Deep Inside Hollywood

By Romeo San Vicente

Nate Berkus is here to 'Help'

It's not all interior design and life makeovers for Nate Berkus anymore. The man who got his start as Oprah's go-to design guy is taking a cue from his powerful boss and branching out into other creative endeavors. Now that his own show is a daytime hit, Berkus has turned his attention to his first credit as an executive producer of a feature film and his name will roll across the screen next year when the highly anticipated movie adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's novel "The Help" hits theaters. The period picture examines the lives of African-American housekeepers and their white employers and how those relationships changed in one small town during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. With a screenplay adapted by actor-director Tate Taylor ("Winter's Bone," "Pretty Ugly People," "Prop 8: The Musical"), who's also directing, the impressive cast includes Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Aunjanue Ellis, Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek. Bring your tissues along when it opens in 2011.

Pride, Prejudice, Zombies, Gays

Mike White made his name with oddball indies like "Chuck and Buck" and "Year of the Dog" while also crossing over into the mainstream with projects like "School of Rock." But now the gay filmmaker is poised to step into the director's role with what could turn into his biggest success yet, the movie adaptation of the wildly popular comic novel "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." The movie will bloody up Jane Austen's classic with flesh-eating undead creatures, a plot device that story was crying out for, and now that David O. Russell has dropped out of the project, Lionsgate has offered White the job. The casting is all still up in the air, but not-dead names like Scarlett Johansson and Bradley Cooper have been talked about quite a bit. And why, besides impossible scheduling demands, would any actor say no to the opportunity to either turn into a zombie or get their brains eaten by a ravenous pack of them or both? See? There are no good reasons to refuse.

Milo Ventimiglia gets no 'Rest'

TV loves Milo Ventimiglia. After making a name for himself over several seasons as a brooding, bookish bad boy on "Gilmore Girls" and then jumping over to the cult-hit "Heroes" for four more years, the actor looks set to participate in his third hit when he stars in and executive produces "Rest," a series based on a comic book he co-created. Working with power-gay producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Ventimiglia would star as a twentysomething man who gets addicted to a drug that eliminates the body's need for sleep. And while a lifetime of sleepless nights may sound like a dream come true for workaholics and cheap people who never want to buy another mattress, it sounds like a nightmare scenario, albeit one that could be very cool to watch ruin someone "else's" existence. As always, these things have to go to pilot and then get a series order from the Suits, so stay tuned for further developments.

Faith Evans to star in real life 'Dreamgirls'

By now everyone knows that "Dreamgirls," though fiction, was really pretty much the story of the Supremes, only with a much happier ending. In real life, the story of Florence Ballard (whose character loosely inspired "Effie," the outcast member of the group) ended on a much sadder note. And a new film is being prepped that won't shy away from reality, whether good and bad. "Blondie - The Florence Ballard Story," due in theaters in the summer of 2011, will star R&B singer Faith Evans as the woman who helped found the Supremes and sang lead until the arrival of Diana Ross, who became the sole front-person. As the group evolved, Ballard's relationship with it became more strained until she left to start a solo career, then died unexpectedly at age 32. Ballard's daughters pursued Evans for the role, and she'll also record songs for the soundtrack. The film - based on Peter Benjaminson's book "The Lost Supreme" - is expected to begin shooting soon in Atlanta.

Romeo San Vicente is telling you he is not going. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.
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A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.

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