Celebrity Watch

Posted on 14 Dec 2006 at 7:11pm

Penelope and Pedro come together again



Penelope Cruz

With the Spanish-language hit “Volver” garnering great reviews and building up Oscar buzz, it’s no surprise that the film’s director and star are already planning another collaboration.

Queer cinema legend Pedro Almodovar has announced that the sublime Penelope Cruz will play the lead in his next movie, “El Piel Que Habito” (“The Skin I Live In”).

The Spanish filmmaker says that this fourth collaboration with Cruz (she also appeared in his “Live Flesh” and “All About My Mother”) is a dark tale of revenge that is in no way autobiographical or even similar to his previous movies.

No word yet on when the film will be going into production, but it’ll no doubt have to wait for awards season to be over first.

Lane, Chenoweth spoof Regis and Kelly

Openly gay entertainer Nathan Lane has conquered Broadway and Hollywood with his talent for both comedy and drama and for singing and dancing.

But his ventures into television haven’t been quite as successful anyone out there remember “Encore! Encore!” or “Charlie Lawrence”?

His next stab at the small screen sounds a bit more promising, since he’ll have the equally talented Kristin Chenoweth (Broadway’s “Wicked”) at his side.

The duo will play a pair of daytime talk-show hosts and any resemblance to Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa is purely intentional.

(Chenoweth had her own short-lived NBC show, called “Kristin,” and she inspired the Christian character Harriet on “Studio 60,” created by her ex, Aaron Sorkin.)

With any luck, these two stage legends will be jazzing up the fall 2007 TV season.

Nyswaner has designs on “‘Dover’

The writer of “Philadelphia” is headed back to Pennsylvania.

Out screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (whose other credits include “The Painted Veil” and “Soldier’s Girl”) has been hired by Paramount Pictures to write “Dover,” a film about the 2005 trial that halted a Pennsylvania school board from teaching “intelligent design” over evolution.

The writer sees the film, envisioned as a new-millennial “Inherit the Wind,” as a portrait of a town where neighbor was pitted against neighbor in a conflict between religious faith and scientific fact. He’ll use courtroom transcripts, interviews, and news coverage of the battle to help him research the screenplay, which he’s writing for producer Lynda Obst (“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”).

Look for shooting dates to be set once the production gets past the writing stage.

Donahue spearheads anti-war doc

TV legend Phil Donahue is teaming up with lesbian filmmaker Ellen Spiro (“Troop 1500,” “(In)Visible Women”) for a project that will add to the swelling ranks of documentaries about the war in Iraq.

“Body of War,” which is currently being finished, follows soldier Tomas Young, who was left paralyzed in the same Sadr City battle in which Casey Sheehan, son of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, died.

Young becomes an activist for veterans, copes with medical bureaucracy and takes his fight to Capitol Hill.

Early reports say that the film could make Young a prominent figure akin to Mark Zupan, the wheelchair rugby player featured in “Murderball.”

All proceeds from “Body of War” will benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity founded by the late Danny Thomas, father of Donahue’s wife, Marlo Thomas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 15, 2006

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