Familiar names fill the Hollywood headlines this week, with everyone from Al Pacino to Steven Spielberg embracing the bold type.
Secret agent Cruise set to visit Wichita
After much speculation, it appears that Tom Cruise has found his next film. As reported by Variety, Cruise and Cameron Diaz are in talks to co-star in the 20th Century Fox spy comedy Wichita. James Mangold is set to direct the film, which is about a secret agent who enters the life of a single girl. The film is aiming for a summer 2010 release date. Cruise has been courting a number of films, including Motorcade at DreamWorks; The Matarese Circle, which David Cronenberg is directing for MGM; Lost for Words for Universal/Working Title; and The 28th Amendment, which Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck is directing for Warner Bros.
In other 20th Century Fox casting news, Halle Berry is in talks to star in the upcoming Paul Verhoeven thriller The Surrogate, writes The Hollywood Reporter. The film is an adaptation of Kathryn Mackel's 2004 novel of the same name about a couple who discover that the surrogate mother they have hired to carry their baby has a dark past. Full negotiations have yet to begin for Berry to play the wife.
Nicole Kidman's loss is Lucy Punch's gain with the British actress signing on to replace Kidman in Woody Allen's next film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kidman exited the still untitled project due to a scheduling conflict with John Cameron Mitchell's The Rabbit Hole. Punch will reportedly take her place among an ensemble cast that includes Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins. A relative newcomer, Punch's credits include the CBS series The Class, Ella Enchanted and Hot Fuzz. She will next appear in Young Americans for Universal Pictures.
Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn will be released in the US on Dec 23, 2011, following an international roll-out in October of that year. Starring Jamie Bell as the globe-trotting young reporter, Tintin is a 3-D motion-capture feature inspired by the comic books of the Belgian writer Georges Prosper Remi (better known as Hergé). Daniel Craig co-stars in the film, which began shooting in January, says The Hollywood Reporter.
Hollywood is homing in for the second time in recent weeks on the spoils of a recent spate of real-life pirate dramas. Reuters reports that Columbia Pictures has acquired the life rights to Richard Phillips, the captain of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, who surrendered last month to pirates off the coast of Somalia to save the lives of his crew. Phillips was held captive for five days before US Navy snipers shot three pirates dead. Kevin Spacey is in talks to co-produce the film alongside the New York-based Scott Rudin. Earlier this month, Samuel L Jackson's Uppity Films and Andras Hamori's H20 Motion Pictures secured the life rights to the pirate negotiator Andrew Mwangura. Mwangura recently negotiated a deal to free the crew from the Ukrainian ship VS Faini for $3.4 million (Dh12.5m). Until then, he earned his living as a freelance reporter.
Al Pacino is in negotiations to play Jack "Dr Death" Kevorkian in You Don't Know Jack, an upcoming film about the advocate of doctor-assisted suicide who was subsequently convicted of murder, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Kevorkian, 81, beat the state court system in Michigan several times, but was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999. He was paroled last June after serving over eight years of his 10- to 25-year sentence. The biopic will be directed by Barry Levinson for HBO Films and follows Kevorkian as he builds his infamous Mercy Machine, conducts his first assisted suicide and starts a "media frenzy with his epic legal battles defending a patient's right to die", the paper writes.
The Terminator Salvation producers, The Halcyon Company, have announced the acquisition of the rights to the investigative journalist Daniel Estulin's award-winning book, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group. Selling more than 750,000 copies worldwide, the book follows the exclusive, invitation-only group of some of the world's most powerful leaders who convene once a year to discuss world events, Variety reports. Past members have included David Rockefeller, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. The deal gives Halcyon exclusive rights to all of Estulin's research material as well as his two sequel books. The Russian-born Estulin spent 14 years researching his book on the group, which began meeting in 1954.