The Surprising Employment of Vanessa Hudgens

The perky one-time Disney queen continues to get work despite a string of bombs. Also today: the possible return of Robert Zemeckis, the likely return of Carrie Bradshaw, and the disappearance of Andrew Garfield.

  • Between Beastly, Bandslam, and Sucker Punch, High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens should mostly be on her way out of the movie biz. Those were all terrible movies that did terribly. Well, OK, Bandslam isn't so bad, but the other two are insanely awful. In Beastly they take a bus from New York to Machu Picchu! Awful movies. No more Vanessa Hudgens, right? Wrong! Not so! The Candies spokesgal is close to signing a deal to star opposite John Cusack and Nicolas Cage in a thriller called Frozen Ground, in which she'd play the one teenage girl who escaped the clutches of real-life serial killer Robert Hansen, played by Cusack in the movie. So while John Cusack and Nicolas Cage (playing the one cop who believes her) aren't burning quite as bright as they once did, they're still relatively big movie stars and soon Vanessa Hudgens will be shrieking right next to them. So look at her go! A gal with nine career lives, that one. [Deadline]
  • Shockingly, TBS has gone and ordered a TV pilot that was produced by the network's star, Conan O'Brien. Weird that they would try to make him happy, huh? Weird choice. The show, a multi-camera sitcom, is about "a family man who quits his day job and returns to the neighborhood where he grew up. While there, he reunites with his former best friend." Sounds wacky! But wait, is the former best friend a goof, a doof, or a slacker? Is he a ne'er-do-well or a rare-do-well? Does he wear his collared shirts tucked in or untucked? Is he a single lovable jerk horndog or a happily married lovable jerk horndog? These are important things to know if I'm going to call the show wacky. 'Cause I'm hoping it's pretty wacky. Anyway, congrats O'Brien. Don't know how you did it. [THR]
  • Large-scale movie director Robert Zemeckis might be abandoning the world of motion capture animation, thank god, and returning to the world of regular films, which he once claimed he'd retired from. The movie would be Flight, about a hero airline pilot (Denzel Washington), much in the same vein as Sully Sullenberger, who has secrets to hide and meets a young lady (possibly Sherlock Holmes' Kelly Reilly). He's a drunk, she's a druggie, and they have to get their shit together... together. So it's not exactly Back to the Future, but it's a start. [Deadline]
  • As previously warned, The CW has been thinking about trying to do a Sex and the City prequel based on the prequel books The Carrie Diaries. Well, gird your well-used lady loins, because try it they will. The network has officially ordered a pilot of the show, set in the small New England town where Carrie Bradshaw came up. Yeah, no flashy Manhattan upbringing for this gal. Well, not right away anyway. The show will start during Carrie's senior year at Smalltown High but eventually follow her to her first internship in New York City. There she'll one day meet an optimistic young OCD victim named Charlotte, an aspiring lawyer with fiery hair that's in a perpetually terrible cut named Miranda, and an old British prostitute who lives under a bridge named Samantha. As for how everyone meets and what happens and stuff, well we'll leave it to producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz to fill in the blahniks. (Puns!) Casting for young Carrie will soon be underway. I'd recommend that great actress from Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. No, not Gabrielle Anwar. [EW]
  • I've said it before and I'll say it again: What television needs is more shows about lawyers. There are just not enough shows on TV that are about lawyers. There are barely any! Well, finally, television's greatest mind Shonda Rhimes has come to the rescue with a new show about lawyers. It's about a public defender who gets fired amidst a mystery and then has to go to work with a bunch of "misfit" lawyers at start-up firm while also trying to solve the mystery. Oh good! Young, misfit lawyers being quirky and solving a mystery. It is basically The Grey's Wife. Phew. I hope the name of the show is last names too. Lincoln & Quitch. Diggums & Taint. Fartman & Hobart. You know, one of those snappy lawyer show names. Can't wait! Really can't wait! [Deadline]
  • Future Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield has dropped out of Warren Beatty's planned Howard Hughes biopic. While the press is saying that it was because of scheduling that interfered with Garfield's upcoming Broadway debut, the real reason is that we just needed some time together to chill out. He's been so busy with all his Spider-Man stuff that now that he has some time off, we've decided to rent a little garret on the Île Saint-Louis for a few months to just relax and see beautiful things together. I hope you understand. [NYP]

[Photo via Getty]