Ortega was choreographing Jackson's comeback concerts when the King of Pop died in June (09).
After he finishing work on This is It, Ortega stepped away from the limelight and even cancelled plans to direct a remake of Footloose - starring Chace Crawford - revealing he wanted to "kick my shoes off and walk in the sand".
Six months after Jackson's death, Ortega is ready to return and has signed up to take the Tony Award-winning In the Heights to the big screen.
And he wants Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical about his upbringing in New York neighborhood Washington Heights, to reprise his starring role in the movie.
Ortega tells Daily Variety, "I've seen the show six times on Broadway since it opened. Lin blew me away with his presence and charisma."
Stern has filed suit against the Hachette Book Group and TV reporter-turned-writer Rita Cosby, accusing them of libel over a string of accusations made against him in Blonde Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna Nicole Smith's Death.
The book about the late star makes a series of claims about Stern's sexuality, alleging Smith possessed a sex tape featuring Stern and her boyfriend Larry Birkhead. Stern insists the footage doesn't exist.
At a hearing in a New York court on Wednesday (12Aug09), U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ruled that Stern's suit included enough evidence to warrant a trial - meaning a jury will now decide the outcome of the case.
Judge Chin dropped the publisher as a defendant and dismissed eight of 19 libellous statements allegedly made in the book.
Cosby's lawyer, Elizabeth McNamara, insists her client is confident of victory in the ongoing legal dispute, telling E! Online, "As to the remaining statements, we are fully confident that a jury will dismiss them as well once it hears all the evidence surrounding Howard K. Stern's life with Anna Nicole Smith.
Stern's attorney, L. Lin Wood, said his client was "very pleased" with the judge's decision.
The $60 million (£41 million) suit asks for compensatory and punitive damages.
The Coen brothers could be adding a third Writers Guild of America Award to their impressive trophy case next month if they can nab best original screenplay for their quirky comedy Burn After Reading. The WGA, who announced their nominees today, presented Joel and Ethan Coen with best adapted screenplay last year for No Country for Old Men and best original screenplay in 1997 for Fargo.
Rounding out the contenders this year are Dustin Lance Black for Milk, Woody Allen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Tom McCarthy for The Visitor and Robert Siegel for The Wrestler.
The WGA’s best adapted screenplay noms include Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with story by Roth and Robin Swicord; Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight with story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer; John Patrick Shanley for Doubt, based on the stage play; Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, based on his stage play; and Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire.
WGA members will meet simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles for the award ceremony on Feb. 7.
Burn After Reading, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Focus Features
Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black, Focus Features
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Written by Woody Allen, The Weinstein Company
The Visitor, Written by Tom McCarthy, Overture Films
The Wrestler, Written by Robert Siegel, Fox Searchlight Pictures
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord; Based on the Short Story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures
The Dark Knight, Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; Based on Characters Appearing in Comic Books Published by DC Comics; Batman Created by Bob Kane, Warner Bros. Pictures
Doubt, Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, Based on his Stage Play, Miramax Films
Frost/Nixon, Screenplay by Peter Morgan, Based on his Stage Play, Universal Pictures
Slumdog Millionaire, Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Based on the Novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Written by Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker, InterPositive Media
Chicago 10, Written by Brett Morgen, Roadside Attractions
Fuel, Written by Johnny O'Hara, Greenlight Theatrical / Intention Media
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Screenplay by Alex Gibney, From the Words of Hunter S. Thompson, Magnolia Pictures
Waltz with Bashir, Written by Ari Folman, Sony Pictures Classics
Dramatic Series Dexter, Written by Scott Buck, Daniel Cerone, Charles H. Eglee, Adam E. Fierro, Lauren Gussis, Clyde Phillips, Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, Tim Schlattmann; Showtime
Friday Night Lights, Written by Bridget Carpenter, Kerry Ehrin, Brent Fletcher, Jason Gavin, Carter Harris, Elizabeth Heldens, David Hudgins, Jason Katims, Patrick Massett, Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, John Zinman; NBC
Lost, Written by Carlton Cuse, Drew Goddard, Adam Horowitz, Christina M. Kim, Edward Kitsis, Damon L. Lindelof, Greggory Nations, Kyle Pennington, Elizabeth Sarnoff, Brian K. Vaughan; ABC
Mad Men, Written by Lisa Albert, Jane Anderson, Rick Cleveland, Kater Gordon, David Isaacs, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Marti Noxon, Robin Veith, Matthew Weiner; AMC
The Wire, Written by Ed Burns, Chris Collins, David Mills, David Simon, William F. Zorzi, Richard Price, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos; HBO
30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Donald Glover, Andrew Guest, Matt Hubbard, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami Sagher, Ron Weiner; NBC
Entourage, Written by Doug Ellin, Jeremy Miller, Ally Musika, Steve Pink, Rob Weiss; HBO
The Office, Written by Steve Carell, Jennifer Celotta, Greg Daniels, Lee Eisenberg, Anthony Farrell, Brent Forrester, Dan Goor, Charlie Grandy, Mindy Kaling, Ryan Koh, Lester Lewis, Paul Lieberstein, Warren Lieberstein, B.J. Novak, Michael Schur, Aaron Shure, Justin Spitzer, Gene Stupnitsky, Halsted Sullivan; NBC
The Simpsons, Written by J. Stewart Burns, Daniel Chun, Joel H. Cohen, Kevin Curran, John Frink, Tom Gammill, Valentina Garza, Stephanie Gillis, Dan Greaney, Reid Harrison, Ron Hauge, Al Jean, Brian Kelly, Billy Kimball, Rob LaZebnik, Tim Long, Ian Maxtone-Graham, David Mirkin, Bill Odenkirk, Carolyn Omine, Don Payne, Michael Price, Max Pross, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, Matt Warburton, Jeff Westbrook, Marc Wilmore, William Wright; Fox
Weeds, Written by Roberto Benabib, Mark A. Burley, Ron Fitzgerald, David Holstein, Rolin Jones, Brendan Kelly, Jenji Kohan, Victoria Morrow, Matthew Salsberg; Showtime
Breaking Bad, Written by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Patty Lin, George Mastras, J Roberts; AMC
Fringe, Written by JJ Abrams, Jason Cahill, Julia Cho, David H. Goodman, Felicia Henderson, Brad Caleb Kane, Alex Kurtzman, Darin Morgan, J.R. Orci, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Zack Whedon; Fox
In Treatment, Written by Rodrigo Garcia, Bryan Goluboff, Davey Holmes, William Meritt Johnson, Amy Lippman, Sarah Treem; HBO
Life on Mars, Written by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Becky Hartman Edwards, David Wilcox, Adele Lim, Bryan Oh, Tracy McMillan, Sonny Postiglione, Phil M. Rosenberg, Meredith Averill; ABC
True Blood, Written by Alan Ball, Brian Buckner, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo, Nancy Oliver, Chris Offutt; HBO
Episodic Drama - any length - one airing time
“Don’t Ever Change” (House), Written by Doris Egan & Leonard Dick; Fox
“Double Booked” (Burn Notice), Written by Craig O’Neill & Jason Tracey; USA
“Gray Matter” (Breaking Bad), Written by Patty Lin; AMC
“Pilot” (Breaking Bad), Written by Vince Gilligan; AMC
“Pilot” (Eli Stone), Written by Greg Berlanti & Marc Guggenheim; ABC
“There’s Something About Harry” (Dexter), Written by Scott Reynolds; Showtime
Episodic Comedy - any length - one airing time
“Believe in the Stars” (30 Rock), Written by Robert Carlock; NBC
“Cooter” (30 Rock), Written by Tina Fey; NBC
“Crime Aid” (The Office), Written by Charlie Grandy; NBC
“Crush’d” (Ugly Betty), Written by Tracy Poust & Jon Kinnally; ABC
“Succession” (30 Rock), Written by Andrew Guest & John Riggi; NBC
“Vote for This and I Promise to Do Something Crazy at the Emmys” (My Name is Earl), Written by Greg Garcia; NBC
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ABC News decided on Tuesday that airing footage of the World Trade Center plane attacks was now "inappropriate," according to ABC spokeswoman Su-Lin Cheng Nichols. "People will remember these images forever whether we put them on or not," she said. "It's no longer a public service to continue to air them.'' According to The Associated Press, ABC will only air the footage with the approval of the network's news chief.
Jay Leno's The Tonight Show resumed production on Tuesday night, with Leno opening the show standing beside a large video screen displaying the American flag. He welcomed Senator John McCain and Crosby, Stills and Nash, who performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Speaking of his hosting job, Leno remarked, "In a world where people fly airplanes into buildings for the sole purpose of killing innocent people, a job like this seems incredibly irrelevant." Leno's comments come one night after news anchor Dan Rather broke down on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Whitney Houston will re-release her rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," according to the AP. Record company Arista will produce the single, which should reach stores next week, and the proceeds will benefit the New York Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) is currently writing a song, "Americans United," to commemorate last week's terrorist attacks, AP reports. This is not a first for the senator; he has worked with other professional musicians previously, including singer Gladys Knight.
Two books honoring survivors of last Tuesday's terrorist attacks are on the fast track to publication, according to the AP: God Bless America and 9/11 8:48 AM: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy are expected to hit shelves soon.
Singer Liam Gallagher of Oasis recently said he is "never going to America again" and he "ain't getting on a plane for a long time," Reuters reports. The group's press manager called the rocker's comments about flying, "a perfectly understandable human reaction."
Convicted antiques dealer David Michael Bryce will receive his sentence on Oct. 2 for burgularizing model/actress Jerry Hall's London home, Reuters reports. Bryce was convicted of stealing over $10,000 of Hall's personal property including a candlestick, a laptop computer and jewelry.
Singer Jennifer Lopez is scheduled to perform two concerts in San Juan, Puerto Rico this weekend, according to the Associated Press. Although a native of New York, Lopez looks forward to singing in the land of her cultural heritage. "For my music and my people," she said.
In an auction of rock star memorabilia Tuesday, 200 items went on sale, though not every item met its reserve, including Elvis Presley's medical records and the Spice Girls' sequin-covered stretch limousine. Other items, however, such as Jim Morrison's handwritten lyrics, a John Lennon hat and an Elvis drum kit, sold for thousands of dollars, Reuters reports.
Jack Valenti (one of Hollywood's top lobbyists) intends to broach the subject of digital piracy with Silicon Valley executives Thursday, Variety reports. Studios are concerned about digital TV being broadcast over the Internet, and a Senate bill has been drafted to give the government power to arbitrate between studios and technology firms if the two are unable to reconcile their differences.
The UK actors' union, Equity, which represents celebs like Ewan McGregor, Julie Walters, and Simon Callow, is considering a strike, according to BBC News. Currently, the actors receive a flat fee when their films are shown on TV or sold on DVD, but they get no additional payments for further screenings. Equity is asking its members not to work on UK feature films starting Dec. 1.
Hollywood.com staff writer Jason Alcorn contributed to this report