Movie File: Steve Carell, Robin Williams, Jessica Biel, ‘Halo’ & More

Carell ready to step into Maxwell Smart's shoe-phones; Williams goes to rehab; Biel wanted more screentime with 50 Cent.

Fans of “Get Smart” have been missing Maxwell Smart by that much ever since his classic TV show went off the air more than three decades ago. Now, die-hard fan Steve Carell is so eager to step into the spoof-sleuth’s shoe-phones that he’s putting a big-screen remake ahead of the nearly half-dozen other projects begging for his attention. “That’s going to start in March,” the “40-Year-Old Virgin” funnyman insisted, professing his love for the Mel Brooks-created show that mocked the James Bond universe. “They’re hiring production designers, and they’re scouting locations,” Carell said. Carell has said he’ll interpret the character as more of a tribute to original star Don Adams than a straight-out mimic of him and that the biggest challenge for himself and director Peter Segal is to conclude the ongoing search for Max’s sexy female equivalent, as well as their frustrated supervisor. “The main thrust of their thing right now is to try to figure out who will play 99,” Carell revealed. “There’s the Chief and 99 — and there are a couple other [key] parts — but those are the two main characters they want to cast right now.” Casting announcements are expected soon, and audiences should finally be able to see the clueless Max return to the cone of silence sometime in 2008. …

Comedy superstar and Oscar-winning “Night Listener” actor Robin Williams has suffered a relapse in his lengthy battle with substance abuse, checking himself into rehab Wednesday. “After 20 years of sobriety, Robin Williams found himself drinking again,” his publicist Mara Buxbaum said in a statement. “[He] has decided to take proactive measures to deal with this for his own well-being and the well-being of his family.” The 55-year-old Williams starred in the recent hit “R.V.” and expects to be able to do press tours for the films “Happy Feet”, “Man of the Year” and “Night at the Museum” later this year. “He asks that you respect his and his family’s privacy during this time,” the statement added. “[Williams] looks forward to returning to work this fall to support his upcoming film releases.” …

In December, Jessica Biel returns to theaters with a “very different” dramatic role in the Iraq war film “Home of the Brave.” “I play an American soldier coming home from Iraq who sustains a really serious physical injury, and I have to assimilate back into my normal life,” the 24-year-old said of the flick, directed by Irwin Winkler. “[I tried to portray] how difficult that is mentally and emotionally and how I deal with that as a woman, now that I’m physically changed.” Biel couldn’t elaborate on what her physical disability is, but she did say her plot line deals more with co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Chad Michael Murray than 50 Cent. “I only worked with him one day, and we didn’t even speak to each other in that scene,” she said of the rapper/actor. “He’s with some soldiers, and I’m on my own with some other soldiers, and I walk by him. It was disappointing I didn’t really get to actually work with him, but he was lovely and really nice.” The film is due in theaters December 16. …

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As far as great titles are concerned, “Snakes on a Plane” may have to step aside to make room for “Bob Bailey’s Disco Balls,” the next spoof from the writer/directors of “Date Movie,” which has begun filming in the Los Angeles area. The zany flick features eccentric “Back to the Future” legend Crispin Glover as a Willie Wonka-like character, with “Date Movie” star Adam Campbell, “SNL” funnymen Darrell Hammond and Andy Samberg, and “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle” actor Kal Penn also on board. In addition to last year’s chocolaty Johnny Depp blockbuster, “Balls” has plans to spoof “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “King Kong”, “Nacho Libre” and even “Pirates of the Caribbean” (Hammond’s character is named Captain Jack Swallows). Fresher faces rounding out the cast include “White Chicks” actress Faune Chambers, “Red Eye” supporting player Jayma Mays and “The Hills” star Lauren “LC” Conrad in her feature-film debut. And yes, there will be Oompa Loompas. …

The highly anticipated film version of “Halo” has taken a major step forward: Rookie filmmaker Neill Blomkamp has been chosen to direct the video game adaptation. Executive producer Peter Jackson has selected the respected South African visual-effects whiz to oversee the story of Master Chief and his cohorts, which is targeting a summer 2008 release. …

Forget about voting for Pedro — soon, your box-office dollars will allow you to support “Employee of the Month,” an irreverent comedy starring “Napoleon Dynamite” sidekick Efren Ramirez and an odd collection of eye candy for both sexes. “Jessica Simpson plays a sweet, straight character wrapped around all these comedic actors — you’ve got Dane Cook, Dax Shepard, Andy Dick, Sean Whalen, Harland Williams — and then you’ve got me,” Ramirez grinned, discussing the film that pits two lazy Costco employees (Cook and Shepard) against each other in a contest to win the attention of their luscious co-worker (Simpson). “These guys are comedic geniuses and they know what they’re doing, but you’ve gotta write it, and Greg Coolidge (‘Sorority Boys’) not only wrote but directed it. It’s gonna be such a great comedic film.” The flick is currently slated for a September 15 release. …

Bad news for “Office Space” fans: Less than a month before its most recent release date, Mike Judge‘s long-awaited follow-up “Idiocracy” has been postponed indefinitely. Starring Luke Wilson, Justin Long and “Office Space” scene-stealer Stephen Root, the flick tells the story of a common man who awakes a thousand years in the future to discover that he’s the most intelligent person alive. Director/writer Judge is currently without a release date for the film, and rumors of a limited theatrical run are rampant. …

The days of summer may be winding down, but Keira Knightley would still like to offer fans a beach-reading recommendation that will get them ready for her upcoming project “Silk.” “It’s based on this amazing book that you should read,” she said of the period romance novel by Alessandro Baricco. “It’s very short, like 63 pages or something like that — a tiny book but achingly beautiful. I’ve just finished [filming] with the wonderful Michael Pitt, who is fab.” The film tells the story of a 19th-century French silkworm smuggler (Pitt) in a forbidden romance with a European concubine (Knightley). The film is due in October 2007, and is “a very quiet piece,” according to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star. …

What do you get when you mix “Reservoir Dogs” with “The Cube”? Greg Kinnear is hoping the answer is “Unknown,” a high-concept crime thriller starring himself and several other veteran actors. “I did it with James Caviezel and Barry Pepper,” he said. “It’s a film about a group of men who wake up in an undefined place, and they’re unsure as to how they got there and why they’re there.” Forced to determine their captor’s identity, they violently turn on each other. “All they know is that they have to get out,” Kinnear added, “and the clock is ticking.” The flick is due in theaters toward the end of this year. …

Now that veteran filmmaker Neil Marshall is on the map, thanks to “The Descent,” he’s eager to begin production on his next — much more high-budgeted — film. “I’m doing a kind of post-apocalyptic sci-fi thing called ‘Doomsday,’ which is my ‘Escape From New York,’ ” he said of the project, which has no actors yet but will tell the story of a disparate group that come together to try and save the future of the human race. “It’s my ‘Mad Max.’ I’ve written it over the past year, and I’m just about to start production.”

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