ROLE CALL: Spielberg Does Kubrick

Steven Spielberg wants to be Stanley Kubrick. Steven Spielberg The pre-dead version.

Hollywood’s most commercially successful filmmaker says he’ll make “A.I.,” a sci-fi epic that Kubrick was developing before he succumbed to a heart attack last year, his next directing assignment.

The official announcement from Spielberg on Tuesday meant the following films will not be Spielberg’s next film: “Minority Report,” another sci-fi themed project to star Tom Cruise; “Memoirs of a Geisha,” a drama based on the best-selling novel of the same name; and “Harry Potter,” the planned big-screen version of the best-selling kiddie adventure books. Each reportedly had been on the director’s to-do list — except “Harry Potter,” which Spielberg said several times he absolutely never, ever intended to make.

As for “A.I.” (code for “artificial intelligence”)? “Stanley had a vision for this project that was evolving over 18 years,” Spielberg said in a statement. “I am intent on bringing to the screen as much of that vision as possible along with elements of my own.”

Spielberg hasn’t directed a film since 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” Kubrick hasn’t directed one since he died. Before that, he finished “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999), and before that, he hadn’t made one since 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.”

THE ALSO-RANS: So, if Steven Spielberg doesn’t want to do “Harry Potter,” who does? Brad Silberling (“City of Angels”), Chris Columbus (“Nine Months”), Alan Parker (“Evita”) and Terry Gilliam (“Brazil”). That’s the final foursome, today’s Variety says. No word if it’s still too late to submit your resume.

DOES THIS MEAN WE’VE BEEN NAUGHTY OR NICE? Tom Hanks is coming for Christmas 2001. The Oscar winner will star in and produce the holiday-themed tale “The Polar Express,” today’s Daily Variety says. The actor will portray a train conductor in the film version of the popular children’s title. Warner Bros. is penciling the flick in for an Xmas 2001 release. We know we already said that, but we wanted to make sure you knew what we meant.

FRESH BLOOD: The man who brought us the bug-epic “Mimic” will bring you the sequel to “Blade.” Guillermo del Toro has been tapped to helm “Blade 2: Blood Hunt,” Variety says. Wesley Snipes is set to return as the crime-fighting vampire. In the name of fair warning, the film is being readied for a summer 2001 release.