By Romeo San Vicente
Liam is Abe, honest
When you need a historical figure portrayed with reliable gravitas, you don’t call David Spade; instead you beg Liam Neeson to take the part. This is the man, after all, who survived being cast in “Krull,” and went on play Oskar Schindler, Irish political figure Michael Collins, and most recently Alfred Kinsey. Next stop, Abe Lincoln, with Neeson’s old buddy Steven Spielberg directing. Based on the forthcoming biography “The Uniter: The Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” the as-yet-untitled film is currently in pre-production and probably won’t start shooting until January 2006. And will recent biographical details regarding Lincoln’s apparent bisexuality will be incorporated into the story, especially now that Tony Kushner has been hired to take a pass at the script? It’s anyone’s guess. Sort of like Lincoln’s sex life.
Jolie and Damon flock to ‘Shepherd’
Being linked by tabloids to the destruction of Brad and Jen’s marriage isn’t the only iron Angelina Jolie has in the fire these days. She’s busy producing her own documentary about cultural diversity for kids called “A Moment in the World” and is also about to join Matt Damon in the drama “The Good Shepherd.” Damon plays a CIA agent whose marriage is wrecked by the demands of his job, and Jolie will play his presumably not-so-long-suffering wife. Robert De Niro, fresh off the artistic triumph of “Hide and Seek,” will return to his somewhat dormant director’s chair to tend the pretty couple. It will be his third directorial effort and the first since 2001’s “The Score.” Production begins in March, so expect a flurry of juicy on-set rumors to follow in “Us Weekly” shortly thereafter.
LaChapelle’s Hollywood ‘Rize’
Everybody’s doing a brand-new dance now. OK, not “everybody’s” doing it, just the kids who feel like putting on clown makeup and rainbow-striped Afro wigs to dance wildly to hip-hop. This frenzied, acrobatic, street-theater phenomenon is known as “krumping,” and it’s coming soon to a cinema near you, thanks to Lions Gate Films and David LaChapelle. LaChapelle, the famous gay fashion photographer and video director, has turned his camera’s penchant for capturing the colorful and bizarre to the krumping scene with his first documentary feature, “Rize.” It premiered recently at the Sundance Film Festival and will hit theaters later this year, probably just in time for the dance to become passe. In the meantime, dig out that red rubber nose from three Halloweens ago next time you go dancing, and you can pretend for a moment that you’re down with the young people.
ABC eyes ‘Eyes’
Shows like “Alias” and “Lost” have changed the way suspenseful TV dramas do business. Gone, it seems, are characters that audiences can get a lock on in the first three episodes. Here to stay are unreliable, unpredictable, maybe killed-off-soon people with secrets, mysterious identities, and hidden agendas. In other words, welcome to “Eyes.” ABC’s mid-season series about a discreet private investigation agency specializing in high-stakes cases is populated by slick shady types who have tenuous relationships with the law, not to mention devoted love affairs with flashy intrigue. The show stars “Wings” veteran Tim Daly, “Melrose Place”‘s Laura Leighton, “The L Word”‘s Eric Mabius, and newcomer Rick Worthy (“Collateral Damage”) as the firm’s gay detective. Or is being gay just his cover? Audiences will find out when “Eyes” sneaks onto airwaves in April.