Movie File: Billy Bob Thornton, Andy Milonakis, Nicole Eggert, Steve Carell & More

'Bad News' star to work with eccentric Polish brothers on 'Astronaut' movie.

Keeping true to his indie roots, "Bad News Bears" star Billy Bob Thornton will be working with notoriously eccentric filmmakers the Polish brothers in their upcoming film "The Astronaut Farmer." Produced by Warner Independent Pictures, the movie will tell the story of an astronaut (Thornton) who leaves NASA to concentrate on saving his family farm. When the man's dream of traveling through space causes him to build his own rocket, the government attempts to shut him down through a series of darkly comedic methods. Identical twins Mark and Michael Polish, who've released the quirky films "Jackpot" and "Northfork" since debuting on both sides of the camera playing conjoined twins in 1999's "Twin Falls Idaho," wrote "Astronaut" together. The film is due to begin shooting in New Mexico early next month and is currently searching for a lead actress. ... It seems like we can all stop waiting for the upcoming Ryan Reynolds/Justin Long movie. Coming on the heels of last week's announcement that the food-service comedy was pushed to a spring 2006 release, Lions Gate has now boomeranged the film back to an October 7 debut. "Waiting ...," which tells the story of prank-loving employees at a family restaurant called Shenanigan's, also stars Anna Faris, Andy Milonakis and Dane Cook. ...

National Lampoon is making a new movie, and one can only wonder if the irony was lost on the army of actors who auditioned for it. "Cattle Call" began production on August 15 in Los Angeles, starring Thomas Ian Nicholas ("American Pie"), Jenny Mollen (TV's "Angel"), Diedrich Bader ("Napoleon Dynamite") and former "Baywatch" beauty Nicole Eggert. The film tells the story of a group of guys who invent a fake casting agency to meet women, then scramble to shoot a movie or risk being exposed as frauds. Promising a "twisted, out-of-left-field surprise ending," the Lampoon group claims that the film will follow in the footsteps of recent romps including "Van Wilder" and "Gold Diggers." "Cattle" hopes to stampede into theaters nationwide next spring. ... No, it doesn't have anything to do with Balki Bartokomous or cousin Larry, but Bruce Willis has been cast in "Perfect Stranger," a psychological thriller whose title only sounds like the goofy '80s sitcom. The film, set in the mysterious world of the Internet, will have Willis as a murder suspect being investigated online (and offline) by an undercover female officer. "Glengarry Glen Ross" helmer James Foley will be directing the film, with Halle Berry playing the undercover cop. Willis, Berry and Foley expect to begin their "Perfect Stranger" dance of joy when the film starts production in early 2006. ...

08.18.05

Now that he's lost his virginity, Steve Carell is ready to lay back, light up a cigarette and bask in the afterglow. The "40-Year-Old Virgin" star, who is suddenly a hot commodity after years of supporting roles in films like "Bruce Almighty" and "Anchorman," is attached to star in the tentatively titled "High T," a comedy from the high-concept writer of "50 First Dates." The funnyman will play a guy whose behavior veers off in wild directions after he begins taking testosterone shots that drastically alter his hormone levels. ... Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson urges patience for the diehard fans who keep asking him about the upcoming movie "Spy Hunter," based on the hit video game. The action star promises that the movie will be made, and that the right people are working on developing it. " 'Spy Hunter' is going great," the thick-armed thespian insisted. "We've got Stuart Beattie who's writing it right now, who wrote 'Collateral' as well as 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' so he's a great writer, he's got a great take on it. 'Spy Hunter' is one of those movies that we announced almost two years ago and everybody who I run into is like, 'Where's 'Spy Hunter?' It's one of those movies that you cannot get wrong. That's why it's so important that the writing is right, the feel, the tone is right. You see the car, you see [my character] Alec Sects. So it's going to be the real deal once it's done." The star also said no one else had been cast yet: "Not yet — just myself and the car, the Interceptor. And that thing is bad. We've already seen some early drawings of it and early renditions of it on video. It just jumps off a cliff, turns into a boat, then into a motorcycle when it comes back on land. It's badass." ...

From aliens and hoodoo to fairytale characters, it seems director Iain Softley has a thing for magic, witchcraft and make-believe. The man behind "K-PAX" and this month's "The Skeleton Key" has been working on his next project in the south of France, called "Trap for Cinderella." Based on the book by Sébastien Japrisot ("A Very Long Engagement"), Softley describes the as-yet-uncast erotic thriller as concerning "a girl [who] wakes up from an accident. She's been badly burned. She's had face surgery [and has] no memory of what's happened." As if that's not traumatic enough, afterward "she finds out that there was another girl in the house who was burnt to death and that girl was trying to switch identities with her." And since no Softley film is complete without a twist, he added "Or was she?" ... "I play a bad guy, and I play him very well," veteran actor Eric Roberts said with a smile as he discussed his role in the upcoming based-on-a-video-game movie "DOA: Dead or Alive." The film, due in theaters in the spring, casts him as a supervillain alongside stars Devon Aoki, Jaime Pressly and Kevin Nash. "I play a man who owns a private island; he's a great martial artist. He owns a private island, and he invites all the great martial artists of the world to come to this island and fight. But what he does is, they're injected with [devices] in their blood system, so he can register all their moves, and he downloads all their moves, and then he can predict what they're going to do as they think it. And he can kick their hiney," he laughed. "Uh-uh ... It's 'Enter the Dragon' meets 'Charlie's Angels.' " ...

Paul Giamatti has taken on Howard Stern ("Private Parts"), a nasty spit bowl ("Sideways") and, most terrifying of all, Frankie Muniz ("Big Fat Liar"). Now the wide-eyed character actor is targeting a different audience with "Shoot 'Em Up," a hardcore action film that would have him playing the villain opposite Clive Owen's hero. Both Giamatti and Italian temptress Monica Bellucci ("The Passion of the Christ") are in negotiations to join the movie, which New Line Cinema is hoping to shoot in January. "Shoot" tells the story of a mysterious man known as Mr. Smith (Owen) who helps deliver a baby during a shootout. Suddenly faced with an unexpected sense of paternal love, Smith must protect the baby from an army of gunmen working for Giamatti's character. Bellucci, if signed, would play Owen's love interest. ... Twenty-five years later, "Joliet" Jake and his brother Elwood are getting the band back together. In celebration of the quarter-century anniversary of the classic Dan Aykroyd-John Belushi film "The Blues Brothers," Universal Pictures will be re-releasing it on the big screen in more than 80 theaters across the U.S. Making the event even more exciting, screenings on Monday, August 29, will be preceded by a live satellite Q&A with writer/director John Landis and Aykroyd himself. Those with a full tank of gas and half a pack of cigarettes can follow up the screenings with a drive to their local video stores later this month, where they can purchase the new 25th Anniversary DVD complete with two versions of the film and tons of bonus material. Orange whips for everybody!

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