Deep Inside Hollywood

By Romeo San Vicente

Jodie Foster to direct money monster

Jodie Foster's next turn behind the camera - her fourth as director - is called "Money Monster" and it already sounds tailor-made to star the Oscar-winner herself. The story involves a financial advice-giving TV personality who, after delivering a series of bad tips, is taken hostage live on the air by a man who lost all his money following the advisor's lead. In turn, the life-or-death kidnapping becomes a "Network"-style ratings sensation. Casting is underway (nobody confirmed just yet) and production is set to begin in 2013. But let's talk fantasy rosters for a minute. Wouldn't it be cool if this lead character were a Suze Orman-gone-bad? And wouldn't it be amazing if Foster played her? With Michelle Rodriguez as the hostage-taker? And Lily Tomlin the negoitator? And Latifah the worried spouse? And Amber Heard and Heather Matarazzo and Kate Moennig part of the SWAT team? Casting department, please make this early Christmas wish a reality. You're Hollywood, after all; dreams are your business.

Like Tyra, only not

Celebrities: you like them so much you'll even watch sitcoms based on their lives. Or at least that's what TV executives are banking future shows on. Tyra Banks, celebrity fashion stylist Rachel Zoe, songwriter Diane Warren and "Modern Family"'s Ty Burrell are all involved in sitcom pilots about themselves, with plots based on incidents from their own lives. Obviously, that doesn't necessarily mean that the main characters in these show are named Tyra, Rachel, Diane and Ty, but the idea is to create laughs and future syndication deals from the lives of really successful people, brands the public knows and follows. And, of course, none of this is unheard of. NBC, after all, scored prestige points, if not ratings, with seven seasons of "30 Rock," loosely based on Tina Fey's years as head writer of "Saturday Night Live." So there you go: hope. Wait. What's that? What about the disastrous 2001 sitcom "Emeril," you ask? Well... sometimes... look, let's agree to pretend that one never happened.

Araki's 'White Bird' set to fly

The resolutely independent, often iconoclastic queer filmmaker Gregg Araki is getting his next project together and it's called "White Bird." And in what is now part of the director's working model, he's hiring a cast of young, pretty up-and-comers to work through his script. The story is about a young woman (Shailene Woodley) whose life careens out of control after the disappearance of her mother (Eva Green). Woodley is well known from "Secret Life of The American Teenager" and "The Descendants" (for which, it should be remembered, she was the recipient of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival Chopard "Female Revelation" Trophy). Her male co-star, meanwhile, is the soon-to-be-everywhere-at-once Shiloh Fernandez. Not a household name yet by any means, Fernandez was last seen in the box-office bomb "Red Riding Hood," but "White Bird" and five other films - including "The East" with Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard, as well as 2013's "Evil Dead" remake - ought to go a long way toward raising his Hollywood profile. Keep your arthouse eyes peeled for this one sometime next year.

Casey Wilson: writing and acting 'Ass Backwards'

"Gay Dude," director Chris Nelson's first feature, is complete though not yet released. But he's already at work on his next film, titled "Ass Backwards," written by the "Bride Wars" team of Casey Wilson and fellow writer-actor June Diane Raphael. A female buddy road-trip comedy starring Wilson and Raphael as best friends on a quest to win a pageant they always lost as children, it features Alicia Silverstone, Vincent D'Onofrio and Jon Cryer, as well as a cast of supporting lesbians (part of the action involves the women stopping at an all-female commune where singer/comic Lea DeLaria performs something akin to a striptease). And if none of this news means anything to you because you're not yet aware of Wilson's comic chops, then while you're waiting for the film to hit theaters you can watch her nearly-insane behavior weekly on "Happy Endings" as the manic best friend of network television's most slovenly homosexual character, Max (played by Adam Pally). And you should; it's the "Friends" where everybody talks really fast.

Romeo San Vicente is a fan of all happy endings. He can be reached care of this publication or at DeepInsideHollywood@qsyndicate.com.

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