Today in movies and television: Bradley Cooper is your new U.N.C.L.E., Eminem's boxing movie is back on, and Ben Stiller tries his hand at horror.
- Our long, national Man from U.N.C.L.E. casting search nightmare may be over: Bradley Cooper has been offered the lead role in Steven Soderbergh's movie version of the campy Cold War spy series. Variety thinks he'll accept, "considering how hard his team at CAA worked to position him for the coveted part" of Napoleon Solo. George Clooney was initially cast in the role, but dropped out in August. That set off a frantic search for a replacement before the film's February 2012 start date, with Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Alexander Skarsgard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pine, Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm, Ewan McGregor, Jude Law, Russell Crowe, Robert Pattinson, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp and Cooper all reportedly receiving consideration from Warner Bros. and Soderbergh. According to Variety, Depp and Damon were offered the role before Cooper, but passed. [Variety]
- Helen Childress hasn't had a credit since writing the script for Reality Bites in 1994. That's in a position to change now Fox has bought her spec horror script The Mountain as a directing project for Ben Stiller, who was the director on Reality Bites. The new script is set in the early 1900s and "based on characters from Summer, the novel by Edith Wharton," which is a sizable shift from Stiller's comfort zone as a director, though he did produce the killer-vine movie The Ruins through his production company. Deadline notes Stiller and Childress are also working on adaptation of The Snowy Day, a children's book, as part of his development deal with the studio. [Deadline]
- Fox says DirecTV is threatening to yank its 27 regional and cable networks starting November 1 unless the two sides reach a new deal on carriage fees. In a statement, DirectTV CEO Mike White confirmed the November deadline, adding that Fox has "demanded that DirecTV customers pay nearly 40% more for the same channels they already received." Fox broadcasting and Fox News are "covered under separate affiliate agreements with the satcaster," notes Variety, so they're in danger of being pulled. The last deal between the two actually expired October 1, but "signals remained on air per mutual agreement between the companies" as they worked out a deal, but evidently they didn't make much progress. [Variety]
- Grey's Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes has sold an hour-long "part soap, part conspiracy thriller" about "ten friends, adopted as children by a billionaire philanthropist, who begin to question their past when one of their own is murdered" to ABC. Between the intriguing premise and the involvement of ABC, expect the "next Lost" chatter to be particularly frenzied around this one. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- MGM is going to make Southpaw, director Antoine Fuqua's underdog boxing drama starring Eminem, which was written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. Dreamworks originally developed the project, but it into Turnaround in August. At the time, Deadline suggested the studio was doing some belt-tightening after the disappointing performance of Cowboys & Aliens. Sony's going to distribute the movie, which is Eminem's first leading role since 8 Mile back in 2002. [Variety]