Woody Allen

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Al Pacino will star in “Gotti: Three Generations,” making it the most newsworthy new Mafia movie since “The Godfather” saga. People were thrilled that John Travolta would be playing New York mob boss John Gotti, and he was pulling for Lindsey Lohan to be in the picture, too. Travolta’s influence and guidance could only help in turning her life and career around! Add to the mix Kelly Preston, John’s real-life wife playing his onscreen wife, their daughter, Ella Bleu, and Oscar winner Joe Pesci, and you’ve got a sure slam dunk. Oscar-winning “Rain Man” director Barry Levinson, who directed “Bugsy”, “The Natural” and one of my favorite films, “Tootsie,” will put the stars through their paces for a late 2012 release.

Sad to report that Dana Wynter, female star of the ground-breaking 1956 science-fiction film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” has joined her leading man, Kevin McCarthy, in Hollywood heaven. I’ve seen this classic film 150 times. If you haven’t ever seen it, it’s worth renting. Dana Wynter was 79.

Are you ready for a movie to monkey with the classic James Barrie story “Peter Pan”? A new thriller starring Aaron Eckhart as Hook and “Soul Surfer” AnnaSophia Robb as Wendy plans to do exactly that. Captain Hook is a former police detective in pursuit of a childlike kidnapper, and Wendy is the lone survivor who must leave the safety of an asylum to help Hook track down her former captor. Some— I don’t see much of the Peter Pan story in what they’re planning. It starts shooting in October, and we’ll have to wait to see — it turns out. Which leaves the question … why?
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The great Woody Allen continues to shoot films in Europe because, he says, filmmaking in the U.S. has gotten too expensive. His next film, “Bop Decameron,” will be filmed in Italy and is based on Giovanni Boccaccio’s 14th-century work “The Decameron.” But since Woody wrote the script himself, we can expect exciting twists on the old stories.

One of Italy’s most beloved stars, Roberto Benigni, who in l999 climbed over the seats at the Academy Awards to pick up his best actor Oscar from Sophia Loren for “Life Is Beautiful,” has signed on, along with “Juno” star Ellen Page, “The Social Network’s” Jesse Eisenberg, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz and “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin. And for good measure, there will be a special appearance by Woody Allen himself. This film is surrounded by secrecy and starts filming July 11 in Rome. Hope things aren’t so secret they forget to turn de-camera-on!

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© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.