Just in case "Clerks 2" doesn't sufficiently increase her geek fanbase to Natalie Portman-like proportions, Rosario Dawson is already preparing plans B and C, which will keep her busy into the middle of next year. First up is "Grind House," the irreverent half-and-half collaboration between directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. "I'm in Quentin's part," she said. "We're going to start shooting that in August and September with [actress] Tracie Thoms from 'Rent.' It's a double feature, old-school '70s grind-house kind of film. ... It's a gear-head thing." After that, Dawson will put in some more time with Rodriguez for "Sin City 2," a prequel to their 2005 graphic-novel flick. "I'm very lucky — or not lucky, I guess — because Frank [Miller] really liked drawing that outfit on Gail," she said of her character's famously skimpy costume. "She happens to be in all his books, and the one they're doing this time is 'A Dame to Kill For,' and she's in that one. ... It carries a much stronger story arc, and it'll be at the beginning of [explaining] why I'm so mad at [Clive Owen's] character and slapping him in the face." She added that she'll reluctantly slip back into Gail's slinky leather sometime next year. "I'm gonna squeeze back in," she said. "I might as well do it now, because I won't be able to do it in a couple years." ...

If you believe the tabloids, Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson spend every other weekend brawling with each other at Hollywood hotspots. Now, the actresses may finally be able to bond over one thing they can both agree on: the secret to their fabulously flawless skin. Lohan is celebrating her 20th birthday with a spankin' new deal as spokeswoman for Proactiv Solution, the same anti-zit concoction that burst onto the scene with seemingly never-ending infomercials starring her "Newlyweds" nemesis. The brand's 10th national television program hits airwaves this month, featuring Lohan and her acne-suffering horror stories. "My skin, thanks to Proactiv, is clear all the time," Lohan said in a statement announcing her deal. "Proactiv heals acne, but the best thing is that it's super gentle." Simpson is believed to be continuing her association with Proactiv and manufacturer Guthy-Renker, although details on whether the former teen queens will be zapping zits together on-camera remain, well, unclear. ...

Is Wolverine really a song-and-dance man? The truth is explored with "X-Men 3: The Last Standing Ovation," a mock trailer from the creators of the recent Internet phenomenon "Brokeback to the Future." Placing footage from the "X-Men" movies alongside clips of actor Hugh Jackman's recent foray into musical theater, the spoof reveals a repressed desire that Logan might be trying to keep in the closet. The brand-new mock trailer can be found at YouTube.com. ...

Hot off one of the biggest films of the summer, "Superman Returns" actor Kal Penn is looking forward to once again getting mellow with an old bud. "I've read stuff about it that the writers have sent to me," he said recently of "Harold & Kumar Go To Amsterdam," the sequel to the 2004 cult classic that had the dim duo seeking out a White Castle. "It will be the same thing as the first one. It's very lighthearted and has very over-the-top sequences that are very unexpected." According to Penn's co-star, John Cho, the stoner sequel is set to film in early 2007. ...

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Five years ago, Kate Hudson came out of nowhere with an "Almost Famous" Oscar nomination she'd eventually lose to Marcia Gay Harden. Now, after five years of work in more mainstream fare, the 27-year-old actress is readying a pedigreed role that could finally get her up on the Academy's podium. "A Dream of Red Mansions" is about an American photojournalist who falls in love with a man she reconnects with in China. "But he heads up Mao Zedong's Communist Party," Hudson said. "She moves to China, becomes a Communist and over the course of years, they have children. China starts to really become a disastrous place right when they start realizing that communism probably isn't what people thought it was going to be." Based on a true story, Hudson will star as Diana Mellors, a controversial figure during the mid-20th century. "She was one of the first photojournalists to get pictures from China back into the United States, was considered a spy and escaped execution twice. But throughout the whole thing, they maintained their relationship, because they loved each other, and it's a really beautiful story." Due to begin filming this fall, the flick will be directed by "Double Jeopardy" helmer Bruce Beresford and will star fellow Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe as the object of Hudson's affection. "He's a real thorough actor. He's going to be playing a Chinese man, and he's Japanese, so he wants to live with a Chinese man and have somebody at all times on set," Hudson reported. ...

Filming has officially begun on "The Hitcher," a remake of the 1986 cult thriller about a murderous hitchhiker. Produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company — which remade "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Amityville Horror" — the film stars Sophia Bush (TV's "One Tree Hill") and Zachary Knighton ("The Prince & Me"), two traveling college students who fall prey to John Ryder, played by Sean Bean. Marking the feature filmmaking debut of video director Dave Meyers (the Offspring's "Original Prankster"), the flick will open in spring 2007. ...

For those who still have the stomach for it, yet another piece of "American Pie" is in the oven. Production has begun on "American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile," the second straight-to-video release in the hugely successful series, following on the heels of last year's "Band Camp." The fifth chapter of the "Pie" epic tells the story of Erik Stifler, younger brother of Seann William Scott's Steve, who is on the verge of graduating high school as (gasp!) a virgin. Scott will not be appearing in the film — in fact, none of the original series stars are listed in the current cast — but "Happy Gilmore" baddie Christopher McDonald will be there, along with relative newcomers John White ("How to Deal"), Ross Thomas ("The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold") and Steve Talley ("Peaceful Warrior"). The film will be directed by "George Lucas in Love" phenom Joe Nussbaum and is currently filming in and around Toronto.

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