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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   March 28, 2003 at 2:19 PM   |   Comments

'CHICAGO' TEAM READY TO CUT LOOSE

"Chicago" executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have told Daily Variety they will turn the 1984 Kevin Bacon hit "Footloose" into a full-scale movie musical.

Zadan and Meron said the actors in the movie will sing and dance themselves, and the movie will feature songs by Dean Pitchford, who also wrote the screenplay. Pitchford will serve as executive producer and write as many as four new songs for the movie.

"This is going to have a more experimental feel and will be closer in tone to 'Moulin Rouge' than 'Chicago,'" said Zadan.

"Footloose" -- Zadan's first producing credit -- starred Bacon as a newcomer to a small town who leads a revolution against the town's ban on rock 'n' roll by organizing a dance. The new project is not related to the stage adaptation of "Footloose" that played in New York several seasons back.

Zadan and Meron are also working on a new screen version of the classic Broadway musical "Guys and Dolls."


HONORS FOR FRITZ LANG

Turner Classic Movies will pay tribute to legendary movie director Fritz Lang on May 5, airing five of his movies including a restored version of "Metropolis."

TCM said the new version of Lang's 1927 futuristic fantasy features intertitles, recovered shots and a short scene never before included in previous theatrical or video releases. The original score by Gottfried Huppertz has been re-recorded by a 65-piece orchestra, and will be heard with the film for the first time since 1927.

The tribute will also feature airings of "The Blue Gardenia" (1953), "Moonfleet" (1955), "Fury" (1936) and "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" (1956).


NBC SETS 100TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE FOR BOB HOPE

An all-star cast has been assemble for "100 Years of Hope & Humor," an NBC TV special set for April 20 to honor legendary entertainer Bob Hope's 100th birthday.

Jane Pauley will host the show, which will feature appearances by Alan Alda, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Phyllis Diller, Kelsey Grammer, Jay Leno, Steve Martin, Arnold Palmer, Don Rickles, Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods. The show will also feature a special tribute from President George W. Bush.

The special will include footage of Hope with 11 U.S. presidents, his association with golf and other sports, his work with the USO, and vaudeville, film and television performances.

The guest list also includes Drew Carey, Bob Costas, Alan King, Bernie Mac, Eric McCormack, Jack Nicklaus, LeAnn Rimes, Joan Rivers, Ray Romano, Jane Russell, Brooke Shields and Raquel Welch.

Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903 in Eltham, England, and was raised in Cleveland.


UMA THURMAN'S NEXT

Uma Thurman will join Ben Affleck in the cast of "Paycheck," a sci-fi thriller based on a short story by Philip K. Dick.

Affleck plays an electrician whose employer erases his memory at the end of a two-year job, and sends him on his way with just a bag containing a few obscure clues about what he has done during that time.


JAMIE KENNEDY GETTING FITTED FOR A 'MASK'

Jamie Kennedy ("JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment") is reportedly up for the starring role on "Son of the Mask," a sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey comedy.

Lawrence Guterman ("Cats & Dogs") is onboard to direct.


BOX-OFFICE PREVIEW

Three new movies arrived in U.S. theaters Friday -- a Chris Rock comedy, a John Travolta thriller and a sci-fi thriller with an ensemble cast but no big stars.

Rock -- in his feature film directing debut -- stars as a Washington, D.C. politico who unexpectedly becomes the Democratic candidate for president in "Head of State."

Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson star in "Basic," the story of the search for an army drill instructor and his team in Panama.

"The Core" features Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank plays a member of a team of scientists dispatched to the center of the Earth restart the inner core -- which has stopped rotating.

Box-office analysts will also be watching to see what impact Oscar wins will have on "Chicago" (Best Picture), "The Pianist" (Best Actor and Best Director) and "The Hours" (Best Actress).

© 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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