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August 2002
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FREEMAN A GOD

As an actor, Morgan Freeman may considered a god, but now he may play the real One. He's negotiating a deal to star as God in the spiritual comedy, "Bruce Almighty." The movie will also star Jim Carrey and Jennifer Aniston.



ANDERSON "WANTED"

Actor Anthony Anderson, the funny sidekick in "Two Can Play That Game," with Morris Chestnut, will star with Taye Diggs and Blair Underwood, and Jamie Kennedy in the upcoming comedy "Malibu's Most Wanted," (formerly "Suckaz"). The film is about a kid from an upscale Malibu neighborhood The film is about a kid from an upscale Malibu neighborhood whose rich dad is running for governor. Only problem, the son is set on being a "homeboy." So his father and his campaign manager, played by Underwood, hire a couple of Julliard actors, namely Diggs and Anderson, to pretend to be real gangstas, whose mission is to take sonny boy to the 'hood, and scare him straight. Shooting begins in September. Shooting begins in September.



JACKSON/JUDD TEAM THIS TIME

Samuel L. Jackson and Ashley Judd have teamed up for the Paramount Pictures/Intertainment AG film "Blackout." Andy Garcia is reportedly negotiating a deal to co-star with the duo. Garcia would play Judd's love interest and fellow investigator, in a thriller about a female officer who winds up at the center of the investigation herself. Jackson will play Judd's mentor-cop friend.



UNDERWOOD FULL FRONTAL

Blair Underwood will next star in Miramax Films' "Full Frontal" for director Steven Soderbergh.



UNION WITH SMITH AND LAWRENCE

Gabrielle Union, has been chosen to star with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Columbia Pictures' "Bad Boys 2" the long-awaited sequel to the 1995 hit, "Bad Boys." The sequel reunites Smith and Lawrence and begins production next month in Florida for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay. Union will play the half-sister of Lawrence's character who becomes Smith's love interest. Union next stars opposite LL Cool J in USA Films' "Deliver Us From Eva," and in Warner Bros.' "Cradle To The Grave," opposite DMX and Jet Li. She also has a smaller role in the upcoming "Welcome To Collinwood," for Warner Bros; and appears opposite Katie Holmes in Paramount's thriller "Abandon," for Paramount.



HAWAII DOSEN'T WANT THE ROCK

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was the top contender to star in a film about the life of Hawaii's King Kamehameha to be produced by Columbia Pictures. But North Shore Pictures Entertainment, Inc. released a statement saying it, too, has a film in the works on the king, but their movie will use a Hawaiian for the lead. North Shore said, "It would be a great taboo for the part of Kamehameha to go to a nationality (Samoan) that was a fierce enemy of the Hawaiians during that time." The casting of Johnson had already raised concerns in the Hawaiian community because former Hawaii resident, The Rock, is of Samoan and African-American ancestry.



BORIS KODJOE WANTS PAPA

Showtime's "Soul Food" star Boris Kodjoe is teaming with "Soul Food" creator Felicia Henderson for a film called "Papa Was," about two twenty-something men whose friendship begins to fade after one falls in love. Kodjoe is set to star in and produce, while Henderson will write and direct.



EDDIE GRIFFIN COMEDY VEHICLES

Miramax has paid a reported $5 million for "Eddie Griffin: Dis-Funk-Tional Family," a film, already completed, that includes footage from Griffin's stand-up act and documentary-style footage of his family reunion in Kansas City. Griffin can also be seen soon in "My Baby's Mama," also for Miramax, and he's in talks to star in the comedy, "Adopt-A-Con," about a con adopted by a family to ease the transition between prison and parole.



FISH MAY BE IN TOO DEEP

Although Laurence Fishburne has been working on the "Matrix" sequels, he's already signed up to star with Clint Eastwood for the film "River." The movie follows two cops through a murder case. Eastwood is producing and directing the film, based on the best-selling novel.



BEYONCE FIGHTING TEMPTATION

Beyonce Knowles has signed on to co-star in the film "Fighting Temptations," which is slated to shoot in Atlanta, Ga. in August and September.



DENZEL VS. DIESEL

Oscar winner Denzel Washington may end up at crossed swords with action star Vin Diesel. Both actors are vying to bring the story of the African warrior Hannibal to the big screen. Washington has hooked up with Fox Studios to finance an epic biopic, but Diesel has teamed with "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott for their own take on the legendary warrior/general - and the Diesel/Scott team are reportedly ready to begin filming. Age.com said, "The Hannibal race has been in part inspired by the success of Gladiator, which proved that special effects could win over modern audiences to historical stories. It also reflects the desire of the Hollywood studios to find epic roles for black actors who, in playing the North African general, can be depicted conquering whites."



MUPPETS AND WHOOPIE FOR XMAS

NBC is producing the first-ever made-for-television Muppet movie called "A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie." In addition to the star-power of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, the movie will also feature Whoopi Goldberg, Snoop Dogg, Carson Daly, Kelly Ripa, Jon Stewart and others. Kermie will be out to save the Muppet Theater from a "Scroogish bank owner."



SNIPES MAY BE GODFORSAKEN

Wesley Snipes is in negotiation to star in the film "Godforsaken." The Hollywood Reporter says Snipes will star as a hitman who is diagnosed with leukemia, so he puts a hit out on himself. The film is scheduled to go into production in October. Snipes, alongside Ving Rhames, will first be seen, however, in the upcoming boxing feature, "Undisputed."



WILL SMITH WANTS LOPEZ

While preparing to shoot "Bad Boys 2," Will Smith is working on casting a remake of the film, "A Star Is Born." The 1954 original and 1976 remake were both about a young female talent who, under the wing of a has-been star, becomes a star. But Smith wants to flip the roles in his retelling - - this time a young man rises to stardom under the tutelage of a former female star. While there are no confirmations yet about who's up for the role, Newsweek reported that Smith wants Jennifer Lopez for the leading lady.



GLOVER AND GOLDBERG TOGETHER AGAIN

Not since "The Color Purple," have Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg been onscreen together, but in the Showtime original motion picture, "Good Fences," they will reunite. The television movie, based on the novel by Erika Ellis, is about an African American family in the 1970s whose "American dream becomes a nightmare" after the famliy moves to a posh, upper-middle-class Connecticut neighborhood. When an African American lottery winner, moves in to their cul-de-sac, the husband believes that he and his wife will be blamed for this "black invasion." The film is being executive produced by Spike Lee and and Sam Kitt, and will be produced by Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule company. Lensing begins production next month.



MATRIX RELEASE DATE RESET

"The Matrix" sequel finally has a jump off date: May 15, 2003. The release date, announced by Warner Bros., is one day earlier than expected. The release date for "Matrix Revolutions," the third movie in the sequence, remains undecided. Look for it around November of 2003, probably around Thanksgiving. Warner's moved up the opening of "Reloaded" because, they say, "There's a pent-up demand for the movie, and we want to get it out there as soon as we can."



MICHAEL JAI WHITE OPENS PANDORA'S BOX

Rainforest Films, whose first movie, the underground hit "Trois," is set to independently release "Pandora's Box," in select theaters on August 9, expanding nationally later this fall. The film follows a female psychologist who gets involved in the mythic underworld of a secret nightclub called Pandora's Box. The film's cast includes Michael Jai White ("Spawn"), supermodel Tyson Beckford, Kristoff St. John, Joseph "Joey" Lawrence, and Monica Calhoun.



WITNESS THE ROCK

The Rock is working with Columbia Pictures for a remake of "Witness," the 1985 Amish mystery that starred Harrison Ford. The Rock's version, however, is a comedy buddy flick.



ROCKING THE UNIVERSE

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is shaking things up. Especially at Universal. According to Variety, Universal has asked the wrestler/actor to play the lead in a movie adaptation of the video game, "Spy Hunter." The Rock will play an ex-fighter pilot turned intelligence agent. No writer or director just yet. Universal produced "The Mummy Returns" and "The Scorpion King," The Rock's debut and first leading roles, respectively. The Rock will also star in Universal's action-comedy "Hellderado," with Sean William Scott and Christopher Walken. "Hellderado" is expected in theaters this fall.



DOGG TO BE A BEAR

Writer/director Todd Phillips is hoping to add rapper Snoop Dogg to the cast of his big screen remake of the 1970s hit television series "Starsky and Hutch." Dogg would play street informant Huggy Bear, a role made TV famous by Antonio Fargas. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are already in negotiations for the project. No deals have been made yet for any of the actors. Shooting for the action-comedy should begin in either November or January.



JA RULE BEYOND DEAD

Rapper/actor Ja Rule was to play a street racer in director John Singleton's "The Fast and the Furious 2," but this time, the role was to be expanded to give him a little more camera time. But, Ja has said he will not reprise his role in the speed movie. Instead, he'll be seen next in the film "Half Past Dead" with Steven Seagal.



TAYE DIGGS BUSY, BUSY

Taye Diggs has numerous projects in the can and ready for release, including Fox Searchlight Pictures' "Brown Sugar," Miramax's "Chicago: The Musical," and Sony Pictures Entertainment's "Basic."



JONES & FISHBURNE MOTORING

Laurence Fishburne and Orlando Jones are getting into their leathers for the motorcycle movie "Biker Boyz," where they'll play bike gang members. The Hollywood Reporter said the film has been described as a "Western on motorcycles." Lensing begins at the end of the month, assuming Fishburne is done with his "Matrix" duties.



FAMUYIWA FEELING IT

"The Wood" director Rick Famuyiwa has been signed to write and direct the Fox Searchlight film, "Feeling Aretha," about a father and son involved in college basketball coaching. Magic Johnson may be the executive producer for the film. The romantic comedy, will star Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Mos Def, Nicole Ari Parker, Boris Kodjoe and Queen Latifah.



GRIFFIN & ANDERSON & BABIES

"Undercover Brother" star Eddie Griffin will soon be on the big screen with co-star Anthony Anderson in the film, "My Baby's Mama," about two bachelor buddies whose girlfriends become pregnant.



GLOVER A DIRECTOR

Danny Glover will make his feature film directorial debut in "Just a Dream," a Showtime Original Pictures for All Ages set to premiere August 25th. The story follows a 12-year-old boy's friendship with the town mechanic and what happens when Marilyn Monroe comes to film the famous movie, "The Misfits."



DIGGS GETS MORE THAN A KISS

Taye Diggs has announced his engagement to longtime girlfriend Idina Menzell. The two were recently in Jamaica making plans for their impending nuptials. No word on a wedding date yet, but you can catch both Taye and his fiancee in the film, "Just A Kiss," in theaters on Sept. 27.