including such tourist favorites as Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, and The Color Purple. Off Broadway shows are unaffected, and eight shows will go on as normal because those theaters, some of them nonprofits, have separate contracts with stagehands. (See NY1.com for more and a list of affected shows)
Wahlberg in vidgame adaptation
Mark Wahlberg will star as the title character in Twentieth Century Fox's live-action movie adaptation of Rockstar's video game Max Payne. John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) will direct the film, which will tell the story of a cop, haunted by the tragic loss of his family, who has little regard for rules as he investigates a series of mysterious murders and battles an adversary trying to destroy him. Beau Thorne wrote the script. Wahlberg will start work on Payne, which is scheduled to start production early next year, after he finishes The Lovely Bones for director Peter Jackson and DreamWorks. The actor recently starred in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed The Happening, which will release next summer. Moore is also developing a live-action adaptation of the Virgin Comics title Virulents for Fox and New Regency. (Variety)
Bernie Mac gets new Fox sitcom
Bernie Mac will star in a new Fox sitcom written by The Drew Carey Show creator Bruce Helford. The show, tentatively titled Starting Under, is a multicamera comedy about a larger-than-life and opinionated divorcee (Mac) who finds himself living with and working for his introverted, 20-something son. Veteran TV director Andy Ackerman (The New Adventures of Old Christine, Suddenly Susan) will helm the pilot. The project, from Warner Bros. and Helford's Mohawk Prods., was pitched before the writers strike and captured the attention of several networks. ''I can't wait for the strike to be over so I can start working with Bernie Mac,'' Helford said. Helford previously created George Lopez, another sitcom built for a stand-up comedian. Mac most recently starred in Ocean's Thirteen and Transformers. (Hollywood Reporter)
Ryder to play Spock's mother in Abrams' Trek
Winona Ryder has been cast as the Vulcan mother of a young Spock in Paramount's JJ Abrams-directed Star Trek movie. Little is known about the story other than it is supposed to chronicle the Starship Enterprise crew's early days at the Starfleet Academy. Chris Pine will play Capt. Kirk, Simon Pegg will play Scotty, Karl Urban is Dr. McCoy, and Eric Bana will play the villain, Nero. Trek is set to release on Christmas Day 2008. Ryder recently finished The Informers for director Gregor Jordan and the Geoffrey Haley-directed The Last Word. She is in pre-production on the Rebecca Miller-directed Private Lives of Pippa Lee. (Variety)
Harnett tapped for End Zone
Josh Hartnett will join Sam Rockwell and Kat Dennings (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) in director George Ratliff's adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel End Zone. Harnett will play a gifted college football player in Texas struggling to acclimate to stardom. Dennings plays a student who captivates him, and Rockwell plays the school's excitable publicist. Yet to be cast is a teacher of international terrorism and mass destruction who sees the running back as the perfect soldier/student. Ratliff wrote the script with David Gilbert; the duo previously teamed to write Ratliff's directorial debut, Joshua, which debuted at Sundance this year and was acquired by Fox Searchlight. Rockwell also starred in Joshua. Shooting is scheduled to start in February. (Variety)
Guerra dominates Latin Grammys
Juan Luis Guerra won album of the year, song of the year, record of the year, tropical song, and best merengue album for La Llave De Mi Corazon at last night's Latin Grammys, held in Las Vegas. Ricky Martin won best male pop vocal album for his MTV Unplugged record and best long-form music video for his Unplugged special. Laura Pausini's Yo Canto won best female pop vocal album. Calle 13 won best urban album for Residente o Visitante and best urban song with Panasuyo for ''Pa'l Norte.'' Best pop album by a group with vocal went to breakout act La Quinta Estacion for El Mundo Se Equivoca, and best new artist was Mexican brother/sister duo Jesse & Joy. Aterciopelados won best alternative album for Oye. (Billboard)
Bourne gets three People's Choice nominations
The spy thriller The Bourne Ultimatum was nominated for favorite movie, favorite action movie, and favorite ''threequel'' for the 34th annual People's Choice Awards. The movie's star, Matt Damon, was nominated for favorite male action star. Johnny Depp was also nominated for male action star as well as for favorite male movie star. Halle Berry was nominated for favorite female movie star, as was Sandra Bullock, and Reese Witherspoon. Justin Timberlake earned nominations for favorite male singer and favorite pop song. Fergie and Beyonce also earned multiple nods. Fans can vote for their favorites at PCAvote.com. CBS will broadcast the ceremony live from the Shrine Auditorium on Jan. 8. (AP via Yahoo!)
Jay Hernandez starring in Quarantined
Jay Hernandez (Hostel, Six Degrees), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), and Columbus Short (Stop the Yard) will star in Quarantined, Screen Gems' remake of the Spanish horror movie Rec. John Erick Dowdle (The Poughkeepsie Tapes) is directing. Johnathon Schaech (Living Hell) and Steve Harris (The Practice) have also been cast. The story is about a reporter and her cameraman who are trapped inside a downtown Los Angeles apartment building where a deadly strain of rabies breaks out. Dowdle wrote the screenplay with his brother Drew. The original Rec will release in Spain on Nov. 23. Production on the remake begins today. (Hollywood Reporter)
U.K. writers guild tells members not to write for U.S.
During the WGA strike, British writers could fill in and write for U.S. projects, but the Writers Guild of Great Britain is asking them not to do so. ''We are contacting the major U.K. broadcasters and producers, and the U.K. Film Council, asking them not to dump U.K. material into the U.S. market and not to dress up American projects to look as though they are British,'' said general secretary Bernie Corbett. ''Strike-breaking would at best be a short-term payday but would have a devastating long-term effect on a writer's U.S. career.'' British writers are free to write for local TV, like the BBC or Channel 4, for example, but the industry is asking questions about how to handle a situation where one of those British shows is sold to a U.S. network to fill a gap left by strike action or is co-produced by an American studio. (Variety)
Benderspink options Starkweather comic series
Benderspink has optioned movie rights to the comicbook series Starkweather from Archaia Studios Press. David Rodriguez's story revolves around a young boy who comes from a line of sorcerers but doesn't learn about his supernatural abilities until he's a 20-something slacker who's attacked by a mysterious coven. Benderspink has already optioned the graphic novels Drafted, Y: The Last Man, and Power & Glory, which are set up at New Line, Hyperactive, which is set up at MTV Films and Paramount, and the comicbooks Preacher at HBO, The Pro at Spike TV, Pet Robots at Disney, and The Ghouly Boys at Mandate. (Variety)
Page Six: A former writer for Ellen DeGeneres has come forward, following the talk show host's decision to cross the picket lines and tape her show this week, saying she treats her writers poorly. ''We'd watch her in rehearsals, smiling and winning us over with her charm and comic timing. Then the director would yell cut, her face would fall, and she'd level a glare at the writers. 'Why do you keep writing these unfunny jokes?' she'd hiss.''
Rush & Molloy: Bruce Springsteen, Robin Williams, and Stephen Colbert helped raise $2.5 million for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund for brain-wounded war veterans.