Well, I'm back. I've been off rounding up some interesting tidbits for you and confirming some news, so here goes:

Cage: Nic Cage is close to closing a deal that will place him as the lead role in Matchstick Men for director Ridley Scott. If the deal goes thru, it will more than likely push back Scott's other project Tripoli for quite a while. The studio wants to start the film this summer. Pic is the story of a con man that suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, whose neatly organized life is thrown into disarray when the daughter he didn't know he had shows up on his doorstep. The screenplay which is reminiscent of Paper Moon (Ryan O'Neal), was written by Ted Griffin (Ocean's 11), and his brother Nick. The film will be produced by Robert Zemeckis.

Friedkin: Director William Friedkin has chosen his next project. The film entitled Serpentine will be a Paramount production and centers on a serial killer travelling thru Europe who preys on unsuspecting tourists. Friedkin's The Hunted, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro and Connie Nielsen opens this year.

Thornton & Rush: Billy Bob and Geoffrey. The two actors will take small roles in the next film form the Coen Brothers, entitled Intolerable Cruelty. The two will join a cast that includes George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones. Clooney plays a slick divorce attorney who ends up falling for a gold-digging Beverly Hills divorcee (Zeta Jones). Thornton will play a soap star who's posing as Zeta's ex, and Geoffrey Rush will play a director of daytime tv. Oscar winner Brian Grazer is producing. On a side note: Billy Bob will take the lead role in Bad Santa for Miramax. Pic is about two cons who dress up as Santa to rip off several malls. They are thwarted by an eight year-old girl who teaches them "the true spirit of Christmas". That film will be directed by Terry (Ghost World) Zwigoff.

Catch Me If You Can: The Spielberg film wraps up shooting in L.A. this week before moving to New York and then up to Canada for a week or so. Word is Spielberg was utilizing satellite technology recently to oversee the scoring of his upcoming Minority Report, while on a break from shooting. John Williams was conducting from the Sony lot in L.A., while Steven was shooting somewhere out in the Valley. Wow.

Gangs of New York: We're getting reports in, that Miramax honcho's are getting their way... Seems preparations are underway to reshoot the end of the long delayed Scorsese epic. This could go either two ways. Either it's going to be amazing, or the Weinsteins meddling will really screw it up 'a la All The Pretty Horses... There probably was a movie there, but the Weinsteins couldn't keep their hands out of the pie, and they chopped it to bits. The running time of Gangs has been a huge point of contention between Marty and Harvey Weinstein. Looks like Harvey won... that is until the receipts start coming in... (or don't start coming in).

From Somewhere on the Beach... ~Jane Doe