Movie File: Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Charlize Theron, Paris Hilton, Will Ferrell & More

Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg are teaming up to
relaunch a stalled remake of “The War of the Worlds.” The powerhouse
tandem has hired screenwriter David Koepp
(“Spider-Man,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Jurassic Park”) to rewrite
Josh Friedman’s (“Chain Reaction”) script based on H. G.
’ classic 1898 alien-invasion novel. Cruise will star in the
film, which is not expected to shoot until late 2005. The first movie
based on “The War of the Worlds” opened in 1953, but the best-known
telling of the story was Orson Welles’ famous 1938 radio
broadcast, which ignited a nationwide panic when listeners believed it
to be true. … In the meantime, Cruise is preparing to film “Mission:
Impossible 3″ this summer with “Narc” director Joe Carnahan and
has “Collateral” opening in August. Spielberg is completing work on
“The Terminal” with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Charlize Theron will star in “Aeon Flux,” a futuristic assassin
drama based on the eponymous animated MTV cult favorite. Karyn
(“Girlfight”) will direct the movie, which begins filming in
June. … Theron will first follow her Oscar-winning role in “Monster”
with “Head in the Clouds,” a romantic drama co-starring beau Stuart
. She also shot “The Life and Death of Peter
” with Geoffry Rush for HBO. …

“Coyote Ugly” star Piper Perabo will play Justin Timberlake’s love interest in “Edison,” the singer’s movie debut. Shooting is under way in Vancouver with Kevin Spacey, LL Cool
and Morgan Freeman also onboard. … Paris Hilton
has joined Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray in the
cast of “House of Wax,” a remake of 1953 3D spooker “House of Wax.” The
hotel heiress will play one of a group of friends who fall prey to
demented killers. … “The Passion of the Christ” star Jim
met with Pope John Paul II on Monday to discuss his
role as Jesus in the hit film. The pontiff then blessed the devoutly
Roman Catholic actor. …

Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman have begun work on a
big-screen version of the classic ’60s TV show “Bewitched.” Nora
(“Sleepless in Seattle”) wrote and is directing the July
2005 release. … In other small-to-big-screen news, a live-action
“Thunderbirds,” based on the ’60s puppet series, opens in August with
Bill Paxton starring. And a “Magnum, P.I.” movie is in the
works, although no roles have been filled, according to a Universal
Pictures spokesperson. …

Meanwhile, “The Lord of the Rings” hobbit Dominic Monaghan is making
the opposite move and heading to the small screen. He and Ian
(“Rules of Attraction”) will star in the ABC pilot
“Lost,” from “Alias” creator J.J. Abrams. “It’s the most
expensive pilot ever filmed. I think it’s like a $10 million pilot,” Monaghan boasted. “It’s about survivors of a plane crash who
manage to get themselves on a deserted island with a lot of freaky
stuff going on, animals they’ve never seen before. It’s how they
survive in that situation.” … Monaghan will next appear in “Shooting
Livien.” “It’s a story about a rock and roll band obsessed with the
Beatles that is on the brink of breaking up, even when they’re
releasing their first album,” he explained. “The lead singer [“Roswell”
’s Jason Behr] is kind of lost in his own head. It kinda follows
the story of a John Lennon meeting his Yoko Ono and how
the rest of the band responds to that. It’s an interesting look at how
when you’re getting close to success, the kind of things that come in
on either side of your head distract you from what you’re really going
for.” …

After Ben Affleck complained he had not received his Worst Actor
Razzies last month for “Gigli,” “Paycheck” and “Daredevil,” or for
“Pearl Harbor” a few years ago, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation
had Larry King deliver a trophy to the actor Tuesday on his CNN
show. Affleck responded by giving it back to King as a gift. “It’s a
piece of crap,” King responded. … “Without a Trace” star Enrique
has signed on to play Sandra Bullock’s love
interest in “Miss Congeniality 2,” which begins shooting in April.
John Pasquin (“The Santa Clause”) is directing the movie, which
will find Bullock’s FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart traveling to Las
Vegas on a new case with a fellow agent played by Regina King.

“Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story,” starring Jamie Foxx as the soul singer, is due in theaters October 29. Taylor Hackford (“The Devil’s Advocate”) directed. … The release of
Russell Crowe’s “Cinderella Man” has been delayed three months,
until March 2005. Universal Pictures claims it needs more time to
market the movie, which reunites Crowe with director Ron Howard
and producer Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning team behind “A
Beautiful Mind.”