Michael J. Fox is working again. As is Rebecca Romijn. Sean Penn and Melissa Leo make post-Oscar plans, and a great stage vet gets a potentially good role.

Begrizzled homo-loving son of a gun Sean Penn will be starring in a film about drugs. It's a Brian Grazer-produced film called Cartel and is a sorta revengey, child protect-y kinda movie. [Variety] David Ayer, who's previously dazzled us with such fare like the baroque LA crime flick Harsh Times and the broke-ass LA crime Keanu Reeves movie Street Kings, has received a seven figure deal from Regency to write and direct a film called Last Man, about American soldiers in space dukin' it out with frakking aliens. [Variety]

Fox has picked up the screen rights to the book Mr. Popper's Penguins. They plan to turn the 1938 publication into a thriller about what happens when the air conditioning is on too high at the Abbey. [Variety]

Begrizzled immigrant-loving wielder of a gun Melissa Leo, of Frozen River Oscar nodding, has signed on to a new HBO pilot. She'll be playing a lawyer in Treme, David Simon's New Orleans-set followup to The Wire. [Variety] Meanwhile at a project of completely equal prestige, former Ugly Betty transsexual Rebecca Romijn has signed on to play the lead in the Witches of Eastwick pilot for ABC. [Variety]

Michael J. Fox is returning to television, in a reality show called Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist, in which he travels the world spreading good cheer. You just shut yer damn trap right now, Limbaugh. [Variety] Meanwhile a TV star of today makes Bambi steps toward movie stardom. Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl will star in the totally-mid-90's-ish thriller The Roommate, about a college student whose roommate becomes obsessed with her, Single White Female style. In that movie, Jennifer Jason Leigh was Bridget Fonda's, um, roommate. [THR]

Oh awesome. The wonderful Missy Pyle, Chris Parnell, and Deanne Dunagan are set to star in a CBS comedy pilot. Parnell and Pyle have been doing funny work in TV and film for years now, but Chicago actress Dunagan is probably best known for her ferocious, every-award-possible-winning turn in the play August: Osage County. She'll play a Southern mother making things difficult for an East Coast-transplant couple. [THR]