Natalie Portman will star in "V is for Vendetta," a futuristic thriller with a screenplay co-written by "The Matrix" creators Andy and Larry Wachowski. James McTeigue, the first assistant director on "The Matrix" movies, will make his directorial debut on the movie, which Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers are producing. Shooting, on location in Berlin, is scheduled to start in March and the movie is due in the fall. ...

Jude Law capped off a eventful autumn (he appeared in six movies) by proposing to his girlfriend and "Alfie" co-star Sienna Miller on Christmas morning. Miller, who is now wearing a gold ring with nine diamonds set in platinum, is filming a Casanova biopic with Heath Ledger, while Law is working on "All the King's Men." ...

Movies made a record $9.4 billion at the domestic box office in 2004, according to tracking firm Exhibitor Relations, but the record gross was due more to rising ticket prices than attendance. The number of moviegoers actually fell from 1.54 billion in 2003 to 1.51 billion, about 1.7 percent. ...

Samaire Armstrong, who starred in the first season of "The O.C." and will return for a second season of HBO's "Entourage," has joined the cast of the untitled Lindsay Lohan romantic comedy about a lucky lady whose life is turned upside down after meeting the unluckiest man. Armstrong will play Lohan's best friend and a struggling songwriter. ...

"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" star David Carradine has joined Wyclef Jean and Kurupt in the cast of "Click," a "hip-hop western" about outlaws who rob a bank at the end of the United States' Civil War. The film's soundtrack will feature rap music. ...

Michael Keaton, making the rounds to promote "White Noise," has said he hopes to make another "Beetlejuice" movie. Keaton's only requirement is that director Tim Burton is involved, and although Burton has said he is not interested in directing, the two have talked about producing together and hiring a writer and director. ...

Mario López, immortalized as A.C. Slater on "Saved by the Bell," has signed on to star in "The Goal," a soccer drama produced by Spike Lee. The movie, about a man who rises from the streets of Rio de Janeiro to become the top player in the world, will shoot in November in Brazil and Florida. ...

Topher Grace is earning rave reviews for "In Good Company," but the breakout star of the movie might be singer/songwriter Sam Beam, who, with his band Iron and Wine, contributed songs to several key scenes. "With 'About a Boy,' I had sort of gotten to the point where I realized I hated most music in movies," director Paul Weitz, best known for "American Pie," explained. "Usually what you do is you make a deal with the record company and they give you a bucket of things and you get a couple things you like and a couple things they want in your movie. But I just decided not to make any deals with any record labels and just pick music that I like. I used a couple of Sam's existing songs and then he wrote one for the movie." ...

Dallas natives Owen, Luke and Andrew Wilson will premiere their upcoming comedy "The Wendell Baker Story" at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. The film will show on March 11, the first night of the week-long festival. Todd Solondz, the director of movies such as "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness," is also premiering his new "Palindromes," which stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, and is scheduled to speak to festivalgoers. ... "Wolf Creek," a low-budget Australian thriller expected to be a hot topic when it makes its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later in the month, has already been snatched up by Dimension Films. Inspired by real events, the movie follows three Australian outback travelers threatened by a seemingly harmless local.

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