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The Newsdesk 01.28.09 – A-Team Gets A-list Talent; Joaquin’s Rap Career a Hoax?

• Fox has enlisted Narc helmer Joe Carnahan to turn the TV series The A-Team into a summer movie for 2010. Ridley Scott will produce. The real question is… will Mr. T be in it?

• John Updike, whose acclaimed novels Rabbit, Run and The Witches of Eastwick were brought to the big screen, passed away at the age of 76 after battling lung cancer. He published a follow-up to Witches, The Widows of Eastwick, last year.

• The Motion Picture Academy announced that it will lift its three producer cap for The Reader, and allow all four of the movie’s producers to share in the Best Picture nomination. The late filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella are two of the nominees.

• Police officials revealed details about the plot to blackmail John Travolta. A paramedic allegedly tried to get $25 million from Travolta using a medical document he believed pertained to the actor’s late son, Jett Travolta. The document proved to be unrelated to Jett’s tragic death.

• Unsurprisingly, it seems that Joaquin Phoenix’s abrupt shift from acting to hip-hop is all an elaborate put-on. Friend and brother-in-law Casey Affleck has been filming Phoenix’s disastrous performances, no doubt for a Borat-style documentary.

• With Coraline gaining buzz, its author Neil Gaiman revealed that director Neil Jordan is bringing his Newbery Award-winning novel, The Graveyard Book, to the big screen. Neil Gaiman: The next J.K. Rowling?

• Uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer wants to know who you would cast as the Lone Ranger opposite Johnny Depp’s Tonto in his upcoming movie. Why not have Depp play both parts? That would make the movie infinitely more interesting.

• After yesterday’s ousting of executive director Doug Allen, SAG has appointed the more low-key David White in his place. No word on whether the labor talks will wrap up in time for the Academy Awards.  

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