Fletch Author Gregory Mcdonald Dead at 71

Gregory Mcdonald died on Sunday at age 71 in Pulaski, Tennessee. Mcdonald is best known as the best-selling author of the Fletch book series, which was later adapted into a feature film series starring Chevy Chase. Mcdonald’s Running Scared and The Brave were also adapted for the big screen. Mcdonald had 26 published books and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award twice. Before writing the Fletch novels, Mcdonald was a journalist for the Boston Globe. He is survived by his wife, Cherlye, and five children.

Mcdonald ‘s most recent brush with Hollywood involved the development of a Fletch prequel called Fletch Won. Kevin Smith was originally attached to write and direct but left when studio heads weren’t confident in Jason Lee for the lead role. Scrubs writer/director Bill Lawrence came on board with Zach Braff attached to star. Both Braff and Lawrence left the project in 2007, replaced with Accepted director Steve Pink. No word on the current state of the project.

source: AP

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Like a good number of dudes and a fair number of gals, I haven’t followed the NBA with much interest since Michael Jordan exited in 2003. Tried, but too much bark and vanity in my opinion, not to mention the Lakers. Jordan’s remained super low-key since his final retirement–a few Hanes cameos and the ever present Jumpman23 logo–but now a documentary is set to be made about him and his unparalleled career by bud and former sidekick, director Spike Lee. According to Lee, the doc is tentatively set to premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.

It will reportedly feature a decent amount of exclusive footage from Jordan’s later and middling years with the Washington Wizards. No other information has been released. Jordan’s made a few trips to theaters in the past, including 1996’s infamous belly flop Space Jam, 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action (aww, Joe Dante) and 2002’s decent if empty IMAX doc …to the Max. I was hoping for a more independent, introspective look here, but since the NBA is financing the pic, maybe next time. But Lee’s not one to compromise (he gave a pretty ballsy “fight the man” speech at my alma mater), so I’m sure his take won’t be shinier than Jordan’s dome.

Wait a sec, what’s that sound? It’s the sound of my younger brother incessantly talking my ear off about Scottie Pippen for the entire ’90s. Get out of here ghost.

Discuss: So, of course MJ deserves this doc. That’s a given. But in your opinion, which NBA player was/is the best actor (in movies, not foul drawing)? My picks are Kareem in Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Fletch (obvi), followed up by Bo Kimble in Heaven is a Playground. If any of you remember that one, you’re cool 4 life.

Oh Boy. It’s the Slashfilm Clean-Up!

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There’s a lot of minor news breaking today and falling in between the cushions of Slashfilm’s buttery soft couch. I’ve decided to reach in and present the tasty morsels for your enjoyment. Don’t like some of ’em? Well, your dog doesn’t discriminate and if it does, surprise, it’s a kitty.

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October’s Max Payne video adaptation continues to build a curious borderline-honor roll of a cast, with Chris O’Donnell (Robin) climbing out of the Where Are They Now File to star alongside Mark Wahlberg (title role), the foxy Mila Kunis (uh, assassin love interest), Beau friggin’ Bridges (mentor) and Donal Logue (not playing Jimmy the Cab Driver). O’Donnell will play nipple-free “executive Jason Colvin.” Exciting, innit? Now, if only the film was rated R. (EW)

javier_bardem.jpgJavier Bardem, the biggest star in born again director Francis Ford Coppola‘s follow-up to Youth Without Youth, Tetro, has either dropped out or been replaced on a huge creative whim. Coppola will recast the role of Bardem’s mentor to Vincent Gallo’s title character with Carmen Maura, whom you may have caught in Volver. Hmmm, Coppola could have certainly used the awareness of the Oscar winner. Too bad. (HR) As we all do when a job falls through, Bardem is said to be considering a role as a respected wine critic in a film entitled The First Emperor starring naughty monkeys Helen Mirren and Hugh Grant. (DH)

The horror! Another fresh face from The O.C. has washed ashore on Crystal Lake. Amanda Rhigetti, an 8, is close to signing on as the female lead in Platinum Dunes’ Friday the 13th. How about a cameo by Adam Brody’s head? (Variety)

Latino Review sum up Sam Raimi‘s script to his upcoming Drag Me to Hell with three words: Predictable as hell. Slashfilm previously summed up the entire movie even more succinctly with: Justin Long. Obviously we’re too smart to add “as hell” to that. However, that was before we caught Long’s performance in The Sasquatch Gang (now on DVD), which was maddeningly chuckle-inducing. “Predictable as hell” it is, then.

Billy Crudup is that guy you call when your film is looking good. He’ll play J. Edgar Hoover (kinky) in Michael Mann‘s Public Enemies, which stars Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and the Dorf and has as much chance as sucking as UNC losing the Final Four. Jinx? Hardly. [Variety]

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Where’s my sickly neighbor from 1988’s inhaler? Joshua Jackson says he will not be playing Fletch in the remake. Chevy Chase’s is one of my favorite Chevy Chase films. I say cast Michael Cera and let Jason Lee choke on a furball. [MTV]

The new film from Heathers writer/legend Daniel Waters opens tomorrow in select theaters. It’s called Sex and Death 101. Here’s an interview with Waters that’s so chockfull of amazingly pretentious, pseudo-intellectual name dropping it makes us realize how rarely we come across screenwriter interviews like this anymore. More Waters, please.

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Hard hitter producer Graham King (The Departed, Blood Diamond) and Warner Bros. hope to bring the Hugo Award-winning sci-fi series Hyperion Cantos to life on screen via a script by relative newcomer Trevor Sands. I’m not familiar with author Dan Simmons‘s works, but the plot is said to be set on a planet called Hyperion that has lucid blue skies, “electricity-spewing trees,” and a mysterious region called the Time Tombs, where time travel evidently goes down amongst artifacts. And a very pissed off monster guards them. Ooh la la. Sands will combine the first two novels, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion in his script. An original, brainy sci-fi film? All for it. Any fans, please sounds off in the comments below. (HR)