Role Call: Witherspoon is a “Honey”

Reese Witherspoon may have to live down endless “dumb blonde” jokes after her latest film, Legally Blonde, shot to No. 1, but the actress is simply white hot. Good for her! Now, she is set to play another blonde in the big screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series Honey West. The series, which ran for one season in 1965, starred Anne Francis as a female private eye who inherits her family’s detective business. Ms. Witherspoon will update the character to modern-day standards, with the film being described as a comic-action picture along the same lines as Foul Play. Hmmm, let’s think about casting choices for the male lead (cause you know there has to be one) similar to Chevy Chase–maybe Ashton Kutcher (Dude, Where’s My Car?). West also is being produced by Witherspoon and Marc Platt, who produced Blonde for MGM. So, actually it is true–blondes have more fun.

Speaking of blondes…

Renee Zellweger, the petite blonde who wowed us in Bridget Jones’ Diary, is in talks to star in 13 Going on 30. Don’t you like that title? It just sums things up. The film, described as a female version of Big, is being set up by the Sony-based Revolution Studios, which is behind the upcoming Julia Roberts comedy America’s Sweethearts. The story revolves around a girl, who, on the brink of her 13th birthday, gets a sneak peek at what her life would been like as a 30-year-old. Apparently, she has become rich, powerful and beautiful, but her means for climbing the ladder were less than admirable. Well, that sounds just about right for the talented Ms. Zellweger.

Just call him Dead Man Walkin’

The ever-interesting Kevin Spacey is in negotiations to star in what could be his next project, The Life of David Gale, a death row drama Alan Parker will direct. Can a death row film ever be a comedy? Just wondering. He’ll play a professor and anti-capital punishment activist who finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation of another activist and is eventually convicted of the crime. The role was originally to be filled by George Clooney, but he had to drop out. Nicole Kidman also is being approached for the female lead (but please don’t tell us she’ll play his lawyer). So, this might not be as compelling as other Spacey films, including his upcoming fall film K-PAX, where he plays a mental ward patient who insists he’s an alien from a far away planet. But somehow, with Spacey in it, David Gale‘s got potential.

The saga of getting a film made

The romantic comedy Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn? (another great title) has been in development for four years but has finally found a director. Ryan Murphy, the creator and executive producer of the WB’s Popular, has taken the helm on the project, which has been continually attracting top names. The story focuses on a 25-year-old woman who moves from Ohio to Los Angeles and gets everything she wants–a great job working for a local news station and a fiancé. But, in the course of one week, she is stood up at the altar and loses her job. She struggles to pick up the pieces, leaning on her friend who shares her love for Audrey Hepburn movies. OK, not quite sure why it’s attracting so much heat, but what do I know? So far, the leading ladies interested have been Tea Leoni, Ashley Judd, Renee Zellweger, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Toni Collette. Sure, anyone of those girls could work.

Francis Ford Coppola is back

Large and in charge! He’s putting together his next opus, Megalopolis, which he hopes to start filming the beginning of next year for no more than $80 million–he promises. And he’s looking for the cream of crop to star in it, talking to Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage (his nephew, by the way), Paul Newman and many others he has worked with. All except Warren Beatty. He told Army Archerd of Variety, “There’s really not a role for him in it.” Ah, too bad. The only little tidbit Coppola would give Archerd about the film’s plot is that it’s “a Roman epic, a Cecil B. DeMille-size epic.” Coppola did tell the New York Times in May that Megalopolis is “about the future. About a guy who wants to build a utopian society in the middle of Manhattan. It’s a typical Francis kind of project.” Life must be fairly sweet for Mr. Coppola, whose re-edited Apocalypse Now wowed audiences at Cannes and looks to be one of the hits this summer when its released in theaters at the beginning of August. Coppola described the re-edit as “more satisfying.” We all can’t wait.

Durst is certainly a “Wanna-Be”

Putting the nookie aside, Limp Bizkit’s lead singer Fred Durst is going to try his hand at directing. He had already been attached to helm Runt, a high-school drama, but now he seems to be circling Wanna-Be as his directorial debut. He is in discussions with The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker to star. Based on a New York magazine article by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, the story focuses on the children of mobsters and how they, against the wishes of their parents, continue the family business while ignoring the mob’s protocols. Walker would play an abandoned kid who gets sucked into the business. It’s a big job for Durst, who has only directed music videos, but we have every confidence.