Diana Ross back in groove with Underwood

FIGURING ONE GOOD GROOVE deserves another, Fox 2000 is developing a May-December ro-mance in the vein of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” as a vehicle for Blair Underwood and Diana Ross to be produced by Kenny (Babyface) Edmonds and Tracey Edmonds.

“It was an idea I had and pitched to Diana as a way to bring her back into movies, where she belongs,” said Underwood, who most recently appeared in “Deep Impact.” “She loves the idea and we took it to Babyface. Diana will sing on the soundtrack and we’re now drafting a writer.”

The untitled film is part of a surge in activity for Underwood, the “L.A. Law” vet who has traded his TV mantle for the bigscreen, where he wants to act, produce and eventually direct. He recently wrapped his first film as star and producer, “Asunder,” which Tim Reid helmed and in which Underwood stars with Debbi Morgan (“Eve’s Bayou”) and Michael Beach (“ER”).

He’s also involved, as a producer, in “Brown Sugar,” in which he’ll star with Alfre Woodard and Alan Rickman. Woodard’s husband, Roderick Spencer, will write and direct. “It’s Alfre’s dream project, and really based on her life and their love story,” Underwood said.

Also on Underwood’s plate is “Heaven and Heist,” which he’ll star in along with Morgan for Telescene, which he describes as a “Bonnie and Clyde” tale that his brother (and producing partner) Frank Underwood is writing. And Underwood recently finished “Mama Flora’s Family,” a four- hour CBS miniseries starring Cicely Tyson. Underwood plays her son.

PATRICK PRESIDES OVER ‘FUNERAL’: Robert Patrick, the “Terminator 2” villain who’s been moving to bigger roles with the help of “Copland,” has landed a lead in “Texas Funeral,” with Joanne Whaley, Tony Goldwyn, Olivia D’Abo and Jane Adams. Patrick, who just completed “The Faculty” for Dimension, plays the son of a recently deceased Texas prairie family patriarch, who comes back to town, along with the rest of the family for the reading of the will. The film, directed by W. Blake Herron, shoots in Texas in October. Patrick’s managed by Joan Hyler and agented by Innovative’s Clare Ryu.

WINDOW DRESSING: Since it came into existence three years ago with a bunch of renegade ICM agents leaving the building with a carload of files, Endeavor has had a flair for for the dramatic.

So when the now flourishing percentery upped assistants Shelley Zimmerman and Christopher Donnelly to agents, a simple e-mail wasn’t good enough. During a staff meeting on the 10th floor, the two assistants, both of whom started in the mailroom, were surprised by two window washers who lowered themselves down the side of the building holding signs that said, “Congratulations Chris and Shelley. Endeavor’s newest agents.”

Zimmerman, who worked for Rick Rosen, will be an agent in the TV lit department, while Donnelly, who worked with Tom Strickler and David Greenblatt, will be a motion pic lit agent.

HOPING FOR A HIT WITH BOMBS: Producer Robert Morton, who has mostly kept a low profile since leaving as producer of “Late Show With David Letterman,” is now out trying to drum upinterest in turning the Vince McKewin play “Ad Wars” into a sitcom.

The play is a black comedy about a Madison Avenue ad agency’s campaign for the world’s deadliest missile. The time frame is 1991, when Desert Storm had the country in a patriotic frenzy. Morton’s Panamort has pitched it to networks, along with a series Morty wants to create around the standup comic Brian Regan.

At the same time, Morton’s shopping “The Breakup Girl,” a potential series based on a Web site where women give advice to the lovelorn, which has become one of the most popular sites on the Web.

BOWIE BACK: David Bowie’s back in movies, having just completed the title role in “Exhuming Mr. Rice,” from a script by J.H. Wyman, with Nicholas Kendall directing for New City Prods.

Bowie plays a dying man who befriends a terminally ill boy and leaves him messages that send the 10-year-old on an excursion of self-discovery. The message is that it’s not how long you live, but what you accomplish. Wyman, who recently changed his last name from Wyner, is doing “The Mexican” for Banner Entertainment and “Alibi” for DreamWorks. He’s repped by Metropolitan’s Jeff Okin.

TAYLOR’S CANDLE TURN: “Designing Women” star Meshach Taylor has designs on playing a candle onstage. He’ll take the role of Lumiere in the Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast” when Toni Braxton takes over in the lead. Taylor, last seen in the series “Dave’s World,” was repped by William Morris and managed by Steven Greener of Elephant Walk Entertainment.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Voices News from Variety