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The Deal Report

MOVIES David Schwimmer, movie director! The former Friend -- and sometime helmer -- of that lovable old NBC sitcom will direct the indie Run, Fat Boy, Run, a comedy about a fat dumb guy (as yet uncast) who tries, five years after ditching his woman at the altar, to win her back by running a marathon. Michael Ian Black, from Wet Hot American Summer and The State, wrote the script.

BOOKS ''I haven't been in the water since my last swim in the Olympics,'' admits Natalie Coughlin, she of the five Athens swimming medals, the deadliest underwater dolphin kick the world has ever seen, and a new deal that will transform her heartache-turned-record-breaking life story into an authorized biography (due fall 2005). Written by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED writer Michael Silver and including Natalie's two cents, Golden Girl: How Natalie Coughlin Fought Back From the Brink, Challenged Her Sport's Conventional Wisdom, and Became America's Swimming Champion will chart the swimmer's big comeback from a 1999 shoulder injury. Also, it might just shake up the swimming world, because it's gonna outline Coughlin's sacrilegious training regimen, which didn't involve the usual swimming up and down the pool all day like a robotic salmon. ''I don't want to piss anybody off, that's for sure,'' says Coughlin, ''but I think in swimming there's one school of thought and the way we train at [her college] U.C. Berkeley and the way [her coach] Teri McKeever thinks is, in my opinion, very innovative and long overdue.'' But wait -- will the book teach the Deal Report how to do the backstroke without getting water up its nose? ''I seriously doubt it,'' she says cheerfully. ''It's not that kind of book.''

VIDEOGAMES Body rocker Justin Timberlake will play a scar-faced pimpster in a three-piece suit named ''The Hustler.'' Too bad it's only in EA's new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 game, due Sept. 20. Timberlake, a golfer, approached EA about appearing in the game and spent a day in a motion-capture suit, which means that when Justin's other character, ''Justin,'' gets a hole in one, the dance he does is Justin's! And the game's theme song? Features original human beat-boxing by JT! Let's hope for a movie spin-off: It's a musical Tin Cup meets Scarface!

Originally posted Sep 10, 2004 Published in issue #782-783 Sep 10, 2004 Order article reprints