Film: Rushes

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The Independent Culture
WITH LETHAL Weapon 4 behind him and a good eight months before his adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 starts production, Mel Gibson looks to have found something to occupy him in the meantime. According to the Hollywood trades, the Australian superstar has signed up to Wim Wenders' Million Dollar Hotel. Nicholas Klein, who co-authored Wenders' last film, The End Of Violence, is thought to have contributed to the script, as is U2's Bono. Gibson will play a federal agent investigating the death of a billionaire's son in the eponymous hotel.

JUST AS its producers found themselves a script, the stop-start Superman Lives suddenly lost its director. Tim Burton has decided to move on from this ill-fated project, which stars Nicolas Cage. His departure is not quite the disaster it seems, as followers of the production had expressed doubts about the compatibility of Burton's lugubrious style and America's first superhero. Following a number of rejected scripts, Dan Gilroy, the pen behind Freejack, put smiles on the faces of Warner Brothers' studio executives by turning in a script with a production cost of around $100m. The studio, in dire need of a hit, clipped the project's wings earlier this year in the face of a soaring budget of around $150m. With the new "economic" script and the continued enthusiasm of Cage, it is hoped that filming will commence next summer.

HAMLET IS to get his third big-screen outing this decade, as Ethan Hawke stars as the dithering prince. After Kenneth Branagh proved blonds have less fun, and Mel Gibson took on the prince, Hawke will line up with Kyle Mac-Lachlan as Claudius, Sam Shepard as the ghost and Bill Murray as Polonius. "Shakey", as they say in Hollywood, is hot at the moment. Romeo + Juliet packed them in last year and Branagh recently announced his intention to produce a trio of the Bard's plays for the big screen.