America can't seem to get enough of Joe DiMaggio.
Just weeks after the baseball icon (or at least a thinly disguised version) got the small-screen treatment in "Blonde," based on Joyce Carol Oates' account of the life of Marilyn Monroe, DiMaggio is coming to the big screen thanks to producer Larry Gordon.
Gordon has hired veteran writers Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rivele ("Nixon") to adapt Richard Ben Cramer's biography "Joe DiMaggio: A Hero's Life," which Gordon optioned before its publication last October.
The much-publicized tome shocked fans with its controversial depiction of DiMaggio as a surly misanthrope. But that is just one aspect of his life that the movie will touch on. Sources said DiMaggio's relationship with Monroe will be the center of the story.
No word yet on casting, but Wilkinson and Rivele have a history of attracting top talent to their scripts. Anthony Hopkins played Nixon for them and director Oliver Stone, and Will Smith will be seen in their upcoming "Ali."
Now that one-time New Line Cinema bad boy Michael De Luca has officially been named head of production for DreamWorks SKG, industry speculation is focusing furiously on the future of DreamWorks executives Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who have been running the feature side of the company. Parkes is one of two executives to whom De Luca will report, the other being Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The husband-and-wife team of Parkes and MacDonald have had a spectacular run at the studio, which has had hits from "American Beauty" to "Gladiator" to "Shrek," but insiders are convinced they really want to move from being execs into producing no matter how much they deny it.
While director Curtis Hanson is working on a movie with Eminem, Miramax Films is developing a project about a very different kind of rocker: 22-year-old British crooner Barry Cox.
Cox came out of the small British town of Liverpool to become one of the biggest names on the Cantonese karaoke music circuit. His strange success prompted "Pulp Fiction" producer Lawrence Bender and musician Peter Gabriel to team on the picture for Miramax.
The cross-cultural comedy marks a gradual return by Hollywood to music-themed material, after Cameron Crowe's Oscar-winning "Almost Famous," the current "Moulin Rouge" and the upcoming fall release of Warner Bros.' "Rock Star," featuring Mark Wahlberg.
Miramax's sister company, Dimension Films, is continuing a long-lasting trend of turning comic books into movies, and is developing a live-action version of Marvel's "Cloak and Dagger."
"Dagger," about two teenage runaways with amazing powers, is one of several comic books newly in the works as movies. Others include a sequel to "X Men" at Fox, a live-action version of Marvel's "Werewolf by Night" (also at Dimension) and new attempts at rebuilding the "Superman" and "Batman" franchises at Warner Bros.
Contributing columnist Stephen Galloway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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