HOLLYWOOD

Pee Wee Herman

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Director Barry Levinson has had untold problems with “Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father,” starring John Travolta. Lindsay Lohan, mentioned to play mobster John Gotti’s wife, Victoria, was passed over in favor of Travolta’s wife, Kelly Preston, because of scheduling conflicts due to Lindsay’s court problems. In October, financial issues almost postponed a January start, but the needed money was raised in time. Lohan also was dropped from the Linda Lovelace biopic and is now, supposedly, “in talks” to star as Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime’s “Elizabeth and Richard: A Love Story.” Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor? That’s like casting Pee Wee Herman as Richard Burton!
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Hugh Jackman, fresh from his hit one-man Broadway show, starts shooting “Les Miz” — as in “Les Miserables” — in March with a dream cast beyond belief. In addition to Jackman, they’ve got Oscar-winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift, Amanda Seyfried (“Mama Mia”), Eddie Redmayne (“My Week With Marilyn”), Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen (“Hugo”). Add director Tom Hopper (“The King’s Speech”), and you’ve got a powerhouse cast with something for everyone! Jackman also is Broadway-bound with the musical “Houdini,” about the great escape artist. The play was written by Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network” and “The West Wing”), with a musical score by “Wicked” composer Stephen Schwartz.
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“Hugo” stars Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley are being reteamed in “Ender’s Game.” The 14-year-old Asa plays an unusually gifted child who is sent to a military school in space to prepare for a coming alien invasion. His co-stars are Oscar nominee Harrison Ford, plus Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), who were both Oscar nominated for their films. It’s set for release in March 2013.
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Three films made the billion-dollar club. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” was the top-grossing film of 2011 worldwide, at $1.33 billion. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was second with $1.12 billion, with “The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” third at $1.04 billion. What does it say about moviegoers when 13 of the top 20 films are fantasy or animated? The list also includes: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part l” (No. 4), “Kung Fu Panda 2” (No. 5), “The Smurfs” (No. 8), “Cars 2” (No. 9), “Rio” (No. 11), “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (No. 12), “Puss in Boots” (No. 13), “Thor” (No. 14), “Captain America” No. 16), “X-Men: First Class” (No. 17) and “The Adventures of Tintin” (No. 18). Based on this, maybe the Republicans should consider running Jessica Rabbit or Miss Piggy against President Obama!

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© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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