A little boy says he went to heaven, his father writes a book about it, and now this book is becoming a movie. The Rapture is almost upon us, everyone! Also today: Johnny Depp is going to play a classic crime solver, Catherine Hardwicke loves her some teenagers, and Hunger Games newz!
- Remember Colton Burpo, the little boy who almost died at the hospital and then when he woke up said that he went to heaven and met a beautiful blue-eyed Jesus? And then his minister dad (A minister? Total coinky-dink!) wrote a book about it and now that book, Heaven Is for Real, is going to become a movie. Not like a cheaply made Fireproof-style Christian movie. This thing has been optioned by Sony. Terrific. As we learned with The Lovely Bones, movies about kids going to heaven are always great. So, good. Poor Colton Burpo's near-death hallucination (or whatever it was, if it really even happened) will continue to be exploited by his ghoulish father and America will be one bad movie richer. Ace work, Hollyweird. I hope Zac Efron plays Jesus! [Deadline]
- Hungah, heah! Getcha Hungah, heah! Yes, it's time again for Hunger Games casting news! The news today is that Stanley Tucci, and not Ryan Seacrest who it should have been, has been cast as Caesar Flickerman, the smarmy host of the pre- and post-Hunger Games interviews. The Seacrest slight aside, this is good casting! I mean, Stanley Tucci can basically do anything well. He was even in The Lovely Bones and didn't stink. Maybe he will also play Colton Burpo in Donnie Burpo? Fingers crossed. [EW]
- Catherine Hardwicke, who belched the first Twilight movie into existence, has signed on to direct a film adaptation of The Bitch Posse, a novel about high school bitches. Then the bitches grow up and are haunted by a past incident, from back when they were bitches. Man, has Catherine Hardwicke ever met a story about troubled teens she hasn't wanted to direct? Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, Twilight, Red Riding Hood, and now this. All Catherine Hardwicke wants to do is talk to us about upset teenagers. Which is fine. That's all I ever want to do too. Remember NYC Prep? Sigh. Oh, and speaking of troubled children, Matt Damon is attached to produce and star in Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, a spec script about a father/daughter duo on the run after a crime spree. So it's sort of like Hanna meets A Perfect World meets Thelma & Louise. [Deadline, Deadline]
- Speaking of Ryan Seacrest, his one-time sparring partner/dream sex partner Simon Cowell has arrived back on our shores with his ominous X Factor singing competition show in tow, and preliminary auditions began yesterday. And apparently they were pretty intense! Judge L.A. Reid is said to have been really nasty, and Cowell encouraged the audience to be as poorly behaved as possible. Is everything about this show too mean? Maybe. At least there's Paula Abdul, finally confirmed as a judge, to add some levity to the proceedings with her mush-mouthed alien platitudes. Oh, and they hired a Welshman to co-host with Nicole Scherzinger, so this is basically one big roundelay of British strangeness, this X Factor. Can America handle it? Will America want to handle it? Find out this September, only on Fox. [THR]
- Chicago directing sensation, and Memoirs of a Geisha and Nine directing disappointment, Rob Marshall has been officially announced as the director of a remake of The Thin Man. Well, it might not be a remake of the 1939 classic and more just a new adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett detective novel. Johnny Depp, who recently worked with Marshall on the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, will star, presumably as the Nick half of the famous Nick and Nora crime-solving duo. I don't know how to feel about this other than glad/a little disappointed that Rob Marshall isn't directing Johnny Depp in a remake of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. [The Wrap]
- Totally untalented actress who nobody likes Laura Linney has been cast in Hyde Park On the Hudson, a movie in which Bill Murray plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Linney plays Daisy, the distant cousin he has an affair with. At least she's not playing Eleanor! Man, that's gotta be a sad phone call from your agent. "They want you to read, they say you have the perfect look for the part." "Ooh, which part??" "Uh, Eleanor Roosevelt." "Oh." I suggest Oliver Platt. [Deadline]