Monday's odds and ends:
  • The South African press is reporting that two people involved in post-production on Tsotsi have been arrested as "key members of a suspected syndicate" that was producing and selling pirated DVDs of the film. On a personal level, the two men were in court this morning, facing "charges of fraud, theft and corruption." Professionally speaking, meanwhile, both are probably out a job, and have totally torpedoed business for Video Lab, their (ex-)employer.
  • According to Production Weekly, worldwide writing acclaim isn't enough for Alan Ball (he of American Beauty and Six Feet Under fame): what he really wants to do is direct. To that end, he's chosen a nice, totally not controversial topic for his debut feature. Based on a novel called Towelhead, the movie, which starts shooting this summer, takes place during the Gulf War, and "follows a 13-year-old Arab-American girl who must navigate a sexual obsession with a bigoted Army reservist under the oppressive eye of her Lebanese father." Multiplex, here he comes!
  • Here Be Monsters is a children's book so huge in the UK that even I, a childless American, have heard of it. The book's popularity (it'll be out here in July) led to a bidding war for the movie rights; LAIKA Entertainment won (they paid "significant six figure[s]") and plan to turn the story into a animated film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the book tells the story of "young boy who tries to save his town from a dastardly takeover plot," and is illustrated with hundreds of drawings (lots of them of monsters) by author Alan Snow and, best of all. Plus, best of all for LAIKA, it's the first installment in a planned series! Mmm ... franchise. The production will be overseen by The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick, and there is talk that Here be Monsters will also be a stop-motion film.