The box offices newest sweetheart and
her Sweet Home Alabama pals look beyond Dixie
Witherspoon is suddenly huge. Following the surprise $95
million success of 2001s Legally Blonde,
the diminutive actress carried another enormous hit this
autumn with Sweet Home labama ($116 million
and counting at press time) with little marketing beyond
her pert visage on billboards, TV ads and posters. Add in
mostly negative reviews and a $35.6 million opening weekend
and what do you get? A really big star.
Confirming that status, Universal on Nov. 4 signed a first-look
development deal with the mini-mogul.
up for Witherspoon (but not covered under the Universal
deal) is Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.
The comedy about what happens when newly minted Harvard
Law grad Elle Woods tries to get an animal testing bill
passed in Congress will be helmed by Charles Herman-Wurmfeld
(Kissing Jessica Stein) from a screenplay by
Eve Ahlert & Dennis Drake (Down With Love).
MGM runs it up the flagpole the Wednesday before Independence
Day: July 2, 2003.
returns to corsets (a la The Importance of Being Earnest)
in Vanity Fair. Mira Nair (Monsoon
Wedding, Kama Sutra) is set to direct
this adaptation of the classic William Makepeace Thackeray
novel of the British upper crust during the Napoleonic wars.
The screenplay is by Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet. Filming
is expected to begin in March.
on-screen husband, Josh Lucas, is busy staking out the young
male heartthrob territory mysteriously abandoned by Matthew
McConaughey. Currently on screen in The Weight of
Water as Elizabeth Hurleys boyfriend, he appears
next as Maj. Glenn Talbot in The Hulk.
The sci-fi actioner retells the tale of Bruce Banner, a
scientist transformed by gamma radiation into an impossibly
strong green giant every time he gets angry. Its based
on the Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee (X-Men,
Spider-Man, Daredevil). The Ice
Storm-Ride with the Devil-Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon team of director Ang Lee and
screenwriter James Schamus reunite. Eric Bana (Black
Hawk Down) stars as Banner, with Jennifer Connelly
(A Beautiful Mind), Sam Elliot (We Were
Soldiers), Nick Nolte (The Golden Bowl)
Brooke Langton (The Replacements) and Mike Erwin
(The New Guy). Universal lets it out June 20,
began filming Wonderland at the beginning
of November. The based-on-fact story of the late porn star
John Holmes and his involvement in a 1981 quadruple murder
on the Hollywood Hills Wonderland Avenue was directed
by James Cox (Highway) from a screenplay by
Cox, Todd Samovitz, D. Loriston Scott and Captain Mauzner.
Val Kilmer stars as Holmes, with Kate Bosworth (The
Rules of Attraction) as his teen girlfriend. Joining
Lucas among the supporting cast are Lisa Kudrow (Analyze
That, Marci X), Christina Applegate (The
Sweetest Thing), Frankie G, M.C. Gainey (The
New Guy), Janeane Garofalo (Big Trouble),
Natasha Gregson Wagner (High Fidelity), Carrie
Fisher (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), Dylan
McDermott (Texas Rangers), Eric Bogosian (Igby
Goes Down, Ararat), Tim Blake Nelson (The
Good Girl) and Ted Levine (The Truth About Charlie).
Lions Gate plans the money shot for July 2003.
Lions is a comic fantasy about a boy forced to
spend his summer with his two great-uncles eccentric
strangers with mysterious pasts. It was written and directed
by Tim McCanlies (Dancer, Texas Pop. 81). Haley
Joel Osment (Pay It Forward) stars as the boy,
Robert Duvall (A Shot at Glory) and Michael
Caine (Austin Powers in Goldmember, The
Quiet American) as his new guardians. Kyra Sedgwick
(Personal Velocity), Emmanuelle Vaugier (40
Days and 40 Nights) and Nicky Katt (Insomnia)
costar. Lucas will play the adult version of Osments
character. New Line uncages it sometime in 2003.
is a drama about a man who goes to prison for a crime he
didnt commit and eventually has an affair with the
sheriffs wife. Victor Nuñez (Ulees
Gold, Ruby in Paradise) directed from
his own screenplay. Lucas castmates include Timothy
Olyphant (Rock Star) Josh Brolin (Slow
Burn), Sarah Wynter (The 6th Day, Bride
of the Wind), Scott Wilson (Pearl Harbor),
Angela Bettis (Bless the Child), Robert Wisdom
(Storytelling), and William Forsythe (City
by the Sea). The IFC film played the Sundance Film
Festival in January, but has yet to capture a release date.
Mitra makes a big move this year in terms of working frequency.
The London-born Indian-Irish actress (and original live-action
model for the videogame adventuress Lara Croft) has roles
in three upcoming films. Ali G Indahouse
was a huge hit in England, where the title character
is a popular fixture. The comedy is about a white gangsta
rapper from the suburbs who becomes one of the most popular
prime ministers in British history. Its based on the
character created by British TV personality Sacha Baron
Cohen. Mark Mylod made his feature directorial debut from
a screenplay by Cohen and Dan Mazer. Cohen stars with Mitra,
Michael Gambon (Charlotte Gray), Charles Dance
(Gosford Park), Kellie Bright, Martin Freeman
(The Low Down) and Barbara New (Edward
II). Universal hasnt decided when to let the
Brit-centric comedy outdahouse in the United States.
also has a major role in The Life Of David Gale.
The dramatic thriller, set in Texas, is about a young philosophy
professor and anti-death-penalty activist who winds up on
death row for the rape and murder of a fellow activist.
Alan Parker (Angelas Ashes, Evita)
directed from a screenplay by short filmmaker and philosophy
professor Charles Randolph. Mitras costars include
Kevin Spacey (The Shipping News), Kate Winslet
(Enigma), Laura Linney (The Mothman Prophecies),
Matt Craven (Dragonfly), Gabriel Mann (Abandon)
and Leon Rippy (Eight Legged Freaks). Universal
tests its appeal Feb. 21, 2003.
puts Mitra in an action-thriller about a vengeful widowed
motorist who takes to the highways in a Plymouth Barracuda
in search of the serial killer who ran over his wife with
a 72 El Dorado. Robert Harmon (Nowhere to Run,
They) directs from a screenplay by Craig Mitchell
(Komodo) and Hans Bauer (Anaconda).
Jim Caviezel (High Crimes) plays the widower,
Mitra a singer who becomes caught up in the chase. New Line
expects to rev it up sometime in 2003.
of seasoned actresses moves out of Alabama to
look for work. Candice Bergen takes the role of a retired
flight attendant in A View From The Top,
of which one can read a good deal more here.
then connects to Till Death Do Us Part,
a remake of The In-Laws, a 1979 Peter Falk/Alan
Arkin comedy about a father-of-the-bride podiatrist who
finds himself recruited by the father-of-the-groom CIA agent
to help with a dangerous South American mission. Andy Fleming
(The Craft, Dick) directs from a
screenplay by Nat Maudlin (The Preachers Wife,
Dr. Dolittle) and Ed Solomon (Charlies
Angels). Michael Douglas (Dont Say a Word,
A Few Good Years), Albert Brooks (My First
Mister), Ryan Reynolds (National Lampoons
Van Wilder), and Lindsay Sloane (Bring it On)
costar. The Warner Bros. release serpentines
into theatres sometime in 2003.
Smart appears in Bringing Down The House.
The comedy is about a lonely man whose online love, a female
prisoner, wreaks havoc on his life when she breaks out of
stir to be with him. Adam Shankman (The Wedding Planner,
A Walk to Remember) directed from a screenplay
by Jason Filardi. Steve Martin (Novocaine) stars
as the lonely guy, Queen Latifah (Brown Sugar,
Chicago) as the escaped con. Smarts fellow
supporting players include Eugene Levy (Like Mike),
Betty White (The Story of Us), Joan Plowright
(Tea with Mussolini), Missi Pyle (Josie
and the Pussycats) and Victor Webster (TVs Mutant
X). Buena Vista paroles it in June 2003.
third veteran, Mary Kay Place, takes a role in The
Safety Of Objects. The drama about four suburban
families is based on a collection of short stories by A.M.
Homes (The End of Alice). Rose Troche (Go
Fish, Bedrooms and Hallways) directed
from her own screenplay. Places costars include Glenn
Close (102 Dalmatians), Dermot Mulroney (Lovely
and Amazing, About Schmidt), Patricia
Clarkson (The Pledge), Timothy Olyphant (Coastlines),
Moira Kelly (TVs The West Wing, Dangerous
Beauty), Jessica Campbell (Election),
Joshua Jackson (Gossip), Robert Klein (Piñero,
Two Weeks Notice), Alex House (TVs Out
of Sync), Sam Jennings (A Price Above Rubies)
and Sally Christianson. IFC wont object to a March
young veteran Dakota Fanning has a pair of major roles ahead.
The 8-year-old actress plays Sally in Universals The
Cat In The Hat, based on the classic 1957 childrens
book by Dr. Seuss (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).
The comedy deals with two children who invite an oddly-attired
feline into their house while their mother is out, only
to watch him destroy the place while playing his games.
TV vet Bo Welch (The Tick) makes his feature
directorial debut from a screenplay by Alec Berg, David
Mandel and Jeff Schaeffer. Mike Myers (Austin Powers
in Goldmember, A View From the Top) essays
the title character. Spencer Breslin (The Santa Clause
2) plays Sallys brother. Alec Baldwin (Pearl
Harbor) and Kelly Preston (Battlefield Earth,
A View from the Top) costar. Thing 1 and Thing
2 are scheduled to appear Nov. 21, 2003.
Gunn finds Dakota in New York for a comedy about
a young socialite who, after losing all her money, must
take a job as nanny to a precocious 9-year-old. Boaz Yakin
(A Price Above Rubies, Remember the Titans)
directs from a screenplay by Julia Dahl (TVs The
West Wing) and Lisa Davidowitz. Brittany Murphy (8
Mile), Megan Carletto (One Hour Photo),
Marley Shelton (Just a Kiss) and Heather Locklear
(Money Talks) costar. MGM reportedly plans a
summer 2003 release, or right after Miss Fannings
nap, whichever comes first.
explorations of the nations childcare crisis continue
with Daddy Day Care. Its about
a father who, after losing his dot-com job, decides to open
a guy-run day care center in his house. Directed
by Steve Carr (Dr. Dolittle 2) from a screenplay
by Geoff Rodkey (TVs LateLine), it stars
Eddie Murphy (I Spy), Anjelica Huston (The
Man from Elysian Fields), Leila Arcieri (XXX),
Steve Zahn (Riding in Cars with Boys) and Alabamas
Michelle Krusiec (Pumpkin). Sony breaks out
the juice and crackers May 9, 2003.
on screen in They, Ethan Embry may not be on
the big screen again for a while after his next picture.
Hes been tapped to portray Joe Fridays partner
Detective Frank Smith in the 2003 TV series remake of Dragnet.
meantime, Timeline is a contemporary
science fiction thriller about a group of archaeology students
who must rescue their time-traveling professor when he becomes
trapped while visiting 14th century France. Its based
on the 1999 novel by Michael Crichton (The Lost World,
The 13th Warrior). Richard Donner (Lethal
Weapon 4) directs from a screenplay by George Nolfi,
Frank Capello and Jeff Maguire (In the Line of Fire).
Embrys fellow chrononauts include Paul Walker (Joy
Ride), Gerard Butler (Reign of Fire),
Frances OConnor (Windtalkers), Neal McDonough
(Minority Report), Billy Connolly (Who
Is Cletis Tout?), Matt Craven (Dragonfly,
The Life of David Gale), Anna Friel (Me
Without You), David Thewlis (Gangster No. 1),
Marton Csokas (XXX) and Michael Sheen (The
Four Feathers). Paramount digs it up April 11, 2003.
now in Abandon, bamas
Lurlynn, Melanie Lynskey, heads to press next in Shattered
Glass. The drama is based on the true story of
once highly respected journalist Stephen Glass, whose career
was ruined after editors discovered over half his sources
and stories had been fabricated. Screenwriter Billy Ray
(Harts War) makes his feature directorial
debut from his own script. Hayden Christensen (Star
Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones) stars
as Glass. Lynskeys fellow supporting players include
Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho), Steve
Zahn (Daddy Day Care) and Greg Kinnear (Auto
Focus). Lions Gate puts it to bed in the third quarter