Movie File: Jon Heder, Ryan Reynolds, Alyson Hannigan, Mike Judge & More

'Dynamite' actor teaming up with Billy Bob Thornton for 'Scoundrels' comedy.

Bad Santa meeting Napoleon Dynamite? Freakin’ sweet! Quirky Jon Heder and the king of crass himself, Billy Bob Thornton, will team up in “School for Scoundrels,” from the makers of “Old School.” A remake of an obscure ’60s British comedy, “Scoundrels” will tell the story of a timid meter reader who enrolls in a confidence-building class to help him land the girl of his dreams. When he discovers that the motivational speaker (played by Thornton) has his eye on her as well, an over-the-top battle for her affection breaks out. The female lead has not yet been cast, but “School” plans to start shooting in October. …

Ryan Reynolds and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be teaming up for a mismatched-buddy action flick, and if that news sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is. Reynolds and the Rock had previously announced their collaboration on “Ride Along,” a “Midnight Run”-type of film whose development is still ongoing (“There’s really nothing to talk about,” the Rock said recently. “We’re just waiting for the script”). Insistent on combining their buff bods and finely honed sarcasm as soon as possible, the duo have now attached themselves to another project, “Blowback,” for Touchstone Pictures. The film comes with a solid pedigree, as it is to be written by Sheldon Turner (“The Longest Yard”) and produced by the team behind “The Wedding Crashers.” Although details are being guarded closely, the project is being described as a modern-day “Lethal Weapon” about two San Francisco cops. …

“I was grateful for ['The Practice,'] but it was a long time and I just wasn’t available [for anything else]; I was always working,” Dylan McDermott said, reflecting on the seven years he spent on the show. “Now that I get to make movies, I get to do different characters and do different things.” The heartthrob is looking forward to a uniquely villainous turn for his next film: ” ‘Edison’ is really a badass movie. It’s a crime drama with Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey, LL Cool J and Justin Timberlake, and I’m the bad guy in the movie. It’s my first real big-time bad guy, so I really went all the way with it. I’m kind of an out-of-control cop, on drugs and just like a rabid dog who they can’t fix.” McDermott said the film should open some eyes to the acting abilities of the talented cast, particularly Timberlake. “This is his first project,” he reported. “He’s sort of like an eager reporter trying to bring down this town and infiltrating the crime of the town. I thought that he did really good.” …

During a recent interview, blockbuster director Michael Bay revealed that Sam Rockwell (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”) is in negotiations to thumb another ride on “The Hitcher,” a remake of the 1986 thriller about a young man (C. Thomas Howell) who offers a ride to a homicidal stranger (Rutger Hauer). The film, to be helmed by music-video director Dave Meyers (Missy Elliott, Kelly Clarkson), will be produced by Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company. A representative for Rockwell cautioned that no contracts have been signed yet. … Alyson Hannigan made a name for herself telling band-camp stories in the “American Pie” films, but the actress’ fans also remember her for kicking some serious butt as Willow on the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV show. Now she’s saying there’s talk of reviving the show for the big screen. “There’s talk of Spike movies, or a Spike movie,” Hannigan reported of efforts to bring back James Marsters‘ bloodsucking breakout character. Hannigan said she won’t be in the movie, and Marsden’s manager said the project is “nothing we have on our radar at this moment.” …

The upcoming sci-fi comedy from “Office Space” and “Beavis and Butt-Head” mastermind Mike Judge has a new title and a new release date as well. The film will now be called “Idiocracy” and, according to a Judge spokesperson, should be out in the “first quarter 2006.” The movie will tell the story of an average American (Luke Wilson) who is frozen for a thousand years and, when thawed out, discovers that the dumbing-down of society has turned him into the most intelligent person alive. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had,” co-star Justin Long (“Dodgeball”) remembered recently of the film’s shoot. “The plot takes place in the future, where society has devolved intellectually to the point where we’re all Beavis and Butt-Heads. … I play this doctor who’s just kind of like, ‘Dude, I would just get that checked out. I think your crap might be retarded.’ That’s my diagnosis for Luke Wilson’s character.” …

Jacinda Barrett has gone from her birth country of Australia to “Real World: London” to Hollywood, appearing in movies like “Ladder 49.” Soon, the worldly actress will be visiting India with “The Namesake,” a drama from “Monsoon Wedding” director Mira Nair. “It’s a story of Indian immigrants and it’s a story of both generations, the first immigrants and then their son who grows up in the States and how he ends up seeing the world very differently,” Barrett revealed. “I play Maxine, who is from a wealthy New York family, lives on the Upper East Side, has never wanted for anything and really feels at home in her world and her life and has no longing to stray, whereas [Kal Penn ('Harold & Kumar')], who I’m dating, feels a constant friction between where he’s come from, where he’s living, where does he belong? … I was so moved. I remember reading the script and closing it and just crying at how moving it was and how much it resonated with me.” The film is due in 2006. …

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