Movie File: Jessica Simpson, Luke Wilson, ‘National Treasure 2′ & More

Wilson joins Simpson-starring 'Working Girl' remake; Nicolas Cage sequel to start filming in January.

Luke Wilson has joined Jessica Simpson as part of the cast of “Blonde Ambition,” a loose remake of the 1988 Melanie Griffith classic “Working Girl.” “It’s going to be Jessica Simpson’s next film,” said producer (and former “Malcolm in the Middle” star) Justin Berfield. “It’s basically about a young woman’s journey into the corporate empire. She starts at the bottom and works her way to the top.” The flick will offer the singer/actress her first leading role, as she steps into a character that landed Griffith an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. “The second we got the script, we just knew we had to go to her first, and fortunately she fell in love with the script as well,” Berfield remembered. Andy Dick is in discussions to play an “evil” secretary. “Blonde Ambition” begins filming November 27 in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is aiming for a summer release. …

You might not want to hold your breath for that fourth, forever-in-the-works Indiana Jones adventure, but fans can at least shift their excitement over to the return of another well-known treasure hunter. “I met with Nic yesterday, and it’s getting very close,” superproducer Jerry Bruckheimer said of “National Treasure 2,” the soon-to-shoot sequel to Nicolas Cage‘s 2004 hit. “We’re going to start filming in January.” Discussing the flick’s script, Bruckheimer revealed, “It’s another little treasure hunt, and this time it involves [Abe] Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth and 18 pages which are actually missing from [Lincoln's] diary.” Teasing the plot further, Bruckheimer posed the central question of the sequel. “What was in those 18 pages?” …

Ice Cube has a message for people who want to rush production on one of his upcoming comedies: Up your nose with a rubber hose! “With ‘Welcome Back, Kotter,’ we’re just trying to get that right,” Cube said of the big-screen remake that will give the ’70s sitcom a modern makeover, with the “Barbershop” star in the Gabe Kaplan role. “We’re trying to get the money right, trying to get the script right,” he said. “I’m not going to do a corny version, if it all goes well.” …

Quick Oscar-hopeful update: The release dates for two high-profile flicks have been moved, with George Clooney‘s “The Good German” now opening December 25 and Leonardo DiCaprio‘s drama “Blood Diamond” moving to December 8. …

Is Will Ferrell on his way to becoming the next “Neon” Deion Sanders? The actor/comedian is in the process of adding “two-sport athlete” to his résumé with a pair of sports comedies on the way — starting with March’s synchronized-skating spoof “Blades of Glory,” alongside “Napoleon Dynamite” star Jon Heder. “Jon and I [have been] on skates [a lot] this year. [We] wrapped at the beginning of September, so we were skating almost for like eight months here and there,” Ferrell marveled. “It was a very eye-opening experience, physically, to all of a sudden be making fun of a sport that’s so hard to do. I felt slightly sacrilegious to be doing it once I learned how hard it was, and then I said, ‘Who am I kidding? This sport’s ridiculous!’ ” Ferrell is also developing “Semi-Pro,” a basketball comedy set in the ’70s that begins filming in February in Minneapolis. “[I've got] the beginnings of an Afro,” Ferrell laughed, alluding to his in-development Foxy Cleopatra hairdo. “I played a lot of basketball in high school, on and off. So that’ll be a much easier transition than ice skates.” Finally, the “Talladega Nights” star reminded fans that he has no plans to revisit Frank the Tank. “I think [the 'Old School 2' rumor] was a sneaky trick by the good folks at DreamWorks to put that on IMDb so all of you would ask me thousands of times if that’s actually happening. I think they’re writing a script, but no one’s called me,” Ferrell grinned, then jokingly added, “Maybe they’re already shooting it in Mexico somewhere.” …

When it comes to gutsy or foolish directing moves, the top of the heap is probably Gus Van Sant‘s “Psycho” remake, followed by everything from Jonathan Demme‘s “Manchurian Candidate” to Paul Greengrass‘ “United 93″ mix of fiction and nonfiction. Somewhere in the middle, however, you might want to save a spot for the next project from “Narc” writer/director Joe Carnahan. “I’m going to do ‘White Jazz,’ which is a sequel to ‘L.A. Confidential,’ ” Carnahan divulged recently, dropping the bombshell that he’ll revisit the beloved 1998 nine-time Oscar nominee with none of the original talents aboard except Guy Pearce. “[I'm filming] at the end of next year, and there will be a little bit of casting news soon that I can’t discuss right now, but it is a big, big guy. It’s going to be a lot of fun. … My brother and I wrote the adaptation.” Carnahan said the entire film will be shot in Los Angeles beginning next November. …

Faster than a speeding bullet, Bryan Singer is returning to work on a “Superman Returns” sequel. Following up on a recent Comic-Con promise to make what he promised will be the “Wrath of Khan” of Superman flicks, the writer/director signed on the dotted line with Warner Bros. Pictures this week. Targeting a summer 2009 release, Singer is beginning the development process, and Brandon Routh is expected to return as the titular man in tights. …

Who is the next Will Ferrell, Jack Black or Mike Myers who will have us laughing for decades to come? According to “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” director Judd Apatow, it’s 22-year-old “Accepted” star Jonah Hill. The red-hot filmmaker has cast the hefty funnyman in several upcoming projects and recently purchased a pitch from the young star. “I sold a movie to Universal, and Judd is going to produce it and I’m going to write it. Right now, it’s called ‘The Middle Child,’ ” reported Hill, a real-life middle kid himself. “It’s about a guy who comes home from college and is not really close to his family. He’s always been the outcast of his family. He comes home and finds a guy a few years older than him in his house, and he doesn’t know who the guy is, and the parents explain to him that they had another child a few years before him and put him up for adoption. I have a younger sister in the film as well, so I become a middle child in my 20s. I start going through middle-child syndrome basically. Like, they’ll start going places and forget to invite me, and stuff like that.” Hill hopes to be finished with the script in February and expects Apatow to help him line up some big names for supporting roles. The actor has been writing for several years, but “Middle Child” is his first script sale. …

Continuing his well-documented obsessions with underwater life and emerging 3-D technology, James Cameron will produce a yet-untitled thriller directed by veteran filmmaker Gary Johnstone. Shot on the 3-D Fusion camera system that Cameron helped develop, the film will tell the story of a group of cave divers trapped deep below sea level, including a father and son. “Earthship is a small guerrilla group that has proven itself capable of efficient production under the most intense conditions anywhere in the world,” Cameron said in a statement, alluding to the production company he founded to make “Ghosts of the Abyss” and other such flicks. “We decided to make a gritty, expedition-themed film using the 3-D cameras and techniques that we’ve developed.” The film is expected to be released in traditional theaters in 2-D and simultaneously dropped into digitally equipped 3-D venues as well.

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