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AROUND THE WORLD with Jackie Chan!! A double helping of Rachel Weisz!!! Warner Bros. leading Sci-Fi revolution!!! Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen and Mike Vogel will star in New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes\’ remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to be directed by Marcus Nispel. The \’PG\’ remake begins shooting in July. New Regency has signed Rachel Weisz to star opposite John Cusack, Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman in the big screen adaptation of John Grisham\’s THE RUNAWAY JURY. Production begins September 16 and will be directed by Gary Fleder. Rachel Weisz has also been added to the eclectic cast of ENVY, playing the wife of Ben Stiller\’s character, who becomes insanely jealous when his best buddy, Jack Black, becomes filthy rich by selling an invention. Christopher Walken and Amy Poehler also star. Laura Elena Harring has joined the ever-expanding ensemble cast of MASKED AND ANONYMOUS for director Larry Charles. The film will star Bob Dylan, Jessica Lange, Luke Wilson, Jeff Bridges, Penelope Cruz and Angela Bassett. Peta Wilson, TV\’s LA FEMME NIKITA, will replace Monica belluci in the part of Mina Harker, female lead of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Sean Connery headlines for director Stephen Norrington, although details are still sketchy on the rest of the cast who play characters like The Invisible Man, Dorian Gray, Dr.Jeckyll and Tom Sawyer. Liv Tyler has signed up to appear alongside Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in Kevin Smith\’s JERSEY GIRL for Miramax. Smith writes and Directs and Affleck plays a man who is troubled by the effects of his new wife and her 6 year-old daughter on his life. J.Lo will play the wife, and Tyler will play a video store clerk who also impacts Affleck\’s character. George Carlin will also appear playing Affleck\’s father. Lauren Grahamhas signed to play the female lead in BAD SANTA for Dimension Films and director Terry Zwigoff. SANTA will star Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac and John Ritter in the story of a conman who masquerades as Santa with his elf-sidekick in order to rob shopping malls. Warner Brothers has fast tracked a sequel to SCOOBY-DOO. Director Raja Gosnell will reunite with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddy Prinze Jr., Linda Cardellini and Mathew Lillard. James Gunn, the original\’s screenwriter is working on the script and production is being geared up for early next year and aiming for a 2004 release. Fox Searchlight, following their success with SUPER TROOPERS, is producing a new film by the Broken Lizard Comedy Troupe, responsible for TROOPERS. CLUB DREAD will be a dark comedy set in a Club Med style surrounding. Jay Chandrasekhar, who directed TROOPERS will return to the helm for DREAD, with members of the troupe filling main roles. 80\’s Punk singer Ed Tudor-Pole of the band Tenpole Tudor, has filmed a cameo as creepy evil shopkeeper Mr. Borgin in HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. Jackie Chan is set to headline a remake of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, with Frank Coraci to direct. The remake will still follow the story of Phineas Fogg who makes a bet that he can circumnavigate the globe in a ballon in 80 days during the height of the industrial revolution. Emphasis in the new version will be shifted to Chan\’s character, Passepartout, a petty thief who seeks refuge with Fogg after stealing a valuable jade Buddha. Passepartout will act as Foggs guide and bodyguard as well as helping him open his mind to the wonders and diversity of the cultures they stumble across on their journey. Halle Berry is in final negotiations to star in NEED, a thriller by Chloe King about a Psychiatrist who victimizes a suicidal female patient who had an affair with the Doctor\’s husband. Luis Mandoki will direct. Warner Brothers has picked up film rights to Richard Morgans Sci-fi novel ALTERED CARBON, which John Pogue will adapt for producer Joel Silver. The pair recently worked up the Warners feature GHOST SHIP. CARBON is set in the 26th century as mankind is spread throughout the galaxy, and the U.N. tries to maintain control through Envoy troops. It also deals with the ramifications of technology, like being able to download your personality and conciousness to a new body for the right price. Geoffrey Rush is in talks to take the role of the Pirate Captain Blackeart in Disney\’s PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN. Johnny Depp will star in the film, being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and written by SHREK writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot. Warner Brothers has also picked up the rights to Greg Bears Sci-fi trilogy, starting with THE FORGE OF GOD. Ken Nolan will adpat the books for the screen. The first story deals with Earth\’s attempts to contact extra-terrestrial life, and the evil aliens that answer the call and practically destroy the earth. The second installment follows our quest for revenge in outer space, and the third has yet to be finished by Bear. Warner is blazing a trail at the front of a Sci-Fi revolution with ALTERED CARBON and THE FORGE OF GOD, just the latest projects in development, THE MATRIX sequels are well underway,and the Brad Pitt / Darren Aronofsky project THE FOUNTAIN is filming now. Let\’s hope this bodes well for the future, and we see more of these than SCOOBY sequels!! Along with MINORITY REPORT, VANILLA SKY, the upcoming Clooney / Soderbergh remake of SOLARIS, and talk of such projects as A SCANNER DARKLY and material by Bradbury, Heinlein, and William Gibson being pitched daily, we may be in for a Sci-Fi flavored decade, to say the least.

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