Movie File: Tom Hanks, Ray Liotta, Drew Barrymore, Smurfs, Jessica Biel And More

Ex-'Bosom Buddy' to play womanizing congressman in 'Good Time Charlie.'

A boozing, womanizing Tom Hanks? He may be Hollywood’s modern-day Jimmy Stewart, but the two-time Oscar winner will soon be stepping outside his nice-guy persona to once again remind us why he has those shiny gold bookends sitting on his mantelpiece. Hanks plans to play a controversial real-life congressman in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” an upcoming drama written by TV’s “West Wing” mastermind Aaron Sorkin. Wilson earned the nickname “Good Time Charlie” with a rebellious, hard-partying lifestyle that landed him in hot water when he was caught in a Jacuzzi with two cocaine-snorting showgirls in the early 1980s. The film will portray Wilson’s demise, as well as his redemption years later as a CIA supervisor who helped engineer the fall of the Iron Curtain. The man formerly known as Forrest Gump will step into the shoes of the irascible Texas politician this spring, after he’s finished work on Ron Howard‘s production of “The Da Vinci Code.” …

When you’re making a movie called “Dungeon Siege,” you’d better have a pretty decent villain — and director Uwe Boll has landed himself one of the best. Veteran actor Ray Liotta (“Goodfellas,” “Narc”) will be bringing his crooked smile and creepy staccato laugh to the big-screen version of the hit video game, joining a cast that includes Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Matthew Lillard and Burt Reynolds. Also joining the epic adventure film is Will Sanderson (“Alone in the Dark”), Brian J. White (“Mr. 3000″) and German supermodel Eva Padberg. Liotta will play Gallian, a magical evildoer who sets out to destroy rising hero Farmer (Statham) and his team of medieval sidekicks. Boll, the director of video-game interpretations including “House of the Dead” and the upcoming “Bloodrayne,” said in a statement that “Ray is one of my favorite actors and I’m really proud that he liked the script so much that this is his first time doing a fantasy period piece.” The film, which began shooting July 3 in Vancouver, is currently eyeing a late-summer 2006 release. …

Drew Barrymore, Eric Bana and Robert Duvall were looking to establish some real-world credibility to their upcoming film about the red-hot world of competitive poker. Now, with some help from their new co-stars, they’re betting that audiences will find their film authentic. The game’s top players will be appearing alongside the actors in “Lucky You,” a drama that casts Barrymore as a struggling Las Vegas singer who befriends a professional poker player (Bana) going up against his father (Duvall) in a high-stakes tournament and helps him … ahem … to deal. Followers of the game will recognize Jack Binion, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and many other real-lifers bluffing their way through the movie, playing either themselves or fictional counterparts. Brunson, Jason Lester and Matt Savage are also serving as consultants on the film, directed by “8 Mile” helmer Curtis Hanson. “The poker tables in ‘Lucky You’ are primarily populated by poker players, not actors pretending to be poker players,” Hanson said in a press release. “Our stars trained for months in order to convincingly play side-by-side with top poker professionals cast in fictional roles.” The film, which shot for seven weeks in such Vegas institutions as the Bellagio, Binion’s and the Aladdin, is currently due December 16. …

Is it too early to recommend Kevin Spacey as Gargamel? Paramount has acquired the film rights to everybody’s favorite three-apple-high heroes, the Smurfs, with plans to create a 3-D computer-animated trilogy. Even Bigmouth, it seems, isn’t as hungry for a silver-screen Smurf incarnation as fans of the Saturday morning classic, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2008. Herb Ratner (the upcoming “Mr. Lucky”) will be writing the newest adventures of Papa Smurf, pre-Smithers butt-kisser Brainy, and such self-explanatory forest dwellers as Grouchy, Jokey, Hefty and perhaps (if they’re desperate enough) even Sassette. The first film will be released in conjunction with the anniversary, and the filmmakers hope that audiences will continue to sing the blues with two more films in the following years. No plot has been revealed yet. …

07.20.05

If you’ve seen “Wedding Crashers,” one of your favorite new actresses is likely Isla Fisher, the red-headed beauty who memorably harasses Vince Vaughn throughout the film; if you’re a red-blooded male, another of your favorite actresses is likely Jessica Biel, the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” standout. Soon, the two will unite for “London,” an independent film that stars a plethora of up-and-comers including Chris Evans (“Fantastic Four”), Joy Bryant (“Antwone Fisher”) and comedian Dane Cook (“Torque”). “It’s all set at a party so it’s like a short story,” Fisher said of the unique film structure that attracted the eclectic cast. “It’s a love story,” added Biel, “about two people that fall in love with each other, and their relationship is really passionate. It’s first love, but at the same time it’s really kind of violent, and it’s not really a positive thing for either person. … It’s very dark, but funny and kind of odd and wonderful, and I think it’s going to be really interesting.” Fisher said her character is “very fruity and very straight. She wants the party to be as nice as possible. She doesn’t want anyone to come and misbehave, or crash.” Let’s just hope Vaughn and Owen Wilson don’t show up. …

Actor Efren Ramirez bounced around Hollywood in bit parts for nearly a decade before “Napoleon Dynamite” audiences made him an overnight cult icon, electing to “Vote for Pedro” in surprising numbers. Now the actor has plans to share his newfound stardom with his twin brother, Carlos Ramirez. “This comedy came about, and I said, ‘Let me shoot this with my twin brother,’ Ramirez revealed, referring to an upcoming film that tells the story of four small-town stoners who accidentally run over their drug dealer’s dog. “It’s ‘Potheads’; it’s self-explanatory,” he laughed, comparing the movie to “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.” Ramirez said the film is due in theaters later this year, and added that some top-secret news may soon be on the way that will make “Dynamite” fans scream “Sweet!” at the top of their lungs: “I can’t say anything about the sequel or anything, if there is going to be one or not,” Ramirez explained. “All I can say is that the studios have heard the audience. … That’s all I can reveal at this moment.” …

The remake of the 1972 classic “The Poseidon Adventure” has begun to set sail, and Josh Lucas is eager to give fans a peek at what should be the highest-profile role of his career to date. “Right now I’m doing ‘Poseidon,’ which is the story of ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ in a sense,” Lucas revealed. “It’s a retelling of that movie, where a big cruise ship gets hit by a wave and flips upside down. … I play this poker player, this hustler, who lives on the ship and basically tries to get people’s money,” Lucas said, flashing the smile that wooed his “Sweet Home Alabama” co-star, Reese Witherspoon. “In the process, [my character] meets this woman, and the sparks fly!” Lucas and co-stars Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss are currently shooting the film, in anticipation of a May 2006 release. …

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