The summer box office is burning up.
record after another fell as 2004 gave us the first June
in history to tally more than $1
billion at domestic
That record was powered
by another record-setter: “Shrek
2” became the fastest movie to accumulate $250
million at the box office, accomplishing the feat
in a blistering 13 days. That record fell to “Spider-Man
2,” which managed the task in a mere 12 days.
Don’t shed any green tears for the
mighty ogre, though. As of this writing, “Shrek 2” was
still the fastest to $300 million and the fastest to $400
Though Spidey was likely to put those records in
2” should hold on to its new crown as top-grossing
animated film ever for a good long time (at least
Incredibles” hits screens Nov. 5).
If all that record goodness wasn’t enough, by mid-July
the summer box office was running 13 percent ahead
of last summer’s record pace.
Though the big stars in the season’s big movies aren’t
the only thing driving this season’s box office frenzy,
they are what’s driving this season’s Next!
Cameron Diaz. Apart
from an infinite number of “Shrek” sequels, “Shrek
2’s” distaff ogre reportedly turns up next
in “Fun with Dick and Jane.” A
remake of the 1977 comedy about a middle-class couple who
resort to undertaking
heists to pay their bills, it’s set to be directed
by Barry Sonnenfeld (the “Men in Black” series, “Big
Trouble”) from a screenplay by Judd Apatow (“Celtic
Pride”), Nick Stoller and Ed Solomon (“The
In-Laws,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Men
in Black”). Jim Carrey (“Eternal Sunshine of
the Spotless Mind”) co-stars. Sony sees it run June
“In Her Shoes” is a comedy, based on the novel by
Jennifer Weiner, about two sisters – one a feckless
party-type and the other a disciplined attorney – and
the grandmother neither of them knows. Curtis Hanson (“8
Mile”) directs from a screenplay by Susannah Grant
(“Erin Brockovich”). Diaz plays the party girl,
Toni Collette (“Connie & Carla”) the responsible
sister and Shirley MacLaine (“The Evening Star”)
the grandmother. Mark Feuerstein (“Abandon”),
Brooke Smith (“Bad Company”) and Eric Balfour
(“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) co-star. Fox
plans to slip it on sometime in 2005.
Eddie Murphy. Murphy is in line for
another sequel, this one to his 2003 hit “Daddy Day Care.” Sony’s “Daddy
Day Camp” is being scripted by Joel Cohen & Alec
Sokolow (“Cheaper by the Dozen”), and still
awaits a director, let alone a release date.
Mike Myers. He’s kicking back,
taking it easy.
Bill Murray. Having
essayed the voice of the tubby tabby in “Garfield: The Movie” (a tidy $64.2 million
and counting), Murray reteams with his “Rushmore”-”Royal
Tenenbaums” colleagues for “The Life Aquatic.” The
comedy is about Steve Zissou, a vain, disreputable deep-sea
oceanographer who takes his crew (and the pretty journalist
he covets) on a hunt for the shark that lunched on Zissou’s
longtime partner. Others returning from “Rushmore” and/or “Tenenbaums” include
writer-director Wes Anderson and actors Owen Wilson (“Around
the World in 80 Days”) and Anjelica Huston (“Daddy
Day Care”). Non-vets of Anderson’s earlier
films include screenwriter Noah Baumbach (“Mr.
Jealousy”) as well as Jeff Goldblum (“Igby
Goes Down”), Cate Blanchett (“Coffee and
Cigarettes”), Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man 2”),
Noah Taylor (the “Lara Croft” series) and
Bud Cort (“Made”). Buena Vista gets its feet
wet Dec. 25.
“The Lost City,” a romance set during the Cuban Revolution,
follows a Havana nightclub owner (“Ocean’s
Eleven” vet Andy Garcia, who also directs) entangled
in the events surrounding the fall of the Batista regime
and the rise of Fidel Castro. Murray plays an American
expatriate writer and friend of the club owner. Dustin
Hoffman (“Runaway Jury,” “Finding Neverland,” “I
Heart Huckabees”) stars as mobster Meyer Lansky,
Jsu Garcia (“Along Came Polly”) as Che Guevara,
and Gonzalo Menendez (“The First $20 Million Is Always
the Hardest”) as Castro. Benjamin Bratt (“Catwoman”),
Robert Duvall (“Secondhand Lions”), Tomas Milian
(“Washington Heights”), Javier Bardem (“Collateral”),
Isabella Rossellini (“The Saddest Music in the World”)
and Ines Sastre (“Beyond the Clouds”) co-star.
Murray then picks up his coffee and cigarettes
and sits down for a role in an “Untitled Jim Jarmusch” film.
Nothing is known about it beyond the fact that it reteams
two veterans of “Coffee and Cigarettes”: Murray
and writer-director Jarmusch (“Dead Man,” “Ghost
Nicole Kidman. Kidman shakes off the
relatively disappointing box office of “The Stepford Wives” and gives
us “Birth.” The drama, set in New York City,
is about a thirtysomething woman who encounters a 10-year-old
boy claiming to be the reincarnation of her late husband.
Jonathan Glazer (“Sexy Beast”) directs from
a screenplay by Glazer, Milo Addica (“Monster’s
Ball”) and Jean-Claude Carrière (“Chinese
Box”). Kidman’s co-stars include Cameron Bright
(“The Butterfly Effect”), Danny Huston (“21
Grams”), Lauren Bacall (“Diamonds”) and
Anne Heche (“John Q”). New Line is expecting
it sometime this fall.
Sean Penn (“21 Grams”) joins Kidman in “The
Interpreter.” It’s a political thriller about
an FBI agent who finds himself keeping an eye on a U.N.
translator who overheard talk of an assassination plot.
Sydney Pollack (“Random Hearts”) directs from
a screenplay by Scott Frank (“Minority Report”)
and Charles Randolph (“The Life of David Gale”).
Universal plans a February/Fevriér 18 release.
“Bewitched” finds Kidman in an update of the 1960s
TV hit, but it’s not, as widely reported, a prequel
to the TV series. It’s actually about a movie crew
making a big-screen version of the TV show, and what happens
when the producers cast a real witch as Samantha. Nora
Ephron (“Hanging Up,” “You’ve Got
Mail”) directs from a screenplay by Ephron and “Anchorman” writer-director
Adam McKay. Will Ferrell (“Anchorman”) stars
as the washed-up film actor playing ad-man Darrin, Shirley
MacLaine as the actress playing Endora, Michael Caine (“The
Statement”) as Kidman’s father, Joan Plowright
(“Bringing Down the House”) as bumbling witch
Aunt Clara, Steve Carell (“Anchorman”) as warlock
Uncle Arthur, Broadway’s Kristin Chenoweth as Marie,
Amy Sedaris (“Elf”) as nosy neighbor Gladys
Kravitz and Jason Schwartzman (“Spun”) as a
talent agent. Pompous know-it-all warlock Dr. Bombay was
reportedly to be played by either Fred Willard or Kelsey
Grammer. Sony is conjuring a July 8, 2005 release.
Kidman has also signed on for the role of
va-va-voom secretary Ulla in the film version of the Broadway
of the film version of “The Producers.” The
comedy is about a washed-up producer and his accountant,
who realize it’s possible to make money by overselling
shares in an unsuccessful play. The two set about staging
a sure-fire flop with the worst actor, the worst director
and the most offensive play imaginable – a musical
titled “Springtime for Hitler.” Broadway director
Susan Stroman is set to direct from a screenplay by Mel
Brooks (“Dracula: Dead and Loving It,” “Spaceballs”)
and Thomas Meehan (“Spaceballs”). Nathan Lane
(“Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!”) and Matthew
Broderick (“The Stepford Wives”) reprise their
stage roles as producers Bialystock and Bloom, as do Gary
Beach (“Man of the Century”) as director Roger
De Bris, and Roger Bart (The Stepford Wives”) as
his “common-law assistant” Carmen Ghia. Will
Ferrell has signed on as “Springtime” playwright
and pigeon fancier Franz Liebkind. Universal turn-turn-kick-turns
it into theatres Dec. 21, 2005.
Will Ferrell. Speaking of Ferrell (and
we have now, twice), the “Anchorman” star
has a bevy of projects in view, most of which we have
covered in earlier editions
Ferrell reteams with “Anchorman” scene-stealer
Steve Carell for “Melinda and Melinda,” the
latest from writer-director Woody Allen (“Anything
Else”). Fox Searchlight expects it sometime in the
fall. As usual with an Allen film, the plot is a closely
“The Wendell Baker Story” finds
Ferrell in a comedy about a reformed con man who gets a
job at a retirement
center, where the residents help him win back his girlfriend.
It has yet to secure domestic distribution.
Ferrell then hotfoots it to “Kicking and Screaming,” a
comedy about a mild-mannered man who coaches his 10-year-old
son’s soccer team, and what happens when he finds
his players competing against a team coached by his own
fiercely competitive father. Universal kicks it in May
“Winter Passing” is
a change of pace for Ferrell. The drama is about a young
visits her estranged
novelist father after seven years and finds his home full
of eccentric strangers. It also has no distributor.
Ferrell provides the voice of the Man in
the Yellow Hat in “Curious George.” The animated comedy from
Universal is on its way Nov. 4, 2005.
Tobey Maguire. “Spider-Man 3.” Sony.
May 4, 2007.
Kirsten Dunst. In
addition to the aforementioned “Spider-Man
3,” the Webbed Wonder’s favorite gal takes
on “Wimbledon.” Read all about it here.
She follows up with “Elizabethtown,” a comedy
about a man who, after losing his job and girlfriend, returns
to his rural Kentucky hometown, where he falls for a flight
attendant. Cameron Crowe (“Vanilla Sky,” “Almost
Famous”) writes and directs. Dunst’s co-stars
include Orlando Bloom (“Troy”), Alec Baldwin
(“Along Came Polly”) Susan Sarandon (“Moonlight
Mile”), Judy Greer (“The Village”) and
Jessica Biel (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”). Paramount
has yet to set a release date.
Tom Hanks. His latest film wasn’t quite a blockbuster,
but as far as his career is concerned it wasn’t terminal.
His next, “The Polar Express,” pulls into theatres
Nov. 19. The computer-generated fantasy drama is about
a young boy who, after refusing to accept his friends’ arguments
that Santa Claus does not exist, is rewarded by the arrival
in front of his house of the Polar Express, a steam train
that picks up true believers from all over the world on
Christmas Eve and transports them to the North Pole to
meet the Kringle himself. It’s based on the children’s
book by Chris Van Allsburg (“Jumanji”) and
directed by Robert Zemeckis (“What Lies Beneath,” “Cast
Away”) from a screenplay by Malia Scotch (“Hook,” “Madeline”).
Tom Hanks voices the express conductor. Andrew Ableson,
Debbie Lee Carrington, Eddie Deezen, Josh Hutcherson, Chantel
Valdivieso, Michael Jeter, Hayden McFarland, Peter Scolari
and Chris Coppola also add their voices. Warner Bros. is
punching the tickets.
“A Cold Case” is a crime drama, based on a true story, about a Manhattan
district attorney’s investigator who solved the murder of a restaurant
owner 30 years after the commission of the crime. It’s based on a New Yorker
article by Philip Gourevitch. Mark Romanek (“One Hour Photo”) directs
from a screenplay by Eric Roth (“Ali”). Hanks was reportedly set
to play the lead.
In “The Risk Pool,” a thief and gambler (Hanks), is forced to care
for his son when his estranged wife suffers a nervous breakdown. Lawrence Kasdan
(“Dreamcatcher”) was set to direct from his own screenplay. It’s
based on the novel by Richard Russo (“Nobody’s Fool”). Warner
Bros. hasn’t announced a release date.
Catherine Zeta-Jones and
Antonio Banderas. Hanks’ “Terminal” co-star
Catherine Zeta-Jones returns to the role that made her
a star. “Zorro 2” is set to be directed by
Martin Campbell (“Beyond Borders,” “The
Mask of Zorro”) from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto
Orci (TV’s “Alias”). Antonio Banderas
(“Shrek 2”) also reprises his role as the masked
defender of the poor and oppressed in Old California. Sony
plans to buckle its swash sometime in 2005.
Ben Stiller. “Dodgeball’s” Stiller can’t
escape the popularity of his “Meet the Parents” role
of Gaylord Focker. In “Meet The Fockers,” his
new fiancée gets to endure his parents. Other returnees
for this sequel to the 2000 blockbuster include director
Jay Roach (“Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”),
screenwriters Jim Herzfeld (“Meet the Deedles”)
and John Hamburg (“Along Came Polly”) and actors
Robert De Niro (“Godsend”), Teri Polo (“Beyond
Borders”) and Blythe Danner (“Sylvia”).
Newcomers to the series include screenwriters Vince Di
Meglio & Tim Rasmussen as well as actors Dustin Hoffman
(“The Lost City”) as father Focker and Barbra
Streisand (“The Mirror Has Two Faces”) as mother
Focker. Universal plans a Dec. 22 release.
Stiller lends his voice to “Madagascar,” an
animated feature about four zoo animals who, thanks to
a shipwreck, end up in the wilds of the titular East African
isle. Eric Darnell (“Antz”) and Conrad Vernon
direct. Jason Alexander, Chris Rock and Madonna also add
their voices. DreamWorks plans a May 27, 2005 release.
Hugh Jackman. The “Van Helsing” star returns
to his highest-profile franchise for “X-Men 3.” Director
Bryan Singer is expected to return, as are “X2” scribes
Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, and many previously cast
as mutants, including Patrick Stewart. No word yet on a
plot or other returnees, but it will be here nonetheless
May 5, 2006.
Halle Berry. The “X2” cast member perhaps
most likely to sit out the third installment of that franchise,
the “Catwoman” star is due to lend her voice
to “Robots.” The animated comedy, set in a
world populated entirely by androids, is about a metal
man who finds himself at odds with a corporate tyrant when
he sets out to improve the planet. Chris Wedge (“Ice
Age”) directs from a screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo
Mandel (“50 First Dates”). It also features
the voices of Ewan McGregor, Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, Jim
Broadbent, Paul Giamatti, Stanley Tucci and Amanda Bynes.
Fox automates it March 11.
Jake Gyllenhaal. “The Day After Tomorrow” star
needn’t worry about where his next job is coming
from: He’s got “Proof.” The drama is
about a young woman who cares for her dying father, a brilliant
but unbalanced math professor. It’s based on the
Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Auburn. John Madden
(“Shakespeare in Love,” “Captain Corelli’s
Mandolin”) directs from a screenplay by Rebecca Miller
(“Personal Velocity”). Gwyneth Paltrow (“Sylvia,” “Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow”), Anthony Hopkins
(“The Human Stain”) and Hope Davis (“American
Splendor”) co-star. Miramax sends it out with the
Christmas pudding Dec. 24.
“Brokeback Mountain” finds Gyllenhaal in a Western
drama, set in 1963 Texas and Wyoming, about two male cowboys
with families who face tough choices when they fall in
love with each other. It’s based on a New Yorker
story by Annie Proulx (“The Shipping News”).
Ang Lee (“Ride With the Devil,” “Hulk“)
directs from a screenplay by Larry McMurtry (“Falling
From Grace”) and Diana Ossana. Heath Ledger (“Ned
Kelly”), Anne Hathaway (“The Princess Diaries
2”), Linda Cardellini (“Scooby Doo 2: Monsters
Unleashed”), Anna Faris (“Lost in Translation”),
Michelle Williams (“The Station Agent”), Randy
Quaid (“Grind”) and Scott Michael Campbell
(“Hart’s War,” “The Flight of the
Phoenix”) co-star. Focus plans to saddle it up sometime
Smith. The “I,
Robot” star is up next
in “Shark Tale.” Learn
more of the Oct. 1 release here.
“The Last First Kiss” is
a romantic comedy about a young journalist who gets herself
in a love bind when she
sets out to prove a doctor’s (Smith) matchmaking
business to be a scam. Andy Tennant (“Sweet Home
Alabama”) directs from a screenplay by Jessica Bendinger
(“The Truth About Charlie,” “First Daughter”),
Kevin Bisch, Rick Parks (“Ever After”), Andy
Tennant (“Ever After”) and Lowell Ganz & Babaloo
Mandel (“Robots”). Amber Valletta (“Raising
Helen”), Eva Mendes (“Stuck on You”),
Julie Ann Emery (TV’s “Taken”) and Kevin
James (“50 First Dates”) co-star. Sony puckers
up Feb. 11.
Matt Damon. Damon was Bourne again
this summer. Next, he reprises another role. “Ocean’s Twelve” is
the follow up to Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 hit. In
it, casino owner Terry Benedict contemplates vengeance
as Danny Ocean masterminds new heists in Amsterdam, Paris
and Rome. Damon’s fellow returnees include director
Steven Soderbergh (“Solaris”) and actors Brad
Pitt (Troy”), George Clooney (“Intolerable
Cruelty”), Julia Roberts (“Mona Lisa Smile”),
Don Cheadle (“The United States of Leland”),
Andy Garcia (“The Lost City”), Casey Affleck
(“Gerry”), Scott Caan (“Sonny”),
Shaobo Qin, Carl Reiner (“The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle”)
and Bernie Mac (“Bad Santa”). Newcomers to
the franchise include screenwriter George Nolfi (“Timeline”)
and actors Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Zorro 2”),
Eddie Izzard (“The Cat’s Meow”), Jeroen
Krabbe (“An Ideal Husband”) and Vincent Cassel
(“Irreversible”). Warner Bros. is betting on
a Dec. 10 release.
“Syriana” finds Damon in a spy drama set in the pre-Iraq
War Middle East and directed by Stephen Gaghan (“Abandon”)
from a screenplay by Gaghan (“The Alamo,” “Abandon”).
It’s based on the book “See No Evil: The True
Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism” by
Robert Baer. George Clooney plays Baer. Amanda Peet (“The
Whole Ten Yards”) and Max Minghella co-star. Warner
Bros. spies a July 29, 2005 release.
“The Brothers Grimm” features Damon as one half of
the folklorist Grimm brothers in a thriller loosely based
on their lives. In this telling, they wander from village
to village pretending to eradicate “enchanted” creatures.
Terry Gilliam (“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”)
directs from a screenplay by Ehren Kruger (“The Ring”).
Damon and Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”)
star with Jonathan Pryce (“Pirates of the Caribbean”),
Lena Headey (“Possession”) and Peter Stormare
(“Bad Boys II”). Miramax hopes to collect receipts
happily ever after February.
Tom Cruise. After taking a darker turn
as a hit man in “Collateral,” Cruise
returns to his more heroic persona in the third outing
of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. Joe
Carnahan (“Narc”) is set to direct “Mission:
Impossible 3” from a screenplay co-written with Dean
Georgaris (“Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of
Life,” “Paycheck”) and Frank Darabont
(“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green
Mile”). In it, secret agent Ethan Hunt again finds
himself deployed by the U.S. government’s top-secret
Impossible Mission Force. Besides Cruise, returnees from
parts one and two are expected to include actor Ving Rhames
(“Dark Blue”). Newcomers include Eileen Atkins
(“Vanity Fair”), Kenneth Branagh (“Harry
Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”), Scarlett Johansson
(“The Perfect Score”), Justin Kirk (“Teddy
Bears’ Picnic”) and Carrie-Anne Moss (“The
Matrix Revolutions,” “Suspect Zero”).
Paramount plans to deploy it June 29, 2005.
Jamie Foxx. “Collateral’s” cab
driver picks up his next fare in “Ray.” For
more on this drama, based on the life of the late musician
Charles, go here.
“Stealth” finds Foxx in an actioner about a battle-savvy
group of pilots on a mission to destroy a robotic craft.
Rob Cohen (“XXX,” “The Fast and the Furious”)
directs from a screenplay by Cohen and W.D. Richter (“Home
for the Holidays,” “Needful Things,” “Big
Trouble in Little China”). Josh Lucas (“Wonderland”),
Jessica Biel (“Elizabethtown”), Sam Shepard
(“The Notebook”) and Joe Morton (“Paycheck”)
also star. Sony sneaks it July 29, 2005.
Keira Knightley. The “King Arthur” star (the
one seen primarily in blue body paint and a woven leather
halter top) bundles up next in “The Jacket.” The
supernatural thriller is about a soldier convicted of murder
who, during his treatment in a psychiatric hospital, begins
to believe that he is traveling through time. Through his
time travel, he searches for a woman he met as a child
and is fated to love. John Maybury (“Love is the
Devil”) directs from a screenplay by Marc Rocco (“Where
the Day Takes You”) and Massy Tadjedin. Adrien Brody
(“The Village”), Kris Kristofferson (“Blade
II”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (“In the Cut,” “The
Machinist”), Kelly Lynch (“Joe Somebody”),
Mackenzie Phillips (TV’s “SoWeird”) and
Brad Renfro (“Deuces Wild”) star. Warner Independent
(WIP) releases it Feb. 4.
Matthew Macfadyen (“Enigma”) is Mr. Darcy opposite
Knightley’s Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and
Prejudice.” The latest version of Jane Austen’s
classic novel – about an opinionated but poor young
woman and an arrogant but rich snob who overcome their
initial dislike and fall in love – is set in England
in the early 1800s. Joe Wright directs from a screenplay
by Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”) and Deborah Moggach.
Rosamund Pike (“Die Another Day”), Jena Malone
(“Saved!”) and Talulah Riley co-star as three
of the four Bennet sisters. Judi Dench (she’s “Riddick”-ulously
hot!), Donald Sutherland (“Cold Mountain”),
Brenda Blethyn (“Sonny”), Tom Hollander (“Possession”)
and Penelope Wilton (“Calendar Girls”) also
star. Universal plans a 2005 release.
Knightley is also set to reprise her role
as Elizabeth Swann in the sequels to her 2003 hit “Pirates of
the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.” “Pirates
of The Caribbean 2” and “3” are set to
film back to back. Director Gore Verbinski is expected
to return as are screenwriters Ted Elliott & Terry
Rossio (“Shrek”) and actors Johnny Depp (as
Captain Jack Sparrow) and Orlando Bloom (as Will Turner).
Newcomers reportedly include Depp’s inspiration for
the character, rocker Keith Richards (or “Keif” as
we like to say), as Sparrow’s father. The second
installment is expected in the summer of 2006.
Adrien Brody. In addition to “The Jacket,” the “Village” star
goes ape for “King Kong.” This Kong revisits
the 1930s (after a disastrous detour to 1976) when the
giant simian from the jungles of darkest Africa is captured
and displayed in New York. The”Lord of the Rings” team
of writer-director Peter Jackson and screenwriters Fran
Walsh and Philippa Boyens reunite. Naomi Watts (“21
Grams,” “We Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “I
Heart Huckabees”), Brody and Jack Black (“Envy”)
play the three human leads. Kyle Chandler (“Mulholland
Falls”), Colin Hanks (“Orange County”)
and Thomas Kretschmann (“The Pianist”) lend
support. Andy Serkis (“13 Going on 30,” the “Lord
of the Rings” trilogy) plays both the title character
(rendered this time, no doubt, with Kiwi CG expertise)
and Lumpy the Cook. When Universal’s Kong dies, everybody
cries Dec. 14, 2005.
Denzel Washington. Benicio Del Toro
is set to co-star with the “Manchurian Candidate” star as Detective
Richie Roberts, who pursued Frank Lucas (Washington), the
biggest drug dealer in New York’s Harlem in the 1970s. “Tru
Blu” is directed by Antoine Fuqua (“King Arthur”)
from a screenplay by Steve Zaillian (“Gangs of New
York”). It’s based on a New York Magazine article
by Mark Jacobson. Universal plans a Feb. 18 bow.
Meryl Streep. “Manchurian” mom Streep turns
up next in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate
Events.” The adventure – about three orphans
who are taken in by Count Olaf, a relative anxious to separate
the children from an undisclosed fortune – is based
on the wildly popular book series by Daniel Handler (“Watch
Your Mouth”). Brad Silberling (“Moonlight Mile”)
directs from a screenplay by Handler. Jim Carrey (“Eternal
Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) stars as Count Olaf,
Streep as Justice Strauss, Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow”) as Lemony Snicket,
Emily Browning (“Darkness Falls”) as Violet
Baudelaire and Liam Aiken (“Good Boy!”) as
Klaus Baudelaire. Paramount has set Dec. 17 for the release.
“Prime” centers on a neurotic, yet successful, thirtysomething
woman who unwittingly falls for the twentysomething son
of her therapist. Sandra Bullock (“Two Weeks Notice”)
and Streep were set to star. Ben Younger (“Boiler
Room”) was set to direct from his own screenplay.
Universal plans a 2005 release.
The long-delayed “Flora Plum” is set to co-star
Streep. The drama, set in the 1930s, is about a man who
makes his living as a circus freak, and the waif he falls
for. Jodie Foster (“Home for the Holidays”)
was set to direct from a screenplay by Steven Rogers (“Kate & Leopold,” “Stepmom,” “Hope
Floats”). Claire Danes (“Terminator 3: Rise
of the Machines,” “Stage Beauty”) and
Ewan McGregor (“Young Adam”) were set to star.
Paramount was reportedly picking 2005 as ripe for the release.
Vin Diesel. “Riddick” star Diesel is up next
in “The Pacifier,” a
comic actioner about a disgraced former Navy SEAL hired
to protect the children
of a dead government scientist – and the top secret
project still hidden in their home. Adam Shankman (“Bringing
Down the House”) directs from a screenplay by Scott
Alexander (“Agent Cody Banks”) and Robert Ben.
Lauren Graham (“Bad Santa”), Faith Ford (“North”),
Brittany Snow (TV’s “American Dreams”),
Brad Garrett (“Garfield: The Movie”) and Carol
Kane (“Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”)
co-star. Buena Vista has yet to set a release date.