According to The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, PACIFICA is in negotiations to acquire the film rights to D. Graham's Burnett's A TRIAL BY JURY for Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Spider-Man) to produce and direct. Burnett's book involves his time as the foreman of a jury for a New York murder trial.

[And here's a summary of the book from Amazon]

From Publishers Weekly
Combining an ethical examination of civic obligation with a meticulous character study, Princeton historian of science Burnett (Masters of All They Surveyed) dramatizes his experience of being selected for jury duty in a capital case. Told as two parts of the same tale (trial and jury deliberations), the story is appropriately navigated between several Scylla-and-Charybdis pairings the court and the jury room, the truth and lies of the case, the application of laws and the fiery desire for justice. While the murder trial delves into sordid details of transvestism, male prostitution and rape, the tale takes its potent turn when Burnett is unexpectedly moved into the position of jury foreman (the original foreman simply disappeared one day) and must play a critical role in the jury deliberations. Holding other jurors' wide-ranging emotions in check while staying focused on the case himself, Burnett ultimately brings readers face-to-face with the stultifying bureaucracy of American law in praxis. Drawing on an academic and intellectual background, he builds an impressive melodrama and tense, emotionally exhausting scenes in the jury room that surely will recall Twelve Angry Men. But while the ruminations are articulate and engrossing, readers may wonder how Burnett plays a key role in the story while managing to remain distant enough to render the facts of the jury room as easily as he does.

FSFS Spider-Man News
Because of the overwhelming amount of news circulating about this movie, and the endless resources already available on the web, we will not be updating the news section with Spider-Man related stories very often. Instead, I recommend these sites for all the latest on the picture:

Spider-Man Hype

Ain't It Cool News


The Official Spider-Man Website

Ain't It Cool News

I'm here to chew your ear about THE GIFT. Looks like ol' Danny boy is gonna be scoring the thing. [L]ook for Danny playing a bit part in the film: a Southern-fried fiddle player (complete with accent, no less) in a dream sequence. You've read the script, you know the guy. He trades quips with little Miss Blanchett. And incidentally, THE GIFT positions Elfman exactly one film away from Raimi's SPIDERMAN, and without saying too much, you may be hearing more news on that front soon.

Dark Horizons

Get ready for a merchandising blitz the likes of which you've never seen in 2001. Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo is doing a 50/50 joint licensing deal with Sony for merchandising of "Spider-Man" movie products and said "the overall licensing on Spiderman will possibly be triple what we did for X-Men (this year)". Even though the products aren't going on sale till next year, Sony/Marvel want the investors to put in some of the pot as soon as possible as most of the "X-Men" revenue flowed in last year (when all the deals were made). Cuneo is also expecting around 3-4 more live-action film versions of Marvel Comics to make their way to the screen soon, not including the upcoming "Blade" sequel. Around $50-$75 million is expected to be spent on "X-Men" related merchandise this year.


Spider-Man' Casting Candidates

With the signing of Sam Raimi on the Spider-Man movie, it just makes sense that casting of the film would move full steam ahead. Now there's word of three potential strong candidates for the webslinging role.

Who would you like to see as Spidey? Well, according to sources inside the production talking to Entertainment Weekly Online, the three strongest candidates at this time are Leonardo DiCaprio, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jude Law. Furthermore, all three are said to have expressed interest in the project previously. There is no mention made of the oft-rumored Nicholas Brendon.

When sought out on the matter, DiCaprio's reps told the site, "He's obviously approached all the time about great-sounding ideas, but he's gotta see the script." Meanwhile, Law's people are saying, "There have been some overtures about it. Jude has been a Spider-Man fanatic since he was a kid."

The magazine couldn't reach Prinze's reps. Still, way back on March 4th, 1999, soon after the legal logjam was cleared out of the path of the Spider-Man movie, Prinze told columnists Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith, "The moment we hang up, I'm making phone calls. I read comic books to this day. Spider-Man was one of my favorites when I was growing up. I used to think I could walk up walls when I was just a little kid."

In additional casting rumor news, the Spider-Man Hype webpage is reporting on an unconfirmed report that Liam Neeson has signed onto the production to play the Green Goblin. His paycheck is rumored to be in the $6M range. Still, given word that Jim Cameron's original scriptment (which David Koepp's script is based upon) featured Electro and Sandman, one should take this rumor with a grain of salt. _______________________
Ain't It Cool News

Peter Parker picks a peck of pickled actors. Which actor will peck the part of Peter Parker? RE: Spider-Man

Hey folks, Harry here. Today... actually just a couple of hours ago... Entertainment Weekly Online has reported what they consider to be the 'short list' from inside Sony for playing the part of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. There is a reason why personally I discard this particular story. First... Parker will be someone around the age of 17... I like Jude Law, and I think he is perfect for Abberline (in the Hughes Brothers' FROM HELL, for which he has just been cast), but he's a bit old to be playing a meekly 17 year old high school nerd named PETER PARKER. Freddie Prinze has been actively campaigning for the role for... months. Leo... well he's sort of the pie in sky choice for EACH AND EVERY young male part in Hollywood. However, there was another bit at SpiderManHype.Com that actually sounded plausible... And that is that Raimi is signing Liam Neeson as Green Goblin/Osborne. Sam and Liam have worked before... Plus, I know that in Raimi's pitch to Amy Pascal, he told her he wanted to throw out the Keopp draft and start over with either Green Goblin or Doc Ock. So... We'll just have to wait and see. I do know that Sony is looking at other actors besides these three. Or... at least that's what AICN's spies at Sony say... and... well they've been dead on with the info so far...


Raimi Finalizing 'Spider-Man'

It appears that any difficulties that were in place that prevented helmer Sam Raimi from taking on directing duties on the Spider-Man are nearly gone. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Raimi is currently in final negotiations to sit in the film's director chair. Usually word of "final negotiations" suggest that it's a done deal, but Raimi's problem was unusual. Raimi, who starts shooting The Gift on February 3rd, would need to move over to Spider-Man immediately after filming wraps on Gift, but before he can do post-production. It was previously reported that Sony Pictures was offering a multi-million dollar compensation to Franchise for delays on The Gift caused by Raimi's temporary exit from the project. When the deal is signed, Raimi looks to start on Spider-Man in the spring. Afterwards, he will have to do post for both Spidey and The Gift. Sony is targeting summer 2001 for the release of Spider-Man.

The trade reports that Raimi will shoot from David Koepp's script, which is based on a treatment by James Cameron.


The wait is over guys! The Hollywood Reporter has announced today that Sam Raimi is in FINAL negotiations to direct! With this GREAT news comes also a point that might need some more clarification. The trade says that "Raimi will shoot from a script by David Koepp," which hopefully could still mean that they are doing some tweaking on it. But we'll keep you updated on that - for now just enjoy the cool news...Here is official announcement: "

Sam Raimi is in final negotiations to direct the long-anticipated "Spider-Man" for Columbia Pictures and will segue to the project in late fall after helming "The Gift" for Paramount Classics. Sony sees the project as an opportunity to create a franchise for its studio. Raimi recently emerged the front-runner, edging out other A-list directors who were vying for the job. There is no cast yet. It is not clear if there is a stop date on "The Gift," which starts shooting Feb. 3. Columbia has been targeting a summer 2001 release for "Spider-Man." The story of "Spider-Man," based on the crown jewel of the Marvel Comic empire and created by Stan Lee, revolves around Peter Parker, a teen who develops superhuman powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Raimi will shoot from a script by David Koepp ("Jurassic Park"). The 37-year-old comic book series has had a long, difficult journey to the big screen. From 1992-99, the film rights to the superhero franchise had been tied up in a web of lawsuits, while Fox, MGM and Sony battled for the rights. Last April, Sony, which had paid several million dollars for the rights, emerged the victor. "Spider-Man" had been a pet project of director James Cameron's for seven years. It was thought early on that Fox and Sony -- or even Universal (which has a "Spider-Man" theme park ride) and Sony -- might co-finance the picture, but Sony decided to finance the film itself. The project, as "Batman" became for Warner Bros., could provide a windfall in revenue from merchandising. Raimi is repped by CAA. _________________________

If you'd like to read James Cameron's treatment of the Spider-Man script, you can check it out at
Dark Horizons
Dark Horizons
"Funny story. At a hotel in Savannah, Georgia where the cast and crew are assembling, I do know that Keanu Reeves is here, saw Katie Holmes today (wow) and Greg Kinnear will probably arrive later today. What was funny was as I was waiting in the lobby, one of the clerks at the front desk was checking some men from Sony Pictures out of the hotel and she asked if they were scouting out Savannah for a next project. They in turn said they were actually here to "talk to the director of The Gift", to which the clerk responded "oh, you are here to talk about Spider Man huh?". Their jaws dropped and they asked how the clerk knew that, and they said a friend of theirs that worked online a lot and read that Sony was in talks with Raimi to direct Spider Man. I can confirm that the men said he IS going to do it, after this movie I guess"

From Variety

By Michael Fleming

NEW YORK (Variety) - Fresh from winning the Golden Globe for ``Boys Don't Cry,'' Hilary Swank is nearing a deal to join Keanu Reeves and Cate Blanchett in ``The Gift'' for director Sam Raimi.

Swank would play a woman, physically abused by her husband (Reeves), who turns to a psychic (Blanchett) for counsel. Greg Kinnear has replaced Ron Eldard as a school principal who consults the psychic after his wife-to-be (Katie Holmes) disappears.

The Paramount Classics film, budgeted at under $10 million, will costar Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Jeter (``The Green Mile''), Gary Cole, J.K. Simmons (``Oz'') and Chelcie Ross (``A Simple Plan''). Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson wrote the script.

Kinnear, who landed the role after Eldard dropped out for creative reasons, recently completed ``What Planet Are You From,'' the Mike Nichols-directed comedy with Garry Shandling and Annette Bening, and the Neil LaBute-directed ``Nurse Betty,'' with Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock.

Separately, Swank on Tuesday was named ShoWest 2000's female star of tomorrow. The National Assn. of Theatre Owners will present Swank with her honor March 9 during its four-day ShoWest confab in Las Vegas.

Besides Sunday's Golden Globe win for best actress in a drama, the 25-year-old Swank has nabbed thesp nods from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.

Swank's portrayal of real-life Brandon Teena also earned her 1999's breakout performance award from the National Board of Review and a best actress nomination from the Intl. Press Academy.

Before ``Boys,'' Swank was best known for her roles on TV's ``Beverly Hills, 90210'' and the 1994 picture ``The Next Karate Kid'' She got her start in the 1992 film ``Buffy the Vampire Slayer.''


From IGN

Sony narrows directors list to two, and you won't believe the new guy.

Riding out the directorial storm. Sony's list of directors for Spider-Man has included everyone from James Cameron to Barry (ugh) Sonnenfeld. But now we have it on excellent authority that it looks like the studio has narrowed it down to two names: David Fincher and Sam Raimi.

Fincher's been on the list for a while, but Raimi is a new one. How does this fit with Sam's plan to direct The Gift (which just cast Keanu Reeves)? Is this the Evil Dead Raimi or the For Love of the Game Raimi? Does this relate to rumor that David Koepp's script ain't what Marvel wants, and they're looking at David Mamet to rewrite it for more of a Todd McFarlane/darker side of Spidey feel (as reported by and Ain't Cool News)? And the million-dollar question: why don't they just hire David Fincher and get it over with?

-- Den Shewman is hoping for a Peter Parker meets Fight Club


From Dark Horizons

The Gift:
There is a huge casting call in Savannah this weekend, as they try to find the kids who will play Cate's three children. The location was orginally set for Arkansas, but since shooting is happening in Savannah, that location is also now the real location of the film.


From Cinescape

Reeves Signs For 'The Gift'

Keanu Reeves is going against type to take on a dark acting turn in Sam Raimi's supernatural suspense-thriller, The Gift. According to Variety, Reeves will take on the part of a vicious, wife-beating murder suspect in the film about a psychic (played by Cate Blanchett) called in to to solve a crime. The film, which will be directed by Raimi, will also star Giovanni Ribisi *, Katie Holmes and Ron Eldard** with a very modest budget of $10M. Word has it that Reeves is taking a pay cut and will be working at scale to be in the film.

More specifically, the trade reports that Reeves' role in the film will be of a creepy redneck who happens to be the prime suspect in a murder investigation. In the film's story, he threatens the psychic after she has given some counseling to the man's battered wife.

Reeves participation in the film's supporting role doesn't look to be in conflict with his pending duties on the two Matrix sequels. The trade reports that it is likely that Reeves will jump into The Gift and the previously announced remake of Sweet November prior to heading down under. The Gift is scheduled to start shooting on February 7.


From Cinescape

New Raimi TV Series Director/producer/writer Sam Raimi (Xena, Hercules, Evil Dead. but you knew that) has yet another TV series in the works, this time with the USA Cable TV network. According to Variety, the as yet untitled series is being described as a "Rosemary's Baby-type project." No further details were given.

This project is supposed to appear along with a slew of other new things in an effort by USA to spice up programming. "The slate of new projects, [...]should result in five original series in primetime (including potential returning shows), plus one fresh hour in early or late fringe, by this coming summer [...]" according to Variety.


From Cinescape

Holmes Getting 'Gift' Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) is in negotiations to join Cate Blanchett in Paramount's supernatural thriller The Gift. If cast, Holmes will play the part of a girl in a small Arkansas town who disappears, prompting authorities to seek out a psychic (Blanchett) to locate her. The film, which is scheduled to start shooting next month, will be directed by Sam Raimi from a script by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson.
From Dark Horizons

The film, which is being directed by the legendary Sam Raimi ("Evil Dead") and is written by Billy Bob Thornton ("Slingblade"), follows a woman with ESP (Blanchett) who is asked to help find a missing young woman named Jessica King (Holmes). If Holmes is cast, its likely her role may be toned down as it apparently contains a lot of graphic sex and nudity.


From Premiere Special Women in Hollywood 2000
Cate Blanchett to be in Sam Raimi's The Gift
[S]he'll tackle the thriller The Gift, Portraying a psychic who helps investigate a murder. "She's as much a social worker as she is a psychic," Blanchett says. "It's not Carrie."

From Sam's MSN chat:
It is called The Gift, written by Bill Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson and it stars Kate [sic] Blanchet. It is a thriller. Billy Bob is not in it... he'll be too busy.


From Ted Raimi's AOL chat

When asked about the movie he plans to produce and shoot in Detroit

"I am currently in the final stages of developing the script. But shooting will be contingent on when I'm free from Xena which probably won't be till March of next year."

Upcoming projects?

"Yes. I'm getting ready to shoot a movie next week called The Attic Expeditions. It stars myself, Seth Green from Buffy and Jeffrey Combs."

The Official Attic Expeditions Website


Announcement about Ted Raimi's Fanclub posted to mailing lists
Ted Raimi's Official Website

We are back in action and ready to roll. We should begin taking memberships for the club either by this afternoon, or by tomorrow at the latest, pending some final adjustments. Hope you are all still with us, because this next year of the fan club is going to be incredible!

The webzine is ready to roll, we have a few submissions and some incredible new pictures of Ted, plus a few exclusives from the man himself, that you can only get here. Since we are based online now, send us your stuff. Pictures, drawings, stories of Ted, stories from the road, con reports, videos, sound bites... if you've got a story to tell, we want to hear it. Send your submissions to

The first edition will be open to be viewed by all, as an incentive of what's to come. So keep a look out for it, it'll be coming your way soon.


From Josh Becker's Website
Josh Becker directs Jack of All Trades -- starring Bruce Campbell
"I have the script for the first episode of "Jack of All Trades" sitting in front me and, if nothing changes, I will be directing it."

page two of news