Sept. 19, 2006: Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson and Lionsgate Vice-Chairman Michael Burns at the world premiere of 'Employee of the Month' in Los Angeles.
The "devil" may wear Prada, but now the devil's employer is going to start producing movies.
Sources tell me that V Entertainment, a business division under Vogue magazine, has signed on as a producer of the imminent remake of “The Women,” a long-planned project based on the wonderful 1939 movie of the same name.
Indeed, the two-year-old announcements that “The Women” remake was coming were premature. But now it seems that "Murphy Brown" creator Diane English has a script, and she also has Meg Ryan signed on to play the central role of a woman whose husband has left her for a shopgirl. Norma Shearer played the part in the original film.
I am told that offers to fill the other parts have gone out to a number of actresses. Other stars in the 1939 cast were Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford and Paulette Goddard.
You could certainly see a wide variety of today’s top stars in the remake of the George Cukor classic, from Susan Sarandon to Maggie Gyllenhaal. Two years ago, Sandra Bullock was said to be on board, but it’s unclear if that’s still the case.
What’s more interesting is the involvement of Vogue. Apparently, Conde Nast has put up the money so that the magazine will be listed as a producer of “The Women.” Insiders say that the idea was broached to Conde Nast’s Tom Florio by talent agency ICM.
Ironically, it’s another editor at Conde Nast — Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair — who’s coveted being a part-time movie producer. It was he who was behind the Robert Evans documentary “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” And Carter is the one who throws the extravagant Hollywood parties during the Oscars and Golden Globes.
Vogue, however, has only been mentioned in connection with movies lately because “The Devil Wears Prada” was based on the author’s experiences working at the fashion bible.
I don't care what anyone says about Meryl Streep’s character, she was based on editor Anna Wintour. Ironically, Streep made the character sympathetic.
“The Women” is set for release by New Line Cinema. Mick Jagger will have a hand in it, too, via his own production company. I’m told production is expected to commence in January, which means we could be seeing a finished film a year from now.
Jessica Simpson is such a bad actress that she was only nominated for, but didn’t actually win, a Razzie for her work in last year’s “Dukes of Hazzard.”
Simpson may realize her potential and actually win the Razzie this year for “Employee of the Month,” which premiered last night in Hollywood.
Her fleeting appearances in this otherwise genial and often very funny comedy make it grimly apparent that Simpson is not headed to celluloid greatness.
She has little to say or do, but when she does, ooh boy. Simpson has no facial gestures at all, to the extent that it seems like she wasn’t even paying attention during her close-ups. Maybe she was bored.
Luckily, "Employee" is saved by its actual star — comedian Dane Cook — and a bunch of character actors including Dax Shepard, Efren Ramirez, Tim Bagley and Danny Woodburn, all of whom make "Employee" better than it deserves to be.
Simpson, however, is like cardboard. Director Greg Coolidge and his editors must have worked overtime while cutting Simpson’s scenes for maximum positive effect and minimal negative impact, because she never goes so far as to destroy the film. It’s only when she speaks.
But Coolidge is too smart for that: He focuses as much as possible on Simpson’s lovely chest. She complies by offering ample cleavage.
But Simpson may not be so keen on "Employee of the Month" after all. It took her two hours after the conclusion of the screening at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to make it over to her own party at the Roosevelt Hotel. Where was she, I asked? “Changing outfits,” said a source.
Meanwhile, "Employee of the Month" may yet turn out to be a cult hit, with or without a conscious Simpson. A little like “Office Space” and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” this comedy also recalls “Clerks.” You get a wacky cast of losers working around the clock at a New Mexico Costco. It was actually filmed in such a place, during the midnight shift.
Simpson, however, may only be adding to her early fall season woes. Her album "A Public Affair" is a dud, selling just 26,000 copies last week. That brings her total to a startingly low 187,000. Not too good.
As for Cook, that’s another matter. “Employee of the Month” isn’t perfect by a long shot, but it goes a long way to establishing him as a movie comedian. His next couple of movies, if they’re in this vein, should put him on the road Will Ferrell took to get Jim Carrey’s old jobs: in other words, we’re going to be seeing him a lot in the near future.
The Who is about to return with its first new album in 700 years.
“Endless Wire” is ready for release next month, but I’ve heard that there’s a debate at Rolling Stone whether or not to put them on the cover.
Publisher Jann Wenner wants them, but thinks Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey are "too old." The odds are that the duo will somehow make the cover, with the other members getting their pictures inside …
How about a movie about Mrs. Marilyn Manson, aka modern burlesque star Dita von Teese? And why not? Lian Lunson, who made the wonderful “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” is talking to Lions Gate about it …