News Bites: Wednesday, Feb. 18th 2004

By Garth Franklin Wednesday February 18th 2004 03:40PM

An Honest Tradesman: "Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, the scribe duo behind "2 Fast 2 Furious" and "Catch That Kid," will remake Belgian cop thriller "An Honest Tradesman'' for Focus Features. Brandt will make his directing debut on the pic, Haas will produce, with both penning the script..." (more info). El Cid: "Novelist turned screenwriter Scott B. Smith has inked a doubloon-rich deal to update the 1961 Charlton Heston starrer "El Cid" for MGM Pictures. While no deal is in place, helmer Martin Campbell ("GoldenEye") is being eyed by the Lion. The epic follows Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar -- "El Cid" to his soldiers -- as he seeks to rid 11th-century Spain of its Moorish invaders..." (more info)

The Longest Yard: "On the heels of an impressive opening for "50 First Dates," comedy specialist Peter Segal has agreed to direct "The Longest Yard" remake for Paramount and Sony. The assignment marks the third time Segal has directed an Adam Sandler vehicle..." (more info). The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: "The third 'Rings is poised to become the second-biggest worldwide grosser after "Titanic" following a solid weekend bow in Japan. Trilogy-capping fantasy also aims to follow the James Cameron phenom into the record books as only the second film ever to ring up more than $1 billion..." (more info). Tulip Fever: "Crew working on pre-production for John Madden's "Tulip Fever" have been told the project couldshutter at the end of this week, unless the producers get a positive signal from the British government about the status of its tax financing deal. "Tulip Fever," starring Jude Law and Keira Knightley, is co-financed by DreamWorks and Miramax with tax fund Inside Track putting up a third of the $45 million budget..." (more info).

Fuel Injected Dreams: "FilmEngine has optioned the feature film rights to James Robert Baker's rock 'n' roll novel. "The Butterfly Effect" writer-directors Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber are on board to adapt and helm..." (more info). House of Wax: "Hunk Chad Michael Murray ("Freaky Friday", TV's "One Tree Hill") will join the Dark Castle Entertainment flick. "Wax" is a remake of the 1953 classic Vincent Price horror film, the new version focuses on a group of teens who fall prey to demented killers who have a penchant for encasing their victims in wax. Filming begins shortly in Australia..." (more info). Les Choristes: "Miramax Films on Monday wrapped up a multiterritory deal to acquire writer-helmer Christophe Barratier's "Les Choristes," a French-language period piece about a music teacher who finds himself assigned to a correctional boarding school..." (more info). The Jacket: "Mackenzie Phillips, best known for her work on "One Day at a Time" and more recently on the Disney Channel series "So Weird," has signed on for a supporting role in the Mandalay Pictures/Section Eight feature. Phillips plays a nurse at the psychiatric hospital. She replaces Anne Lambton, who dropped out because of illness..." (more info). A History of Violence: Nic Cage and Harrison Ford are rumoured to be up for the adaptation which David Cronenberg is helming.

Assorted Pics: Various upcoming Spring movies have new pictures up at JoBlo.

Batman: Intimidation Game: Shooting is expected to hit the windy city of Chicago sometime in July/August - further information on potential locations/extra possibilities won't be available til June at the earliest. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: Mark Ruffalo, Christian Slater, Amanda Peet, Kip Pardue, Patricia Arquette, and (possibly) James Gandolfini have seemingly signed on for the new Lions Gate film from director Austin Chick ("XX/XY"). "Devil" is essentially a character piece involving a robbery that goes bad for everyone involved.

Boo!: Details on the new Anthony C. Ferrante film are up at UHM. Dawn of the Dead: The new one-sheet is up at Movieweb. Devilman: A teaser for the Japanese flick is up at DVD News: Details are up for Quantum Leap: Season 1, Northern Exposure: Season 1, Van Helsing: The London Assignment, Love Actually & Peter Pan. Fred Durst's Next: MTV reports that while he's no longer doing either "The Lords of Dogtown" or "Wannabe", the Limp Bizkit frontman still wants to direct but is taking his time to select a project he really can believe in. Ghosts of Vesuvius: "The Sum of All Fears" adapter Dan Pine is tipped to be writing the James Cameron flick. Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban: HPANA has some scans from a magazine given to Japanese theaters for 'Prisoner of Azkaban,' including Harry on his Firebolt & the trio in Hogsmead. King Kong: Principal photography is expected to start sometime in August. Kill Bill, Vol. 2: An international teaser poster is now up at Intertain.

The Alamo: The new one-sheet is now up at LatinoReview. The Mask 2: A report from the set of the sequel is up at The Z Review. The Thing 2: Countingdown reports that director John Carpenter has a script ready for the proposed sequel to his 1982 Antartic horror classic. THX-1138 (DVD): DavisDVD reports that Warner Home Video will release a special edition disc of George Lucas's futuristic classic later this year that's rated R and entitled "THX - 1138: The George Lucas Director's Cut". Wonder Woman: Larissa - the current star of NBC's Average Joe 2 - apparently has producers of the upcoming comic-book franchise wanting this former Miss Missouri to turn into their new Diana Prince.

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