CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical
Richard Gere is close to nabbing the lead role in 'Arbitrage,' a drama about a troubled hedge fund magnate desperate to complete the sale of his trading empire who makes a serious error, requiring him to turn to an unlikely person for help, getting him into even more trouble. The film is written and directed by Nicholas Jarecki and co-stars Eva Green and Susan Sarandon. Gere replaces Al Pacino, who was up for the role but dropped out. Shooting begins in New York in April.[Deadline]

Summit Entertainment has pushed back its release date for Jodie Foster's Mel Gibson–starrer, 'The Beaver.' The film, which was originally set to open last year but was rescheduled for March 28 because of bad press resulting from Gibson's run-in with his ex-girlfriend, will now open in May. The film premieres at the South by Southwest Film Festival on March 16 and will open in a limited run on May 6, expanding on May 20. [THR]

James Franco is considering doing a 'Three's Company' film and Broadway production -- with the blessings of the "'Three's Company' estate," Franco told TV Guide. Let's start taking suggestions on who should play Janet and Chrissy. We can see Jessica Biel or Rachel Bilson for Janet, and Blake Lively or Scarlett Johansson for Chrissy.

After rising to the top of the list to play a key member of the espionage agency SHIELD (agent Maria Hill) in Marvel and Disney's 'The Avengers,' Cobie Smulders is in final negotiations to join the cast that already includes Scarlett Johansson (as the Black Widow), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor). The film, written and directed by Joss Whedon, is scheduled for a May 4, 2012, release. [THR]

Michael Moore has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court claiming that his 'Fahrenheit 9/11' partners -- Bob and Harvey Weinstein -- used alleged "bogus accounting methods" on the film. Moore is seeking at least $2.7 million for "rerouted" and "unpaid profits." Deadline reports that Moore has already received $19.8 million for his back-end profit participation in the movie.

It's a busy news day for Shawn Levy: First Cinematical reported that he had signed on to direct the remake of 1966's 'Fantastic Voyage'; now we find out that Levy and his 21 Laps banner has signed on to produce a big-screen animated adaptation of the 'Mr. Men' children's books, also for Fox. Roger Hargreaves wrote 48 'Mr. Men' books, selling more than 100 million copies worldwide in 28 countries; four animated television series, including 'The Mr. Men Show,' have been made from the book series. [THR]

'The Hobbit' officially has a start date. The film's production company, 3Foot7 Ltd., has announced that shooting will begin on March 21 at Stone Street Studios in Miramar and on location around New Zealand.