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James Franco was just cast in the Planet of the Apes prequel, which instantly makes me a bit more interested in that movie, but in the meantime he’s also booked a smaller picture. Franco will star in Ricky Stanicky, a comedy by Jeff Bushell, writer of Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

That dubious credit aside, the spec is intentioned as an R-rated ensemble comedy. And while that means The Hangover is inevitably invoked in the description, the story is about “three teens [who] pull a prank and burn down a house in their neighborhood. They create a fake person to take the blame — Ricky Stanicky did it! Twenty years later, we see that the three guys have been using this alibi to get out of every uncomfortable situation in life. When their wives force them to set up a meeting with Stanicky, they hire an actor (Franco).” OK, not actually a bad setup, and with Franco as the ‘imaginary’ character, it could work. [THR]

After the break, The Perks of Being a Wallflower finds its, um, wallflowers, and Gerard Butler sings! Read More »

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Nine may have crapped out at the box office last year, but the movie musical isn’t dead by a long shot. There has been news this week that Russell Crowe may be the comically unlikely leading man to appear opposite Beyonce in a new version of A Star is Born, for one. (That may end up being a romantic drama with musical overtones, rather than a full-on musical.) And now a report says that New Line is tapping Bandslam director Todd Graf to oversee the new film version of Damn Yankees, which has long had Jim Carrey and Jake Gyllenhaal attached. Read More »

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