17th-century sleaze

Terry Gilliam's forthcoming Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has obviously given Johnny Depp the taste for free-wheeling renegades. The Hollywood Reporter claims that Depp has signed up to play the Earl of Rochester opposite John Malkovich in a $25 million period feature, The Libertine. It doesn't take a genius, however, to imagine the attraction of the debauched Restoration poet for Depp, following his portrayal as Hunter S Thompson and his Byronic turn in Don Juan de Marcos.

American Hype-O

No sooner has he won the hearts of teenage girls the world over than Leonardo DiCaprio seems intent on breaking them. Ever since Titanic pitched the actor into mega-stardom, Hollywood has been on tenterhooks about DiCaprio's next role. And, according to his manager, the script Len "has decided to make a priority" is an adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis's violent yuppy satire, American Psycho, which won the novelist such notoriety. Critics balked at particularly graphic passages describing incidents of necrophilia and, frankly, worse - one wonders how Len's teen audience will react to their hero may be two-timing them in technicolour with a severed head. DiCaprio is reportedly to pocket $21million for the part but perhaps he ought to consider the less-than-stellar career of Michael J Fox, an earlier incarnation of the cute, male box-office certainty, who similarly starred against type in an adaptation of Ellis's Less Than Zero.

Shake 'n' Hack

It was only a matter of time before some studio executive, looking for the next post-Tarantino splatter-fest-with-brains, discovered Shakespeare. Titus Andronicus has it all: rape, mutilation, cannibalism. Julie Taymor, who was responsible for the successful Broadway adaptation of The Lion King, is tipped to direct Anthony Hopkins as the Roman general none too pleased about the gruesome dispatch of his daughter. Kristin Scott Thomas and John Turturro are also in talks to star.

A Vaughn Star

Further news of the humiliations Gus Van Sant plans to visit on Psycho in his remake: Vince Vaughn, beautiful babe-chasing Swingers co-star, is to wield the blade in Anthony Perkins' famous role.