Today in film and television: Steve Carrell is going to tortured and mentally disturbed for the director of Moneyball, the legal fighting over The English Patient enters its 15th year, and ESPN returns to scripted programming.
- Bennett Miller directed Moneyball and Capote, so he's well-versed in dramas about real people who do not conform. He'll need it for his new biopic of chemical heir John du Pont, the schizophrenic chemical heir who referred to himself as "the Dalai Lama of the United States" and killed gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz at his estate in 1996. The film is set to star Steve Carrell, presumably in non-funny mode. [Variety]
- ESPN is getting back into the scripted television game, selling an "untitled Boston sports fan" comedy from Scrubs executive producer Bill Callahan to sister network ABC. The network developed and aired poker drama Tilt and pro football soap Playmakers in the early-2000s, but neither made it past season, with the NFL reportedly putting pressure on the network to axe the latter. We haven't seen Callahan's script, but his main character instantly becomes eight percent more bearable following the Red Sox implosion this week. [Deadline]
- How interested is Idris Elba in taking over the iconic, well-compensated role of James Bond from Daniel Craig? Interested enough, The Wire star said on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday that if a taxi pulled up to take him to Sony to discuss the role, he'd "not only get in the cab but.. take the taxi driver out of the car, hostage the taxi, jump out while it was moving, jump onto a pedal bike... get on to a plane, on the wing, land on top of Sony’s studios, slide through the air conditioning and land in their office." We wouldn't get carried away with visions of Stringer Bell ordering vodka martinis until the end of 2012 at the very earliest. That's when, according to the BBC, Craig's contract expires. As of 2009, Craig was telling The Independent he'd to play Bond "until my knees fall off," so Elba should expect some resistance. Shooting begins in India this fall on Craig's third outing in the role. [NPR]
- The English Patient came out 15 years ago, but producer Saul Zaentz is still convinced Disney and Miramax didn't give him his fair share of the windswept love story's $300 million in box office receipts. He's filed a lawsuit for the second time since 2006 yesterday against the distribution company and its former owner, claiming both were in on a scheme to hide revenue from him, and that he hasn't even broken even on his company's initial $15 million investment in the Best Picture winner. He had a similar claim dismissed in 2008. [The Hollywood Reporter]