In the past week or so there's been a flurry of announcements regarding new projects for Jim Carrey.
But here's the one that's really solid. Carrey has committed to a long aborning project at Sony/Columbia Pictures called American Neurotic. His co-stars will more than likely be Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kate Beckinsale.
Steve Chbosky, the man who's adapted Rent for a film version, is just polishing the script for American Neurotic and will present it shortly to the movie's producers, Brillstein-Grey.
This will be the end of a long road for this screenplay which was originally written by Mike White (The Good Girl, Chuck & Buck) and was once supposed to star Hugh Grant.
The concept for the story is sort of Meet the Parents with a twist. In this case, Carrey plays a single guy with a wild sex life. When he meets the girl of his dreams, he goes into therapy and recounts for his shrink all his adventures including new ones with his great love.
Of course, the therapist turns out to be the girl's father.
Maybe a better title would be "Oedipus Wrecks" or "Freudian Slip."
Carrey is currently shooting Bruce Almighty, and has a couple of projects on his plate including Children of the Dustbowl and Chris Nolan's highly anticipated Howard Hughes. But I'm told that Carrey really jumped at American Neurotic on first pitch and committed to the project instantly.
There may be a new sly way to get publicity for pop stars on TV. A bunch of them are lining up to play pop icons on Dick Clark's new NBC drama American Dreams.
The Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, R&B star Usher, as well as Michelle Branch and Aimee Mann have all signed up for guest spots.
Usher is slated to appear as Marvin Gaye. Branch, who's about to have a monster hit with Santana, will play Lesley Gore. I think Carter -- whose new video is quite atrocious -- should portray Fabian. But no one asked me.
By the way, Aimee's Lost in Space album has sold 70,000 copies so far in about five weeks. It's in stores but released independently, so the number is very impressive. Aimee, like Julia Fordham and Michelle Branch, should have a lot of Grammy nominations this coming year. Her title track and several others are just brilliant.
Tobey Maguire will not be joining Steve Martin, Kevin Kline and Ryan Phillippe in Fred Schepisi's film of Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
"We've never been able to cut through the wall in front of him," Schepisi told me at the IFP Gotham Awards last night.
Ditto Reese Witherspoon, who has elected also not to join the troupe opposite her hubby, Phillippe. "They don't like to do projects together," Schepisi reported with a shrug.
Nevertheless this terrific film is due to start production in February. The hunt for an actor to play Albert Einstein is on, but offers are out and a name should pop up in a short time, Schepisi reported. Elijah Wood, meantime, is considering the role.
Other stars at the IFP Awards: Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline, Matthew Modine, Fisher Stevens, Faye Dunaway and honorees United Artists chief Bingham Ray, director Ang Lee and actress Julianne Moore. Jake Gyllenhaal was a no-show even though his sister Maggie was getting a prize. He was said to be "stuck in Los Angeles." John Turturro and Rosie Perez opened the program with a hysterical insider's version of The Godfather. Rosie should be doing big screen comedies or have her own sitcom by now.
For several weeks I've been sitting on the news that 70s pop star Cat Stevens wants a musical done with his smash tunes.
The main reason I waited is that it's so nuts. Yusuf Islam, as he has been known for the last 20 years, once called for Salman Rushdie's murder in the name of Allah. Radio stations have run promotional gimmicks like running over Cat's records with a bulldozer.
Nevertheless, Stevens probably sees a hit musical as a new revenue stream. My guess is he needs the cash. He hasn't had a hit in two decades, and unlike other performers of his era, doesn't tour. He's capitalized on very little from his former stardom, and the result is low public awareness. It's possible that few people, aside from Madonna (who recently said she likes to listen to his records), remember him that well.
His songs are certainly solid: "Peace Train," "Morning Has Broken," "The Wind," "Oh Very Young" etc are whimsical and melodic and easily transferable to stage.
But Stevens will have to overcome anti-Muslim feeling in the West, as well as try to recant his previous statements. Otherwise, he's going to have trouble finding backers on Broadway.
According to Stevens/Islam's web site, his company -- called Mountain of Light -- is in the process of moving to Dubai. "Mountain of Light is a unique company that produces CDs, books, videos and DVDs of Islamic cultural and religious literature for the growing Western Muslim family market."
See you at the TKTS booth in Times Square!
Cari Modine, actor Matthew's vivacious wife, had a bad spill back in mid summer and is only now recovering from various fractures and breaks. Cari is one of New York's great underrated talents, a mom, a publisher and a most enthusiastic Knicks fan. If you want to make her feel better, then log onto amazon.com and pick up a copy of the book she conceived called New York September Eleven Two Thousand One. It's a remarkable document, and, like Mitchell Fink's Never Forget, a must have item for your library. All good thoughts, Cari. See you courtside!
Just to set things straight, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame people called yesterday. "We checked our records, and Prince's first album For You came out in 1978. He will be eligible next year." So you see, that $300,000 salary Suzan Evans Hochberg gets is not going to waste after all.