Weber lands ‘Grapes,’ winging to Castle Rock

NEW YORK — When “Wings” star Steven Weber completes the eighth and final season of the Paramount sitcom, he’ll be winging directly to star in the feature directorial debut of another sitcom stalwart. Weber will play one of the two male leads in “Sour Grapes,” the working title of the Castle Rock comedy scripted and to be directed by “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David.

Weber plays one of two cousins whose lives are in turmoil when, on a gambling vacation, one hits a slot machine jackpot after borrowing a quarter from the other. Castle Rock’s working on a deal with Craig Bierko (“Till There Was You”) to co-star. The pic will be produced by David’s wife, Laurie Lennard, and will start shooting in May.

The film has been watched closely since David decided to break ranks and leave “Seinfeld” last year to concentrate on films. The pic marks Weber’s second feature starring stint, after playing the title character in the Paul Rudnick-scripted comedy “Jeffrey.”

Weber’s readied himself for life after “Wings.” He’ll be seen in a decidedly different role, starring in Stephen King’s new adaptation of “The Shining,” for ABC. King directed the miniseries, which airs on ABC in late April.

Weber got along so well with King that the horrormeister gave the actor his short story “The Revelations of Becka Paulson,” to be made into an episode of Showtime’s “The Outer Limits,” to direct in April. His film deal was made by ICM’s Toni Howard and the TV deal by Richard Weitz.

SMART SET FOR ‘STYLE’: Disney has closed a deal with Jean Smart to play a smarmy, Martha Stewart-like cooking show hostess in “Style and Substance” for CBS. She’s gotten a 13-episode commitment from Disney. The studio has been so bullish on the format that after Kathleen Turner didn’t work out as star last year when the series was for ABC, the studio had the pilot completely reworked by Peter Tolan (“The Larry Sanders Show”), who’ll run the show.

Smart has been doing telepics and the plays “Last Summer at Blue Fish Cove” and “Fit to be Tied,” but found that after a year of nonstop traveling, she was suddenly fit to be tied down. “I spent six months working out of town in the last year and some of it was fun and rewarding but it gets old,” Smart said. “There’s so little of that kind of work in L.A. and it’s hard if you have a family. My son’s a good traveler, but it’s too hard on his schooling and too stressful to be flying all the time,” she said.

The other factor was Tolan. “There’s nobody better doing this for television,” she said, adding that she hopes to pick up some cooking tips from the show. Her deal was made by William Morris’ Marc Schwartz.

BATVILLAINS FIRM: The scene-stealing villains of the fifth installment of “Batman” have been set, Dish hears, and both are being plucked from the comics, not the original TV series. The male villain is Scarecrow, a gangly guy capable of making people hallucinate their worst fears. The female villain is Harley Quinn, an acrobatic, costumed beauty with a white face, who’s out for revenge on the Caped Crusader. There’s no word on casting yet, but it’ll be an A-talent search as usual.

MIRAMAX GETS ITS ‘DOGMA’: Hot on the heels of strong critical response for Kevin Smith’s “Chasing Amy,” Miramax is chasing a good cast for Smith’s next pic, “Dogma.” It’s a departure for Smith, with the story about a woman chosen by renegade angels to save humanity. The studio’s planning on return performances from “Amy” stars Ben Affleck and Joey Adams, with Smith playing a role as well. Jason Scott Lee (“Dragon”) is in talks to play the angel of death.

AGE’ OF RISK-SHARING: Phil Alden Robinson’s Bosnian war drama “The Age of Aquarius” will have two par-ents. Dish hears that Universal, which developed the project, is in talks to share the project with DreamWorks. The pic, which Harrison Ford is eyeing, is one the studios are in talks to team up on as a way to share risk on big budgets.

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