Screen Talk: Tax attacks

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The Independent Culture

There was a collective and sharp intake of breath in the Hollywood Hills and the gated communities of Bel Air recently. It emerged that the Walt Disney Co has taken the red pen to top-level executive contracts.

The tweaks mean the company will no longer pay the tax due on future severance packages, meaning that top executives will be personally responsible for paying the Internal Revenue Service. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Disney had removed the controversial provision, known as an excise tax gross-up, from the existing contracts of several high-fliers, including the chief executive Robert Iger. Corporate governance observers applauded Disney's move. The golden parachute just got a little more silver screen.

From the world wide web

It has been confirmed that The Amazing Spider-Man will pit Spider-Man against Dr Curt Connors, better known as Lizard. Sony has tried to keep everything under a web of secrecy about the reboot, which stars Andrew Garfield (right) as Peter Parker and is directed by Marc Webb, but the studio couldn't prevent the actor C Thomas Howell – who plays a construction worker whose son is caught in the middle of a battle between the Lizard and Spider-Man on the Manhattan bridge – from dropping the details into an online interview. Fan boys and web-heads alike will be delirious with anticipation about seeing Rhys Ifans playing the Lizard.

On track for Tupac

It may prove a disastrous move. But backers of the recently revived biopic of the rapper Tupac Shakur (left), who was murdered in 1996, are turning to the internet with an online casting call for the lead role underway. Morgan Creek Productions and Skee.TV/Karmaloop.TV have partnered up to present In Search of Tupac, a website looking to cast the part of Shakur in the upcoming film. It's set to run until 30 April.

Working girls on film

Plans are slowly taking shape to bring the plight and resilience of China's female migrant labourers to the big screen. But don't expect it to be seen in cinemas in China. The Hong Kong-born Dutch writer and director Yan Ting Yuen has optioned the film rights to Factory Girls, a non-fiction book penned by the former Wall Street Journal reporter Leslie T Chang. Yuen said the subject matter might prove tough to get past China's censors, who are sensitive to realistic portrayals of the sometimes challenging conditions in which the nation's labourers must work. It could certainly make a compelling movie. Yuen's 2005 musical documentary Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works, about Communist "model operas" during the Cultural Revolution, was nominated for the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

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