‘Wizard of Oz’ Prequel, ‘MIB 3’ and ‘Bad Boys 3,’ Nicholson Meets ‘The Hangover’ and No ‘Friday the 13th’ Sequel

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‘Men in Black 3’ in 3D and ‘Bad Boys 3’ Inanity : Director Barry Sonnenfeld has reportedly said both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have signed on to star in Men in Black 3 and that it will be shown in 3D. Also, Martin Lawrence said talks of Bad Boys 3 are happening and added, “Any time you can get [Will Smith] to come out and talk about doing a third installment of a hot movie like Bad Boys, you have to take notice. I met with Michael Bay, and he said he’s on board too – so it’s real.”

Lawrence said, “I got Big Willie to come down and see me about the movie. I felt special. We’re just waiting on Jerry Bruckheimer to let us know when it’s really real.” [Showbiz 411 and MTV]

Mendes and Shankman Being Eyed to Direct Downey Jr. in Wizard of Oz Prequel: So apparently Walt Disney and Alice in Wonderland producer Joe Roth are interested in a Wizard of Oz prequel and Robert Downey Jr. is talking to producers about starring as the wizard. On top of that, Sam Mendes and Hairspray director Adam Shankman are on the short list to helm the project, telling the story of the wizard before he came to Oz. Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards) wrote the script based on pieces from several other L. Frank Baum “Oz” books as well as his original ideas. As conceived in Kapner’s script, the wizard is a charlatan who’s part of a traveling circus but goes on a similar odyssey as Dorothy when he mysteriously lands in Oz. Should things work out, it could begin filming as early as next spring. [Los Angeles Times and Production Weekly]

Snow Embarks on 96 Minutes of Thrills: Brittany Snow (Prom Night) will star in 96 Minutes alongside Evan Ross for first time feature writer-director Aimee Lagos. The thriller tells an interwoven story of four young people caught up in a carjacking. Filming will begin in Atlanta in May. [Screen Daily]

McQuarrie Punching Up Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer: Bryan Singer has brought in his Usual Suspects and Valkyrie scribe, Christopher McQuarrie, to pen the current draft of the fantasy adventure Jack the Giant Killer, a tale of which is set in motion when a princess is kidnapped, threatening a long-standing peace between men and giants. A young farmer is given an opportunity to lead a dangerous expedition to the giants’ kingdom in hope of rescuing her. Singer is about to begin casting for the film, which he will shoot this summer in England. [Heat Vision]

Nicholson Sumored for Grumpy Old Men Meets The Hangover Feature: Jack Nicholson has reportedly been offered a role in LASt VEGAS, a film scripted by Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt) and described as a Grumpy Old Men Meets The Hangover comedy following four estranged male childhood friends from the fifties who reunite in Vegas to finally marry off Billy, the lifelong unmarried playboy of the group. The conflict arises when both Billy and his pal Paddy, the widower of the group, begin vying for the affections of the same lounge singer. The role of Billy is apparently the one offered Nicholson. [Vulture]

The Rock Replaces Clive Owen in Protection: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has replaced Clive Owen in the action-thriller Protection and director Patrick Alessandrin (District 13: Ultimatum) has apparently left the project, which means he may not be following in the footsteps of Luc Besson’s previous minions Louis Leterrier and Pierre Morel (Taken. Strangely enough, the film is described as a cross between Man on Fire and Taken (minus the kidnapping angle) as a disgraced former Special Forces soldier takes on a Mexican cartel in an attempt to rescue and protect a judge’s 21 year-old daughter, who has been targeted by the cartel for agreeing to testify against one of its members after she witnesses her father’s murder. First time screenwriter Brandon Noonan penned the script. The film is not currently set up at a studio although it was at Warner Bros. when Simon West was previously attached to direct Paul Walker in the project. [The Wrap]

Friday the 13th Remake Sequel is “Dead”: When asked by a fan on Twitter how the sequel to the Friday the 13th remake was coming along, producer Brad Fuller replied on Twitter, “It is dead – not happening.” He added in another reply, “I am fighting for it, and have been – I love that movie, but right now – there isnt any movement. I simply can’t get one made right now. It’s not my call – I would drop everything and make it today if they wanted it.” As to what happened, he simply tells another follower, “It is a long story.” [@bcfuller]

Roberts and Kapur Team for Mallory Mt. Everest Biopic: Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films and Kevin Townsend’s Science + Fiction are set to produce Mallory, a biopic of famed English explorer George Mallory with Elizabeth helmer Shekhar Kapur directing. Mallory’s remembered as having said, “Because it’s there” in reply to the question “Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest?” He and his climbing partner disappeared in 1924; they were 800 feet from the summit before the clouds closed in. Set in post-WW1 England, the story chronicles Mallory’s attempts to scale Everest and the toll it takes on his marriage, as the mountain becomes his obsession. Townsend, Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet (Vanity Fair) penned the script [Variety]

Palmer to Play Number Six in Number Four: Teresa Palmer is joining the sci-fi feature I am Number Four for director D.J. Caruso. Palmer will play Number Six, one of nine aliens who escape their home planet before its annihilation by a rival species and hide out on Earth disguised as human high schoolers. Alex Pettyfer and Sharlto Copley also star. [Heat Vision]

Roberts and Highmore Do Homework: Emma Roberts, Freddie Highmore Alicia Silverstone, Elizabeth Reaser, Blair Underwood and Rita Wilson are all set to star in Homework for first time writer-director Gavin Wiesen. Production is already underway in New York on the movie about a homework-averse high school student (Highmore) who strikes up an unexpected friendship with the girl he’s loved from a distance (Roberts). Principal photography is expected to be completed by the end of the week. [Variety]

Dae Kim Joins Deathgames: “Lost” star Daniel Dae Kim has joined the cast of Deathgames for director Jonah Loop and starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Kellan Lutz. The action thriller centers on a young man (Lutz) who is kidnapped by a sadistic mastermind (Jackson) and forced into a modern gladiator arena, where men fight to the death for the entertainment of the online masses. Kim is playing a fellow prisoner, an artist who happens to be a master of kendo (samurai-style sword fighting), a skill that comes in handy when he competes for his life and his wife’s. The project begins shooting next month in Louisiana. [Heat Vision]

Monsters vs. Aliens Helmer Tackles Stretch Armstrong: Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) is set to direct Taylor Lautner in Stretch Armstrong with Get Him to the Greek writer director Nick Stoller penning the screenplay from an earlier draft by Steve Oedekerk (Evan Almighty). The story is based on the Hasbro toy figure, popular in the 1970s, who stood 13 inches tall and could stretch to nearly four feet. Letterman and Stoller recently collaborated on Gulliver’s Travels, which Fox will release in theaters on December 22, 2010. [Screen Daily]

Paramount Renews World War Z Rights: According to the book’s author, Max Brooks, Paramount has renewed their option on the apocalyptic zombie tale World War Z for “half the time and twice the money.” He also says Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) is still attached to direct the story of an anonymous UN employee as he travels the world getting the stories of those that were involved and lived to tell about it. Back in December 2008, original screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski compared it to The Bourne Identity saying, “It has that international feel to it, and because it goes backward and forward in time, we can cherry-pick our favorite moments in the book. Some of it is crazy in scale. It’s huge. It’s as political as the book was. And it ends with that book being completed.” Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom) was the most recent screenwriter to take a stab at the project, which Brooks adds, “We’re all waiting on Matt Carnahan’s new draft, which should come in a month or so. Once that comes in then I think it probably will have to be tweaked and brought to the studio but we’re sort of zeroing in on that moment where Paramount has to say yes or no.” [Fear Net via Slash Film]