Imagine: John Lennon Is Coming to Broadway

John Lennon Sean Penn | Terrence Malick | Robbie Williams | Nathan Lane

Imagine: John Lennon Is Coming to Broadway

Good morning. I can tell you exclusively today that Yoko Ono has approved a musical version of John Lennon's life -- and it's headed to Broadway.

Details are still sketchy, but director Don Scardino will helm the project. Lennon's many songs from his solo career will fill the show, although insiders say it's not clear how the Beatles will be handled.

You may recall that Ono excised all mention of the Beatles or Paul McCartney at the TNT tribute show to Lennon in November 2001. Even though the Lennon musical will have a book -- as yet unwritten -- the story may be less about his early years and more about his time with Ono.

Get ready for an onstage bed-in, which will at least be fun to gossip about.

Of course, the biggest part of this process will be the casting -- and no one knows who will play John and Yoko yet. One thing's for sure: we're not likely to see Lennon's eldest son, Julian. For years, Ono has prevented him from sharing in his father's fortune. Julian now lives quietly in France, away from the madness that surrounded John's celebrity.

Call Him Pistol Packin' Sean Penn

Sean Penn obviously has some fears about being a dead man walking.

Yesterday, Penn's car, a 1997 Buick, was stolen in broad daylight from a street in Berkeley, California while he was enjoying some fine dining in the area.

But guess what? Penn had not one, but two, concealed weapons in the car. Granted, they were licensed -- but why does he need a loaded 9 mm Glock handgun and an unloaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver in the trunk.

Granted, Penn has made his share of enemies over the years. He turned off a lot of people last winter, when he made a visit to Iraq as a self-appointed weapons inspector. But he must really be nervous if he's got that much artillery at hand.

Of course, carrying guns may actually endear Penn to the exact same people he ticked off with the Iraq trip. Maybe he's an anti-gun control liberal. Now that would be a first.

The public information officer for the Berkeley Police Department told me that it was weirder that the car was stolen than the fact there were guns in it.

"That neighborhood has almost no car thefts," she said. "It was at a meter in a busy upscale area. We're doing an investigation into the whole thing."

Penn was eating with his assistant before coming out to find an empty parking space. He's about to make a new movie in the Oakland area, which is brought him to Berkeley in the first place.

Eccentric Director Returns as Producer

Terrence Malick is back.

The kooky, reclusive and capricious director of three classic movies -- Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line -- does not get around much. He is rarely seen, never heard from, and makes a movie every other decade.

But now he's in business with producer Ed Pressman, and their film together starts shooting soon in Savannah, Georgia. The film will be directed by David Gordon Green, who just released All the Real Girls. He also has George Washington under his belt.

Malick, according to his web site, wrote the story for The Undertow about two brothers, ages 10 and 13, who are on the run from their older, murderous stepbrother. Jamie Bell, who was Billy Elliott, stars.

As for Malick, his own film situation is harder to diagnose. For some time he's nosed around Whistle, the final novel by James Jones, who also wrote The Thin Red Line. Sidney Lumet was going to direct it at one point, then Malick -- and back and forth. There may even be a Whistle script by David Mamet somewhere out there, but even that's just a rumor. Malick is also said to be working on a film about the inventor of the Hubble telescope called Realm of the Galaxies.

Brit Pop Star a Bust in the U.S.

Robbie Williams is now officially the Cliff Richard of this decade.

Williams, a huge pop star in England, simply does not translate to the U.S. His new album, Escapology, sold a piddling 30,000 copies last week in this country.

Such was the story of Cliff Richard, a mega star in the 1960s and 1970s in the UK who never made it here, despite valiant efforts.

Williams was supposed to be in good shape. He had a high profile from his duet with Nicole Kidman on "Something Stupid," and even had a minor hit here three years ago with a catchy number called "Millenium."

The failure of Escapology doesn't do much for the trajectory of Virgin Records or its failure-plagued chief exec, Matt Serletic. There was a lot of carping when Serletic got his job at Virgin because he'd never run a big label before -- his main credit was being manager of Matchbox Twenty.

Nathan Lane Back on Broadway

That's the word this weekend, as Tony winner and popular star Nathan Lane is supposedly the guest star in the side-splitting The Play What I Wrote. Glenn Close, Roger Moore and John Lithgow have already followed Kevin Kline into the "mystery" role.