Role Call: Chan’s one busy bee

Jackie Chan just won’t sit down. The popular Hong Kong actor is lining up to star in not one, not two, but four feature films. First up is Highbinders, a Hong Kong movie about an immigration officer who’s killed on the job but returns from the dead with superpowers–with some high-kickin’ super-moves to be sure. Next is The Art of War, based on the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu’s treatise, where you keep your friends close and your enemies even closer–with some high-kickin’ super-moves added in. The budget is around $38.5 million, making it one of the most expensive movies made in Hong Kong. The film is looking to start production in 2003.

Then there’s Chan‘s film Nosebleed, which MGM just bought from New Line, after it shelved the project in 1999. The story revolves around a window washer working at the World Trade Center who teams with a waitress at the Center’s restaurant to stop another possible terrorist attack-during which Chan will use his high-kickin’ super-moves. And last, but not necessarily least, Chan has agreed to make a sequel to last year’s surprise hit Shanghai Noon with costar Owen Wilson. The wacky pair will travel to London to uncover a worldwide conspiracy to overthrow the British and Chinese empires. Rush Hour 2 is coming out this summer with costar Chris Tucker. Whew! Good luck, Jackie.

And following Chan’s footsteps …

Just like Jackie Chan, Ben Affleck is loading himself up with film projects. His films, however, will most likely lack high-kickin’ super-moves. He is in talks to star in Surviving Christmas, about a man who must overcome his depression on being alone on Christmas by visiting his childhood home and forcing the people who live there to take him in. This comes on the heels of his involvement in director Martin Brest‘s Gigli and his turn as CIA analyst Jack Ryan (played previously by Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) in The Sum of All Fears. Of course, we can currently see the hunky Affleck shooting down Japanese war planes in the soppy World War II epic Pearl Harbor.

Karaoke, anyone?

Listen to the premise of this new movie. A local British man becomes a pop sensation on Liverpool’s Cantonese karaoke circuit–Cantonese?–and even though he is white, he immerses himself in the Chinese history and culture, learning the language and taking the Cantonese pop scene by storm. Here’s the catch–it’s based on the true story of 22-year-old Barry Cox and producer Lawrence Bender and singer-songwriter, Peter Gabriel are going to make the film for Miramax. They are calling it a cross between Saturday Night Fever and The Full Monty. Of course they are. Cox is currently readying a trip to Hong Kong to meet with film and record companies to fulfill his dream on becoming a Chinese pop star. Think it’ll happen for him?

Hopper’s got a “Night Job”

Actor and Dennis Hopper is set to direct and star in The Night Job, a drama about an ex-con lured back into the underworld by a crooked cop trying to nab a mobster’s global art smuggling ring. Hopper will play the cop; Val Kilmer is in negotiations to play the colorful mobster. Hmmm, Kilmer and Hopper together in a film? Certainly, they are two of the more eclectic actors out there, to say the least. This one sounds promising, especially since Hopper only directs interesting films such as Easy Rider and Colors.