Kate Hudson gave birth to her first child Wednesday, a son she
and husband Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes named
Ryder Russell Robinson. ... Nicole Kidman, who won the Best
Actress Oscar a year ago, is the first presenter announced for the 76th
Academy Awards, scheduled for February 29 at the Kodak Theatre in
Hollywood. ABC will again televise the event. ...
Tom Cruise recently told the U.K.'s Empire magazine that
he's interested in playing Marvel Comics' millionaire-industrialist
superhero Iron Man in the long-in-development New Line Cinema
adaptation. "He's a fascinating character, but we've got to figure out
how it's going to work," he said. "And everyone is doing a Marvel
character these days. How do we make that new, create something fresh
where it doesn't feel like, 'Oh, here comes another superhero story?' " ...
The hit Broadway musical "The Producers," which is based on Mel
Brooks' 1968 comedy film of the same title, is returning to the big
screen. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, who starred
originally in the Broadway version they recently returned to after a
22-month break, will co-star in the movie, which Brooks is penning. ...
The Directors Guild of America has nominated Peter Jackson
("Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"), Peter Weir
("Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"), Clint
Eastwood ("Mystic River"), Gary Ross ("Seabiscuit") and
Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation") for their Outstanding
Directorial Achievement in Feature Film award. The winner of the DGA
honor has not also won the Best Director Oscar only six times since
"Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," which played in theaters in early
2003, "Finding Nemo" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the
Black Pearl" scored nominations for Favorite Motion Picture of the Year
for the 30th People's Choice Awards. Nominees, which also included
"Elf" and "Bruce Almighty" in the comedy category, are chosen by a
nationwide telephone poll and online voting. ... "Lord of the Rings"
stars Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan have been chosen
as monarchs for Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Wood will ride with
the Krewe of Bacchus on February 22, and Monaghan will star in the
following night's parade with the Krewe of Orpheus, founded by Harry
Connick Jr. ...
Jennifer Esposito ("Don't Say a Word") and Jason Isaacs
("Black Hawk Down") have joined the ensemble cast of "Crash," which
also includes Ludacris, Sandra Bullock, Don
Cheadle, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon, Ryan
Phillippe, Larenz Tate and Nona Gaye. The indie film
follows several stories as they unfold on the streets of Los Angeles.
... "Scrubs" star Zach Braff will voice the title character in
the Disney cartoon "Chicken Little," a part written originally for an
egg layer. Braff's next movie, "Garden State," which he also wrote and
directed, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month. ...
Callum Blue, the English actor best know for Showtime's "Dead
Like Me" series, will co-star opposite Anne Hathaway in "The
Princess Diaries 2" as a suitor set up to marry the young princess. The
sequel to Disney's 2001 hit also stars Julie Andrews and is
being directed by Garry Marshall, both of whom worked on the
original. ... The rights to Dark Horse Comics' beloved Grendel have
been snatched up by John Wells' production company, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The script will focus on a character from creator Matt Wagner's "Grendel: Devil's Legacy." ...
David Thewlis ("Timeline") has been added to the cast of
director Ridley Scott's 12th-century epic "Kingdom of Heaven,"
starring Orlando Bloom as a peasant who becomes a knight and
saves a kingdom. Liam Neeson will play Bloom's father. ...
Meanwhile, Billy Connolly, also of "Timeline" (and "The Last
Samurai," among countless other films) has been cast in "Lemony
Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," based on Daniel
Handler's children's book series. Jim Carrey, Meryl
Streep and Jude Law are also starring, with Brad
Silberling ("Moonlight Mile") directing.