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Shaft Coming Back

   John Singleton is busy filming his current project "Baby Boy" but he's also started working out the storyline for Shaft 2. The project has a green light and Singleton has already lined up Samuel L. Jackson, Busta Rhymes and the original Shaft, Richard Roundtree for the film. No production dates are set as yet, though.

Smith Busy On Ali, MIB, And Bad Boys

   Nothing is set in dollars and cents yet, but Will Smith, currently filming "Ali," and due to start the "Men in Black" sequel, is said to also be considering a sequel to "Bad Boys." We'll be keeping our eye on this hard worker to see if he goes through with the plan.

Disney Haunted By Ghost

   Like everyone else in Hollywood, the Walt Disney Company is hurrying to get "Ghost Patrol" (an action-comedy in the vein of "Ghostbusters") into production before the expected Screen Actors Guild strike. Disney acquired "Ghost Patrol," from writers Jonathan Bernstein, Mark Blackwell and Jim Greer, originally hoping for a Halloween 2001 release. Production won't be approved until the script is finished, and may be delayed even further depending on the strike.

Samuel L. Jackson 'Truckin'

   Samuel L. Jackson is in talks to star in Universal Pictures' "Truck 44." Production is slated to start in 2001. Universal is also soon to be releasing "Caveman's Valentine," in which Jackson also stars. "Truck 44" is a dark drama about New York firefighters, led by Jackson, who attempt an elaborate office building robbery.

Who Ya Gonna' Call?

   Fox 2000 has purchased the comedy spec script "Marcus Bryant: Ghost Detective" from writers and brothers Bennett and Steve Schneir. Davis Entertainment has signed on to produce the film. In the vein of a black "Ghostbusters," the story centers on a black cop who has a near-death experience, gets suspended from the force, and ends up a reluctant private detective working for ghosts. The cast is still under consideration.

Cuba Gooding Jr. Doing A 'Winterdance'

   Cuba Gooding Jr is in negotiations to star in "Winterdance," a film based on the 1994 book, "Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod." Jordan Kerner will produce for Touchstone Pictures and the project will be directed by Brian Levant. The film recounts a father and son reunion amid the grueling Alaskan Iditarod dog-sled race. The film is set to start production on January 22.

Terrance Howard In "War"

   Actor Terrence Howard, is in negotiations to star in the WWII drama "Hart's War," to be directed by Gregory Hoblit. Co-stars will be Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell. The movie is about Lt. Tommy Hart (Farrell), a young serviceman fresh out of law school who is captured and sent to a POW camp. Once there, he is asked to defend a fellow prisoner (Howard) wrongfully accused of murder. Look for Howard in three other films to be released next year: "Angel Eyes," "All That Glitters," and "Investigating Sex."

Murphy Both Doctor And Spy

   Hoping for a hit remake to match his "Beverly Hills Cop" series, Eddie Murphy's "Dr. Dolittle" sequel is scheduled for release to theaters on June 8 of 2001, but Murphy and his "Dr. Dolittle" director Betty Thomas are already in talks to team yet again for the Columbia Pictures comedy "I Spy." It's doubtful that the project will be able to start up before the threatened SAG strike, though.
   While loosely based on the 1965-68 NBC television series, the film version is about a government agent working to locate a missing jet with the grudging help of an reluctant professional athlete (Murphy).

Whitaker In "Booth"

   Forest Whitaker is in final talks to join Colin Farrell in Fox 2000's "Phone Booth." Filming is scheduled to start in early January. "Phone Booth," written by Larry Cohen, is a "Rear Window" Hitchcock-like thriller about a media consultant (Farrell) trapped in a Manhattan phone booth by a caller who is actually a serial killer with a sniper rifle who says he'll shoot the consultant dead if he hangs up. Whitaker will play the role of Capt. Ramey, the New York cop trying to catch the killer. The film will co-star Ron Eldard and Radha Mitchell. After "Phone Booth," Whitaker is scheduled to move into Columbia Pictures' "The Panic Room."

MIB2 On Fast Track

   Production on "Men In Black 2" is expected to begin June 4 and will have Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones working round the clock to finish filming before the Screen Actors Guild's contract expires and Hollywood actors go on strike. "MIB2" will organize shooting around special effects scenes, so work on the movie can continue should writers or actors walk out as expected in July.