Movie File: ‘Hairspray,’ Pierce Brosnan, Kristen Stewart & More

Queen Latifah says John Travolta has 'cutest booty' in 'Hairspray.'

With “Dreamgirls” leading this year’s Oscar race and “Chicago” having similarly dominated just a few years ago, you might be wondering who the next Oscar-baiting singing sensation will be. Could it be John Travolta — in a dress? ” ‘Hairspray’ is gonna be a great movie,” Queen Latifah promised this week, discussing the July 20 blockbuster that casts her alongside Amanda Bynes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and a barely recognizable Travolta as the motherly Edna Turnblad. “John Travolta is extremely funny in this movie. Every day we worked together on the set I just laughed my ass off, because he’s just so funny and he’s cute. He has, like, the cutest booty in this — this woman’s suit — and the nicest legs! All the ladies on the set were jealous of his … um, legs.” Directed by Adam Shankman (“The Pacifier,” “Cheaper by the Dozen 2″), the flick is an adaptation of the musical based on the classic John Waters movie and casts Travolta in the role traditionally played by such men as Bruce Vilanch and Harvey Fierstein. “[He's unrecognizable] in this woman’s suit, because she had pretty, smooth legs with no scars, no nothing on them, no hair,” Latifah added. “Adam did a great job, the choreography is crazy, and it was just good energy on the set.” Latifah said she’s thrilled to be in her first musical since “Chicago” earned her an Oscar nomination. “The music is gonna be cool,” she added. …

You’d better break out some fava beans and a nice Chianti, because if “Hannibal Rising” super-producer Dino de Laurentiis has his way, the fourth story — five if you count remakes — about Hannibal Lecter is just beginning. “I presume that we created a success with this new franchise about young Hannibal Lecter, and I want to start to think about going ahead with the story,” de Laurentiis told MTV News. With this month’s “Rising,” fans learn the origins of Anthony Hopkins‘ classic “Silence of the Lambs” character, who is played in the new film by Gaspard Ulliel. De Laurentiis says Hannibal could become an even bigger evil superstar with more series installments. “How many James Bond [movies are] there? … Every two years a James Bond movie [seemingly] comes out,” de Laurentiis reasoned, adding that any future Lecter story would likely center on the unusual relationship between Lecter and his “Rising” love interest, Gong Li. “You see in the movie that … it’s an attraction, but nothing serious happens,” de Laurentiis said. “In the future, maybe something happens, if we go with [another sequel].” …

Speaking of 007, the world has a new James Bond, but have you been wondering what happened to the last guy since he turned in his license to kill? Pierce Brosnan recently told MTV News about his new thriller “Butterfly on a Wheel,” a kidnapping movie he’ll soon shoot with Maria Bello. “The film after that is ‘Married Life.’ … It was called ‘Marriage,’ but now it’s called ‘Married Life.’ ” That period drama will cast Brosnan opposite Rachel McAdams as a scheming husband — but it’s the actor’s third upcoming film that seems to be the most likely blockbuster. ” ‘The Thomas Crown Affair II’ as it’s called, yeah, it’s happening,” Brosnan nodded, referring to the sequel for his 1999 caper flick. “The script just came in the other day; it’s being worked on as we speak. [We're using 1964's] ‘Topkapi,’ the dated — and, you know, a bit creaky, but nevertheless loved and admired — movie from that genre of film that stands the test of time for what it was about.” Referring to the unusual move of remaking an unaffiliated flick as a sequel to another remake, Brosnan said the old plot about stealing a bejeweled dagger provides the perfect bait for his slick millionaire to step out of retirement. …

All you need is love, according to “The Messengers” actress Kristen Stewart, who told MTV News her next film is about two “amazing love stories.” “I’m just about to start a movie called ‘The Yellow Handkerchief’ with William Hurt and — as it turns out — Maria Bello,” the 16-year-old up-and-comer reported this week. “Lately I’ve tried a bunch of different stuff, but this is what I’m really into. It’s character-driven, really quirky, sensitive and sweet.” Stewart said the movie follows “three very unlikely characters who come together … out of need.” For Stewart, no thread was more “amazing” than the love story between Hurt and Bello. “We sort of deliver William to her,” Stewart said. Production on the film — which is told with “all these [haunting] flashbacks,” according to Stewart — begins in April, with shooting in Louisiana. …

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a period between the 1995 Geena Davis bomb “Cutthroat Island” and the 2003 breakthrough “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” when Hollywood considered swashbuckling films to be box-office poison. Now, with several high-powered cowboy flicks on the way, studios are betting big bucks on a similar Western resurrection. “I love Westerns more than anything,” actor Pat Healy remarked recently, discussing “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” the epically titled autumn release that has him playing opposite Brad Pitt. “I play Wilbur Ford, who is the brother of Bob and Charley Ford, who become members of Jesse James’ gang — and Bob ends up becoming resentful of Jesse James and killing him,” Healy said. Directed by acclaimed “Chopper” filmmaker Andrew Dominik, the flick — which also stars Sam Rockwell and Casey Affleck — is destined to battle Christian Bale‘s “3:10 to Yuma” as the highest-profile oater of the year. “I play the brother who is not the sharpest knife in the barrel, doesn’t go out with them and stays home at the farm. There’s a very big sequence, the sequence the whole film turns on — almost a comedy of errors, a very dark murderous cowboy thing that happens — and I’m caught up in the middle of it.” Grinning, the veteran TV actor added that he hopes Brad Pitt’s Jesse James will be to cowboys what Jack Sparrow is to pirates. “I actually just wrote a Western called ‘Snow Ponies’ that’s been optioned by a company at Paramount,” Healy said. “I really hope Westerns come back, because the great American iconic films are Westerns.” …

With just a few more weeks until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, baseball will soon be in full swing again, which can only mean one thing: A baseball movie to capitalize on the fans who helped turn “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” into blockbusters. ” ‘The Final Season’ is based on a true story,” 19-year-old Michael Angarano said of this year’s most promising entry, which pits the “Lords of Dogtown” star opposite Sean Astin and Rachael Leigh Cook, and under the masterful baseball eye of “The Sandlot” director David M. Evans. “[It's the story] of a high school baseball team in Iowa that has won the state baseball championship 19 times. Which is a pretty amazing feat,” Angarano said. “It’s a very nice story about an American town and its people.” The actor added that Evans will once again keep the action on the field accurate, and that the actor’s hacks at the plate won’t look like some Hollywood pretty boy who just picked up a bat. “I think it looks good,” he said of his swing.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Hairspray,” “Hannibal Rising” and “”The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

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