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Hollywood Digest

By PAT NASON, UPI Hollywood Reporter   |   April 10, 2003 at 5:47 PM   |   Comments

NEW CAINE MOVIE INVITES CONTROVERSY

A new Michael Caine movie being shot in France promises to provoke controversy over its depiction of a cover-up of a World War II atrocity.

Caine stars with Alan Bates, Jeremy Northam, Charlotte Rampling and Tilda Swinton in "The Statement" -- as a French collaborator who sentenced seven French Jews to be executed by a Nazi firing squad. It's being directed by Oscar winner Norman Jewison ("Moonstruck," "In the Heat of the Night").

Jewison told Hollywood columnist Army Archerd the movie is set in 1992, when Caine's character was chased throughout France in an attempt to bring him to trial.

"He was protected by certain factions in the Catholic Church and the French government," said Jewison. "The film packs a wallop."

The movie was written by Ronald Harwood, who won the adapted screenplay Oscar last month for the World War II drama "The Pianist."


NEW DEAL FOR A 'FRIEND'

NBC has signed an exclusive two-year deal with David Schwimmer ("Friends") to develop new series for the network.

"We want to extend our mutually successful relationship with David in other creative arenas," said NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker.

The deal will allow Schwimmer to direct his own projects as well as other NBC series. Schwimmer has directed several episodes of "Friends" the Emmy-winning comedy in which he plays the sensitive, hopeless romantic Ross Geller.


MORE MALCOLM

Fox TV has picked up the Emmy-winning family comedy "Malcolm in the Middle" for a fifth season.

In its first three seasons, the comedy was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards. It has won twice for writing and twice for directing, and Chloris Leachman won an Emmy last year for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance as the crotchety Grandma Ida.


PETER FALK'S NEXT

Turner Network Television announced Thursday that Peter Falk will star in the upcoming original TNT movie "Wilder Days."

Falk -- who has won six Emmy Awards, including five for his performance in the title role of the long-running "Columbo" -- will play a man in failing health who sets out to show his grandson the truth behind the tall tales he has told about his younger days.

Falk was nominated twice for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar -- for "Murder, Inc." (1960) and "A Pocketful of Miracles" (1961).


'BIRDIE' GETTING ANOTHER REMAKE

"Bye Bye Birdie" is getting the remake treatment again, this time as a feature at Columbia Pictures.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Columbia has decided to put the project in the hands of a 23-year-old newcomer, director Jon Chu. The University of Southern California film school graduate got the gig on the strength of a student film he finished in December and had been using as a calling card in Hollywood.

The student project -- a musical that cost $20,000 to make -- is called "When the Kids Are Away." The Reporter said the movie is about the secret lives of moms when their families are away -- and they spend their private time singing and dancing.

"Bye Bye Birdie" was a hit on Broadway in 1960, starring Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. It was adapted for the big screen in 1963, starring Van Dyke, Janet Leigh and Ann-Margret. It was made into a TV movie in 1995, starring Vanessa Williams and Jason Alexander.


NEW DIRECTOR IN 'BARBERSHOP' CHAIR

Producers of "Barbershop 2" have announced that Kevin Sullivan ("How Stella Got Her Groove Back") will direct the sequel to the surprise 2002 hit "Barbershop."

Tim Story -- who directed Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer in the comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the South Side of Chicago -- had been expected to do the sequel. Instead, he is set to direct a new comedy titled "Date Story."

Sullivan's directing credits also include the TV series "The Guardian" and "I'll Fly Away."

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