Movie File: Eva Mendes, Winona Ryder, Meagan Good, Bryan Singer, ‘Resident Evil’ & More

Mendes still voluptuous in 'Ghost Rider'; Ryder reunites with 'Heathers' director; Good steps it up.

After the mutants and Man of Steel finally relinquish their grip on the summer box office, comic book lovers will begin looking forward to the genre’s next big film production: the theatrical debut of Marvel’s hell-on-wheels antihero, Ghost Rider. The film stars Nicolas Cage as the undead biker and “Hitch” star Eva Mendes as the object of his affection. “She’s different [than in the comic book] because she looks like me,” a laughing Mendes said of her character, Roxanne Simpson. “In the comic book, Roxanne is very blond and voluptuous. I’m voluptuous but I’m not blond, and I’m a little more exotic. But she’ll still kick ass and still be a really strong female.” The actress added that while she teamed with Cage for numerous action scenes in the film, she was lucky to avoid an epic sequence that has the flame-headed hero doing battle underwater. “No, thank God. I remember it — that was a long shoot,” she grinned. The film rides into theaters February 16. …

For all of you who saw “Heathers,” the dark comedy that launched Winona Ryder‘s career, it’s time for the Westerberg High School reunion — too bad all the Heathers are dead. Winona is back, though, reuniting with Daniel Waters, writer/director of the cult ’80s hit, to generate a new and hopefully even darker comedy titled “Sex and Death 101.” The quirky comedy follows the sexual odysseys of successful businessman Roderick Blank (Simon Baker, “Land of the Dead”), who receives a mysterious e-mail on the eve of his wedding, listing all of his past and future sex partners. Convinced that his marriage would deter a mind-blowing future path of bachelorhood, Roderick sets out to find all the listed women and fulfill his destiny of one-night stands. Things take a fatal turn courtesy of Ryder, who plays intended paramour/ femme fatale Death Nell, a woman who enjoys near-fatal trysts with her love partners. It’s currently shooting in Los Angeles, so be sure to mark your calendars for spring 2007, as “101″ sounds like it could be a class worth taking. …

With scene-stealing work in diverse flicks like “Eve’s Bayou,” “You Got Served” and “Brick,” 24-year-old beauty Meagan Good seems to have taken up permanent residence in the “next big thing” neighborhood. Now she’s signed on to a star-studded musical drama that could finally see her career “Steppin’ ” up to the next level. “It’s got Ne-Yo [and] Chris Brown, and it’s a really cool cast with lot of new young people as well,” Good said of the flick, which revolves around a troubled street dancer who finds himself caught between two fraternities at a predominantly black Atlanta university. “The dancing’s incredible — it’s not even dancing, it’s stepping, so it’s real high.” While “Steppin’ ” makes its way through the production process, the ambitious actress is simultaneously busting a move toward a second career: producing. “I would love to be at the forefront of a movement that creates more opportunities for all different nationalities … seeing that when an Asian person is in a movie, they’re not just karate-chopping somebody,” she said. “I just produced my first film, and we’re going around the film-festival circuit. The movie is so edgy and so gritty … and my character is so out of left field from anything you’ve ever seen. It’s called ‘Miles From Home,’ [and it's written and directed by] my best friend from home … Ty Hodges. He’s a genius.” …

Calling Jon Bon Jovi, Joey Fatone and Shaq: Here’s the opportunity you guys have been waiting for. In celebration of their, ahem, tiny art-house film “Superman Returns,” Warner Brothers Pictures has created a MySpace page where fans can upload photos of their Man of Steel tattoos along with other creative photos of themselves and the ubiquitous “S.” Nearly 10,000 fanboys flooded the site in its first day, putting Superman on pace to have nearly as many friends as Tom Anderson, the guy who co-founded the networking site. Upload away at MySpace.com/SupermanReturns, folks, but please keep those Bizarro birthmark photos to yourself. …





















Bryan Singer: Out Of Solitude

From bringing Brando back from the grave to joking around with Peter Jackson, the ‘Superman Returns’ director opens up to Gideon in this exclusive interview.


He’s coming off what many believe is the most expensive film ever made, so it seems only natural that “Superman Returns” director Bryan Singer has selected a significantly smaller follow-up gig: “The Mayor of Castro Street.” “It’s a project that has fascinated me ever since I saw a documentary about it,” Singer said of the biopic portraying the first openly gay elected official in a major U.S. city, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. “He was an extraordinary character, as a person in history.” Singer added that the film will likely focus on the rise of the barrier-breaking politico but stop short of depicting the infamous “Twinkie defense” trial that followed his violent demise. “We’re developing a story based on him that will probably center around the latter period of his life, leading up to his assassination,” Singer revealed. “He is one of the great role models of our contemporary society that, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know about.” …

Steve Carell has vowed that he’ll never make a sequel to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” but that doesn’t mean that the film’s other talents can’t reunite without him. As funnyman Romany Malco revealed: “Me and ['Virgin' co-writer and director] Judd [Apatow] are doing a movie together called ‘The Military Recruiter.’ ” Malco said the follow-up project will be a comedy about an unscrupulous staffer who’ll do whatever it takes to fill his quota. “I basically play a military recruiter who is just the most underhanded guy you’ve probably ever seen.” Malco expects filming to begin soon and promises that the flick will balance out its comedy with the real-life overzealousness that was portrayed in a now-infamous “Fahrenheit 9/11″ scene. “We’re doing our best to depict the truth,” Malco insisted. “We are not just going for the laugh; we’re literally trying to keep it as real as possible.” …

The 2001 cult comedy “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” certainly took its audience on a unique ride, one filled with anatomically incorrect punk rockers and those who love them. For his follow-up, writer/ director/ star John Cameron Mitchell plans to take his fans one step further, as he’s now steering the wheel of “Shortbus.” THINKFilm has acquired the rights to Mitchell’s comedy/drama, which delves into the lives of several straight and gay men in New York City and the complicated relationships that form between them after meeting in a Bohemian salon that shares its name with the film. The controversial flick, which debuted recently at the Cannes Film Festival, features several graphic sex scenes that could make a marketing campaign nearly impossible. Nevertheless, Mitchell expects “Shortbus” to drive into theaters unrated. …

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Since unveiling his Jigsaw Killer in “Saw,” Tobin Bell has haunted our nightmares for several years. Soon, he may run into some competition — himself. The veteran character actor has signed on to flirt with fatality again in the horror flick “Buried Alive,” which began shooting this month in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The movie stars Terence Jay (“Green Street Hooligans) as a college student who lures a doomed group of students to an abandoned ranch, planning to initiate two freshman sorority girls. With the initiation plans secretly covering up the character’s hunt for a long-forgotten treasure, the students unleash a ghost and begin to drop like flies. Bell, meanwhile, plays an ominous groundskeeper who tends to appear at suspicious times. Hazing has always had a reputation for getting intense, with pledges made to streak, eat goldfish and drink until they puke, but just imagine the torturous tasks Bell would force a pledge to do. Directed by special effects wizard Bob Kurtzman (“From Dusk Till Dawn”), the horror flick also stars “Nip/Tuck” actor Steve Sandvoss. …

Like zombies feasting on a breakfast of brains, fans of the “Resident Evil” franchise are always hungry for more. They’ll be glad to hear, then, that series stars Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr and Mike Epps have taken up residence in Mexico City to shoot a third flick titled “Extinction.” This time around, “Apocalypse” escapees Alice, Carlos and L.J. are joined by new survivors including a beautiful heroine (Ali Larter from the “Final Destination” films) and a freaked-out teenager (Spencer Locke from TV’s “That’s So Raven”). Sexy songstress Ashanti also joins the cast as Nurse Betty, who takes up their cause as they move the action to the Nevada desert. “Resident Evil: Extinction” promises to fully unveil Alice’s powers of superhuman strength, senses and dexterity, which have been alluded to throughout the first two films. The horror thriller, again based on the popular video game of the same name, is expected in theaters next year. …

If there’s one thing “Harold & Kumar” star John Cho knows about, it’s the joys of hallucinogenic drugs. It seems only natural, then, that Anna Faris would solicit his help in making an offbeat “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!” for a new generation. “I’m a huge fan of Anna Faris, so when I heard about it I said yes immediately,’ ” Cho said of “Smiley Face,” a flick that has Faris accidentally eating her roommate’s pot brownies and then setting out for a day of trippy misadventures. “It’s going to be Anna Faris doing what she does best in a big format, which is comedy.” Laughing, he added: “I play a sausage-truck delivery man, and there’s a lot of carnage, and Anna and I have an odd dream sequence, and I’ll leave it at that.” The flick, which also stars Adam Brody, Danny Masterson and John Krasinski (“The Office”), recently finished filming and is due in theaters in 2007. …

“Hustle & Flow” actress Taraji P. Henson has yet to shoot “Talk to Me,” her next movie, but that isn’t stopping her from making a bold prediction. “It’s a Don Cheadle you haven’t seen yet. … I guarantee he will get an Oscar nomination for this.” The up-and-coming actress insisted that Cheadle is undergoing a startling transformation for his role in the movie, which is based on a true story. “It’s a period piece that takes place from the late ’60s through the ’80s, so of course I get to play dress-up with afros and stuff.” Laughing, Henson explained: “It’s about this civil-rights activist who is a disc jockey named Petey Greene. He was actually responsible for keeping the peace after the riots in Washington, D.C. He became a huge star. He was on Johnny Carson, and he ended up becoming a huge comedian, performer and political person. When he passed away, about 10,000 people came to his funeral, so he made a huge impact.” Filming begins this week in Toronto, with a release timed to make Cheadle’s Petey Greene performance eligible for that Best Actor statue at the 2007 Oscars.

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[This story was originally published at 6:00 a.m. on 06.15.06]