HOOKING UP WITH WILLIS
Willis' production company will make the picture, with Willis starring as a former rodeo star who goes on to a new career as a stuntman in Hollywood -- then returns home to find out that bad guys have taken over the family ranch. "Tenkiller" is scheduled to be published this fall as part of a collection of Leonard short stories.
Daily Variety reported that Leonard immediately thought of Willis for the part when he finished the story, and that Willis loved it. Leonard and Willis are looking for a screenwriter for the project.
The 77-year-old Leonard is enjoying quite a run in Hollywood.
Following recent successful adaptations of his books "Get Shorty" and "Out of Sight," there are plans for Owen Wilson ("Zoolander," "Shanghai Noon") to star in a new movie version of Leonard's novel "The Big Bounce" -- which was made into a 1969 movie starring Ryan O'Neal.
There are also plans for a movie adaptation of Leonard's "Tishimingo Blues," with Don Cheadle ("Out of Sight," "Ocean's Eleven") starring and making his feature-directing debut.
DE NIRO SUES OVER PHOTO
Robert De Niro has filed a lawsuit against a photo agency -- Celebrity Vibe Inc. -- accusing the company of violating his civil rights and his right to privacy by surreptitiously taking photographs of his 58th birthday party on Aug. 17, 2001, and selling them to newspapers.
The papers managed to get pictures of De Niro and Sean Penn blowing out candles on a birthday cake at De Niro's Tribeca loft.
De Niro also named photographers Jeffrey Boyard and Selma Fonesca as defendants in a $1 million lawsuit filed last week in New York. The Oscar-winning actor's suit also accused the defendants of intentionally inflicting emotional distress, trespassing and fraud.
De Niro's lawyer, Tom Harvey, told the New York Daily News the pictures were shot by someone who sneaked into the party.
"They crossed the line this time," said Harvey.
Robert Redford is reportedly on board to star in "The Clearing" as a wealthy businessman who is kidnapped by a disgruntled employee of his firm.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Helen Mirren ("Gosford Park") is in talks to play his wife, who must pay the ransom and rescue her husband. Producer Pieter Jan Brugge ("The Insider," "Bulworth") is scheduled to make his directing debut on the project.
FIRMING UP THE LINEUP FOR NY FESTIVAL
Organizers of next month's 40th New York Film Festival have announced that the lineup will include "Autofocus" and "Love and Diane."
"Autofocus" is the new project by writer-director Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver," "American Gigolo"), starring Greg Kinnear ("As Good as It Gets") as the late "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane and Willem Dafoe as John Carpenter -- the man who was tried and acquitted on charges of killing Crane in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1978.
"Love and Diane," directed by newcomer Jennifer Dworkin, tells the story of a black family in America across three generations.
The festival opens on Sept. 27 with "About Schmidt," a new film by Alexander Payne ("Election"), starring Jack Nicholson as a man who is forced to re-evaluate his life as he approaches retirement and his daughter makes plans to marry a man he does not approve of.
The festival will also feature a screening of "Punch-Drunk Love," the new film by Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia," "Boogie Nights"). Adam Sandler stars as a man who collects frequent-flier coupons on pudding packages, and uses them to fly to Hawaii to look for a woman he meets by chance and cannot forget.
CBS is planning a legal drama for the 2003-02 season set 50 years in the future,
The series is being developed by producer-writers Paul Attanasio ("The Sum of All Fears," "Quiz Show").
The announcement comes less than one week after Fox TV said it has struck a deal with Steven Bochco -- the Emmy-winning creator of "NYPD Blue" and "Hill Street Blues" -- to produce a new cop show set in 2069.
CATCHING A WAVE
Writer-director John Stockwell -- whose current project "Blue Crush" opened at No. 3 at the U.S. box office last weekend -- is taking his act to the small screen, with plans calling for him to develop an action-drama series set in Hawaii.
"The Break" follows a law enforcement officer who returns to his roots in Oahu, taking a job with the Honolulu police, so he can work on improving his relationship with his adolescent son.