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Ellen DeGeneres Wants To ‘Sing You Home’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Ellen DeGeneres is teaming with Storyline partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce Sing You Home, a feature film based on the bestselling novel by Jodi Picoult. DeGeneres will be involved solely as producer on this, and I’m told it’s a passion project for her. She optioned it with her own money and enlisted Zadan and Meron. They will develop it themselves.

The novel is about a woman who spends 10 years before finally getting pregnant. Seven months in, the child is stillborn, her distraught husband can’t take anymore and leaves her. She throws herself into her career as a music therapist and unexpectedly develops a romantic relationship with a female guidance counselor. This newfound happiness makes her reconsider having a family again, and she remembers that she and her husband left behind several frozen embryos. Unfortunately, her ex has become involved with an evangelical church, run by a charismatic pastor who has pledged to fight the “homosexual agenda” he feels is endangering traditional family values. The ex-husband and pastor take issue with his ex-wife’s desire to use the embryos. Much the way that Picoult’s novel My Sister’s Keeper found an emotional way into the controversial topic of genetic planning (that book was turned into a movie directed by Nick Cassavetes), Picoult’s Sing You Home takes on the issues of in vitro fertilization and gay rights, arguments that end … Read More »

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Anjelica Huston Joins NBC’s ‘Smash’

By | Friday March 4, 2011 @ 7:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In what would be her first regular series gig, Oscar winner Anjelica Huston has been tapped to co-star opposite Debra Messing and Christian Borle in NBC’s drama pilot Smash, which follows a cross-section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. Huston will play a shrewd, classy but cynical New York theater producer who is at home with the elite. Also co-starring in the pilot are Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport and Katharine McPhee. On TV, Huston recently recurred on the NBC/CBS drama Medium.

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AFM Roundup: Castings, Pickups & Deals

Faith-based company Mission Pictures International will handle international sales on Hallmark’s Beverly Lewis’s The Shunning along with AFFIRM Films, a division of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. The project stars Danielle Panabaker and Sherry Stringfield. The Michael Landon Jr.-helmed film begins production November 8 and is about a young woman discovering her identity while coming to peace with the faith of her parents.

Anjelica Huston will play evil teacher Miss Battle-Axe in the big screen version of Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry books. Richard E. Grant plays a rival headmaster and the cast is rounded by British TV stars Noel Fielding, Jo Brand and Prunella Scales. This is the second 3D feature from Vertigo Films after Streetdance 3D. Shooting will take place in London for 7 weeks, with Vertigo releasing the film in the UK summer next year.

Also from AFM, Rhys Ifans, Rupert Friend and Bill Nighy have signed up for This Beautiful Fantastic, the next feature by Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey). The project – about a frustrated librarian who encounters a shambolic inventor — made the 2009 Brit List of best unproduced screenplays.

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