Besides rewriting a script for “Collateral” that hooked Tom Cruise and Michael Mann, Frank Darabont also has whipped “Indiana Jones 4” into shape for a 2004 start.
But now he’s found a worthy prison pic to follow “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile.”
Darabont will direct the story of Iva Toguri, who did hard time after being vilified as Tokyo Rose, whose radio broadcasts taunted U.S. troops in the Pacific. Christopher Hampton (“The Quiet American”) is in talks to script, and Darabont will produce with Anna Garduno and Barbara Trembley.
Born in L.A., Toguri had earned a UCLA degree when she rushed to Japan to help an ailing aunt. Denied reentry after Pearl Harbor, Toguri’s pro-American views got her ostracized in Japan, and she nearly starved before her bilingual skills landed her work typing scripts for English-language broadcasts on Radio Tokyo.
She snuck food to the POWs and read benign on-air messages. Post-WWII, a Cosmo writer promised Toguri $2,000 for an interview, but the mag refused to pay, and she eventually was arrested for treason. Toguri returned to the U.S. as a villain who would serve time and get deported before receiving a presidential pardon 30 years later.
“It’s the kind of story you can’t make up,” Darabont said. “It’s about enormous personal courage and integrity in the face of rabid public sentiment, media villainy and startling racial injustice.”
Up next for Darabont is “Farenheit 451.”
HARLING DOES “DALLAS”: Scribe Robert Harling will attempt to turn the TV soap “Dallas” into a New Regency tentpole. “Think ‘Dallas’ on acid,” he said. “Set those characters in a post-Enron world, with J.R. the head of the most powerful energy company in the world, and there are endless opportunities for making deals with the devil.” Harling’s big surprise was how popular “Dallas” remains, 11 years after it ended. “I was at a dinner party where people almost came to blows over who should play Sue Ellen,” he said. “It reminded me of when I adapted ‘First Wives Club,’ and whenever I mentioned the subject matter, everybody had a story.”
DISHINGS: Gary Ross gave Tobey Maguire and Paul Walker their first starring roles. His new find? Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who has signed with ICM … Word from the “Thunderbirds” set is that recently knighted Ben Kingsley is adamant he be addressed as “Sir Ben.” After seeing his unhappy side in “Sexy Beast,” Sir Ben it is…After topping the bestseller list 12 weeks, Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” has producers knocking. Book’s about a prof who uses clues embedded in famous paintings to unlock secrets that cut to the core of Christianity.