‘Inside Man 2’, Cruise’s Villainy and Alba is ‘Invisible’

Inside Man 2 Begins Script Stage: A sequel to Spike Lee’s Inside Man is moving forward at Universal, with Terry George in negotiations to write the screenplay and Lee coming back to direct. The film will pick up on the characters and dynamic but not the storyline of the original. The first Inside Man, which was penned by Russell Gewirtz, centered on a standoff between a bank robber (Clive Owens) and a hostage negotiator (Denzel Washington) at a New York bank. Lee says he foresees that the new film will continue the relationship between the two main characters but in a new high-tension situation. “I want the script to be even better than Russell’s, and Russell wrote a really good script,” he said. Denzel Washington and Clive Owen are interested in re-teaming for the project, Lee said. [THR]

Tom Cruise and The Monster of Florence: Tom Cruise and United Artists have acquired rights to serial-killer thriller “The Monster of Florence,” with Cruise attached to produce and possibly to star, according to Douglas Preston, author of the bestseller. Preston and Italo journo Mario Spezi told Corriere della Sera they have inked with UA for a big-screen adaptation of their reconstruction of eight grisly double homicides believed to have been committed single-handedly between 1968 and 1985 in and around the Italian Renaissance gem. [Variety]

Will Smith is The Last Pharaoh: Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace will write The Last Pharaoh, a Columbia drama crafted as a vehicle for Will Smith to play Taharqa, the pharaoh who battled Assyrian invaders in ancient Egypt. The film will focus on his battles with Assyrian leader Esarhaddon starting in 677 B.C. [Variety]

Fox Wants Australia to be Oz’s Biggest Hit: 20th Century Fox executives announced this week at the Australian International Movie Convention a relentless campaign to brand Australia, the film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. One Fox executive says it is “the most anticipated film of all time”. Another, Fox marketing director Marc Wooldridge, says: “No one will be able to escape the fact that Australia will be in cinemas from November 26.” There are serious hopes the film will out-gross Titanic as Australia’s most popular movie, with a box office take beyond $55 million, or roughly 5 million admissions. [The Australian]

Sarandon, Dreyfuss pick up Leaves: Susan Sarandon, Keri Russell and Richard Dreyfuss have signed on to join Ed Norton in Leaves of Grass, a comedic thriller actor-turned-filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson wrote and is directing. Norton is portraying twin brothers, one an Ivy League philosophy professor, the other a small-time and brilliant marijuana grower. The professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown for a doomed scheme against a local drug lord (Dreyfuss) that unravels his life. Sarandon plays the brothers’ eccentric mother, while Russell will play a love interest. [THR]

Jessica Alba turns Invisible: Jessica Alba will topline modern-day fable An Invisible Sign of My Own. Filmmaker Marilyn Agrelo begins lensing the film, based on Aimee Bender’s novel, next month from a screenplay by Pam Falk and Mike Ellis. The story revolves around a young woman who has retreated from the world and is consumed by numbers and math. Things begin to change when she becomes a second-grade math teacher. [Variety]

Kilmer finds his Identity: Val Kilmer will topline crime thriller Fake Identity for Nu Image/Millennium Films directed by Dennis Dimster-Denk and written by Dimster-Denk and Zvia Dimbort. Fake will begin lensing Sept. 30 at the company’s Nu Boyana Film Center in Sofia, Bulgaria. Story centers on an American doctor working in Chechnya whose life takes a deadly turn when he helps a mysterious woman escape from her would-be assailant. [Variety]


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