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14 items from 2008

Catherine Zeta-Jones to star in 'Cleo'

23 October 2008 3:00 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Catherine Zeta-Jones is going back to the boards.

Zeta-Jones, who won an Oscar for her turn as the scheming Velma Kelly in Rob Marshall's "Chicago," is set to star in "Cleo," a period musical to be directed by Steven Soderbergh. Song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman is in negotiations to take a lead role in a retelling of the story of Cleopatra, Antony and Caesar set in the 1920s (also the era of "Chicago's" shenanigans).

Joseph Mankiewicz co-wrote and directed the most famous "Cleopatra," the 1963 historical epic that starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rex Harrison and Richard Burton. It was hugely expensive and considered a flop but was ultimately nominated for best picture and won four Oscars.

Soderbergh, repped by Anonymous Content, is now shooting the indie movie "The Girlfriend Experience" for 2929 as part of his six-picture deal with the company. He's also developing a Liberace biopic that Richard Lagravenese is scripting and Jerry Weintraub is producing, »

- By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

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Miramax Settles Chicago Lawsuit

2 October 2008 5:42 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Bosses at Miramax film studios have settled a lawsuit over the profits from hit movie Chicago - paying one of the film's producers a reported $9 million (GBP4.86 million).

Marty Richards filed a suit against the company in 2006, accusing film chiefs of using deceptive accounting practices to freeze him out of the money made by the Oscar-winning picture.

But according to New York Post gossip column PageSix, the legal action has now been settled - with the Disney-owned company reportedly offering Richards the multi-million dollar payout. »

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Latifah To Adopt?

29 August 2008 12:07 PM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Queen Latifah has reportedly made plans to start a family by adopting a child from her native U.S.

The Chicago star announced in June her plans to start a family, telling reporters it would "happen eventually".

But according to National Enquirer, the 38-year-old is ready to become a first-time mum by adopting a child from America.

Latifah - real name Dana Owens - has spoke to the publication about adopting, but would not confirm if she was going ahead with the plans.

She says, "I can understand why people go outside the U.S. You can adopt someone here, and the birth parents have three years to come back and get that child. That's terrifying.

"(American children) can use just as much assistance as someone from around the world. I want to do something here."

Latifah has always remained tight-lipped about her personal life, despite repeated claims she is dating her female personal trainer Jeanette Jenkins.

However, a source tells the National Enquirer the pair "are hoping to have a little one by Christmas." »

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Zeta-Jones' Tribute To Grandmother

22 August 2008 12:09 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Catherine Zeta-Jones paid tribute to her late grandmother by reading a poem at her funeral.

The actress flew from her home in Bermuda to join relatives at the funeral of her beloved grandmother, Zeta Jones, in Swansea, Wales on Thursday.

There was no sign of her husband Michael Douglas or their two children.

The Chicago star wore black as she read William Wordsworth's poem Daffodils to 150 relatives and friends.

Zeta Jones, who the actress was named after, passed away last week (begs11Aug08). The 91-year-old is the mother of Zeta-Jones' businessman father Dai. She is believed to have suffered from ill health in her final days. »

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Zeta-Jones' Son Eyes Hollywood Career

18 August 2008 12:52 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas' eight-year-old son is planning a career in Hollywood.

Dylan, whose grandfather is Hollywood veteran Kirk Douglas, has started taking drama classes - and he ensures his teachers are aware he is from a famous acting family.

The Chicago star explains, "My son went to his first drama lesson and he turned to his teacher and said 'Don't worry, I'm a really good actor. It's in my genes." »

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Nine Stars Set For Dance/Drama Bootcamp

6 August 2008 6:25 PM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The stars of new movie musical Nine are to be marched through a Fame-style bootcamp to make sure they can sing and dance when director Rob Marshall calls for action.

The Chicago filmmaker is setting up a drama school, where his stars, including Penelope Cruz, Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard can work exclusively on their high notes, dance steps and even their dialect.

Spaniard Cruz reveals, "We have a camp in London where you go from the dancing room to the singing room, to the acting room to the dialect coach.

"It's all day like that and I can't wait to get started." »

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Golf Is The Game Of Love For Zeta Jones

8 June 2008 11:49 PM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Catherine Zeta Jones snubs romantic breaks with her actor husband Michael Douglas in favour of a relaxed game of golf.

The Chicago actress is a huge fan of the laid-back sport, and credits it with keeping her relationship with Douglas in check - as they have time to catch up properly on the green.

But the star insists she can annoy her superstar partner, as she is too eager to pass on her golfing tips.

She says, "He listens to me when I give him tips - but if he's having a bad day he pretty much tells me to shut up.

"But I use the time to catch up properly with him - golf is great way to spend time together and we have a good chat."

And the star can't imagine life without her hobby - insisting it makes her think straight.

She explains, "It clears my mind and I'm not thinking about anything except that little white ball. I also go to the driving range and hit balls like they were going out of fashion." »

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Steve Conrad on "The Promotion"

4 June 2008 8:01 AM, PDT | | See recent IFC news »

By Stephen Saito

When Steve Conrad's directorial debut went into production, it was originally called "Quebec," a reference to the hometown of the character played by John C. Reilly, a middle manager who competes with another middle manager (Seann William Scott) for the top job at their supermarket. It was a small detail, but more so than most, Conrad's films are about the accumulation of small details. Maybe that's the reason why in the few months since the oddball comedy, which is now called "The Promotion," premiered at the Sxsw Film Festival in March, it's been hailed as "a comedy that balances broad farce and actual humanity with wit, warmth, and weirdness" (Cinematical) and dismissed as something that should be "added to the Geneva Conventions' list of humanitarian abuses" (The Hollywood Reporter).

What's particularly odd about the extreme reactions to Conrad's film is that he explores a subject that's »

- Stephen Saito

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Cruise Pals Pay Tribute To Movie Star

5 May 2008 6:37 PM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Tom Cruise's second Oprah TV special turned into a tribute show on Monday as the movie star's famous friends honoured the actor in video messages.

Cruise invited Oprah Winfrey to his Telluride, Colorado home for a show that aired in America on Friday and the actor returned to the TV talk show host's Chicago, Illinois studio for a chat that aired on Monday.

Surrounded by movie billboards, advertising the blockbusters from his 25 years-plus as a film star, Cruise was feted by costars and Hollywood pals like Dustin Hoffman, Will Smith and Renee Zellweger as he celebrated his career.

Smith revealed, "There's not a single piece of press... a single image in the 25 years of his career that gets anywhere near capturing who he is."

And his Collateral co-stars Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jamie Foxx also offered tributes.

Smith cooed, "Nothing that he's done professionally holds a candle to who he is as a human being."

Cruise's Jerry Maguire co-star Zellweger recalled her famous film line, 'You had me at hello,' for her tribute: "I didn't need to conjure motivation to say that line... He's just kinda special."

There was even a video nod from Cruise's new pal, Victoria Beckham, who revealed she and husband David went to see Jerry Maguire on their first date.

She recalled, "When we got to know Tom, we told him the story... and he sent us the jacket that he wore in one of the scenes, and he signed it." »

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Renee Zellweger has 'Proof'

2 May 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Renee Zellweger is reteaming with her Chicago producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to executive produce Living Proof, an original movie for Lifetime.

Toplining the movie is Harry Connick Jr., Zellweger's co-star in the upcoming feature Chilled in Miami.

Proof, from Sony Pictures TV, tells the true story of Denny Slamon (Connick), a UCLA doctor who developed the breast cancer drug Herceptin 2, and his relentless battle to keep the drug trials afloat and save the lives of thousands of women. It's based on a book by NBC medical correspondent Robert Bazell.

The caliber of talent involved in the film represents the evolution of network's original-movie strategy under Lifetime Networks president and CEO Andrea Wong and president of entertainment Susanne Daniels.

Daniels said that when she joined the network in September 2005, she became aware of the "loyalty and passion" viewers had for the network's original films.

"I recognized that there was an opportunity to go in a direction where we could reinvigorate the movies and in doing so reinvigorate the brand," she said. »

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HBO acquires films from Disney

20 April 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

HBO has bought an 85-title feature library package from Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Included are Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, National Treasure and The Princess Diaries; Miramax's Finding Neverland, Sin City and the Oscar-winning Chicago; and Touchstone Pictures' The Village and Step Up.

The films will become available to HBO beginning in 2012 for license terms between 18 and 24 months, depending on the film.

This is the second big Disney movie library package HBO has acquired in the past six months, following the purchase in October of 100 titles, including Pearl Harbor, The Sixth Sense and Pulp Fiction.

Newer Disney films go to Starz Entertainment, which recently renewed its output deal with the distributor.

Financial terms of the HBO deal were not disclosed. »

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Kidman + Dench To Join All-star Nine Line-up?

4 April 2008 9:09 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Nicole Kidman and Dame Judi Dench are reportedly in talks to join the all-star cast for the film adaptation of hit Broadway musical Nine.

The movie, based on the 1982 stage production, will be directed by Rob Marshall, who was in charge of 2002's critically-acclaimed Chicago.

Actors already signed up to the project include Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Sophia Loren.

And, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Kidman and Dench are the latest stars to be courted for roles in the film.

Kidman previously showed off her singing and dancing skills in 2001 hit Moulin Rouge! while James Bond star Dench played the lead role in the original West End production of Cabaret in 1968. »

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Martin upped to senior vp at Dimension

12 February 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Francois Martin has been promoted to senior vp marketing for Dimension Films.

The former vp marketing will spearhead campaigns, oversee marketing plans and look for partnerships to sell films from the Weinstein Co. genre division's slate.

Martin will continue working with TWC executive vp marketing Gary Faber in the company's New York offices. He'll also continue media planning and promotion work on all films for TWC and the company's home video arm Genius Products. He reports directly to Bob Weinstein.

In his earlier post, Martin worked on campaigns for such films as 1408, Grindhouse and The Great Debaters. He came to TWC after a three-year stint as director of marketing and media at the Weinstein-run Miramax Films, where he worked on such films as The Aviator, Chicago and City of God. »

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Queen Latifah Gives Away Mad Money On Film Set

15 January 2008 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Queen Latifah gave the cast and crew something to look forward to every Friday on the set of her new film Mad Money - she gave cash away. The rapper-turned-singer/actress came up with a "five dollar Friday" ruse that would give runners, camera operators and interns the chance to go home for the weekend with a cash bonus. The generous Chicago star explains, "It was actually my way of giving back to the crew. Sometimes you get to throw a barbecue or do something special but usually I know that the crew people are working really hard and everybody is not making the same amount of money we are. So we do this five dollar Fridays thing and everybody writes their name on a five dollar bill and puts it into a bucket and at the end of the day somebody picks a bill out and whoever's name is on the bill wins all the money." And Latifah, real name Dana Owens, had a way of sweetening the deal further: "I'd double the money every Friday. It could be a lot of money, so don't tell the IRS (tax authorities at the Internal Revenue Service)." »

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