CAIN CAN DO ON NEW PROJECTS: After hanging up his cape two seasons ago following a four-season run in “Lois & Clark,” Dean Cain is ready to resurface — sans the “S” on his chest. His Angry Dragon Entertainment has made an overall deal at Columbia TriStar TV, but since Cain’s reaction to toplining another series resembles his former alter ego’s allergy to kryptonite, the deal will be primarily for movies.

Cain will star in them, and he’ll follow in the footsteps of his father. That’s not Jor-El, but rather Chris Cain, the veteran director of such films as “Young Guns.”

The younger Cain will get his directing start with “The Burning Man,” a bestselling Phillip Margolin novel which Col/TriStar has optioned for a two hour telepic. Cain will also write, star in and produce the pic with Angry Dragon partner Mike Carr. Cain will play an ambitious lawyer who defends a mentally challenged man who may be a serial killer.

The behind camera roles seem surprising, but Cain said this was his original career intention until he was sidetracked by his Superman success.

With a television series, he said: “It’s difficult to have any life whatsoever, let alone have the time to have a company and do it right. I’d leave the house in the morning, and 18 hours later, I would hit the gym. I was sleep deprived for four years. That’s why, if I was to do another series, it will have to be something I’m so excited by that I can’t stand it.”

GENE RETURNS TO COACHING: In what would be his first cinematic return to sports coaching since he played a hoops coach in “Hoosiers,” Gene Hackman is huddling and near a deal to join Keanu Reeves in the gridiron pic “The Replacements,” playing a pro football coach who assembles a team made up of replacement players when the real guys walk out. The project has been building momentum at Warner Bros. since Reeves agreed to play the quarterback in his followup film to the smash hit “The Matrix.” Getting the Oscar-winning Hackman to play alongside him galvanizes the film, which was scripted by Vince McKewin, directed by Howie Deutch and produced by Dylan Sellers, with Erwin Stoff exec producing.

Hackman, who’s repped by CAA, is costarring with Morgan Freeman in “Under Suspicion.” The indie drama is directed by Stephen Hopkins, with Hackman and Freeman exec producing.

“HANNIBAL” DURABLE: Despite word leaking that Jonathan Demme won’t return for the sequel of “Silence of the Lambs,” the $9 million sale of Thomas Harris’s new novel “Hannibal” that’s coming together with producer Dino De Laurentiis and Universal is rock solid, sources said. Demme bailed a week ago, but the key man in the equation, Anthony Hopkins, is said to be receptive to reviving his role of Hannibal Lecter.

That depends on who is chosen to direct and write the script, with several A-listers circling. The other crucial participant, Jodie Foster, won’t likely be known until she returns from the Malaysian shoot of the Andy Tennant-directed “Anna and the King” for Fox. She might also wait until the script is done before making up her mind, the same way Sharon Stone won’t commit to a “Basic Instinct” sequel until given a script she sparks to.

MANHEIM ORBITS “PLANET”: Camryn Manheim will join Garry Shandling and Annette Bening in the Mike Nichols-directed comedy “What Planet Are You From.” The film features Shandling as an extraterrestrial sent to mate with an earthling, with the help of a mechanical penis, in order to take over the planet. Bening’s the target of his affection, and Manheim will play her best pal.

Manheim, who won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her work on “The Practice” and last year starred in the indie pic “Happiness,” is now touring for her book, “Wake Up, I’m Fat,” which is headed for the bestseller lists from Broadway Books. Manheim’s also doing the ABC telepic “Imagine,” and will do the Columbia film before returning for series duty in July. She’s repped by Gersh and managers Ted Donegan and Maryellen Mulcahy.

ROSE FINDS “BONE” TO PICK: Rose McGowan’s joined the cast of Fox’s “Monkey Bone,” the film scripted by Sam Hamm and directed by Henry Selick. She’ll play Kitty, a character who’s half woman, half cat, joining Brendan Fraser and Whoopi Goldberg. McGowan was last seen in the black comedy “Jawbreaker,” “Scream” and “The Doom Generation,” and will soon be seen in “Southie.” She’s repped by UTA and Hoffman-Polone.

WEBB INTRIGUE: Irene Webb, who has brokered large book deals at ICM and William Morris, has joined management and production company Mastermind Entertainment as a partner and manager. She’ll head the literary department and rep a batch of writers and directors. Mastermind, headed by Alan Saffron, gets its first pic into production this fall with “The Red Door.”

NOLTE “JAZZ” UP FOR GRABS: Nick Nolte, surging off his Oscar-nominated performance in “Affliction” and acclaimed perf in “The Thin Red Line,” finds a pet project now up for grabs. Fine Line has put into turnaround “White Jazz,” the adaptation of the James Ellroy novel, which Nolte’s Kingsgate Films has been developing as a star vehicle for the actor. It’s adapted by Chris Cleveland and will be directed by Bob Richardson.

The budget grew too rich for Fine Line, which gave it back to Nolte, who wants to play the central character of a corrupt cop who gets set up while investigating a police-sanctioned crime family.

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