Screen Talk - Dawn Rising

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The Independent Culture

Currently head of Film Independent, the organisation that dishes out the Spirit Awards, in a ceremony rewarding indie film traditionally held the day before the Oscars, Hudson will now rule the Oscars.

Or at least head the Academy and the business of Oscar awards with Ric Robertson, who has been named COO, and will report to her. It's a radical revamp for the Academy with the introduction of an all-singing, all-dancing executive structure. And it is big news in a town obsessed with winning a famous golden statue. The change comes in the wake of the departure of long-time executive director Bruce Davis, who is retiring. Hudson takes to the podium at the start of June this year.

The Crow flies again

Long-gestating plans to remake The Crow are taking flight and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is on board to direct. Fresnadillo, best known as the director of 28 Weeks Later, will oversee the reboot based on a gritty black-and-white indie comic by the artist James O'Barr. Miramax made the original film adaptation, which gained cult status partially due to star Brandon Lee's on-set accidental death. Three sequels and a TV series, each starring a new actor, followed. The tale follows a rock musician who is murdered while trying to save his fiancée from thugs. He is resurrected by supernatural forces and seeks revenge. Nick Cave wrote the most recent draft of the script, but the word is, a new writer is being brought in to work with the new director.

Hailee set to play a star-crossed lover

A good rule is to sign a star in something quickly in the wake of an Oscar nomination. But for youngster Hailee Steinfeld, who turned a lot of heads with her Oscar-nominated outing in the Coen Brothers' True Grit, time is on her side. She's taken a while finding her next role but is almost there and is currently in negotiations to star as Juliet in a new Romeo and Juliet movie, written by Julian Fellowes. Carlo Carlei is lined up to direct the film.

Jen in hot pursuit

Fellow breakout Oscar nominee, Jennifer Lawrence (above centre), is doing similar rounds to Hailee Steinfeld at the moment. The Winter's Bone actress is leading the race to star as Katniss Everdeen in Hunger Games, a part Steinfeld also found herself in the running for. It is Lawrence who has emerged ahead of the pack in what is turning out to be a hotly contested race to play the plucky protagonist of Suzanne Collins's young adult novels. Aside from Steinfeld's challenge, Lawrence will also have to beat off a challenge from Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin to take the lead in the Gary Ross-directed project.

Eszterhas is back

There hasn't been a good sexual thriller since the Richard Gere/ Diane Lane starrer Unfaithful, according to Scott Steindorff. Now the producer thinks that he has the next one from none other than scriptwriter Joe Eszterhas (above right). The writer credited with turning the sexual thriller into its own genre, with films from Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge to Sliver and Showgirls, has written Lust after years of self-imposed exile from Hollywood. Eszterhas's script centres on a 30-year old beauty who is married and in love with an older Miami-based fashion magazine publisher, when she is seduced by a younger playboy on a business trip in LA. The playboy's jealous Russian assistant, who is in love with him, secretly videotapes him and his new lover having sex and shows it to her husband. At the height of his career, Eszterhas was paid millions for his specs but was ultimately undone by high-profile flops such as Showgirls. He left Hollywood, disillusioned, in the late 1990s. Now he's back.