Role Call: “Court”ing the divine Ms. Kidman

The tall and lanky redhead from Australia is the toast of the town these days. Nicole Kidman just won a Golden Globe for her performance in last year’s Moulin Rouge and is on just about everyone’s A-list; she’s probably thinking, “It’s about freaking time!”

Joining the long list of projects she has been attached to recently–including Lars von Trier‘s Dogville and Robert Benton‘s The Human Stain with Anthony HopkinsKidman has made a deal to develop Court and Spark (hey, isn’t that a Joni Mitchell album?) with Fox Searchlight.

Court is the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who married the King of France (Louis VII), started an affair with the King of England (Henry II), had her marriage to Louis annulled and eventually married Henry. Eleanor was flamboyant, beautiful and rich and it was her ardent wish to rule France. Unfortunately, her gender got in the way.

I can see Kidman playing Eleanor, but does anyone remember the exquisite Katharine Hepburn playing the colorful queen in 1968’s The Lion in Winter, opposite Peter O’Toole as England’s King Henry? Well, you should.

Hepburn only won an Academy Award for it, for heaven’s sakes. Nicole might do well to watch this film a few hundred times to see how a great actress of our time portrays a great queen of all time.

Rock gets bit by the directing bug

Let’s see how fast-talking, establishment-bucking comedian Chris Rock does at directing his first major motion picture. Rock has chosen DreamWorks’ political comedy Head of State as his first foray behind the lens–of course, he’ll also star in the film. Rock plays a Washington, D.C. city alderman who’s thrust into the nation’s presidential race as a replacement for a deceased candidate.

Not the greatest sounding premise but it has some potential. Rock needs to watch out for the Eddie Murphy syndrome, though. Murphy once tried his hand at a political comedy too (Distinguished Gentleman) and it failed miserably. Be careful, Chris.

Coming to theaters soon: The Olsen twins!

Lose your mind! Those too-cute-for-words teen stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen hit the silver screen once again, following their first attempt in 1995’s It Takes Two. Forget about those measly home videos and television movies and specials. The big screen is where it’s at.

The project for Warner Bros. is being kept under close wraps, but the film is said to be a comedy and will certainly set the blossoming teenagers on yet another fun-filled adventure. The girls recently bowed out of their ABC Family series So Little Time so they could pursue other ventures, including their fashion line and feature films.

How did these two manage to build an incredible empire at such a tender age? It really boggles the mind.

Downey’s second (and third and fourth) chance

Robert Downey Jr. has enough lives to rival any cat. As screwed-up the guy is in his personal life, he is still the consummate professional and Hollywood is going to keep working with him until he either straightens out for good–or finally kicks it. Not to mention, I’ll go see just about anything he does.

He’s in negotiations to star in Six Bullets From Now, a film inspired by the real-life events of New Year’s Day 1972, when five gunmen stole more than $10 million in cash and jewels from the Pierre’s Hotel in New York City in broad daylight. The theft led to a massive FBI manhunt.

Ridley Scott is producing the flick under his Scott Free Productions shingle.

Bridges is a “Giver”

Jeff Bridges will star and produce the feature film The Giver based on the 1994 novel by Lois Lowry–and folks, the plotline is a doozy. I’m just going to have to take it word-for-word from the Hollywood Reporter article:

“Described as being in the vein of 1984 and Brave New World, the book carries the theme of sacrificing humanity for societal stability. It presents a world without pain, pleasure, racial or socioeconomic differences, crime, poverty, sickness, free will or love. In the community, every member has a role, and 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community’s Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of a wise old man known as the Giver (Bridges), he gradually discovers the disturbing truth about his world: that its people have chosen to give up their humanity to create a more stable society. They must now struggle against the weight of this hypocrisy.”

Wow. That’s going to be a bright and cheery film. I can’t wait.

Pan lives!

Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Hook, The Lost Boys–all your favorite Peter Pan characters get to come to life when Revolution Studios, along with Walt Disney Co. and Sony’s Columbia Pictures, bring the endearing J.M. Barrie story to the big screen in a live-action motion picture.

Of course, the story has been done and done–on television, on film, on stage–but we’re always game for another rendition, especially when they are talking to the likes of Jason Isaacs (The Patriot) to play Captain Hook. But we are also a tad skeptical. Remember Steven Spielberg‘s lame attempt to bring an updated Pan to screen with Hook? Yikes. I can tell you one thing: they are not going to approach Julia Roberts to play Tinkerbell.