News Bites: Tuesday, May 25th 2004

By Garth Franklin Tuesday May 25th 2004 04:32PM

His Dark Materials: "New Line Cinema has tapped Chris Weitz to direct "His Dark Materials," the Tom Stoppard-scripted adaptation of the award-winning fantasy book series by Philip Pullman. Weitz is in talks to take a pass at the Stoppard script and direct "The Golden Compass," the first of the three-book series. Weitz has always previously co-directed films with brother Paul, graduating from the bawdy "American Pie" to the more sophisticated comedies "About a Boy" and "Down to Earth"..." (more info). Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire: "Brendan Gleeson will become the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's newest faculty member in Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Gleeson, who currently appears in "Troy," will star as Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody, the latest wizard to fill the rotating position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Additionally, Frances de la Tour has been tapped to portray Madame Maxime, a half-giantess and the headmistress of Hogwarts rival, the Beauxbatons Academy..." (more info). Sex and the City: "Kim Cattrall, who portrayed hot-to-trot Samantha Jones, has poured cold water on a "Sex and the City" feature. On Monday, HBO pulled the plug on the pic's development after Cattrall made it clear she wouldn't commit to the project, which was to be written and directed by Michael Patrick King. HBO was unwilling to consider replacing Cattrall, or to go through the time and effort of developing a script without her firm commitment. So HBO chose the lesser of all evils: the network killed the project..." (more info). The Librarian: "Dean Devlin's Electric Entertainment banner has set up action adventure pic "The Librarian" at TNT with Noah Wyle playing the title character. The pic will air later this year, and the hope is to spawn a series of three films toplined by the "ER" star..." (more info). Hemingway Biopic: "Heeltap Entertainment is developing a feature film about the life of Ernest Hemingway, but with a difference. Distinguishing the project from myriad other Hemingway features in the works, Heeltap is working with the legendary author's surviving son, Patrick. Their claim: It's the first time a Hemingway family member has collaborated creatively on a film about the author's life..." (more info). Shrek 3 & 4: "DreamWorks animation head Ann Daly, said that with the success of "Shrek 2," the studio would move ahead, one at a time, with plans for a third and fourth installment. "It wasn't really advisable to start working on three and four until we knew that we actually had something in two, and certainly this weekend confirmed that we do," she said. Daly said DreamWorks was in final talks with the principal voice actors (Myers, Diaz, Murphy, Banderas) to return..." (more info). Syriana: "Matt Damon and Amanda Peet are headed for "Syriana," Warner Bros. Pictures timely geopolitical thriller tackling oil, international politics and the CIA. Peet is in advanced negotiations to play the wife of Bryan Woodman (Damon), a handsome oil executive who's in major deal-making mode with an oil sheik when he goes through a pivotal family tragedy. His wife, Julie (Peet), works with him to figure it out. George Clooney is in advanced negotiations to play career CIA agent Robert Baer..." (more info). The Greatest Game Ever Played: "Michael Weaver has scored a leading role in "The Greatest Game Ever Played" for Walt Disney Pictures. Weaver will play the role of John J. McDermott, the defending champion in the 1913 U.S. Open, a character who has no intention of letting any Brit take the championship..." (more info). Walk the Line: "Ginnifer Goodwin has been cast opposite Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Fox 2000's Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line" for director James Mangold. Mangold's wife, Cathy Konrad, is producing along with James Keach. Phoenix plays the country music legend, and Witherspoon portrays his wife and bandmate. Goodwin plays the part of Cash's first wife, Vivianne, who tries to deal with his infidelity and distance but eventually divorces him..." (more info).Alexander: A piece of footage from the trailer is up at The Trades. Alone in the Dark: Finnish metal band Nightwish is making a video for the Christian Slater movie, see MetalYou for details. Catwoman: The one-minute CATWOMAN commercial which aired during the season finale of WB's 'Charmed' is up at Catwoman Unofficial. Doctor Who (TV): The BBC reports that former pop singer Billie Piper is to play Doctor Who's new sidekick when the cult BBC sci-fi show returns next year - Piper will star alongside Christopher Eccleston as Rose Tyler in the drama. DVD News: Details and/or artwork are out for Matrix Trilogy: Extended Box-Set, The Ladykillers, Johnson Family Vacation, Scooby-Doo 2, Tiptoes, Matilda: SE, Harsh Realm & THX-1138. Fahrenheit 911: Quentin Tarantino has defended his choice of the Palme d'Or winner to The Herald. Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban: Pics from the red carpet premiere in NYC are up at HPANA. House of Wax: The first on-set footage of Paris Hilton is up at Entertainment Tonight. Ocean's 12: A $200,000 diamond promoting "Ocean's Twelve" has gone missing, see CNN for details. Pitch Black: Dark Fury: The official site for the animated spin-off is now online. Posters: One-sheets are now up for The Village & The Incredibles. River Queen: The four actors frontlining the upcoming New Zealand indie will be Samantha Morton, Kiefer Sutherland, Cliff Curtis and Temuera Morrison. Seed of Chucky: Production began yesterday on the horror sequel, see Rope of Silicon. The Devil's Rejects: The first image from the '1000 Corpses' sequel is up at Bloody Disgusting. The Incredibles: The French official site for the Disney CG animated flick is now online. The Greatest American Hero (DVD): Steve Cannell says "We're hoping to get this series out onto DVD in the very near future". Zorro 2: According to one of his upcoming projects is Zorro 2, but on there they have it titled as The Legend of Zorro, confirmed by Amblin. Thanks to 'Pete', 'Stef', 'JHBlade', 'Geoff', 'The Butler is In', 'Tom', 'Robert', 'Ooks', 'Alex', 'Jeff', 'Antoine', 'Dust Bunny', 'Michael', 'frederic', 'Kellvin', 'Brad', 'Tony', 'Lisa', 'Alex' & 'KarlChilders'