NEW YORK — Warner Bros. has acquired rights to remake “Barbarella” and is negotiating for Drew Barrymore to play the futuristic sexpot.
In a deal quickly coming together, the film rights are landing at the studio with producers Ben Myron, Silvio Muraglia and Gilles Thomson. Flower Films’ Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen are negotiating to come aboard as producers as well.
Barrymore has long been interested in doing a remake of the 1968 sci-fi film, which Roger Vadim directed as a campy adaptation of the racy cult comic strip by Jean-Claude Forest. Jane Fonda starred as a wide-eyed 41st century astronaut attempting to thwart an evildoer who’s bent on laying his hands on a deadly positronic ray as well as on the fetching heroine.
The remake will drop the camp factor and stay faithful to the edgy comic strip.
Barrymore is next expected to star with Cameron Diaz in “Charlie’s Angels,” which Flower will produce. She’s also expected to star in “Riding in Cars With Boys” for director Penny Marshall. Both are Columbia projects. Barrymore is repped by CAA.
FROM DOVE TO HAWK: Ben Kingsley, who won an Oscar playing the pacifist title character in “Gandhi,” has pacted to play the ferocious conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte. Kingsley will star in “N,” an independently financed film that will mark Kingsley’s fourth film with director David Jones (“84 Charing Cross Road”). Ilene Kahn Power (“Gia” and “Stalin”) and Kingsley will produce, with Jones, screenwriter Jesse Graham and Severin Wunderman exec producing.
Kahn Power said most of the financing is in place, with the pic targeted to shoot in January in Europe.
The pic tells of the French emperor in exile on the island of St. Helena. The true story focuses on his unlikely friendship with a 13-year-old English girl, who ultimately must decide whether to help him escape.
Kingsley has done a good bit of research, aided by exec producer and part financier Wunderman, the former owner of Gucci who now owns Dunhill USA. Wunderman, who is active in Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, is a big Bonaparte buff. According to Kingsley, Napoleon was as feisty in his waning years as he was when he was the scourge of Europe.
“He’s the animal in its pure form, that combination of charisma, power, that intuitive knowledge of how to grasp a moment and win men’s hearts,” said Kingsley. “The whole of France would have followed him into oblivion — something that could not be said of Hitler. The main thrust of the film is his deepening trust and affection for this young girl. They manipulate each other as friends do, and come to that point where they can conspire in an attempt to free him.”
Kingsley recently wrapped the Mike Nichols-directed “What Planet Are You From,” the William Friedkin-helmed “Rules of Engagement,” and the Jeremy Thomas-produced “Sexy Beast,” directed by Jonathan Glaser.
MOONLIGHTING IN SPORTS: After his introduction to film by serving as a model for the title character of Cameron Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire,” sports agent Leigh Steinberg has become Hollywood’s go-to guy on jock fare.
As consultant, Steinberg gets paid about $50,000 a pic — not nearly as lucrative as sports agenting — but he and his clients are beginning to love the film biz, with their agent providing the entrance.
“One benefit is a conduit for our athletes who wind up playing roles, and the other is to help give these films a feel of authenticity, to break the stereotypical jaundiced point of view of athletes,” said Steinberg, who says he feeds storylines to the HBO series “Arli$$” as a quiet consultant.
Steinberg just served as consultant on the Kevin Costner starrer “For Love of the Game,” and for Oliver Stone on “Any Given Sunday.”
Steinberg was euphoric over the hurling ability of “Game” star Costner: “Hour after hour, he threw the ball with high velocity and with good control, and never complained.” (Well, that was before Costner complained loudly about Universal’s cuts in the film, a controversy first reported in Dish Sept. 2.)
With partner Jeff Moorad, Steinberg has a sports client list that includes Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, Steve Young and Cordell Stewart and swarms of baseball and basketball players.
Re “Jerry Maguire,” Steinberg denies he’s a carbon copy of that character, noting that he never in his life uttered “You had me at hello” or “You complete me.”
DISHINGS: As various gridironers go down with season-ending injuries, Fox Sports Network anchor Chris Myers must be glad he’s behind a desk. The former ESPN fixture is now leading FSN’s charge to steal that web’s glory, starting with a rival Sunday football show “NFL This Morning,” which Myers anchors along with the daily newscast. On the eve of the show’s launch two weeks ago, Myers tore all the ligaments in his knee during a touch football game, but hasn’t missed a show, propping up his rehabbing limb so that it’s obscured behind the desk. While Myers will surely take ribbing from players who get their injuries from brutal hits (Myers admits he was sacked by a protruding sprinkler head), his web’s taking full advantage of the situation, filming his operation for a seg on reconstructive knee surgery.