Role Call: The “Sins” of Heath Ledger

Sinning with Australian honey Heath Ledger might be an interesting way to spend an afternoon. But the “Sin” I’m really talking about is his new film Sin Eater, with director Brian Helgeland, who helmed Ledger‘s last hit A Knight’s Tale. The 20th Century Fox film is a romantic thriller with supernatural overtones, as Ledger plays a young priest who helps a female detective investigate a case involving a corpse covered with religious symbols.

I had a chance to watch A Knight’s Tale recently on DVD, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. This leads me to believe Helgeland knows what he’s doing; so, along with hunk Ledger, who can certainly hold his own in the acting department, Sin Eater might actually turn out to be pretty good. Production is slated to start early 2002.

Bettany‘s flurry of activity

More on the pedigree of talent behind A Knight’s Tale: Paul Bettany, who played Geoffrey Chaucer to hilarious and poignant effect in the film, is going to star with Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams in the indie feature Heart of Me. Based on Rosamond Lehman’s 1980 novel Echoing Grove, the film is said to be a love triangle centering on a married couple in which the husband has an affair with his wife’s sister.

Bettany is also going to be in Lars von Trier’s Dogville, the director of last year’s indie darling Dancer in the Dark. He was also going to play the serial killer Dolarhyde in Universal Pictures’ Red Dragon with Anthony Hopkins, who will once again reprise his Hannibal Lecter persona, but Bettany had to drop out. Still, he’s a hot commodity these days–and rightly so.

Lopez is Wang’s “Chambermaid”

Ah, Jennifer Lopez–we haven’t heard about you in the news for at least five minutes. Oh, I’m kidding; we love Jennifer.

The happy newlywed, currently making a splash in Milan on her honeymoon, is going back to work immediately after the fun and games are over. J.Lo is signed on to do The Chambermaid, a romantic comedy for director Wayne Wang (The Center of the World). Tagged as a Cinderella tale, Lopez will don a chambermaid uniform to play a young lass who works at a luxury hotel, where she meets and falls in love with a British guest. Yet, when she abruptly quits her job, he must seek out and find her. What, she leaves her Dustbuster behind and he goes around asking every maid out there if it belongs to her? I’m yawning already.

Basinger as Eminem’s mom?

In what universe? Apparently in that skewed universe I talked about in last week’s column, a movie called The Untitled Detroit Project where rapper bad boy Eminem makes his debut performance as a “young man named Jimmy who is searching for his identity in a backdrop of indifference and community decay.”

Remember that one? And now the lovely Kim Basinger will play his mother. Wow. I guess she was enticed by Project director Curtis Hanson, who directed Basinger in her Academy Award-winning performance for L.A. Confidential. Or maybe it was the wads of cash she is, I hope, making. Because honestly, this film doesn’t sound good at all and won’t be a career booster. But then again, Basinger did make I Dreamed of Africa.

Getting to “The Core”

I really like actor Aaron Eckhart, especially for his performance in last year’s Oscar-winning hit Erin Brockovich, where he played Erin’s (Julia Roberts) boyfriend. I had him on my Oscar wish list for a long time for that role, but of course he got ruled out pretty quickly. Nonetheless, Eckhart‘s interesting.

Now Eckhart has signed up to do a sci-fi movie called The Core for Paramount. In the film, Eckhart leads a group of terranauts on a mission to the Earth’s center, where they hope to correct a flaw caused by a chemical waste reaction. They must place and detonate a nuclear charge to fix a magnetic field in the earth before it causes the planet to explode. Sounds like Armageddon meets Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Now, let’s see if this starts one of those dueling matches, where another studio makes a movie about going into Earth’s belly to save the world. You know it’ll happen. It did with the whole Mars thing and then with meteoroids zooming towards Earth–this isn’t any different.