November 8, 2006 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | November 8, 2006 |


Item #1: Because of the impending release of Stranger than Fiction, it’s unofficially Will Ferrell week here at Pajiba. Ferrell initially agreed to be a guest critic on our site, but balked when we assigned him a Guide to What’s Good for You entitled “The 10 Best One-Trick Comedians in Hollywood.” You’d think the bastard would have a better sense of humor. Unfortunately, we’ll just have to settle for these two bits of industry news: First, Ferrell is set to star in Semi-Pro, a fictitious film about Jackie Moon (Ferrell), a player/coach in the now defunct American Basketball Association. Moon must lead his team on a desperate attempt to make it to the big leagues. Ferrell has been asked to stand in front of the camera and hold a basketball for 90 minutes while spouting gibberish with varying degrees of volume. (“Basketball. Net. Sliced APPLE vagina. Swish.”) Second, Ferrell is currently shooting Blades of Glory alongside Jon Heder (number two in the aforementioned Guide). The film is about two Olympic skaters who were stripped of their gold medals and disqualified from competition. The two decide to exploit a loophole to get back into the sport by joining together as a pairs team — cue at least 47 crotch shots during the inevitable same-sex ice-skating montage. In the film, Ferrell has been asked to stand in front of a camera wearing ice skates for 90 minutes while spouting gibberish with varying degrees of volume. (“Slip. Critchety-Crotch! Doggy Doo-hickey. WhirrrrrrSUCK.”) — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: I once knew a guy who wrote a screenplay with maybe the best title I’ve ever heard: Jesus Saves Coupons. But that’s neither here nor there. The real news is that screenwriter Bob Comfort has written a screenplay called Jesus on Line Four, about a Howard Stern-level shock jock whose radio show starts to receive phone calls from Jesus. The script generated no small amount of buzz at the recent American Film Market in Santa Monica, and Aesop Entertainment has inked a deal with Richard Davenport to direct. I know what you’re all thinking: Richard Davenport, the visual effects guru who bears some of the blame for bringing us Garfield, Daredevil, and The Cat in the Hat? One and the same, friends. I shudder — shudder — to think of the CG-animated hijinks Davenport will put the Son of God through in the name of bad entertainment. If Garfield has a cameo, I say we all march on Hollywood and get this guy’s head. — Daniel Carlson

Item #3: Here is a feature tandem you never expected to hear: Robert DeNiro to star alongside 50 Cent(!). Actually, you’d think I could come up with something clever about this bit of casting, but — given the project — it doesn’t actually sound that bizarre. The two will star in New Orleans, a film about a cop (DeNiro), who believes his partner (50 Cent) died during Hurricane Katrina, only to discover that he was shot to death because of police corruption. (Correction: 50 Cent is DeNiro’s new partner, who helps investigate the murder of his old partner.) The project was previously titled Microwave Park and was set to shoot in Los Angeles. However, Millennium Films apparently felt that the opportunity to exploit a natural disaster was just too ripe to pass up. But at least the film can continue with the ridiculously long succession of black/white buddy films, wherein 50 Cent tries to educate DeNiro in hip-hop slang while DeNiro attempts the lip-biting, head-shaking white-man dance. Hot on the heels of New Orleans, Paramount is also expected to announce a DMX/Sandra Bullock international-adoption romantic comedy, featuring the DMX hit, “What These Bitches Want,” a song about the incessant demands of Malawian infants. — DR

Item #4: Perhaps sensing that the market for atmospheric thrillers starring young actresses hasn’t quite been saturated, Kirsten Dunst is now set to star in A Jealous Ghost, an adaptation of the A.N. Wilson novel set up at Paramount Vantage. Dunst recently expressed her desire to star in a dark thriller along the lines of The Shining, which I could have sworn she accomplished with Mona Lisa Smile, but whatever. Also, in the true spirit of Hollywood, the film will apparently abandon all but the most basic elements of the novel. The film version will see Dunst will play a student in London who hooks up with one of her professors and promptly starts seeing demons. Ah, college. — DC

Item #5: Good news on the “Studio 60” front, as word on the street is that NBC is ever-so-close to giving the show a full season order, which will hopefully give Sorkin enough time to work out the kinks and maybe even acquire a few extra viewers. Well, unless you listen to some other word on the street, which says that network execs are ready to cancel it as soon as they can find their way out of Sorkin’s pricy contract. CBS is lucky not to have these problems, having already given a full season order to its new hit, “Jericho.” And now it’s copying ABC by making a risky move with the freshman. As many of you no doubt know, last night was the end of ABC’s “Lost” run until early next year. Well, CBS is doing the same thing now with “Jericho” — after the show’s Nov. 29 episode, it’ll be gone until mid-February, when Season 1.5 will kick in. Both networks obviously hope that folks care enough to come back after the months-long hiatus. And while it’s probably a relatively safe bet for ABC (even in light of “Lost’s” lower numbers this season), it seems less sure for CBS. But if the move backfires, CBS is already thinking about next season, ordering up a pilot for a new law drama. Brought to us by the folks responsible for “Numb3rs,” the show will focus on public defenders and hopes to fill a much-ignored gap on network television, the show about lawyers. About bloody time! — Seth Freilich

Item #6: The box office delivered fantastic news over the weekend, as Borat, which opened on only 800 screens, nevertheless conquered the competition by racking up $27 million in ticket sales. Buoyed by this success, 20th Century Fox has decided to see how much more money it can extract out of the franchise, hiring Will Ferrell to replace Sacha Baron Cohen in the sequel, in which Ferrell will stand in front of a camera wearing a mustache for 90 minutes while spouting broken gibberish with varying degrees of volume. (“Incompetent Whack-a-Doodle SHIZBLAT! Carnal Rodeo. US OF A!”) The Santa Clause 3 debuted at number two, with a nearly $20 million opening, ensuring any number of sequels, all of which will remind me of my worst Christmas experiences. Thanks, Tim Allen! Flushed Away was actually a surprise, too, coming in third place and making a solid $18 million. Congrats, Aardman Features.

This weekend has four new wide releases, starting with the aforementioned Stranger than Fiction, which may be the last opportunity any of us get to see Will Ferrell do anything aside from stand in front of a camera and spout gibberish. (“Rhino HULKY BEAR Purple Farts. Moon Missiles.”) Russell Crowe stars in A Good Year, directed by Ridley Scott. And is it just me, or do the trailers make the film look like the masculine counter to Under the Tuscan Sun? Christian Bale will open with Harsh Times — and if it looks like Training Day redux, it’s because it’s written and directed by the same guy who wrote the Denzel Washington film. I’d be optimistic about its chances but for the presence of Eva Longoria. Finally, Sarah Michelle Gellar brings us The Return, which only looks like another dreary, tedious J-Horror remake. I’m guessing, however, that it’s a run-of-the-mill, American, dreary, tedious horror film. Additionally, two other films will expand their run, so that y’all out in middle-America can see two of this year’s better features: Borat opens in 2,500 theaters, while Babel expands into 1,250. — DR

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The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Trade News | November 8, 2006 | Comments ()



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