General News

ROLE CALL: George Clooney's 'Fail Safe' Plan

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Dec 31, 1899 | 7:00pm EST

Maybe it was that live broadcast of "E.R." Or perhaps the save-the-world-from-nuclear-holocaust heroics in "The Peacemaker."

Whichever, big-screen George Clooney is set to produce a live small-screen staging of the Cold War drama "Fail Safe" on CBS on April 9. Based on the 1962 novel (released at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis), the story focuses on a man's Tom Clancy-style struggle to save the world from total annihilation. (Henry Fonda starred in the 1964 theatrical version.)

Clooney's production will emanate from two soundstages on the Warner Bros. Studios lot in Burbank, Calif. It'll be broadcast in black-and-white -- the better to capture the mood of (yea!) bleak paranoia.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Frears ("Dangerous Liaisons") is close to inking a deal to direct the play. Clooney's "E.R." cohort Noah Wyle is said to be up for a key supporting role.

BURT THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Burt Reynolds is set to direct a low-budget remake of the 1945 Boris Karloff vampire flick "Isle of the Dead," today's Hollywood Reporter says.

The movie is the first of three RKO Radio Pictures titles scheduled to be remade for $10 million each. No word if producers will take a crack at the ultimate RKO title, "King Kong."

The original "Isle of the Dead" was one of several films Karloff made for producer Val Lewton in the 1940s. Directed by the late Mark Robson ("Valley of the Dolls"), the flick was the creepy tale of a bunch of quarantined folks on a Greek island -- one of whom is a suspected vampire.

FIRST THE EAGLES, NOW 'THE COMMITMENTS': The rag-tag Irish soul band of Alan Parker's 1991 film "The Commitments" is getting back together -- maybe.

Miramax Films has hired playwright Warren Leight (late of the Broadway hit "Side Man") to write the script for a sequel, The Associated Press says. Cathy Konrad ("Scream") will produce.

While the original film was produced by Beacon Communications, Miramax snapped up the sequel rights. No word if any of the film's original cast will be on board. Andrew Strong, who played the group's lead singer, went on to record several albums, while other members of the fictitious group formed a real-life band called The Committed.

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