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May 15, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 15, 2006 |

Item #1: David Dobkin, a mediocre director who had at least enough talent and good sense in last summer’s Wedding Crashers to point the camera at Vince Vaughn and walk away, has been signed by Universal Pictures to direct RIPD, an adaptation of a Dark Horse comic book. The comic written by Peter Lenkov — the genius behind Pauly Shore’s brilliant 1993 “doofus farce” Son in Law and the 90-minute Taco Bell commercial starring Sylvester Stallone, Demolition Man — follows the Rest In Peace Police Department, comprised of enthusiastically deceased cops who patrol the “dead beat.” The story will focus on a cop named Nick Cruz, who is killed and who must fight the undead before his soul can be released from purgatory.

And if that doesn’t just scream dumbassery, the writing team (Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi) behind the dull and completely nonsensical Aeon Flux are attached to write the screenplay. Yet, I’m sure there are any number of comic-book geeks (I’ll withhold the tat for the tit from the TV Whore’s latest dig) who are as giddy as they were the day their mothers agreed to be their prom dates about this development, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high. Whatever potential RIPD possesses will, in all likelihood, disappear in the hands of Dobkin, who will probably be working without the heavy trail of breadcrumbs that leads his camera to Vince Vaughn (who also worked with Dobkin on the underappreciated Clay Pigeons and in an upcoming Santa Claus comedy with Paul Giamatti). — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: I know. I know. I know. You’re sick to death of hearing about Basic Instinct and Sharon Stone; the movie came, no one saw it, leave it alone already, right? What’s this site’s fucking obsession with geriatric genitalia, huh?! Last one, OK — with apologies to Ben Roberts — and this one only because a lovely Blogress on a witty, unnamed, seven-word gossip repository brought it to our attention, and it’s too hard for us to resist: Never mind the dismal box office performance of the Basic Instinct sequel, there will be a trilogy and the aged wonder will direct! Indeed, according to Ms. Stone, “there’s a script for the next part of the story — but I would like to direct it rather than star in it.”

And we all know what that means, right? Invariably, her vagina will make a brief, Hitchcock-like cameo, sauntering around in the corner of the screen, ogling unsuspecting passersby in the small hopes that someone will take it home and play with it — but, in all likelihood, it will go ignored, like the one-eyed mongrel at your local dog shelter, whimpering quietly until someone finally takes a large stick and puts it out of its poor, poor misery. — DR

Item #3: Reality shows aren’t quite the bastard children of television that they once were, so Steven Spielberg has decided to stick his hand into the cash-cow pot and is joining up with competitive reality TV guru Mark Burnett to produce “On the Lot.” This Hollywood version of “American Idol” meets “The Apprentice” will feature several production teams made up from 16 contestants/aspiring filmmakers. Each week, the teams will appoint a director, who will be in charge of leading the team in producing a short film fitting the weekly genre (comedy, romance, horror, etc.). FOX will air an hour-long “Film Premiere” episode each week, during which the films will be shown and critiqued. Then, as Ryan Seacrest is wont to say, “America, it’s your turn to vote.” Voters will decide which flick sucked hardest, and the director of that film will be booted off on the next night’s half-hour “Box Office” results show. At some point during the show’s run, as the number of contestants dwindles, the teams will be taken away and it will become every man for him/herself. While Spielberg is being credited as a creator and executive producer, it is unclear what active involvement he will have in the show. As far as I’m concerned, the more he’s involved the better, simply because we need to distract him as much as possible to keep Indiana Jones IV: The Neverending Colonoscopy from becoming a reality. — Seth Freilich

Item #4: Also joining the reality TV fray is Bobby De Niro, who is, along with Tribeca Films and “Black. White.“‘s R.J. Cutler, working on a super-double-secret untitled show for NBC. The only thing known about the show is that it’s not a competitive show and, according to Cutler: “It’s a very simple idea … a simple concept. Amazingly, nobody’s ever done it before.” The best speculation I’ve heard so far comes courtesy of the “Kevin & Bean” show on KROQ — what if it’s just De Niro living in a house with a dozen people, and each week he whacks someone? Now, if it’s old-school Godfather Part II/Taxi Driver/Goodfellas/Heat De Niro, I would totally watch. But if it’s new-school Meet the Parents/Analyze This/Hide and Seek De Niro, well, yeah, I’d still watch. Only I’d be rooting for the housemates to whack De Niro. — SF

Item #5: In the latest Bluth-related news, Will Arnett has landed a pitch at DreamWorks and Paramount for The Ambassador, a comedy about the son of a former Vice President who receives an ambassadorship to a European country, at which point hilarity ensues. I’m all for seeing Arnett on the big screen, but with a concept this thin, the pitch meeting probably lasted all of five minutes and went something along these lines:

“So, you know the character, G.O.B., that I did on ‘Arrested’?”

“Yeah, we love that guy.”

“Well, what if he went to Europe? And, you know, stuff happened.”

“Would you do the chicken dance?”


“Shoot it. We open in nine months.”

Arnett’s an amazing physical comedian and, with wife Amy Poehler, he is poised to produce offspring whose humor and timing exceed those of mere mortals, like the comedic equivalent of whatever unnaturally beautiful child springs forth from the union of Brad and Angelina. And even though The Ambassador sounds like something that should be starring Chris Elliott and headed straight to video, now that “Arrested Development” has shuffled loose the mortal coil, I’ll take my Arnett however I can get it and be thankful in the process. — Daniel Carlson

Item #6: In a shocking display of what could pass for respect for the dead, but was more likely a delay caused by a haggling war between publishing houses and production companies, a group of producers has optioned the rights to Terri: The Truth, the recently published memoir by Michael Schiavo. Terri Schiavo was everybody’s favorite comatose cause cel├Ębre last spring, the center of a battle between Michael, who wanted to unplug her feeding tube and move on, and Terri’s parents, who wanted to keep her permanently alive and frozen. No word yet on who will be cast as Terri, though actresses all over Hollywood are already practicing lying still and blinking. It’s another weird twist that widows of victims in the September 11 attacks have been protesting the trailers for Paul Greengrass’ United 93, but no one seems to care that Schiavo is about to be exploited, too. I guess it’s all about economies of scale: The fewer people hurt, the fewer the protests. Two of the producers, Mike Farrell and Marvin Minoff, also inflicted Patch Adams on society, a steaming cinematic dung heap that doesn’t bode well for the Schiavo film. Indeed, rumor has it that the script includes a scene in which Bill Frist puts on a red clown nose in an attempt to wake Schiavo up, only to be foiled by her “un-Christian drooling.” — DC

Item #7: There is very little excitement to report in this week’s Box Office round-up, I’m afraid. Ice Age: The Meltdown continued its box-office dominance over the weekend, racking up another $33 million in kiddie tickets. The Benchwarmers came in second, tallying a reasonable $19.5 million thanks, in some small part, to Revolution Studio’s attempt to distract the moviegoing audience from the merits of the film by anonymously bashing a reviewer’s efforts as “an attempt to showcase his own ability rather than actually discussing the film.” You have to love the ethics of that marketing strategy! Meanwhile, Antonio Banderas and Take the Lead opened in third place with $13 million and Lucky Number Slevin fizzled at number five, with $7 million.

This weekend sees only two wide openers, the 4th installment in the Scary Movie franchise, which I suspect will get the expected Pajiba treatment, and The Wild, another animated-animals-gone-wild children’s flick. However, those in LA and NY will get the indie red carpet rolled out this weekend, as Hard Candy, Kinky Boots and The Notorious Bettie Page all arrive in limited release (and will be reviewed in the coming days and weeks here). Better still, the Pajiba-recommended Thank You for Smoking, opens up Friday in mid-sized markets.

Finally, for fans of the FX show “Rescue Me,” Pajiba TV Pal, Give Me My Remote, managed to score an interview with Denis Leary about this upcoming season. And I’m sure Denis Leary probably sits down with just about anyone with blond hair and blue eyes and no bra - but, c’mon! This is a blogger! It’s not everyday that a real-live chain-smoking celebrity bothers to talk to a blogger … unless spanking is involved. — DR

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | May 15, 2006 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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