The Oscars keep shaking things up to feel young again, a bunch of pictures lurch or glide into production, Canadians make big in American TV, and layoffs plague two LA TV stations.
Not only are the Oscars expanding the Best Picture category, they're now maybe getting rid of the silly Best Original Song award and saving us from the lengthy backslapping of the lifetime achievement awards. The Academy announced that the voting for the song award will change so that it's possible that no song will be nominated in a given year, and the old people are gonna die soon thing is going to be a private black-tie affair in November. So, we kind of win! [Variety]
Producers are gathering together to make Havana Nocturne, a 50s-set Cuban gangster tale based on the book by T.J. English. People who produced such varying fare as Hamlet 2 and Valkyrie are onboard to organize the project, which will feature a whole cross-section of Cuban life, from gangsters to street kids to revolutionaries plotting in the woods. [THR]
Nerdy it-boys of the moment Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who wrote both Transformers 2 and Star Trek, will co-produce a new action comedy type picture called License to Steal. It's a movie about high-end, daredevil, globetrotting repo men, partly inspired by this Salon.com article. Oh, these dudes also exec-produced The Hangover, so essentially they're having the best summer of anyone ever. We're not jealous or anything. Really, we're just clawing the coffee table because we feel like it. [Variety]
Reliable old Lea Thompson has landed the role in a pilot called A Town Called Malice for director Howard Deutch. The dramedy is about a former rock star who returns to the hometown she fled when she was 16 with her daughter, who is now about that age. The two are broke and have to redo their lives. We think a better title would be Hope Floats Eastbound. [THR]
Oh, cute. Brandon Camp, who helmed the upcoming laff/weeper Love Happens with J. Aniston and A. Eckhart, will direct Relativity, about a bunch of grownup kids who go home for their parents' 30th wedding anniversary only to find out that... they're all adopted. Some guy behind the way-better-than-it-looked-I-promise Dan in Real Life will produce, so let's hope for warm/funny/secretly-wise again with this one. Seriously guys. Most underrated films of last year? Dan in Real Life and Ghost Town. Both very solid. [Variety]
Look. Some Canadian named Missy Peregrym from that show Reaper will star in a new Canadian "Grey's Anatomy about rookie cops" cop drama called Copper. It films in Toronto for 13 episodes. This wouldn't normally be news, except that everyone in American television is desperate, so ABC is actually going to air the damn thing in the States. [THR]
Fox-owned affiliates in Los Angeles KTTV and KCOP are facing major layoffs in the coming weeks. As many as 95 staffers could get the axe, including "editors, writers, shooters, promo people, our chief helicopter guy, the entire chyron department, most of the graphics department." The helicopter guy? And no more chyrons? What's the point of even watching the news, then? [Variety]