In Dev-Hell-opment: Goodbye, and Hello, as Lee Foster

Hello enthusiastic Lights Out readers and, well, you other people. Welcome to the premier In Dev-Hell-opment column. This column is going to explore the mysterious and confounding world of movies that are currently in the state Hollywood calls 'Development Hell.' Previews, test screenings, set reports and the like I'll leave to others. Here we'll just watch the strange goings on of the Hollywood machine. No this isn't an April Fools gag - it's just an oddly appropriate day for this column to begin. There! Shorter than an Oscar acceptance speech. But first, I'd like to thank Lights Out Entertainment, the inventor of the motion picture, the inventors of the Internet...

Ron Howard was in Austin last week discussing the possibility of filming his big budget feature The Alamo in Texas. He might also film all or part of it in Canada - which would be a crying shame.

The True Lies sequel may be in trouble, according to Bill Paxton. Coming Soon reports that Paxton discussed the sequel with James Cameron, and Paxton felt that Cameron would not be involved due to the events of September 11th. Hopefully this is just a bad April Fools joke.

Good news for Rendezvous With Rama; David Fincher is apparently set to direct with Morgan Freeman set to star. According to Coming Attractions first-time screenwriter Scott Brick has 'nailed' the script. This according to screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker. The epic Arthur C. Clarke novel tells of mankind's first encounter with an ancient alien artifact, which turns out to be an artificial, cylindrical world. Keep your fingers crossed for this one. It could turn out to be the2001: A Space Odyssey of, well, the 2000's.

Glenn Close and Danny DeVito, according to The Hollywood have signed on for Woody Allen's under-wraps film scheduled for this spring. Coming Soon adds that Saturday Night Live star Jimmy Fallon is also onboard. I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing it's going to be a romantic comedy...

The success of Moulin Rouge has spawned off a stampede of stage musical adaptations, despite the commonly known fate of lemmings. As reported on Dark Horizons, Andrew Lloyd Weber's long in development project, The Phantom of the Opera, as well as Sunset Boulevard and a remake of Jesus Christ Superstar are trying to get on the fast track. Let's hope most of these run right off the cliff...

Is it just me, or does the 'The Rock' get rumored attachment to every friggin' wanna-be sequel? He's also been rumored to play Arnold's son in Conan 3, as well as the lead in the Duke Nukem video game adaptation. Someone out there thinks 'The Rock' is the second coming of Arnold. How The Scorpion King performs should put that issue to bed.

LatinoReview has an early script review of the inevitable sequel: Charlie's Angel's 2: HALO. It seems that Jamie Foxx is starring as Bosley's son - possibly taking Bill Murry's place. Sadly, the plot is very similar to Mission Impossible. Considering the amount of money they're talking about, you would think they could come up with something a little more original. Oh well, the first one didn't have much of a story either - maybe they think having a plot is overrated. Also, Cameron Diaz told E! that filming starts in May.

The rights to former Enron employee Sherron Watkins's life story has been acquired by Artisan Entertainment. It's being called Power Failure at the moment. If that's not enough bad taste for you, Dark Horizons reported last month that Enron the Movie was also under development.

Coming Attractions says Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures have picked up the feature film rights to H.R. Pufnstuf. Add one more flop in the kid's cartoon adaptions category...

The autobiography of "The Weakest Link" host Anne Robinson is apparently being adapted for film with the odd, but appropriate title of Memoirs of an Unfit Mother. All I can say is, this is the weakest link. Goodbye!

According to Coming Soon , Pendragon Pictures announced they are setting the War of the Worlds remake in its original setting and time (Great Britain, late 1890's.) The original plan was to update the story to present day, but was scrapped due to the events of September 11. One wonders at the connection between terrorist attacks and alien invasion, but these things never make much sense. Pendragon also announced that Chrome would start shooting on March 8th. Chrome is the story of robot slaves fighting against the oppression of a totalitarian government. The title character is a beautiful female robot that leads the rebellion. This will be part one of a trilogy. Be afraid, be very afraid. (Ack! Mr. Roboto just came on the radio...)

It's been a rough week in Hollywood. A heartfelt goodbye to Dudley Moore, Milton Berle, and famed director Billy Wilder. Our condolences to their family, friends and fans. Our condolences also go to the family, friends and fans of Kevin Smith, known to many as Ares from Xena: Warrior Princess, who suffered a fatal six-story fall while filming in Beijing, China. According to Dark Horizons, IFG has picked up the worldwide rights to his final film, Warriors of Virtue II: The Return to Tao.

Extra points for those of you who recognized the tagline as a literary reference. The epic fantasy series this was taken from has been optioned for decades, but has yet to even get a script, much less move into development hell. The story concerns a man who awakens with amnesia. He discovers that our world is one of many shadows of the true universe - where he may become king. Still don't know? Let's talk about it on the Message Board! ~Lee