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High Noon - 15th June 2004
  Aniston's Photo Opportunity
Jennifer Aniston is poised to star as real-life war photographer Dickey Chapelle in an as-yet-untitled project. Actress-turned-writer Margaret Nagle will script the pic, about the famed photojournalist who covered WWII for Look magazine and Reader's Digest. Her readiness to march on the frontlines of war eventually cost Chapelle her life when she tripped on a landmine in Vietnam while tagging along with US Marines on a secret sabotage mission.

"She took the only pictures on the frontlines of Iwo Jima, which were confiscated and destroyed by the State Dept.," says Nagle. "In a time when reporters generally stayed behind the lines and were fed information to publish, this beautiful blonde, who had a math scholarship at MIT, would jump out of helicopters and go right to the frontlines with the Marines." Aniston will also co-produce with hubby Brad Pitt under their Plan B production banner.
  DiCaprio Bears All
Leonardo DiCaprio's production outfit Appian Way has teamed with Columbia for the biopic The Man Who Loved Grizzlies. Well known for his green leanings, DiCaprio is developing the project with a view to starring as Tim Treadwell, an environmentalist who was killed by the bears he devoted his life to protecting. Ned Zeman will pen the script based on an article he wrote for a recent issue of Vanity Fair.

Zeman describes Treadwell as "the bears' self-appointed goodwill ambassador who looked like a Malibu surfer". He spent months on end in the wilds of Alaska observing the grizzlies until last October, when he and his partner Amie Huguenard were mauled to death. In the wake of the tragedy, Treadwell was accused of "wilful naiveté" in treating these dangerous beasts as friends.
  Fraser's Gay Secret
Brendan Fraser is coming out to star in brazenly titled comedy Gay Secret Agent. Whereas government operatives like James Bond and Austin Powers are often undone by the wily ways of the femme fatale, these powers will be lost on Fraser's flamboyantly homosexual agent.

Producer Jennifer Todd reckons gay intelligence gathering is the way of the future: "He is the best secret agent in the world, and being gay helps him in the job, because he is charming and well-mannered, a great dancer, and an impeccable dresser [avoiding all those gay stereotypes then]." Of the decision to cast Fraser, she adds, "Brendan did the character in the room, and we were all very impressed. We are shooting for a very broad, silly comedy."
  Emmerich's Day Of Reckoning
Director Roland Emmerich will answer charges of plagiarism brought against him by Harvard professor Ubaldo DiBenedetto, who claims The Day After Tomorrow ripped off his 1993 novel Polar Day 9. Like Emmerich's blockbusting movie, Polar Day 9 begins at an Arctic research station, includes scenes of Americans fleeing across the border into Mexico, and culminates with icy devastation in a major American city. DiBenedetto also alleges that he sent Emmerich a copy of the book in 1998 but that no deal was struck for a movie adaptation. DiBenedetto's lawyers will go to trial in Germany where cases of intellectual property and copyright law are said to be more favourable for the plaintiff.
  Columbus Takes The Plunge?
Rumour has it that Universal Pictures are in negotiations with onetime Harry Potter helmer Chris Columbus to direct a big screen adaptation of Marvel Comics' The Sub-Mariner. Road To Perdition scribe David Self has apparently penned the screenplay, and insiders peg Scorpion King Duane 'The Rock' Johnson for superhero duties. In case you don't know, The Sub-Mariner (aka Namor) is the amphibious offspring of a naval captain and a princess of Atlantis who also has the ability to fly. Whether the same can be said of this fledgling project remains to be seen.