Despatches

Mermaid Swims
In London recently to promote the re-issue of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel herself) told Film Review, “I just got given the script for The Little Mermaid 2 which picks up the story of the first film as Ariel and her Prince give birth to a baby who yearns to return to the ocean. They’re currently auditioning for someone with a voice like mine and I’ve given them a tape for reference. I’m also the voice of Helen of Troy in the new Hercules TV animation series which is exciting because she gets to sing some great songs. My other Disney project for the near future is The Lady and the Tramp 2. Barbara Luddy, the original voice of Lady, has passed away and I’m taking over from her. Ariel and Disney have changed my life and I’m thrilled to be involved with these new animation projects.”

Pot Pitt
Brad Pitt is talking to New Line Cinema, the studio which made Seven , about starring in Smuggler’s Moon. It’s the true life story of Kris and Bill Shaffer who spent 20 years operating a documentary film company that specialized in diving for deep sea treasures which acted as a front for their booming marijuana smuggling business. The brothers are now on parole after serving a six-year jail sentence and will act as advisers on the movie described as ‘a high Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’.

I Love Lucy
She’s still making The Notting Hill Project with Hugh Grant, but Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts has been talking about her future plans once shooting has wrapped on the Four Weddings and a Funeral sequel. “I’m very much hoping that my next project will be a film loosely based on the life of Lucille Ball. I’m talking about it at the moment. She had quite an interesting and traumatic life and I would really love to do a role like that.” .

There’s something about Ben
Ben Stiller is riding high as Cameron Diaz’s accident prone, besotted would-be lover in There’s Something About Mary (now back up to #2 in the US box-office in its seventh week of release - Ed). 20th Century Fox liked him so much in the Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber) Brothers comedy they’ve signed him to an exclusive deal in which he’ll write, produce and direct projects under his own Red Hour Films banner. Stiller, who you may remember directed The Cable Guy, has just completed the distinctive role of a TV writer who battles heroin addiction in Jerry Stahl’s controversial memoir Permanent Midnight and starred with Nastassja Kinski and Jason Patric in Your Friends and Neighbours. Meanwhile, Peter and Bobby Farrelly follow their latest exercise in bad taste with Stuck On You about Siamese twins joined at the hip and what happens when one decides he wants to go to Hollywood to become a star.

Armageddon what next?
Now Armageddon is on release, mega producer Jerry Bruckheimer (the man behind Beverly Hills Cop and Top Gun) can concentrate on his impressive slate of upcoming features. First will be the Christmas movie Enemy of the State starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight and directed by Tony Scott. Then Rogue Warrior, the story of a maligned Navy SEAL; Witness to the Truth, based on the true account of FBI agent Paul Lindsay; Though the Sky Falls, the biography of Veronica Guerin - the heroic Irish journalist gunned down by Dublin crime lords - starring Joan Allen; The Tiger Project, based on the work in India of conservationist Belinda Wright; Blackhawk Dawn, the gripping recounting of the 1993 Somalian Battle of Mogadishu; Operation Moses, the real story of a New York stockbroker who risked everything on a covert operation to rescue Ethiopian Jews; and, lastly, Esau, the tale of a mountaineer who discovers the legendary Yeti on an unexplored Himalayan peak. (Phew! - Ed)

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