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Briefly: Doug Liman just directed Tom Cruise in the sci-fi time-warp film Edge of Tomorrow, and now Liman is coming on board a movie that Cruise has been trying to make since 2010. The film is El Presidente, about “a straight-arrow Secret Service agent who is assigned to protect America’s worst former president, an alcoholic and womanizing sleazebag who never won a presidential election but was elevated from VP when the president died.” The two are forced on an awkward road trip when a threat puts them on the run together.

For years, Cruise has hoped to land Jack Nicholson to play the President and in so doing achieve a little A Few Good Men reunion. THR reports that while Liman has come aboard, the two haven’t yet convinced Nicholson to do more than read the script. (That’s by Jesse Armstrong and Daniel J. Goor with a rewrite by Paul Attanasio.) Supposedly Cruise doesn’t want to do the film without Nicholson, but that might just be sales pitch.

There was a point when Robert Downey Jr. might have played the ex-POTUS, back when Jay Roach was going to direct. We don’t have any sense of whether someone similar might be next in line if Nicholson says no.

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Simon Crane Directing ‘Hot Wheels’ for Legendary

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Universal has the Fast and Furious films, DreamWorks now has the Need for Speed video game adaptation, and Legendary is working on a high-octane film version of Hot Wheels. And by “film version of” I mean “movie branded with the same name” as there’s clearly no story to adapt from a long-running brand of little toy cars. But the name can be everything.

Now Simon Crane, who cut his teeth as a stunt guy and second unit director before starting to look at directing features, has been set to direct.  Art Marcum and Matt Holloway wrote one draft, and now Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco, Quiz Show, Homicide, the potential Scarface remake) will rewrite. No word on plot or story yet, but presumably there will be cars going so fast that their wheels become “hot.”

Since Legendary and Universal now have a deal, that means Uni could end up with two racing film series. But the studio could always pass, and let Legendary take Hot Wheels elsewhere, if it decides that’s the best move. [Deadline]

As a producer, Ridley Scott has maintained a strong presence on television with shows like The Good Wife and Numb3rs. As a director, he hasn’t crossed over to the small screen in four decades. That’ll change next year, however, as Scott has just signed on to helm a Showtime drama pilot titled The Vatican. More details after the jump.

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The popularity of Breaking Bad — a sort of alternate Scarface where a Regular American becomes a totally compromised drug trade figure — is probably all Universal needs as encouragement to make a new take on Scarface. Well, that and the enduring popularity of images related to the 1983 film directed by Brian De Palma starring Al Pacino.

Universal has been cooking up a new take on the story of an immigrant’s rise to criminal power, and now has a new writer on board to get the picture closer to a green light. Read More »

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Rumor has it that Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky will helm The Fighter for Paramount, reuniting The Departed co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon.
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