Steve Carell, Jim Carrey to make movie magic in Vegas


If at first you don't succeed ...

We all know how that adage goes. And it helps to explain why Hollywood's about to try, try again with another Vegas-magician movie, "Burt Wonderstone."

Previous contenders -- from Nicolas Cage's clairvoyant conjurer in 2007's "Next" to Colin Farrell in this summer's "Fright Night" remake -- haven't exactly set the box office ablaze.

But maybe the "Wonderstone" team of Steve Carell and Jim Carrey can make a happy ending materialize when the New Line comedy arrives in January. (Production officials are already meeting with city and county officials to discuss the location visit.)

Directed by TV veteran Don Scardino ("30 Rock"), the comedy features Carell as the title illusionist, a fading Strip headliner competing with a hot-shot street magician (Carrey) who's got a taste for dangerous stunts.

Judging Oscar: Editing is already under way on "Vegas Night Court with Oscar Goodman," which was scheduled to shoot not one but two pilots last Friday at the Las Vegas Hilton showroom: a half-hour version for weekday syndication, the other in hourlong prime-time form.

Interest in one or both "has been phenomenal," reports Emmy-winning executive producer Jerry Kupcinet, who directed the pilots. "It's always the personality of the judge," he says, "and Oscar has such a dynamic presence." (Kupcinet, son of legendary Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv "Kup" Kupcinet, knows a dynamic legal personality when he sees one; his TV credits include "Judge Judy" and "Judge Joe Brown.")

Add the showroom setting and the only-in-Vegas factor -- with such cases as a stripper suing the owner of a club where she fell and burst her breast implant -- and this is one court show "with a whole different look and whole different feeling," Kupcinet says.

Coming attractions: Returning to features, the aforementioned "Burt Wonderstone" is far from the only one on the Vegas horizon.

Locally based director Albert Pyun's latest, "Red Moon," has undergone a title change to "Cyborg: Rise of the Slingers," he reports. Set in "a steampunk apocalyptic future," the project begins a three-week shoot Dec. 19.

And filmmaking brothers Jerry and Mike Thompson -- who brought you 2009's droll "Thor at the Bus Stop" -- are gearing up for a late December start on their second feature, "The Popovich Pet Theater: and the Voice of the Fabled American West."

The Thompson brothers, who recently shot a teaser for the production, are in the final week of fundraising on the kickstarter.com website. As the project's title implies, the comedy focuses on Gregory Popovich, whose show -- featuring canine and feline performers rescued from animal shelters -- returns Tuesday to Planet Hollywood Resort's V Theater for a limited run.

Casting about: Yet another local filmmaker, Kelly Schwarze, is casting two lead roles for his upcoming sci-fi drama "Territory 8." Schwarze needs a Chinese actor, 25 to 35, fluent in both Mandarin and English, plus an "all-American, iconic cowboy type," 55 to 65. If you're interested in either role, go to www.territory8.com and submit your resume and photo by email.

Quick hits: Despite Thursday's arrival of Thanksgiving, a few projects are shooting this holiday week, including a Killers music video, with a robot/spaghetti Western Christmas theme, for U2 frontman Bono's (RED) charity. A British supermarket commercial is scheduled to shoot exteriors at the Plaza and Fremont Street, plus interiors at the Hilton casino and the Palms' Pearl, reports location manager Kim Houser-Amaral. Also at the Hilton: "Big Spenders," a Dutch TV show in which a gambler bets a $10,000 bankroll, according to Jaki Baskow, the show's local producer.

Carol Cling's Shooting Stars column appears Mondays. Contact her at (702) 383-0272 or ccling@reviewjournal. com.

 

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