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May 12, 2006 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 12, 2006 |

Item #1: In St. Elmo’s Fire-related news, Emilio Estevez (where the hell has he been?) and Demi Moore are re-teaming in Bobby, a film about how Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination affected the lives of the people in the Ambassador Hotel where the shooting occurred. The film, recently picked up for distribution by the Weinstein Company, is being written and directed by Estevez, who somehow parlayed his diminished clout into a cast that includes Martin Sheen (Estevez’s dad, so that’s no surprise), Elijah Wood, Helen Hunt, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Nick Cannon, Christian Slater, William H. Macy, and (!) Joshua “Pacey” Jackson. With a schizophrenic cast like that and a brilliant concept, it’s hard not to look forward to Bobby (scheduled to be released in August), but you have to believe that a Kirby Keger-directed film with an all-star ensemble sitting around in a hotel room and discussing racial tension and social upheaval may very well result in a weird amalgamation of Crash and The Breakfast Club. — Dustin Rowles

Item #2: In even more Demi Moore news (I know, I apologize), the actress has been cast as a streetwise detective in Mr. Brooks, where she’ll be chasing the split-personality freakshow to be played by Kevin Costner and William Hurt. Hurt’s cockroach-like ability to survive career Chernobyls (Lost in Space? Seriously?) could be up against its biggest challenge yet as he struggles to hold onto the critical and public goodwill he gained from his supporting turn in A History of Violence. Demi Moore is last year’s Sharon Stone, which is to say a dried-up prune of a former hottie hoping that major surgeries and night classes at Crunch will be enough to once again endear her to the ever-fickle public. But Moore’s got it easy compared to Costner. Audiences could be more willing to forgive Moore since (1) the workouts definitely worked and (2) she’s almost become a parody of herself, appearing in the Charlie’s Angels sequel she would have headlined 10 years earlier. But Costner, who wormed his way into the minds and hearts of America with Bull Durham and Field of Dreams (I admit, it gets me every time) before inexplicably beating Scorsese’s Goodfellas to win Best Director and Best Picture Oscars in 1990 for Dances With Wolves, can safely be regarded as past his prime and somewhat unstable: His appearance on “Inside the Actors Studio” was one of the few instances when the guest got really into the show and out-weirded host James Lipton. Look for Mr. Brooks to seek rehabilitation in the film by tagging along to spring training with the White Sox. — Daniel Carlson

Item #3: In sequel news, the hilarious Steve Carell begins his Will Ferrell-like descent into mediocrity by starring as the title character in Evan Almighty, a sequel to Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty. Lauren Graham (“Gilmore Girls”) and John Goodman are also attached, with Morgan Freeman reprising his role as God. Admittedly, Carell was the best thing to come out of the original Almighty, but with the team behind Nutty Professor II and Patch Adams (Steve Oedekerk and Tom Shadyac, respectively) set to write and direct, Evan Almighty has swelling music, lame body-fluid humor, and sentimentality written all over it. Although Carell’s linguistic comedy in the original was amusing for a couple of minutes, I’m not sure that he can translate that into 90 minutes of entertainment value. Worse still, filming of Evan Almighty (which has already begun) will result in an early hiatus for “The Office,” which will air only one first-run episode after March (the finale, on May 11). Fortunately, NBC has also announced that it will air 10 two-minute online-only episodes of “The Office,” which will focus on efforts by the accounting team (Kevin, Oscar, and Angela) to uncover a missing $3,000. — DR

Item #4: Shohreh Aghdashloo (her actual name) has been cast as Elizabeth, cousin of the Virgin Mary, in New Line’s forthcoming Nativity, to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who also helmed the solid Thirteen and the regrettable Lords of Dogtown. Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) has already been cast as Mary in what is sure to be the latest he-said/thee-said brawl between the godless baby-killing homo infidels of Hollywood and the righteous warriors of Zion headquartered in Lynchburg and Colorado Springs. Really, though, I don’t see what the fuss is about. It’s not as if New Line’s producers are shamelessly capitalizing on the popularity surge of America’s civil religion so that they can exploit icons of faith in order to turn a quick buck. And it’s also not like religious leaders are going to stand up and decry the film sight unseen or encourage their flocks to strike out against the film industry, with violence if necessary. Seriously, I think we’re all rushing to judgment here. — DC

Item #5: Kewpie-doll-faced Renee Zellweger is starring in and producing Miss Potter, a movie exploring the life of the author who wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit and her struggles to overcome her domineering, unsupportive mother in Victorian England. The film is the first directing project for Chris Noonan since Babe, more than a decade ago, and is written by Richard Maltby, heretofore known only as a composer. I suppose the project is trying to catch the coattails of the critically successful Finding Neverland, about the life of J.M. Barrie, but it’s hard not to figure that it was greenlit in part because of the inevitable confusion expected when folks believe it has something to do with English author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. In either respect, watching Zellweger in yet another period piece is the probably the last thing anyone wants to see, unless Renee is asked to chain-smoke, affect a British accent, put on another 50 pounds, and trip over her granny panties. Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson are also attached. — DR

Item #6: In TV news, Lifetime continues in its quest to offer worthless programming for shut-ins and stay-at-home moms with “Election,” a reality series in which married political consultants James “The Redneck Skeletor” Carville and Mary Matalin will compete against each other in a high school election. Students at the school have already been informed that they will have to vote for either Carville or Matalin, and that write-ins for “Please kill us now” will not be accepted.

Meanwhile, on the rumor front for “Arrested Development,” Showtime’s hands are still tied when it comes to reviving the much-beloved but ratings-deprived former Fox show, pending a decision from creator Mitch Hurwitz. Hurwitz reportedly is looking for a hefty financial offer to churn out more tales of the Bluth clan, though forcing them to toil in the obscurity of Showtime programming alongside “Weeds” and “Huff” is a fate no show deserves. — DC

Item #7: Finally, in box office news, V for Vendetta was the top draw over the weekend, pulling in a solid, though unspectacular, $26 million, partially attributed to some bad press, particularly the media outlets that unfairly (in my opinion) framed V as a movie about a terrorist vs. the administration. Thanks to (mostly) positive word-of-mouth, good reviews, and Alan Moore fans curious to see how the Wachowskis besmirched the source material, I expect that V won’t see a precipitous drop this upcoming weekend. Failure to Launch inexplicably held on to the No. 2 spot, tallying another $15.6 million, while She’s the Man debuted with $11 million, just below The Shaggy Dog’s $13 million, to come in at No. 4.

This weekend, Dan will review Spike Lee’s bank-heist film Inside Man, which is vying for the top spot and will probably come in with a $22 million opening, thanks to a stellar cast that includes Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen. After exhausting my vocabulary and asserting my pretentiousness on V last weekend, I will be reviewing the much anticipated (in certain backwaters of the South) blue-collar, thinking-man’s comedy, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, this weekend, and Jeremy will tackle fictional writer J.T. Leroy’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, written for the screen and directed by Dario Argento’s (Inferno, Trauma) daughter, Asia. Finally, Phillip Stephens, one of Pajiba’s first critics, returns this weekend and has been assigned the video-game horror film Stay Alive as our way of saying, “Welcome back, sucker.” — DR

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba and managing partner of its parent company, which prefers to remain anonymous for reasons pertaining to public relations. He lives in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.

Daniel Carlson is the L.A. critic for Pajiba and a copy editor at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his weblog, Slowly Going Bald.

The Weekly Trade Round-Up / The Pajiba Staff

Industry | May 12, 2006 |

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

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