Kate Beckinsale is the newest addition to the ranks of the heavy-duty cast assembled for "Snow Angels," adapted from the novel that helped earn Stewart O'Nan a reputation as one of America's top young novelists. Also starring Sam Rockwell ("Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), Emily Mortimer ("Match Point") and Amanda Peet ("Syriana"), the film boasts the indie double-team of director Jesse Peretz ("The Chateau") and writer David Gordon Green ("Undertow"). The story focuses on the aftermath of two failed marriages, connected through tragedy, as a man returns to his hometown to confront his past. "It's set in a small town, and it's fairly dark," Beckinsale said. "We've divorced, and have a child together and a very tricky marriage, and it's pretty hard." ...

As those who have seen him in person can attest, Michael Clarke Duncan is a really, really big man, and now he's about to star in a really, really strange film called "Blaze." I play a really weird character," he said, flashing one of his trademark grins while discussing the secretive project. "[I'm] a colonel in the Army, and he disappears in certain instances. ... It's an action [film]; he only appears in certain situations. It's like he's not real. I'll let you dwell and chew on that for a while." The crime thriller stars Til Schweiger ("King Arthur") and tells a complex story of infidelity, rape and revenge. "It's going to be interesting," Duncan added, apologizing that he could only reveal one more detail: It is definitely not a remake of the 1989 political biopic of the same name. "I could never do anything that Paul Newman did," he chuckled. "That's history right there." The new "Blaze" begins shooting next month in Toronto. ...

If you've ever dreamed of watching Bilbo Baggins take one in the crotch, or Legolas Greenleaf do a spit take, get thee to Pasadena, California, for this year's only official "Lord of the Rings" convention, January 20-22. New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson have furnished the annual One Ring Celebration with never-before-seen bloopers that somehow escaped the series' 9 billion hours of DVD features, and there are no immediate plans to make them available elsewhere. Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd are expected to attend the convention and, although blooper details are being kept top-secret, one can only hope for an alternative "Return of the King" conclusion with Astin accidentally passing gas while being hugged goodbye. Event details are available at CreationEnt.com. ...

For four years now, fans of the animated hit "Ice Age" have remained frozen in anticipation, hoping to someday revisit Scrat, Sid and Manfred. Now Queen Latifah is offering some hot details to help thaw them out. "I play Ellie, a wooly mammoth who thinks she's a possum," said rapper/actress, who voices a new character in the sequel "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown," due March 31. "It's going to be fun." John Leguizamo, who voices the slippery Sid, has already revealed that he sings a tune this time around, but Latifah warns: "No singing in this one [for me]," she laughed. "I'm just acting." Offering up the possibility that Ellie could become a love interest for Ray Romano's mammoth ("Could be, could be; it could lead there"), the film centers around the end of the ice age, and the characters' struggles to keep up with evolution. Seann William Scott and Jay Leno have also joined the cast for the second adventure. ...

This month Scott Speedman will once again simultaneously portray a human, a vampire and a werewolf as the endlessly conflicted "Underworld" character Michael Corvin. Earlier this week he began a new movie that allows him to concentrate on a single identity and, thankfully, doesn't involve blue body paint. "I'm starting a pretty interesting serial-killer movie called 'Anamorph,' as in anamorphic lens," the former "Felicity" hunk revealed. The film, which will also feature Willem Dafoe, Peter Stormare ("The Brothers Grimm") and Clea DuVall ("The Grudge"), begins when "somebody starts doing these very, very, very creative murders in the vein of Francis Bacon paintings," Speedman explained. "There's a pretentious quality to the movie, but it's pretty good. ... It's going to be really visually pleasing. I like movies like that, and I can see in between the lines how this movie's going to look really great." The flick will continue filming in the upcoming weeks, with Speedman cast as a detective pursuing the elusive killer. "Hopefully it's really good. We're going to make it good, [so that it will] come out as a big release." ...

Super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer is planning to revisit "National Treasure," the 2004 smash that saw Nicolas Cage as heroic treasure hunter Ben Gates. "We're working on the screenplay," Bruckheimer said. "I think we'll hopefully get into production later in the year." Adding that plot details of the second adventure are still up in the air ("We're working it out"), Bruckheimer said he likes where things are headed: "It's real intriguing." ...

Derek Luke promises that "Hotstuff" is not the story of his sizzling status in Hollywood following 2002's "Antwone Fisher," but the drama might just reignite his buzz once again. "It's a political thriller set in South Africa," he said of the recently wrapped movie from the director of "The Quiet American" and co-starring Tim Robbins. "It's about an average man who did some extraordinary things, and I'm excited about it." Although the based-on-a-true-story apartheid-era tale is already invoking comparisons to "Hotel Rwanda," Luke insisted that Patrick Chamusso's struggle is quite different from that of Don Cheadle's Paul Rusesabagina. "Africa is a huge continent, and 'Hotel Rwanda' happened in a totally different country," he said. "South Africa is something totally different and apartheid is pretty much around the [story of] Nelson Mandela, and it takes place around this average man. The reason why he's so unique is that most people that won victory in South Africa were politically influenced. He was just a regular man and just felt injustice. He took the world on, and you'll have to see if he won." ...

As the third "Fast and the Furious" movie continues to film in the Los Angeles area, director Justin Lin ("Better Luck Tomorrow") gleefully reports that it is looking unlike anything racing fans have seen before. "I feel this one is very different. ... We're shooting stuff I've never seen in movies before," he reported of "Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift," which explores a real-life underground racing sensation. "The whole art of drifting, I've never seen that shot in movies, and it's very cinematic. ... It's only [a sequel] by name; it's a whole new cast, a whole new attitude, a whole new script. It's very different, and there's a rawness." Keeping with that theme, Lin has cast Bow Wow in a pivotal role that allows him to be uniquely gritty while still playing up his strengths. "The thing with Bow Wow is, he's a funny guy; he's a great guy. I think you're going to see that here; he's having fun. ... We went to Tokyo and I went back to the guerrilla indie style. I would have a camera and have him and Lucas (Black, 'Jarhead') run around Tokyo and just approach strangers and we'd improv. You're going to feel that energy, I think, when you're watching the movie." ...

Showbiz moms and aspiring actresses alike should start forging their passports if they want a shot at joining Hollywood's most powerful movie franchise. The makers of the soon-to-shot blockbuster "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" have announced an open casting call for the role of Luna Lovegood, the eccentric and awkward Hogwarts student who will eventually become a co-founder of "Dumbledore's Army" with Harry and his friends. Girls between the ages of 13 and 16 are invited to London's Central Hall Westminster this Saturday, where a line longer than the snake from "Chamber of Secrets" will no doubt await them. Sorry, JoJo — only residents of the U.K. and Ireland can apply.

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