When superstar Julia Roberts and indie auteur Steven Soderbergh teamed up the first time, it meant a Best Actress Oscar for her and a blockbuster for him. Now, the actress-director duo — who already reteamed on the upcoming Ocean's Eleven — are planning to collaborate on a new film, tentatively titled How to Survive a Hotel Room Fire, columnist Liz Smith claims
The project — whose title seems to have been drawn from the popular Worst Case Scenario Handbook — already has David Duchovny, David Hyde Pierce, and Catherine Keener on board. Hotel Room Fire is apparently the sex, lies, and videotape "sequel" that Soderbergh spoke of earlier, says Smith. Soderbergh, who netted a Best Director Oscar for Traffic, next unveils Ocean's Eleven in December, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Clooney and Kidman Get Dangerous? Speaking of Clooney, Smith also claims knowledge of another, previously unreported reteaming: Nicole Kidman and her Peacemaker co-star Clooney. Miramax is keen to nab the suddenly hot Kidman, thanks to the unexpected success of her summer chiller The Others, which the studio distributed. They're eying her for the wacky Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, based on the faux memories of Gong Show host Chuck Barris. Clooney, who will co-star, will make his directorial debut with the project, which at one point was to have co-starred Johnny Depp. Phoenix Signs on, Beckinsale Leaps for Canyon In other casting news, Gladiator's Joaquin Phoenix will replace Mark Ruffalo in the supernatural thriller Signs from Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan. Ruffalo, who came to attention for his turn as the charmingly irresponsible brother in You Can Count On Me, had to bow out after a minor ear operation. Signs' plot is typically hush-hush, but the film stars Mel Gibson.
Pearl Harbor's Kate Beckinsale and Captain Corelli's Mandolin's Christian Bale are negotiating to star as a blue-blooded Harvard Grad and her boyfriend in the indie Laurel Canyon. Frances McDormand — who considered rock 'n' roll the devil in Almost Famous — would play Bale's record-producer mother. Lisa Cholodenko (High Art) will direct.