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January 1, 2007 |

By Daniel Carlson | Industry | January 1, 2007 |

I’m staring down the barrel of Ghost Rider this weekend, and though I’m holding onto the kind of cautious optimism I always use when approaching comic-book movies based on characters I don’t know about, I’m also plenty worried. Maybe that’s what’s got Nicolas Cage on my mind. It’s taken me a lot of concentration and several Ambien to wrap my head around the ads of Cage with a giant, flaming skull and chain-fighting what appears to be a mummified Peter Fonda, but that’s gonna seem like cake compared to understanding this: Cage is now attached to star in a live-action version of Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. You know which one I mean. Mickey. Dancing brooms. The whole nine. Cage is set to play the sorcerer in the film, which is being eyed as a tentpole (oh good Lord help us) and will be written by the incomparable team of Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (The Beverly Hillbillies, Mona Lisa Smile, Flicka … yeah). One can only imagine the Southern-inflected horrors Cage will visit upon us as a wacky sorcerer looking for, um, some kind of intern to help clean up the dungeon area and do some light faxing and phone work, but you just know it’ll be worth watching. Like a train wreck.

And speaking of sorcerers: Gather round, my fellow geeks, for this is your week in the sun. Mere days after the publication of the first in a series of comic books based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, rumors are spreading that TV wunderkind/easily distracted filmmaker J.J. Abrams is in talks with King to adapt the sprawling series of books for the screen. King has stated before that he doesn’t really want the books to be filmed, but he’s also a fawning fan of all things Abrams, as evidenced by the fact that he uses his regular column in Entertainment Weekly to plug the virtues of “Lost”; the magazine even arranged a sit-down between King and Abrams, as well as “Lost” executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, just to shoot the breeze and praise each other’s careers for a couple hours. Not that a mutual verbal reacharound doesn’t make for thrilling reading, but still, it hardly comes as a surprise that the aging King is now deciding to compromise his remaining principles for Abrams. Personally, I doubt this will ever move out of the rumor phase; Abrams is too busy waffling on Star Trek XI (just let it die, man) and ignoring the head-shaking insanity that is “Lost” to give his attention to any one project, especially one of this magnitude. Not to mention that King passed his prime a few years back. Here’s hoping this thing gets stuck in turnaround.

On an unrelated and happier note: This spring brings with it the release of Hot Fuzz, the next feature from writer-director Edgar Wright, with a script assist from star Simon Pegg. Pegg and Wright previously teamed for Shaun of the Dead, a fantastic little horror comedy, and this time they’re teaming for an action-filled comedy about cops in a tiny British village dealing with a string of murders. Dig the inside reference in the fence-jumping scene, too. It’s sure to be a beauty:

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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