The last to know Steven Spielberg had signed on to produce and direct the film version of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was apparently the director himself.
A spokesman from Spielberg's office says the filmmaker hasn't officially climbed aboard and is still considering the project.
"Potter" is just one of the projects Spielberg is considering along with Stanley Kubrick conceived "A.I." (for artificial intelligence) and a bio about Charles Lindbergh. He's also set to make the Tom Cruise starrer "Minority Report" and a movie version of the acclaimed book "Memoirs of a Geisha."
SUPER-ACTION TEAMUP: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone hope to use their combined muscle at the box office to star in one massive project, The Hollywood Reporter says.
They're currently searching for a feature, which would mark the first time the two action icons have appeared onscreen together. Besides their combined weight, the film would be heavy in expenditures -- Stallone reportedly earned $20 million for the upcoming "Into Thin Air," while Schwarzenegger cashed in $25 million for last fall's "End of Days."
HE'S BAAACK: The next "Friday the 13th" will take place in the year 2455. And, yes, ol' hockey-mask-face himself will still be around.
"Jason X" (as its title indicates, it'll be the 10th installment in the series) is being set up at New Line Cinema, with up-and-comer James Isaac at the helm. The movie is scheduled to begin shooting in March in Toronto, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The story, scripted by Todd Farmer, involves a field trip in the future to visit the long-abandoned planet Earth. A teacher and his students discover a cryogenically frozen young lady and a hockey-masked thug. Before anyone can say "space kebob," the thawed out psychopath has returned to his killer ways, wreaking havoc on the citizens of outer space.
PARTY OF TWO: Teen idol Jennifer Love Hewitt will receive motherly advice from veteran actress Sigourney Weaver in MGM's upcoming comic noir "Breakers."
Daily Variety reports that the two have closed their deals and that Kevin Kline has been offered the role of Weaver's love interest.
The shoot is scheduled to begin in Florida and Los Angeles in April, with "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" director David Mirkin helming a script by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur. The story's about a mother daughter con team and their male victims.
SIGNED AND SEALED: After surveying all the major talent agents in town, Harrison Ford has signed up with United Talent Agency. Longtime agent Patricia McQueeney will act as the actor's point person with the agency, which beat out estimable competitors including Creative Artists Agency and William Morris.
Don Johnson has one more reason to be thankful his career moved beyond "Miami Vice": As of Tuesday, he's got a new baby girl to take care of.
Johnson, 50, and wife Kelley, 30, welcomed Atherton Grace Johnson (7 pounds, 15 ounces) into the world shortly after 11 a.m. PST at a San Francisco hospital, according to the actor's publicist, Elliot Mintz. Mother and daughter were said to doing "extraordinary."
Don and Kelley Johnson married last year. The actor, late of CBS's "Nash Bridges," has been married twice to Melanie Griffith ("Crazy in Alabama"), with whom he has a 9-year-old daughter, Dakota. He also has a teen-age son from a previous relationship with actress Patti D'Arbanville ("New York Undercover").
Atherton, by the way, is named for Kelley's late father, Atherton Macondray Phleger. To make it easier on all concerned, the child will be known as Grace or Gracie.
MEMORABLE MADELINE: The sudden death of Madeline Kahn left her TV show, "Cosby," in a lurch. Now the cast of the CBS sitcom hopes to find closure by paying tribute to the Oscar-nominated comedienne in tonight's episode.
Kahn, who played co-star Phylicia Rashad's best friend and business partner on the series, had completed four episodes this season before asking for time off in September to deal with a medical problem. Kahn never returned to the set, dying Dec. 3 of ovarian cancer at age 57.
Tonight's Kahn-dedicated "Cosby" airs at 8 p.m. EST/PST. Look for cast members' remembrances and clips from her work on the sitcom.
MR. SPIELBERG'S OPUS: Director Steven Spielberg will draw his most captive audience on New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C., as he unveils a new 20-minute film about the century.
The five-part montage, titled "The Unfinished Journal" and featuring a score by frequent collaborator John Williams, is a "a musical and poetic celebration about why we are all here today, what are the shoulders that we stood on to achieve this moment in time, and in history, and to look back over the last 100 years and say 'thank you,' and then, to imagine the next 100 years," Spielberg said Tuesday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
The short will be shown on giant screens at the Lincoln Memorial and throughout The Mall.
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL? Ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice) reportedly is securing new digs, and her selection shows she either possesses a twisted mind -- or a sense of humor.
Halliwell is rumored to be paying $6.5 million for the British mansion featured in the 1976 fright-fest "The Omen." (Look for it in the scene where demonic young Damien -- the kiddie Antichrist -- prompts his nurse to jump from a window.)
In real life, the 20-acre, 100-room estate near Woking, England, is more luxurious than scary. It sports a ballroom, library, minstrel gallery, pool and servants' quarters. Halliwell, a reported 27, will likely move in after she throws a huge millennial bash at her current Berkshire home.
When gullible small-town square Paul (Biggs) gets a scholarship to a prestigious New York City university he's ripe for the plucking from the likes of his spoiled rich roommates (Zak Orth Tom Sadoski Jimmi Simpson). Meanwhile Paul's classmate Dora (Mena Suvari) tries to balance schoolwork off-campus jobs and a covert relationship with her world lit professor (Greg Kinnear). Will Paul and Dora two very different breeds of social outcast find a way to hook up? You don't need SAT scores in the 99th percentile to figure that one out.
Biggs' natural goofiness and Everyboy likability go a long way toward making "Loser" watchable but there's little the talented young actor can do with the lifeless increasingly predictable storyline. Suvari who functioned well enough as "American Beauty's" teen lust object ranges from weak to downright awful trying to navigate a lead role in this vastly inferior film. Kinnear lends a piggish charm to his people-using misogynist prof easily the film's most entertaining character.
Writer-director Amy Heckerling who so successfully mined the comic potential of '80s and '90s youth culture in the genre classics "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless " scores surprisingly few laughs in moving her act to an institution of higher learning. To its credit "Loser" shows more respect for the audience's intelligence than the average campus comedy fare taking the time to delve into a few real issues (teacher/student relationships inequalities between rich and middle-class students) along the way but the results simply don't generate the sparks Heckerling's earlier high school films did.
It worked for Rob Schneider. Why not Dana Carvey?
The popular "Saturday Night Live" alum, largely out of the public eye since his heart surgery in 1997, will get a helping hand in reviving his career from A-lister (and fellow ex-"SNL" guy) Adam Sandler. Today's Daily Variety says Sandler will produce a Disney comedy that will both star and be co-written by Carvey.
The comedian, best known for yukking it up as shy Garth to Mike Myers' metal-head Wayne in the "Wayne's World" sketches and big-screen movies, is in talks with the studio, Sandler and producing partner Jack Giarraputo. They're the team responsible for Schneider's surprise holiday hit "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo."
Mum's the word on the plot for Carvey's starring vehicle. But he'll get some notice as a supporting player in Sandler's upcoming comedy "Little Nicky." And if "Deuce's" $64 million domestic gross is any indication, the former Church Lady might be taking up a healthy collection.
Carvey underwent an angioplasty procedure in October 1997, at age 42. It was the capper on a down period for the comic, who flamed out professionally in 1996 with the ill-fated run of his ABC primetime vehicle "The Dana Carvey Show."
CAUGHT IN 'TRAFFIC': Harrison Ford and Catherine Zeta-Jones don't mind being stuck in Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic."
Trade-paper reports today say that the two stars have climbed aboard the Fox vehicle, which was once in danger of being junked. It's now parked at the studio's arthouse division, Fox Searchlight.
Ford will play a judge who becomes a U.S. drug czar. The film's based on the British miniseries "Traffik." Things get complicated when the judge's daughter becomes a serious crack cocaine and heroin addict.
The film is Ford's first foray into arthouse filmmaking. According to Variety, the actor will take a major pay cut from his usual $20 million fee. Shooting is set to begin April 2.
GIRLS IN THE 'HOUSE': Actresses Diane Lane and Leelee Sobieski will square off as mother-daughter rivals in "The Glass House." Variety says that the Columbia-based drama starts shooting this spring with television's Daniel Sackheim at the helm.
The 17-year-old Sobieski, last seen strutting in "Eyes Wide Shut," will star as a teen-ager taken in by a Malibu, Calif., couple after her parents die in a car accident.
'MONKEY' BUSINESS FOR NBC: "Dharma & Greg" star Thomas Gibson will be paid $1.5 million to monkey around in NBC's latest Hallmark Entertainment miniseries. The four-hour project, called "The Monkey King," co-stars Bai Ling. Russell Wong is in negotiations to play the title role.
The story, by "M Butterfly" playwright David Henry Hwang, is about a young American businessman and an academic who journey to China to do battle with mythical monsters.