Acquired: Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company will co-release "The Forbidden Kingdom," the first film to pair Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Woo…ooo? Rob Minkoff (most notably of "The Lion King") will direct; the story is an adaptation of "Journey to the West," or at least the idea of the Monkey King. Choreographer Wo Ping is on board to handle the fight sequences, and Peter Pau, who won an Oscar for his work on "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," will serve as DP. The film is being planned for a summer 2008 release. [Hollywood Reporter]
Newmarket will be distributing screenwriter John August‘s directorial debut "The Nines," which had its premiere at Sundance earlier this year. The high! concept! inside-the-industry film stars Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis and Melissa McCarthy, all playing different characters in each of the film’s three segments, which turn out to have, as you’d suspect, strange connections. [Variety]
Salvador Carrasco‘s "The Other Conquest" (La Otra Conquista), about the Aztecs struggles against the Spanish conquerors in the early 1500s, will be getting a second theatrical release from the new Union Station Media. The film was first released in various SoCal locations back in 2000 by Hombre d’Oro, which went under soon after, despite the film’s making nearly $1 million in its run. The film will be open May 4 on 50 screens in Texas, Nevada and Fresno, CA. [Hollywood Reporter]
In the works: The winner of the race to bring Anna Nicole Smith‘s strange, strange life to the screen will likely be Keoni Waxman‘s indie biopic "Anna Nicole," which has now secured a semi-famous star â€” singer/"Dancing With the Stars" alum Willa Ford. The film will trace Smith’s life from age 17 onwards. Director Waxman’s career is, appropriately, filled with TV movies and direct-to-DVD titles starring an array of HITGs like Stephen McHattie. [Variety] Meanwhile, Giovanni Ribisi has announced that he’ll be playing a young Albert Einstein (a role that, as we all know, was pioneered by Australian actor/filmmaker Yahoo Serious) in a biopic to be directed by Liliana Cavani, most recently of the rather good Patricia Highsmith adaptation "Ripley’s Game." [Dark Horizons]
Broderick will play the lead role, a man who suffers memory loss after getting hit on the head. He then takes a trip with his Alzheimer’s-addled uncle (Alda) and his high school sweetheart (Madsen) to a memorabilia show as the group concocts a scheme to sell a rare baseball card.
It’s as if you’d programmed a computer to use an array of quirky elements to generate plots for potential Sundance darlings. [Variety]
Update: One more that we missed â€” Scott Derrickson (of cultural oddity "The Exorcism of Emily Rose") is directing a remake of "The Day The Earth Stood Still." As the folks at [Empire] so poignantly point it: "If only there was some way to yell â€˜Klaatu Barada Nikto!â€™ at Fox executives before it’s too late."
+ Trailer: Diggers (YouTube)
+ Lionsgate has keys to the ‘Kingdom’ (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Duo splitting ‘Nines’ rights (Variety)
+ Indie ‘Conquest’ re-enters U.S. (Hollywood Reporter)
+ Ford to star in ‘Anna Nicole’ film (Variety)
+ Giovanni Ribisi Is Albert Einstein (Dark Horizons)
+ Universal sees the ‘Whole’ picture (Variety)
+ Broderick, Alda filled to ‘Capacity’ (Variety)
+ Time For The Earth To Stand Still Again (Empire)