EXTRA! EXTRA!

SPEED OF LIGHTNING! ROAR OF THUNDER! LEMONY SNICKET?! LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN!! Dreamworks and Aardman, the folks behind CHICKEN RUN, have tossed aside their adaptation of ATHE TORTOISE AND THE HARE because of inherent script problems. They will now be working on developing a project called FLUSHED AWAY. The story follows a wealthy and pampered rat who lives in a posh London penthouse. When he is accidentally flushed down the toilet he finds himself in a strange new world – that of the average poor sewer rat in London\’s slimy underworld. Edward Norton has signed on to costar in THE ITALIAN JOB remake. Norton will play a double-crossing associate of Mark Wahlberg\’s Charlie. Charlize Theron will play Charlie\’s love interest. Brendan Fraser is signed to star with Bugs and Daffy in LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION. Fraser will accompany the Looney Tunes gang from Hollywood to Vegas and into deepest, darkest Africa in search of a mythical diamond, in the live-action meets animation feature. Warner Brothers is also producing a series of Looney Tunes shorts to attach to the beginning of upcoming WB features. Anthony Hopkins, on a recent appearance on TV\’s THE VIEW, has announced that he will not be starring in a \’HANNIBAL 4\’, referring to rumors of a script in development for one more Hannibal Lecter film after the upcoming RED DRAGON. Hopkins insisted that DRAGON will be his last go-round with the good Doctor. Johnny Depp is in negotiations to star in PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN for Disney. Depp would play Jack, the leader of the Pirates who are searching for a legendary treasure. Depp is also in talks to take the lead in TAKEDOWN, based on the true story of a U.S. Marshall in pursuit of an assassin who raped and almost killed the Marshall\’s female colleague who was also a former lover. Jessica Alba is in final negotiations to star in HONEY for director Bille Woodruff. HONEY is about a tough inner-city woman who tries to start a dance studio, as she becomes more successful, her mentor blackballs her for refusing his advances. Angela Bassett has been added to the cast of MASKED AND ANONYMOUS for writer/director Larry Charles. Bassett will costar with Bob Dylan, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges in the story of a long-jailed and legendary troubadour who comes back to play one big show. Ice Cube is in talks to join TORQUE for Warner Bros. The fast-paced motorcycle racing adventure, takes place in L.A.. Cube would play Trey Wallace, leader of the most feared racing gang in the country – The Machine. Michael McCullers writer on both UNDERCOVER BROTHER and AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER, will pen a big screen adaptation of beloved children\’s character CURIOUS GEORGE, as an all CG animated feature for Imagine Entertainment. Dreamworks has acquired SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS from comic writer Grant Morrison, with Guillermo Del Toro attached as a director. KNIGHTS is a family adventure about a time travel experiment gone bad, which leaves our planet in a state of perpetual Halloween. Ghosts, realizing they have free reign over the earth, begin to cause major havoc – until a young boy is recruited into an elite team of ghostbusters called the Sleepless Knights. Don Coscarelli, of PHANTASM fame, has finished his adaptation of the Joe R. Lansdale story BUBBA HO-TEP. The film stars Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis Presley in a Texas seniors home. Aided by Ossie Davis, as the black man who was implanted with JFK\’s brain, they do battle against an ancient Egyptian mummy of evil who is killing off old folks in the home. SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!! The film was just screened at the CineVegas film festival. Barry Sonnenfeld and producer Scott Rudin have reteamed for Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon films to bring a big screen version of the best selling kids novels A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE events to the big screen. The stories, by Daniel Handler – writing as narrator Lemony Snicket – involve a trio of unfortunate orphans who end up in a series of bizarre situations and in the care of an assortment of oddball characters, including a distant family relative named Count Olaf who is trying to kill them and steal the family fortune. Handler will adapt his own material for the screen. Spyglass Entertainment has snagged the film rights to that 60\’s paragon of goodness – UNDERDOG. Spyglass hopes to turn it into a live-action/CG hybrid for Disney Studios. The story follows a watchdog who exposes himself to an experimental serum that transforms him into a canine superhero. Under the guidance of his sweetheart Polly Purebred, Underdog keeps the city free of corruption from such unsavory scoundrels as mob boss Riff-Raff and evil genius Simon Barsinister. Monica Belluci has dropped out of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Possible replacements for the character of Mina Harker include Milla Jovovich and Saffron Burrows. Sean Connery will headline the film as the Victorian Superteam\’s leader Alan Quartermain. IGN Filmforce has reported that Captain Nemo will be played by Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah of MONSOON WEDDING – The Invisible Man will be played by Scot actor Tony Curran, last seen in BLADE 2 – and Richard Roxburgh of MOULIN ROUGE will play the part of the main villain The Fantom. The IMDB lists Jason Flemyng of SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELLS as Dr.Jekyll/Mr.Hyde, Shane West as Tom Sawyer, and Stuart Townsend of THE QUEEN OF THE DAMNED as Dorian Gray

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