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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 12, 2003 at 2:29 PM   |   Comments

BIG NAMES LOOKING AT MOVIE REMAKES

John Travolta and Jim Carrey are reportedly set to star in remakes of two classic movies about men with vivid imaginations that get them in trouble.

Travolta is said to be in talks to play Elwood P. Dowd in "Harvey." Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize winning play was first adapted for the screen in 1950 with James Stewart as a mild-mannered man with a friend -- a 6-foot rabbit -- that only he can see.

It was remade in 1957 as a television drama starring Art Carney, and brought back to TV again in 1972 with Stewart returning as Dowd. A hardy perennial, "Harvey" was revived once more for TV in 1996 with Harry Anderson ("Night Court").

Carrey is said to be preparing for "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" with Steven Spielberg directing. Danny Kaye starred in the 1947 movie, based on James Thurber's stories about a mild-mannered accountant who imagines himself the hero in daydreams.


GERE WILL DANCE AGAIN

Richard Gere, who turned song-and-dance man for "Chicago," will dance again -- in a remake of the 1996 Japanese ballroom dancing feature "Shall We Dance?"

The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday that production is scheduled to begin in June, with Peter Chelsom ("Serendipity," "Town & Country") directing.

"Shall We Dance?" is the story of a successful but unhappy man who takes dance lessons to make himself feel better, and ends up getting interested in a beautiful young dance teacher.


EASTWOOD READY TO GO BACK IN SPACE

Clint Eastwood is preparing to make a movie based on the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon.

According to Daily Variety, Eastwood has acquired the film rights to "First Man: A Life of Neil A. Armstrong," historian James R. Hansen's authorized biography of Armstrong. Hansen is expected to finish the book some time next year.

Eastwood last visited space in "Space Cowboys," the 2000 drama in which he, James Garner, Tommy Lee Jones and Donald Sutherland played aging astronauts pressed into an urgent space flight to repair and rescue a failing satellite.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker told Daily Variety the Armstrong project will take a close-up look at the astronaut's life.

"Millions of people watched Neil Armstrong step out onto the moon's surface, and millions more have seen those images since the event happened," Eastwood said. "However, Armstrong himself is a very enigmatic person. James Hansen's book examines the life of a private man who shared a profound experience with the entire world; it's a story that I think would make an interesting movie."

Eastwood will produce and direct the movie, but will not star in it.


STARS LINE UP FOR OSCARS

Oscars telecast producer Gil Cates said Wednesday that two-time Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman will be a presenter at the 75th Anniversary Academy Awards.

It will be Hoffman's 10th appearance as a presenter on the Oscars telecast. Hoffman has been nominated for seven acting Oscars, winning twice for Best Actor -- for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and "Rain Man" (1988).

Cates has also announced that Richard Gere will make his fifth appearance as a presenter on the Oscars telecast.

Also, the first announcement has been made regarding performers on Oscar-nominated original songs. Lila Downs and Caetano Veloso will perform "Burn It Blue" from "Frida," in their first appearance on an Oscars show.

The 75th Anniversary Academy Awards will be presented on March 23 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, in ceremonies to be telecast by ABC.


VIEWERS TUNE IN TO SAG AWARDS

Turner Network Television said Wednesday it scored a ratings win with Sunday's telecast of the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.

Citing Neilsen Media Research data, TNT said the telecast put up its best-ever overnight rating in the 55 metered TV markets, posting a 33 percent improvement over the ratings for the 2002 SAG Awards show.

Apparently, viewers in several other cities were more interested in seeing actors congratulate themselves than those in the company town of Los Angeles. Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston, New York and Orlando all delivered a higher rating for the telecast than Los Angeles did.


MEMORIAL PLANNED FOR COMEDIAN GEORGE MILLER

A memorial service has been set for next Sunday at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood for standup comic George Miller, who died March 5 in Los Angeles.

Miller -- who had been treated for leukemia -- died at UCLA Medical Center from complications of a blood clot on his brain. He was 61.

The Seattle native was a particular favorite of David Letterman, and appeared on Letterman's shows more often than any other comedian. His last appearance on "Late Show with David Letterman" was Sept. 4, 2002.

© 2003 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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