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The best Black Friday deals for videogames, movies, more

Thanksgiving weekend is a time for being with family, eating a ton of great food, watching your favorite TV shows and… spending a lot of money.

With a number of outlets starting Black Friday earlier than ever, here are some of the biggest discounts that should make any pop culture fanatic’s wallet feel just a bit lighter when they return to work next week.


Shakespeare lures Julie Taymor back to the stage

When the theater world last left Julie Taymor, Spider-Man was pushing her off the stage. Now, Shakespeare is pulling her back. Taymor’s reps confirm that she will christen Theatre for a New Audience’s new home in Brooklyn as director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall.

This won’t be the director’s first brush with Shakespeare, of course. She’s wrestled him to the silver screen before, adapting both Titus and The Tempest, with varying amounts of success (and blood).

It would spoil the fun to speculate too heavily on what her Dream might be, but we can hazard an early guess: We shall not want for spectacle.

Read more:
Co-writer of ‘Spider-Man’ musical lands tell-all book deal
Julie Taymor and ‘Spider-Man’ producers reach tentative settlement
‘Spider-Man’ As Webslinger? Cool. Web Singer? Not So Much.

Seriously? Kim Zolciak's wedding gets reality TV treatment

Because televising her wedding worked out so well for that other Kim, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak has signed on for a Bravo special documenting her whirlwind walk down the aisle. Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding will give “an up close and personal look at the next chapter in my life,” says Zolciak. READ FULL STORY

ESPN tell-all to be turned into a film. Who will play Keith Olbermann and friends?

It’s official. EW has confirmed that Twentieth Century Fox is acquiring the rights and developing a big-screen adaptation of Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller’s racy, randy tell-all, ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun. The gossipy, doorstop-sized oral history of the 24-hour sports network — in particular, its frat house-style early years — snagged a slew of headlines when it was published back in May thanks to its tawdry tales of on-air rivalries, inter-office prostitution, and of course, Keith Olbermann’s mammoth ego. With David Fincher’s The Social Network providing a blue-print of how to adapt a start-up saga like this one and Bennett Miller’s jock-themed Moneyball hitting theaters in September, we expect big things from this one. And since it’s never too early to start thinking about casting, here are our suggestions for some of the key players.

Keith Olbermann: Long before he ballooned into the self-important voice of the Left, Olbermann was the winningly snarky cohost of SportsCenter. This one is almost too easy for anyone who saw Ben Affleck’s Olbermann impersonation on SNL. READ FULL STORY

Ice Cube's 'Chrome And Paint' to get the Disney treatment. Should the studio go gritty?

One doesn’t often associate Disney with gritty. Traumatizing, sure (killing Bambi’s mother and Old Yeller, Rick Moranis justabout eating his own children in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids… need we go on?) but rarely defiant and brazen.

So when it was announced that Disney picked up Ice Cube’s Chrome and Paint, a movie that, The Hollywood Reporter explained, was supposed to be about “South Central L.A., as a hardcore R-rated movie where young people die in drive-bys,” the proverbial record came to a screeching halt. Was it possible that the folks over at Disney were going to try to head in a new direction? Was Ice Cube, who will produce, co-write and star the film — which is based off a line from a song in his 2006 album Laugh Now, Cry Later — going to infuse some hip-hop into a Randy Newman-friendly world?

Not exactly. READ FULL STORY

Meg Ryan to make feature directorial debut: Should she star in it as well?

Meg Ryan will step behind the camera with the dramedy Into the Beautiful, her rep confirms to EW. As Variety reports, the feature is “being developed as a contemporary Big Chill with longtime friends reconnecting,” and as of now, there are no plans for Ryan to act in the film as well. But should she?

On one hand, this is material Ryan obviously connects strongly to, and if a role is right for her, it could remind audiences why they used to love seeing her onscreen. I think of something like Helen Hunt’s 2008 feature directorial debut, Then She Found Me, costarring Colin Firth, which was the most interesting work she’d done in the decade since As Good As It Gets. But on the other hand, perhaps audiences would be more inclined to embrace Ryan as an actress again after she’s wowed them with a poignant film from the director’s chair. Get the goodwill flowing once more. What do you think?  READ FULL STORY

M. Night Shyamalan to direct Will Smith in a sci-fi film? What? Yes! And what will the twist be?

I see… an awesome piece of news. Over on our Inside Movies blog is an item that might just make your mood rings transform into the color for “ecstatic”: The embattled M. Night Shyamalan is directing a sci-fi film set 1,000 years in the future starring Will and Jaden Smith about a boy who “navigates an abandoned and sometimes scary Earth to save himself and his estranged father after their ship crashes.” There’s only one thing to say to that: Cheese and Crackers! Now, Shyamalan and I have a complicated relationship. I loved The Sixth Sense, was intrigued by Unbreakable, and petrified by Signs. But I was also befuddled by The Village, bored by Lady in the Water, and, like former EW writer Aly Semigran, gravely upset that Devil, the devil-in-the-elevator movie Shyamalan exec produced, was not called Devilvator.

And then into my life came The Happening, a truly horribly awesome film that I have already declared my love for on PopWatch. (It. Has. Everything. Terrible acting, hilarious deaths, and this honest-to-goodness line of dialogue: “Ain’t no time two people staring at each other, or standing still, loving both with their eyes are equal.”) So even though I constantly waffle between loving, hating, and loving how much I hate Shyamalan’s work, I actually have high hopes that this film could be his comeback. And not just because it still will inevitably become the subject of a drinking game in my apartment, like all Shyamalan films. READ FULL STORY

Ridley Scott planning Gertrude Bell movie. Who's pumped to see Scott tackle the biopic genre?

Ridley Scott’s rep has confirmed to EW that the Gladiator director is hoping to helm a biopic centered on Gertrude Bell, with Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener) tapped to pen the project. (Deadline first reported the news.) It’s an interesting bit of news for two reasons: 1) Seeing a picture chronicling the life of the British explorer — who helped establish the modern-day Iraq — would be incredibly relevant, not to mention fascinating, while our troops remain in the war-torn country; and 2) A Gertrude Bell film would be a far less flashy film than we’re used to from the director of Blade Runner and Alien. But, since it’s Scott, it will be also more exciting than we’re used to for a biopic! After all, we’re talking about a woman who also served as a WWI spy. (And I claim I’m busy!)

It’s surprising that throughout Scott’s 30-year-plus career, he has yet to tackle a biopic, instead opting for big-budget epics (see: Gladiator), critically acclaimed sci-fi pictures (see: Alien), and occasional cult fantasies (see: Legend). (Yes, American Gangster was based on a true story, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify the film, which was sold as a crime drama, as a true biopic.) READ FULL STORY

Candy Land adaptation nabs 'Kung Fu Panda' writers. Now, let's cast the movie!

Looks like the Candy Land movie is jumping ahead a few green spaces: Universal confirms with EW that Kung Fu Panda writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger are set to write the adaptation of the popular board game, while Kevin Lima (Enchanted) is attached to direct the film. It’s tasty news for those of us who are not allergic to the idea of a board game on the big screen — though I understand a Candy Land film mostly gives studios the opportunity to profit off of merchandise in Target’s game aisle or at your local theater’s snack bar, I can’t resist the draw of a project that aims to present all of the game’s sugary, nostalgic images in a fantastical, color-laced feature. It will be just like Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” except with fewer whipped cream boob guns! But now that we know the project is skipping along, let’s get to the important stuff: Let’s cast Candy Land, The Movie! READ FULL STORY

Letterman tries to guilt Katie Couric into staying with 'CBS Evening News'

With Katie Couric’s contract with CBS Evening News due to expire June 4, rumors are again circulating that Couric may choose to leave the anchor desk. And David Letterman is having none of it. During a Late Show appearance Tuesday night, Couric told Letterman she is still figuring out what she wants to do. “Once you take the anchor chair, that’s what you do,” Letterman said. “Is that a CBS law?” Couric laughed. “No, but it’s not like it’s a temp gig.” Evoking names like Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings, he said anchors, “get in it, they saddle up and they ride into the sunset. Into the sunset!” He told her flat-out she should not leave. “There’s a period of adjustment to get accustomed to the trust and build up faith in the character of the person presenting the news. And then you can’t just pull the rug out from under the viewers.”

“Okay,” Couric said sheepishly. “Okay, Dave.” Then they both laughed.

A rep for CBS Evening News had no comment on when the network expects a decision from Couric. Couric’s personal rep tells EW, “As Katie said, she is proud of the award-winning accomplishments of her team at CBS, but has not made a decision on her future.” When rumors circulated last October that Couric may leave CBS, 24 percent of readers responding to a PopWatch poll on her next move said she should stay with CBS Evening News, 19 percent suggested she return to Today, and 57 percent said she should do something entirely different.  READ FULL STORY

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