Disney won’t open Spyglass’ “Shanghai Noon” until Memorial Day weekend, yet the Spyglass triumvirate of Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jon Glickman have shanghai’d original scribes Miles Millar and Al Gough to script the sequel. The job comes just as the writing duo begins a two-year overall deal at Warner Bros. Television worth seven-figures.
“Shanghai Noon” stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson as mismatched buddies in the Old West who come together and attempt to rescue a kidnapped Chinese princess (Lucy Liu).
“The ‘Shanghai’ sequel will be more of a standard period actioner, like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ now that the first film establishes Jackie and Owen, and how they mesh together so well,” said Millar. “It’ll be more action adventure, and ‘The Mummy’ showed there is a terrific appetite for period action film,” said Gough.
The original was hatched from an idea by Chan, who’s exec producing the pic and who conveyed his idea for the action-comedy to Millar and Gough. They will soon sit again with Chan, having fixed on a concept for the sequel. It puts Chan in position for his second sequel opportunity, as he’s being paid $15 million to reteam with Chris Tucker and director Brett Ratner in “Rush Hour 2” for New Line.
The scribes have been writing together since they were students in the Peter Stark producing program at USC, and made a high profile sale of the script “Mango” to New Line. That comedy didn’t get made, but it eliminated their tuition bills. For producer Joel Silver, they have written “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Double Tap” and “Made Men.” Silver turned the duo loose on the Warner Bros.-produced series “The Strip” for UPN, and while that was short-lived, WB gave them a two-year deal to hatch more action comedy series. The duo has also been working on “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” a takeoff on the TV series for Universal. The scribes are repped by William Morris’s Renee Kurtz, Gregory McKnight and David Lubliner. Their attorney is Michael Gendler of Gendler & Kelly.
COL KISSES GOOD-BYE SUPERHEROS: While the Sam Raimi-directed adaptation of the Marvel Comics character “Spider-man” is perhaps the highest profile project in the Columbia arsenal, the studio won’t be going forward with two other Marvel superhero franchises. Going the free agent route are “Daredevil,” a film about the blind red-suited hero from writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and his producing partner Gary Foster, and “Doctor Strange,” a film that likely will be scripted by Mike France with helmers like Chuck Russell and “Blade” director Steve Norrington both showing interest. Dish hears that talks between the studio and Marvel hit the wall after six months of dealmaking. Marvel, with “X-Men” coming from Fox this summer as its event-film calling card, will shop the pics to other studios. On another front, Col execs are trying hard to keep David Fincher from falling out of “Panic Room,” the David Koepp-scripted drama. Fincher has been in talks but never had a deal, and he and the studio have been bickering over issues like final cut. While the studio denies he’s out, Dish hears he’s all but, and is eyeing projects such as “Passengers” at USA, an adaptation of James Ellroy’s “Black Dahlia,” and the DreamWorks-based “Catch Me If You Can.”
DIGGS IN “LIBRIUM”: “Rent” star Taye Diggs continues his drive for the penthouse apartment.
Diggs has landed the lead in “Librium,” the futuristic drama for Dimension Films that will be directed by Kurt Wimmer and produced by Jan de Bont and Lucas Foster. Diggs made his screen debut romancing Angela Bassett in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” and the young thesp has been working steadily since. He recently toplined Universal’s “The Best Man,” for which he received an NAACP Image Awards best actor nom, and the Warner Bros. thriller “The House on Haunted Hill,” as well as “Go” and “The Wood.” Diggs is currently back on stage in Gotham, starring in the Manhattan Theater Club’s “The Wild Party.” He’s repped by CAA and managed by Abe Hoch of Mague Ent.
STOPPED IN THE NAME OF SONG RIGHTS: Since the Supremes dissolved in disharmony and plans to reunite ended in discord, why should Diana Ross’s plans to mount a movie about the singing group she led be any easier? ABC last year trumpeted plans for an authorized biopic to be produced by Ross’s Anaid Films. The announcement came in the wake of a highly rated “Temptations” mini-series, which was produced by Suzanne De Passe and was fueled by the band’s song catalog. De Passe wasn’t expected to be involved in the plans of Ross, who expected that her patched-up relations with former lover and Motown impresario Berry Gordy would lead to her being able to use the original Supremes hits in the film.
Not so fast, Gordy said. Dish hears that the Supremes story is now being reconfigured into a biopic that will be produced by De Passe and be an equal partnership between Gordy and Ross, with both getting the chance to tell their stories of the girl group and the falling out between Ross, Mary Wilson and Flo Ballard. The ABC project is now completely scrapped, and DePasse, Ross and Gordy have all the networks bidding for the new pic. While Ross today announces a Supremes “reunion” that does not include original member Wilson (Ballard died years ago), at least she can boast of one reteam, working with Gordy on the pic. Whichever network wins the coveted pic, it won’t have to worry about feature competition after Warner Bros. halted plans to do a movie version of “Dreamgirls,” the Michael Bennett musical that was a thinly veiled telling of the Supremes story. Though it broke the heart of director Joel Schumacher, who had Lauryn Hill, WB mothballed that pic when the Frankie Lymon pic “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” flopped.
“A.I” GETTING MATERNAL?: Steven Spielberg, casting quickly on “A.I.,” is eyeing “Mansfield Park” star Frances O’Connor to play the female lead in the film, joining Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law in the sci-fi pic that Spielberg scripted based on a treatment by Stanley Kubrick.