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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   July 9, 2002 at 4:08 PM
SUPERHEROES COME TO BLOWS

Wolfgang Petersen ("The Perfect Storm" and "Air Force One") will direct "Batman vs. Superman," expected in theaters in 2004.

The screenplay, written by Andrew Kevin Walker ("Sleepy Hollow" and "Se7en"), depicts the superheroes as allies who wind up in an epic battle over their different approaches to work -- with Superman as a conventional good guy committed to truth and justice, and Batman interested in vengeance.

Peterson said the movie will not be a continuation of the series that featured Christopher Reeve in four "Superman" movies from 1978-87. No one has been cast yet for the two starring roles.


SHARON STONE'S NEXT

Sharon Stone seems ready to get back to movie work, two years after her starring roles in "Simpatico" and "Beautiful Joe."

She has reportedly in talks to co-star with Rupert Everett ("The Importance of Being Earnest" and "My Best Friend's Wedding") in "A Different Loyalty," the true story of Eleanor and Harold "Kim" Philby. Kim Philby, a legendary Cold War double agent, infiltrated British intelligence for the Soviet Union before defecting to Moscow in 1963.

Stone is also reportedly negotiating to star in "Liar's Club," described as the story of a dysfunctional family that splits apart and then gets back together twice.


MADONNA IN NEW BOND PICTURE

Madonna, who performs the title song for the upcoming James Bond movie "Die Another Day," has snagged a cameo role in the picture.

The pop icon will play a fencing instructor in a scene with Pierce Brosnan as Bond and Toby Stephens ("Onegin" and "Cousin Bette") as Gustav Graves, the villain of this piece.


CASTING NOTES

Vin Diesel ("XXX," "The Fast and the Furious") reportedly will play Hannibal, the third century B.C. Carthaginian general whose army stormed across southern Europe and handed Rome one of the worst military defeats in its history.

Widely regarded as one of the great military geniuses of all times, Hannibal, however, failed to get closer than 150 kilometers to Rome and was eventually driven out of Carthage. He chose to take his own life rather than to submit to defeat by Rome in 182 B.C.

Robert Altman ("Gosford Park") and Cate Blanchett ("The Lord of the Rings" and "Bandits") are cooking up a movie for HBO about the life of Mata Hari, the exotic dancer that turned spy.

Glenn Close ("Sarah, Plain and Tall" and "Fatal Attraction") will co-star with Ellen Burstyn ("Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood") in a Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" for CBS. It is based on the Susan Vreeland novel that traces the ownership history of a painting believed to be a lost masterpiece by Vermeer.


HASSELHOFF IN REHAB

David Hasselhoff ("Baywatch" and "Knight Rider") has checked himself into The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. for treatment of alcoholism.

Hasselhoff, who will turn 50 on July 17, announced his decision in a statement issued by his publicist, Richard Hoffman.

"He realized his social drinking had increased more than he was comfortable with," said Hoffman. "And he decided to do something about it."

Hasselhoff checked into the center on June 26. There was no word on when he plans on leaving it.


FAMED DISNEY ANIMATOR DIES

Ward Kimball, the Disney animator best known for Jiminy Cricket ("Pinocchio") and the Mad Hatter ("Alice in Wonderland"), died of natural causes Monday at a hospital in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia, Calif.

Kimball, 88, was one of the last of Disney's legendary "Nine Old Men" -- the team of animators who piloted Walt Disney Animation through its most celebrated era. He joined Disney in 1934 and worked there until he retired in 1973.

He was also known for his work on Mickey Mouse, the features "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "Cinderella," "Fantasia," "Mary Poppins," "Peter Pan" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Two of his Disney animated shorts -- "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" (1953) and "It's Tough to be a Bird" (1969) -- won Oscars.


ACADEMY GETS FAIRBANKS COLLECTION

The family of Douglas Fairbanks Sr. donated the screen legend's personal collection of photographs and papers to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library.

The collection includes about 3,000 photographs and more than 200 original negatives chronicling Fairbanks' career. Linda Mehr, director of the library, said it is one of the most significant photo collections ever of the library.

"Of all the major silent film stars, the Library had the least amount of information on Fairbanks, which is somewhat ironic given that he was the Academy's first president," Mehr said.

A major part of the Fairbanks collection comes from still photos books from five of the 13 pictures Fairbanks did for Paramount Artcraft between 1917 and 1919. The collection also includes scene stills from some of Fairbanks' later films, including "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924), "The Black Pirate" (1926) and "The Iron Mask" (1929).

It also features theatrical stills from Fairbanks' early days as a Broadway actor and personal photos, including his European honeymoon with Mary Pickford in 1920. There are also paper documents including contracts, bank statements, income tax documents, property leases and correspondence with other screen legends, such as Joan Crawford, Cary Grant and Laurence Olivier.

The Academy will rename the Center for Motion Picture Study -- the building that houses the Herrick Library -- the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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