Screen Talk: The father of all diary problems

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The Independent Culture

Ah the shame. Audiences will not be able to savour the prospect of Mickey Rourke (right) starring as Conan The Barbarian's father. Rourke's people have been talking to the backers of plans to bring the barbarian warrior created by Robert E Howard back to the big screen. Insiders report that "those discussions fell apart" with Rourke. It seems Rourke, regarded as something of an eccentric these days, just couldn't organise his diary to get to Bulgaria of all places, where the movie is due to begin shooting this month. If the governator Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't so busy sorting out California's economy, he would by now be ideally placed to play the father of his own 1982 breakout turn as Conan.

Wedding belles

Tinseltown comedy royalty Judd Apatow is reteaming with Paul Feig after the pair met and collaborated on Feig's creation 'Freaks and Geeks'. Apatow executive-produced and was a writer and director on Feig's 'Freak' show. Now the duo have said yes to a big screen wedding-themed comedy starring Kristen Wiig (right), who with Annie Mumolo wrote a screenplay about two women battling to plan their friend's wedding party. Apatow will make it under his Apatow Productions banner, with Barry Mendel. Wiig and Mumolo will co-produce, with Feig serving as exec producer. Feig directed 2006's 'Unaccompanied Minors.'

Vlad company

Making a name for yourself as a peddler of macabre storytelling pays. Scott Kosar, the writer behind the 2003 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' remake, the 2005 'Amityville Horror' remake and 'The Machinist' is tapping away again. Kosar's been brought in to work on the screenplay for 'Vlad,' based on an original script by actor Charlie Hunnam ('Sons of Anarchy'). The script takes an action-oriented look at Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, as a young prince. Backed by 'Twilight' makers Summit Entertainment, the movie is backed Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner's Plan B company.

Bankers call time on Miramax

By the early hours of tomorrow, the fate of one Hollywood studio label and one of the few movie company names to have established itself with the public in the last 20 years will be decided. At least that's the hope as the deadline for offers for MGM and Miramax passes in Los Angeles by the end of play on Friday. The sale of the famous film-making names has more than industry employees agog with Disney conducting the sale of its Miramax label and investment bankers looking to sell off MGM. Both have big returns in mind. Numbers are Hollywood sized. MGM is $3.7bn (£2.4bn) in debt. Insiders think Disney's whispered asking price for Miramax of $700m is 'overcooked.' But the clever money is on a high net worth ego, sorry individual, returning Hollywood to its roots of kingpin ownership and individual empire building. That's show business.

Yellow Submarine in rough waters

Hollywood is holding its breath to see how separation anxiety around Miramax will affect Disney's hopes of signing a new long-term deal with ImageMovers, the Disney-based production company run by Robert Zemeckis (right), Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey that would encompass the now-in-development remake of 'Yellow Submarine.' Studio water cooler chat about the end of the relationship between Disney and the film-making trio centres on the closure of the team's studio premises, job losses and the reasons behind the divorce. The trio just made 'A Christmas Carol' for Disney but now the studio, dubbed the "mouse house" stateside, has decided the trio's methods and separate facility "no longer fits" into the studio's biz model. Too expensive in any other language. The Zemeckis-directed 'Carol' grossed $137m (£89m) and was considered a box office disappointment.

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