General News

ROLE CALL: Columbus Discovers 'Potter'

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Dec 31, 1899 | 7:00pm EST

Good news, depending on your love and/tolerance for "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Bicentennial Man": Chris Columbus has been signed to direct "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In a bit of even better news, this means there's no way Columbus will possibly have time to ruin, er, helm either the planned "Spider-man" flick or the "Planet of the Apes" remake -- two movies the "Nine Months" auteur had been attached to in recent years. (The "Apes" gig is done deal anyway -- Tim Burton's set for that one.)

As for the "Potter" movie: It'll be the first in what Warner Bros. is hoping will be a kiddie franchise based on the mega-selling kiddie book series.

Shooting could begin as soon as this summer, with a Summer 20001 release planned.

Columbus comes to the project after mentor Steven Spielberg famously turned down the project.

TRY, TRY AGAIN: Hit-starved Sandra Bullock ("Gunshy") is in talks to star in "Her Leading Man" for Universal Pictures, Daily Variety says. For a non-change of pace, "Her Leading Man" is described as a romantic comedy -- albeit one that supposedly deconstructs the genre.

SANDRA BULLOCK'S FUTURE? Geena Davis, whose film career became so hit starved that not even starring in a hit ("Stuart Little") could alter its downward trajectory, is headed back to whence she came -- namely TV. The onetime Oscar winner has inked a deal with ABC to star in the comedy "Lost and Found," about a high-powered New York single (Davis) who falls in love with (aw!) a suburban widower with kids. (Can you say, 'Culture clash!') Look for the show to bow in fall 2000. Davis, who worked regularly on the tube in the early 1980s, last appeared there in the short-lived 1985 series, "Sara."

NEW SLICE: "American Pie" lover Jason Biggs is a lock for "Saving Silverman," a buddy comedy about a guy (Biggs) who gets set up with the date from hell (played by Amanda Peet). The Hollywood Reporter says Steve Zahn ("Happy Texas") is also in talks to join the flick, which starts rolling in June.

GO AHEAD AND KILL YOURSELF NOW BEFORE YOU READ THIS ITEM: The guy (Charles Stone III) who dreamed up the inescapable "Whaaaazzzup" catchphrase for a series of Budweiser ads has landed a movie deal. It's with Fox, if you care.

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