CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest telefilm news, culled from recent wire reports:
THE BELTWAY (USA) - Charles S. Dutton will star as Police Chief Charles Moose in the cable channel's dramatization of the father-and-son sniper duo who terrorized the Washington D.C. area last fall. "Murder in Greenwich's" director Tom McLoughlin and screenwriter David Erickson are behind the project with Orly Adelson ("The Junction Boys," "The Truth About Jane") executive producing. Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, who covered the story extensively, will serve as a consultant. Also cast are Jay O. Sanders ("Kiss the Girls") as County Executive Doug Duncan, Bobby Hosea ("Independence Day") and Trent Cameron ("American Dreams," "The Parkers") as accused snipers John Muhammed and John Lee Malvo, and Charlayne Woodard ("Unbreakable") as Muhammed's former wife Mildred. Production is set to start shortly for a third quarter air date later this year.
THE BOY NEXT DOOR (TNT, New!) - Oscar-winning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Chicago") are set to team with TNT and Sony Pictures Television for a small screen adaptation of Meggin Cabot's "The Boy Next Door." Cabbot's "The Princess Diaries" was recently released as a feature by Walt Disney Pictures. "Boy," set in the world of New York City tabloid journalism, is a romantic dramedy involving two competing columnists. Zadan and Meron (who were also behind the recent "The Music Man" remake for ABC and "Martin & Lewis" for CBS) will executive produce the two-hour telefilm for their Storyline Entertainment and Sony Pictures TV. David Mace will produce, and a writer, director and cast are all to be determined. The project is expected to air some time next year on the cable network.
DC 9/11 (Showtime) - The cast and production team is set for Showtime's look at the days following the September 11 attacks. The cast features Timothy Bottoms ("That's My Bush!") as President George W. Bush, Scott Alan Smith ("The Parlor") as White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, Lawrence Pressman ("American Pie") as Vice President Dick Cheney, Penny Johnson Jerald ("24") as National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, David Fonteno ("Analyze That") as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mary Gordon Murray ("One Life to Live") as First Lady Laura Bush, John Cunningham ("States of Control") as Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Greg Itzin ("Adaptation") as Attorney General John Ashcroft and George Takei ("Star Trek") as U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Executive produced by Robert Halmi, Sr. ("Dinotopia," "Arabian Knights"), the telefilm, which is to air shortly before the second anniversary of the event, is written by Lionel Chetwynd ("Varian's War") and directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith ("Happy Face Murders").
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS (HBO) - John Lithgow is set to play writer-director Blake Edwards and Stanley Tucci has signed to portray late filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in HBO's biopic of the late British actor. The two join the film's star-studded cast, which includes Geoffrey Rush in the title role as well as Emily Watson and Charlize Theron as Seller's first and second wives, respectively. Stephen Hopkins ("24") is directing the film which is scheduled to begin production April 16 in London.
SPARTACUS (USA) - Goran Visnjic ("ER") will topline the cable channel's four hour mini-series, based on the Howard Fast novel that Stanley Kubrick turned into the 1960 Kirk Douglas drama. Alan Bates will play Agrippa in the project while Robert Dornhelm ("Rudy") has signed on to direct. The mini-series will be shot in Bulgaria for an estimated budget of $20 million with an expected late 2004 air date.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters