Altman pages ‘Dr.’ Gere

While the Cannes Film Festival winds down, one bit of news making its way from the Croisette to Wilshire Boulevard has Richard Gere in talks to star in Robert Altman’s next pic, “Dr. T and the Women.”

While no deal is in place, it’s understood that Gere has loosely committed to the film, allowing Altman’s reps at ICM (which also handles Gere), to use his name as a selling point with foreign buyers.

The indie pic, Altman’s follow-up to “Cookie’s Fortune,” is expected to begin production in the late fall in Dallas. “Dr. T” focuses on a gynecologist and is written by “Cookie’s” scribe, Anne Rapp. Before he could step into his “Dr. T” scrubs, Gere is slated to topline with Winona Ryder in United Artists’ “Autumn in New York,” which currently is out to directors.

— Chris Petrikin

Venice film fest ‘Eyes Wide Shut’

CANNES — With one big Euro fest ending, buzz is building along the Mediterranean shore about another big Euro fest: Venice. Word is that the opening pic at the Venice Film Festival will be Stanley Kubrick’s eagerly awaited “Eyes Wide Shut.”

According to insiders, Biennale di Venezia contacted Warner Bros., which bankrolled the film, just days before Kubrick died on March 7.

WB execs were upbeat about the idea of taking the film to the fest, particularly as Venice has traditionally had a major soft spot for Kubrick, awarding him an honorary Golden Lion a couple of years ago.

If “Eyes Wide Shut” does open Venice — a final agreement is still being discussed — there will be more than a touch of irony about the event.

Kubrick was notoriously shy of festivals, preferring to put his films directly in front of the paying public rather than fest followers; he refused to have his pics debut in the festival spotlight. “Eyes” opens in the U.S. on July 16; Venice runs Sept. 1-11.

The film stars Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise as a New York-based married couple intent on pursuing their sexual fantasies.

It’s widely believed that Kubrick’s final film has some fairly heavy sexual content, but the pic has picked up an R rating in the U.S.

— Michael Williams