ROLE CALL: Jet Li Fit For a King

Warner Bros. must think the world of Jet Li and two now-much-richer screenwriters. The Hollywood Reporter says the studio dished out high-six-figure salaries for writing duo Patrick Massett and John Zinman to pen two scripts: an adaptation of the ecological disaster novel “Dust” and an original script titled “First King,” which will star Li.

“King” is being described as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” meets “The Mummy.” It’s the story of a monarch who is brought back to life in modern times. Li will play the king.

HOT GUYS, BIG EXPLOISIONS: That’s what Columbia Pictures wants in its remake of the 1970s TV series “SWAT,” Daily Variety reports. The film is scheduled for an early 2001 release with a modest budget of $40 million. Commercials director Zack Snyder will helm the action flick, with Craig Fernandez serving as screenwriter and Oliver Stone to produce.

FAREWELL, SIR JOHN: Screen legend Sir John Gielgud’s last performance will be featured at Belfast, Ireland’s first-ever film festival (running Sept. 22-29) in a short film titled “Catastrophe.”

Sarah Polley FIELD’S FORAY: Sally Field makes her directorial debut with “Beautiful,” which screens at the Toronto Film Festival (Sept. 7-16). Robert Altman’s new comedy starring Richard Gere, “Dr. T and the Women,” also will debut there.

POLLEY WANT A CREATURE? Sarah Polley of “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Go” fame, is slated to star in “Monster,” a modern-day version of the classic beauty and the beast story, written and directed by Hal Hartley.