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The Deal Report

MOVIES ''It's a murder mystery,'' says Jon Voight. ''It's a bit like an Agatha Christie, but...I would have to say it's a spiritual journey as well.'' The Ali big gun is talking about an upcoming ''little film,'' tentatively titled The Legend of Simon Conjurer, that he made with his buddies and ''maybe 10 or 12 young actors.''... SAG Awards king Johnny Depp could outact most actors working today with just one eyeball, and he's negotiating to prove it in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, the true story of a Frenchman afflicted with locked-in syndrome (''a complication of a cerebrovascular accident in the base of the pons,'' according to an old New England Journal of Medicine we found lying around the office), who wrote a 1997 memoir by blinking it out with his left eye, his one working body part. Julian Schnabel (Before Night Falls) is directing.... Speaking of Before Night Falls, its star, Javier Bardem, is angling to join Che, the biopic directed by The Thin Red Line's Terrence Malick and starring Benicio Del Toro as the Argentinean T-shirt icon.... CSI's Marg Helgenberger -- last seen on film moving the Deal Report to tears in Erin Brockovich -- will play Scarlett Johansson's mom in the Weitz brothers' Synergy.

TELEVISION How many times in entertainment history have the phrases ''Motley Crue troublemaker Vince Neil'' and ''CBS family sitcom'' appeared together? It's a first! May sweeps will see Neil on Still Standing, the feel-good Jami Gertz show.

Originally posted Mar 05, 2004 Published in issue #754 Mar 05, 2004 Order article reprints