Denzel Washington Hard At Work

   Talk about keeping busy, Denzel Washington, still flush from the success of his current film, "Remember The Titans," is already shooting in Toronto on the film, "John Q" (as in John Q. Public) in which he plays a desperate father battling the insurance companies for his son's transplant. Around the first of the year, he'll start shooting "Training Day," co-starring Ethan Hawke, about a corrupt cop and a rookie. As soon as that's over, Washington makes his film directorial debut in a film about a sailor and a Navy psychiatrist. Washington will play the psychiatrist and is said to be looking for an unknown black actor to take on the role of the sailor.


Freedom For Pollack

   Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack is in negotiations with Paramount Pictures and producer Scott Rudin to direct "Freedomland," a film based on the novel by Richard Price about a New Jersey single mother who blames a black man from the projects for the death of her son. But, a black detective and a white newspaper reporter aren't so sure. Who the cast will be is still under consideration.


"Baby" To Get Snoop Dogg

   Actors Omar Gooding (Cuba Gooding, Jr's brother) and Taraji Henson are the latest additions to the cast of John Singleton's "Baby Boy," and now rap artist Snoop Dogg may be in the mix. The rapper is said to be in negotiations to co-star in the Columbia Pictures coming-of-age project about an unemployed young man, Jody (R&B singer Tyrese), who has fathered a child, lives at home with his mother, avoids the responsibilities of adulthood and splits his time between the mother of his child and another woman he's falling in love with.
   Gooding will play the older brother, Sweat Pea, an ex-con who can't seem to make the transition from crime to the world of everyday work, while Henson will play the girlfriend and mother, Yvette. Snoop Dogg will play Rodney, Yvette's ex-boyfriend.



Miramax Wants ‘Etiquette’ For Chris Rock

   Michael Caleo’s pitch "Mr. Etiquette" was recently snatched up by Miramax Films as a possible starring vehicle for comedian Chris Rock. The company says "Etiquette" is a Capra-esque story about a New York tour guide who wants his girlfriend back but can't get her without first transforming the city’s ill-mannered residents into civil, respectful citizens. Shooting dates will depend on when the script is ready.


Isaiah Washington A Thief

   Isaiah Washington ("Romeo Must Die") has committed to star in the ensemble film, "Welcome to Collinwood," a "Full Monty-type" picture about a group of working-class Cleveland stiffs who try to rob a pawn shop. Ohio filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo ("Pieces") wrote the script and will make the film for Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney's Warner Bros.-based production company Section Eight, while German company Kinowelt USA, will finance the estimated budget of $10 million. Shooting is scheduled to start in late March in Cleveland.


10th 'Trek' Being Scripted

   We reported in September that Trekies may soon see Levar Burton and Michael Dorn reprise their 'Next Generation' roles as Jordi and Worf in yet another 'Star Trek' movie. Well, it looks like it's going to happen.
   Paramount Pictures has hired John Logan, co-writer of DreamWorks and Universal's "Gladiator," to script the 10th Star Trek movie from the 28-page storyline that he co-developed with Brent Spiner (who plays the android Data) and Rick Berman, 'Star Trek's' long time executive producer.
   The untitled project will be produced by Berman and cast members Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner have already signed on.



Lawrence Gets "Security"

   Martin Lawrence is set to star in Colombia Pictures' action-comedy "National Security." The movie was written by the "Spin City" writing team of Jay Sherick and David Ronn, and follows the tribulations of a white cop kicked off the force after being wrongly accused of beating a black man (Lawrence). The two men end up as unlikely allies as they try to find and stop the guys trying to kill them.


Eddie Murphy Is In – IMAX Is Out

   DreamWorks is planning a May 18 release of the animated movie "Shrek," which will feature the voices of Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow. Imax Corp. was to release the same movie (but with a different "3-D" ending) later in December 2001, in its 150 digital 3-D theaters but says it has now canceled those plans because of increased costs related to creative changes made to the film by DreamWorks. The cost of computer programming to transfer the two-dimensional film to 3-D was originally expected to be about $10 million, but the estimate went up and is now beyond what Imax is willing to pay.
   Too bad. "Shrek" was seen as a potential money-maker for the ailing Imax Corp. The Canadian company could use a hit film right now to boost its sagging stock prices and cash flow problems.


Cheadle & Mac To Join Rat Pack

   Director Steven Soderbergh has been hired to helm "Ocean's Eleven," a remake of the 1960s Rat Pack feature for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures. The film will star Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Alan Arkin, Casey Affleck, and Scott Caan. The story is about an ex-con, Danny (Clooney), who rounds up his old crew to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously during a big boxing match. Shooting will take place in Los Angeles and Las Vegas starting next year. Also in negotiations to star in the movie is "King's of Comedy" funny man Bernie Mac.