Movie File: Mos Def, Bruce Willis, Jerry Seinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Snoop Dogg & More

'Hitchhiker's Guide' star to team up with 'Die Hard' actor for police drama.

Once he gets back from hitchhiking across the galaxy, rapper/actor Mos Def will be walking “16 Blocks” alongside Bruce Willis in an upcoming action drama. The Black Jack Johnson singer, currently playing Ford Prefect in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” will portray a young witness being escorted the titular distance by an aging cop (Willis). When the disgruntled officer receives the assignment, he assumes it will be just another mundane task; quickly, the two discover that their leisurely stroll from police station to courthouse is being monitored by someone intent on making sure they never reach their destination. Director Richard Donner will oversee the film, which will also star “The Green Mile” veteran David Morse. It’s eyeing a 2006 release. (Watch Mos and Martin Freeman in an exclusive clip from “Hitchhiker’s Guide” right now on MTV’s broadband video channel, Overdrive.) …

The title may be on par with “Shark Tale” in terms of lack of creativity, but the upcoming computer-animated comedy “Bee Movie” is shaping up with a cast that more than makes up for it. Jerry Seinfeld‘s long-overdue return to relevance has him starring opposite a cast that includes Renée Zellweger, Robert Duvall, Kathy Bates, William H. Macy, Uma Thurman and Oprah Winfrey. The DreamWorks Animation film will tell the story of Barry B. Benson, a bee just out of college who finds his career options limited to harvesting honey and, well, harvesting more honey. When Barry realizes that human beings take the gooey yellow goodness from bees without paying for it, he files a lawsuit, accusing them of mass theft. As Elaine Benes might say, “Yada, yada … happy ending.” Seinfeld co-wrote the “Bee Movie” script and will produce and star in it for directors Steve Hickner (“The Prince of Egypt”) and Simon J. Smith (“Shrek 4-D”). Matthew Broderick is currently in discussions to round out the cast. The film has staked out a release date of November 2, 2007, following the May 18, 2007, DreamWorks release of “Shrek 3.” …

Riding high on his recent appointment by movie fans as a “National Treasure,” Nicolas Cage will be going from charismatic adventurer to morality-laden arms dealer. Lions Gate Films has acquired the North American distribution rights to “Lord of War,” a timely drama that hopes to do for weapons what “Blow” did for drug smuggling. Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Andrew Niccol (“The Truman Show”), the movie puts Cage alongside Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan and Ethan Hawke. “Lord” follows Cage’s Yuri Orlov, an arms dealer who reevaluates the ethics of his occupation while attempting to evade an Interpol agent, played by Hawke. The film, currently in post-production, is aiming for a late-2005 release. …

Following her breakthrough performance in last year’s multi-award-winning biopic “Ray,” actress Kerry Washington is borrowing co-star Jamie Foxx‘s sunglasses and sensitivity for a decidedly different kind of movie. “In ‘Fantastic Four’ I play Alicia Masters, the blind girl who’s in love with the Thing,” Washington said. Cast in this summer’s superhero blockbuster opposite Michael Chiklis‘ boulder-buff orange monster, Washington explained that her character’s handicap allows her to see through the hideous facade and find the teddy bear within. “I fall in love with him despite his rocky ways,” she laughed. “But Michael Chiklis is pretty easy to fall in love with.” Clobbering time for the Thing and his three super-powered sidekicks will begin on July 8. …

Let’s hope for Paris Hilton‘s sake nobody’s seriously exclaiming “That’s hot” near her new wax figure at New York’s Madame Tussauds on Monday. Paris and her “House of Wax” castmates Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki will be there to check out her faux bod and to launch a new interactive experience called Chamber of Horrors Live! Featuring “House of Wax” that includes an interactive town with a graveyard covered in wax, a wall of embedded heads, blasts of steam and blood-curdling screams, and people who are not paparazzi lurking behind every corner waiting to scare unsuspecting visitors. …

04.27.05

Snoop Dogg and heartthrob actor Dylan McDermott may seem an unlikely pairing, but McDermott says the two came to appreciate each other while playing ’70s-era novelists in their upcoming film “The Tenants.” “As a rapper he has such poetry, and I don’t think anyone has let him riff in a movie. It’s always been the pimp or the badass guy. But I think if you allow him to do his riff, and let him rap a little bit on his own, something really cool could happen.” Snoop said that the film’s largely improvised script made it easier for him to feel at home: “In the rap world, they call it freestyling, and in the movie world I guess it’s a form of freestyling as well.” The film is slated for release later this year. …

Jennifer Lopez is planning to unite with fellow superstar Nicole Kidman on a film currently titled “American Darlings,” which was pitched to them both by a common friend. “We have the same acting coach,” the actress/singer said, “and she came up with the idea and brought it to both of us. She was always looking for something for Nicole and me to do together. So that’s kind of how it came to be; hopefully it turns into something great.” The film, which will cast Kidman and Lopez as swing-music songstresses in a wartime period drama, is currently in pre-production. Lopez looks forward to filming it, but laughed while admitting that there’s one small problem: “I have to get a script first.” …

You may have already heard about “Stay Alive,” the soon-to-be-filming slasher movie that will mark Frankie Muniz‘s first adult stab at drama. You may have even heard about the film’s “Ring”-influenced plot, which centers around a group of teenagers who find themselves hooked on a video game that kills them one by one. The surprising news, however, is that the serial killer inhabiting the game is going to be portrayed by a woman. “[I've] landed a principal role in ‘Stay Alive,’ ” said actress and former Miss Russia Masha Kalinina. “I’m playing a serial killer. So I kill everyone in the film. She’s a pretty nasty individual, like a Freddy Krueger-type. She enjoys killing kids and licking their blood.” According to Kalinina, the “Malcolm in the Middle” star is working hard to expand his range, and the filmmakers already have such high hopes that they’re talking sequel. “It’s going to be a big stretch for [Muniz] in this kind of movie,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what kind of character he plays, because I’m too busy developing my own [character]. They already sold the sequel for this film. So let’s see if we survive with one group altogether. We’re going to be shooting in New Orleans May 1.” …

The long, horrifying, cursed saga of the “Exorcist” franchise continues. Following the footsteps of “Exorcist: The Beginning” — last summer’s horror prequel that disgusted fans and critics in more ways than it intended — comes “Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist.” Those of you scoring at home should note that this is an alternate, drastically different version from the Stellan Skarsgård-as-Father Merrin film. After director Paul Schrader‘s original, psychologically terrorizing flick was rejected by Warner Bros. and Morgan Creek Productions, Renny Harlin was brought in to make the more graphic version that you most likely skipped eight months ago. Now, in a move that occurs as rarely as a 360-degree head turn, the studio has decided to release the original, previously discarded film. “Dominion” has been rated R for “strong violence and disturbing images” and will receive a limited release beginning on May 20. …

The director of the 2001 martial arts/ horror cult hit “Brotherhood of the Wolf” played the hit video game “Silent Hill” to relax during that film’s tense shoot; now, the game will play itself out for him any way he chooses. French filmmaker Christophe Gans has cast Radha Mitchell (“Finding Neverland”), Sean Bean (“National Treasure”) and Deborah Kara Unger (“White Noise”) in his big-screen adaptation of “Hill,” which began shooting in Toronto this past Monday. Mitchell is playing Rose, a distraught woman frantically searching for her missing daughter. When she enters a reality-bending portal, she finds herself in an eerie town filled with a mysterious, horrifying darkness. Gans, a self-professed gamer, is teaming with “Pulp Fiction” writer Roger Avary to bring “Hill” to TriStar Pictures. A release date has not yet been announced for the film, budgeted between $45 million and $50 million. …

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