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May 20, 2008 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | May 20, 2008 |

When I saw the headline, “John Cusack ponders disaster flick,” I was momentarily unable to figure out what it meant. Was Cusack watching a disaster movie and thinking about its emotional, cultural, or filmic repercussions? Or was he reflecting on movies he’s made like “America’s Sweethearts,” in which he does his best to torpedo every last shred of the goodwill we’ve been holding for him since the 1980s? The answer is less compelling and far more terrifying than either of those: Cusack is in talks to star in Roland Emmerich’s 2012 for Columbia as his next project. In an even whatthefuckier side note, Chiwetel Ejiofor is in talks to co-star. Apparently the lure of working with the man who helmed 10,000 BC is too hard to pass up. Cusack will play a part-time limo driver who takes a heroic journey to save his family when some kind of apocalypse threatens mankind, while Ejiofor will play the president’s science advisor, who also becomes a hero. What can I say, Emmerich loves him some heroes. Emmerich also wrote the script with his 10,000 BC co-writer, Harald Kloser. What are you doing, John? Why would you ponder this disaster flick? Didn’t you learn anything from those top 5 breakups? You can’t handle the kind of rejection people will send your way when this movie comes out.

I liked John Grisham when I was 12, which is probably the only acceptable age to read books about young idealistic lawyers who announce things like “I’m a lawyer!” before gathering all their gumption to go up against the evil of their firm on behalf of their client to avoid the gas chamber … pelican brief. I haven’t kept up with Grisham in a long time, but he’s apparently turned his efforts from mediocre legal thrillers to mediocre human dramas. Phoenix Pictures announced this week that it has picked up film rights for Playing for Pizza, Grisham’s novel about a washed-up NFL quarterback who joins a semi-pro team in Italy and winds up gaining “a new perspective on life and a love for all things Italian.” Nice try, Grisham: This story was already made, and it was called Under the Tuscan Sun, and it taught us all how to live and love. You think you can top that? Shame on you, sir. Shame.

That’s most of what’s happened so far this week. There have been a couple minor castings, and some sales out of Cannes, but that’s it. On to the trailer watch:

First up is the teaser for City of Ember, a cornball family fantasy that looks like it’ll rank pretty high on the unintentional hilarity scale. And you better believe that’s Bill Murray:

Next is the clip for Bax Luhrmann’s Australia, complete with a Nicole Kidman who’s had just way too much work done. Plus the music in the trailer is a total knock-off of Henry V:

Finally, here’s the red band trailer for The Happening, now with 58% more violence and self-mutilation:

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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