News Bites: Monday, May 17th 2004

By Garth Franklin Monday May 17th 2004 11:32PM

Black Book: "Paul Verhoeven has committed to next direct "Black Book" (Zwartboek) for San Fu Maltha of Fu Works. Pic is expected to start shooting in October or November in Europe. Pic, which Verhoeven penned with Gerard Soeteman, is a World War II thriller about Jewish young woman Rachel Steinn who joins the Dutch resistance while collaborating with the Nazis. Project is expected to star Carice van Houten and Halina Reijn..." (more info). Casas de Carton: "Lions Gate Films Intl. has acquired worldwide distribution rights excluding the Americas to "Casas de Carton," a drama based on the true story of an 11-year-old boy and his family in a country torn by civil war. Luis Mandoki will direct Spanish-lingo pic in Mexico..." (more info). Chronicles of Narnia: "Rising Brit actor James McAvoy has been cast as Mr. Tumnus the faun in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Mr. Tumnus is the first creature encountered by Lucy, the youngest of the four siblings, when she first stumbles through the magic wardrobe and discovers Narnia..." (more info). Everybody Loves Raymond (TV): ""Raymond" will return for one final victory lap next season. After weeks of legal wrangling over every last detail, CBS today will announce what's been assumed for weeks: A deal has been reached to bring back the Ray Romano laffer for a ninth -- and final -- season..." (more info). Ghost of 21: "Twentieth Century Fox has given life to "Ghost of 21," buying the comedy spec script from tyro writer Blake McCormick for low against mid-six figures for Davis Entertainment to produce. Project, in the vein of "Old School," concerns a 30-year-old pillar of the community who's on the verge of being married. His world is turned upside down when his old college buddies reappear to hold him to a promise he made not to get hitched..." (more info). Queen Lara: "Lev L. Spiro will make his feature-directing bow with the teen comedy "Queen Lara." Pic is set to start principal photography on June 28. Nicholas Thurkettle penned the contempo adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear"..." (more info). The Crazies: "Paramount Pictures is going with "The Crazies," setting up a remake of George Romero's horror-thriller with Michael Aguilar and Dean Georgaris to produce. Project will update the storyline of the original, in which inhabitants of a small Pennsylvania town are beset by death and insanity after a plane crash lets loose a secret biological weapon into the water supply..." (more info). Tommysaurus Rex: "Universal Pictures has paid $1 million to preemptively option Doug TenNapel's graphic novel. "Rex" is due out this summer from Image Comics. "Rex" follows a young, nearly friendless boy who loses his golden retriever in a car accident. Devastated, he is sent by his father to recover on his grandfather's dairy farm, where he befriends a Tyrannosaurus rex..." (more info). Clancy of the Overflow: "Bob Yari Prods. has acquired worldwide distribution rights to "Clancy of the Overflow," a project being billed as a prequel to "The Man From Snowy River," the company said Sunday. 20th Century Fox released Australia-set "Man From Snowy River" in 1982..." (more info). Diamond: "U.K. indie producer Alison Owen has sealed a deal with star Gwyneth Paltrow to establish an unnamed joint venture to develop movies for Paltrow to produce and star in. The first film to come through the as-yet-unnamed venture is likely to be "Diamond," according to Owen. Penned by Lewis Mellis and David Scinto ("Sexy Beast"), the picture is based on a book that details the story of an internationally renowned female jewel thief..." (more info). Hawk: "Paul Giamatti, Sarah Polley and Michael Pitt will head the cast of "The Hawk Is Dying," which Julian Goldberg is directing for Antidote Films and This Is That. "Hawk," based on the novel by Harry Crews, focuses on the character of George Gattling (Giamatti), who becomes involved with a young graduate student (Polley) who is searching for a red-tailed hawk..." (more info). Hell Ride: "Quentin Tarantino is set to team again with Larry Bishop, the actor who played the foul-mouthed owner of a strip club in "Kill Bill V2". Tarantino and Bishop will produce "Hell Ride," a motorcycle movie that Bishop is writing and will direct and star in. Sources say Tarantino might star in the movie as well. Michael Madsen, who also starred in "Bill," is attached to star in what is being described as a spaghetti biker film..." (more info). OutKast Drama: "OutKast's Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000, has pacted with Element Films to topline an untitled feature for the company, with Emmy-winning TV helmer Paris Barclay in talks to direct. Element is gearing up for a September start in New Orleans. Set in the mid-1970s, the project follows the story of an upper-middle-class musical prodigy named Valentine (Benjamin) and a lower-class free-spirited woman named Chevon, whose families are opposed to their interracial relationship..." (more info). River Queen: "Kiefer Sutherland, Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison will headline Vincent Ward's new historical drama "River Queen," set to start shooting June 28 in New Zealand. Negotiations also are under way for Samantha Morton to star in the feature..." (more info). The World's Fastest Indian: "Anthony Hopkins has committed to star in "The World's Fastest Indian" for director Roger Donaldson. The fact-based film, written and to be directed by Donaldson, centers on the life of Burt Monro, a New Zealander who invested several decades building a 1920 Indian motorcycle. He then traveled to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where he set the land-speed world record in the 1970s..." (more info).A Cinderella Story: Pics from the Chad Michael Murray/Hilary Duff flick are up at MovieZine. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Next: The big man may return to the big screen in 2006. See Global Arnold for details.

Breaking News: This film has been selected to close the Cannes Film Festival, see the official site for details. Desolation Sound: HNR indicates Desolation Sound is set to shoot from May 24th thru June 18th in Sechelt, BC, with Vancouver director Scott Weber calling the shots. Jennifer Beals, Ed Begley Jr. & Helene Joy star. DVD News: Details & Artwork are out for Hellboy: Special Edition , The Devil's Backbone: Special Edition, Goodbye Lenin & The Princess Diaries. Enterprise (TV): A couple of fans saw Connor Trinneer at the London Expo this past weekend and asked him if he had any word on the show being renewed.  He told them that he and Dominic Keating, who was also at the event, had received calls to report back to the set.

House of Flying Daggers: Pics from the Asian film are up at Moviegod. Mutant X: Spoilers for the season finale are up at Comics Continuum. Ocean's 12: Eddie Izzard has joined the sequel according to Coming Soon.

Romulus, My Father: Moviehole reports that Richard Roxburgh's directorial debut is looking more and more like a "Van Helsing" reunion than ever, with news that David Wenham is now in talks to star in the film which he's asked Hugh Jackman to headline. Scrubs: The medical comedy has been renewed for two further seasons. Stander: The first photo from the new Thomas Jane flick is up at Rope of Silicon. The Green Hornet: Kevin Smith confirmed on his messageboard he's 1/3 of the way through the script's first draft. The Man: Set pics from the Sam Jackson/Eugene Levy flick are at LatinoReview.

The Motorcycle Diaries: Shots from the Che Guevara flick are at Moviegod.

Walk the Line: Robert Patrick has joined the Johnny Cash biopic according to Coming Soon. Willy Wonka: Kristen Alderson (TV's "One Life to Live") has apparently been cast as the memorable trouble maker Veruca Salt. Thanks to 'Mark', 'Brad', 'Paul', 'CW', 'Alexander', 'MJ', 'ABKing', 'Gustavo', 'Mike', 'Kellvin', 'Tom', 'Felix', 'Flex', 'KarlChilders' & 'HomerJ'