Screen Talk: Magic Band

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The Independent Culture

Baruchel receives a crash-course in the art and science of magic to prepare him for a battle against the forces of darkness in modern Manhattan. Up and coming actress Teresa Palmer has also been cast. She will play Baruchel's love interest in the film, which is now shooting in New York. The project reunites Molina with Disney and Bruckheimer after he recently wrapped his role as Sheik Amar in the upcoming "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time".

The great escape

Speaking of magicians, plans are afoot to turn the Harry Houdini biography "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero", by William Kalush and Larry Sloman, into a movie. The tome caused a stir in the US by insinuating that Houdini acted as a spy for Britain and was asked to be an adviser to Tsar Nicholas II's court in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Re-Stooged

Plans for a long-gestating project based on the 1930s Stooges shorts are being slapped together. MGM and the Farrelly brothers, who will co-direct, have Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro (left) on the wish list to play Larry, Curly and Moe. MGM is hoping to start production in the autumn this year. The project has knocked about Hollywood for years before ending up at MGM.

Bite the Bullitt

Screenwriter Jesse Wigutow has been hired to pen a script working from Marshall Terrill's "Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel". Producers Michael Cerenzie and Christine Peters have a deal with Paramount. It will trace McQueen's (left) development from reform-school delinquent to the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and cover the star's obsession with motorcycles and racing, his drug abuse, his marriages and affairs and his hard-fought battle with cancer, which felled him in 1980 at age 50.

Wedding belles

Who wouldn't want to go and shoot a romantic comedy in Hawaii? Mena Suvari ("Stuck") (right), Tia Carrere ("True Lies") and Ken Davitian ("Borat") recently said "aloha" to one such invitation, offering to exchange vows on Rob Hedden's "You May Not Kiss the Bride", which began shooting on the island last week. They join Dave Annable, Vinnie Jones and Katharine McPhee in the cast for Hedden, who directs from his own script. It tells the tale of an American pet-photographer who gets mixed up with Croatian mobsters while on honeymoon.

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