James Franco may have found his primatologist for 'Rise of the Apes,' Fox's prequel to 'Planet of the Apes,' in the form of 'Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto. The actress is i talks to star opposite Franco, who stars as a scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes after genetic experiments lead to the rise of the apes. John Lithgow also is in talks to join the production, which begins shooting next month for a June 24, 2011 release. [Variety]
'Footloose' is now fancy free at Paramount, where the producers of the upcoming remake of the 1984 musical-drama has picked Kenny Wormald, a 25-year old trained dancer from Boston to star in the film that begins production almost immediately, according to Deadline Hollywood. The studio supposedly tested more than 1,000 males for the lead role of Ren McCormack after Zac Efron and Chace Crawford nixed the role. Julianne Hough will take the lead female role, and it's rumored that Dennis Quaid will play Reverend Shaw Moore, the heroine's strict father who's trying to uphold a town ban on dancing. Craig Brewer of 'Hustle' fame will direct after the initial director, Kenny Ortega, left over creative differences.
Jason Reitman takes his time picking projects to develop -- it was two years between 'Thank You for Smoking' and 'Juno,' and another two years between 'Juno' and 'Up in the Air.' Now he's just settling in to what may very well be his next production, a novel by 'SNL' writer Simon Rich called 'Elliot Allagash.' According to The Hollywood Reporter, Reitman and his Right of Way Films company have optioned the rights to the book, published by Random House in May, that takes a satiric look at private schools and the excesses of the rich. Reitman intends to produce but has not said if he will direct.
'Zombieland' director Ruben Fleischer has been tapped by Columbia to direct 'Babe in the Woods,' about a female freshman from the Midwest who arrives at Yale and becomes a target of the New Jersey mob. The studio also has acquired the director's latest project, the action comedy '30 Minutes or Less,' which stars Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg. [THR]
Not content with inundating the world's movie screens with an ogre, DreamWorks Animation has just struck a deal with Denmark's Dam Things to bring the Good Luck Trolls to the big screen. The frizzy, pastel-colored hair trolls were created in 1959 and have since become the darling of kids and counter-cultural types in Europe and the U.S. In 2005, DIC Entertainment produced the animated series "Trollz," with modernized dolls aimed at girls. The DreamWorks animated feature will hark back to the classic troll doll. [THR]
And, lastly, while all the entertainment news outlets posted the information that veteran producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer were picked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to produce the 83rd annual Academy Awards telecast, it fell to Deadline Hollywood to drop this bombshell: "I've just learned that, at tonight's Board of Governors meeting of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences(sic), the elite panel discussed moving up the 2011 Oscars to sometime in January," causing major conflicts with the Golden Globes, BAFTA and SAG. Stay tuned for this one.