Saturday, February 07, 2009

BUZZ: Anniston & Bateman, Slumdog Airbender, Hudson & Alba have "Killer Inside Me," and more

Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman will play best friends in an awkward situation in the comedy The Baster. Anniston's character decides to get artificial insemination, and Bateman's character will replace the donor's semen with his own, damning himself to a life of hiding the paternity of the child. But Anniston isn't the only one getting knocked up. In the last year or two, Hollywood has become baby mecca, so it's no surprise that fertility topics are starting to seep into the scripts. One of Jennifer Lopez's upcoming projects is Plan B, which is about "a single woman who turns to artificial insemination in response to her ticking biological clock, only to see her backup plan turned on its side when the man of her dreams shows up at the same time as her positive pregnancy-test results." Which would you prefer watching? While it does sort of depend on who Lopez's dream guy ends up being, I also feel like Bateman will out-funny anything Lopez could ever dish out.

• It's only been two weeks since President Barack Obama announced that he was shutting the Guantanamo Bay "detention center" down within the year, and George Clooney already has a movie in the works based on Jonathan Mahler's book, The Challenge. "The story follows an effort by [Navy lawyer Charles] Swift and Georgetown University law professor Neal Katyal to ensure a fair trial for Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, who'd been held at Guantanamo Bay for five years. Instead of focusing on Hamdan himself, it will chart the dogged efforts of the two lawyers who sue the president because they feel the U.S. government has broken the law and violated the Constitution." Clooney wants to direct and star as Swift.

• The mass butchering Americanization of Asian films and television continues with the horrendous-looking Dragon Ball Z film and possibly with M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. I'm a little on the fence about the latter, because previously it was reported that some insane person thought it was a good idea to cast Jesse McCartney as the villain. Luckily, he's pretending that he has musical commitments that prevent him from taking the role, so instead Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel will have the honor of wetting fanboys' pants. Hmm, is that really a blessing?

• An animated 18th century version of The Legend of Santa Claus is being put into production for 2010. A trilogy will explore the "greedy elves, vain snowfairies and other fantastical creatures" in a tale about young Nicholas Claus.

• There are news reports that Amber Heard (Never Back Down) "beat out" Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for a role opposite Johnny Depp in The Rum Diaries. Can you say..."cheaper"? You know the recession is hitting us hard when Depp has to settle for starring opposite a D-list actress. The adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's novel is about a tired, alcoholic journalist residing in Puerto Rico in the 1950s. She'll play a wild child, who wants him to run away with her.

• The Donnie Darko spinoff, S. Darko, that follows Donnie’s little sister, is going direct-to-DVD on April 28th. Watch a teaser.

• Ladies and gentleman, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba are taking a break from being hot, skinny, sunkissed, and "romantically funny." They join Casey Affleck in the psychological thriller adaptation of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, where a sheriff slowly turns into a ruthless murderer. While Alba also has the dramatic adaptation of Aimee Bender's An Invisible Sign of My Own, Hudson is in the ensemble cast of the drama Nine and will star in the Margaret Keane biopic Big Eyes alongside Thomas Haden Church (Sideways).

Mickey Rourke might actually get me to watch one of his movies. It's not unusual for him to play a hitman, but where this particular assassin role leads his character is pretty intriguing. In St. Vincent, he'll play a hitman who reutrns to his old New York neighborhood to take care of one last loose end. He poses as a priest, but gets sidetracked when he starts taking confessions from the man he has to kill. Dum-dum-dum!

Deadline: Brittany Murphy hasn't been seen in the mainstream since 2005. She's usually so chipper, but she'll get super mellow in this horror flick with Thora Birch. It's your basic dead person haunts someone until they free their soul bit, while driving the living person insane.

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