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High Noon - 18th May 2005
  Big Blue Meanie
Kelsey Grammer - better known to TV fans as Dr Frasier Crane - is joining the cast of X-Men 3 as Beast, a giant, blue-furred mutant monster. "Kelsey was born to play the role," says Marvel Comics producer Avi Arad, explaining that Beast is a pacifist PhD genetics researcher who turns into a big blue monster. "This is a big role in the new movie, and when we met with him, you can see that Kelsey has that you'd-better-have-a-dictionary-handy intelligence."

Grammer's not the only recent addition to the franchise's mutant roster as new helmer Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake) has been fleshing out the cast list. Ex-footballer Vinnie Jones is being courted for Juggernaut, a 6 foot 10, 900-pound human battering ram, and Maggie Grace (from TV's Lost) is preparing to play Kitty Pryde, a woman who can walk through walls. The role of winged mutant Angel has yet to be filled...
  Going Gonzo
Director Bruce Robinson has agreed to helm the long-gestating adaptation of Hunter S Thompson's autobiographical novel The Rum Diary. Johnny Depp is reprising his Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas role as the real-life gonzo journalist, who committed suicide earlier this year. Robinson, who became a cult name after writing and directing Withnail & I, was hand-picked by Depp to helm the story of a drunken American journalist living it up in Puerto Rico in the 50s. We're guessing that Thompson - who once penned a furious memo to the film's stalling producers calling them a series of terrible names we can't print here - is now grinning in his grave.
  Sith Storms Box Office
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith opened Stateside last night at one minute past midnight, after selling an unprecedented number of advance tickets. Industry observers are already betting that Sith, which opened in 3661 cinemas with more than 9000 prints, will break US box office records this weekend. By Tuesday afternoon around 80% of the midnight shows were sold out with one online ticket agency selling two Sith tickets per second. Estimates are that the film has already pulled in $20 million worth of ticket sales.

"There's a strong desire to be among the first to see Star Wars," said cinema chain representative Dick Westerling. "In many of our locations, we are adding a second late-night show starting around 3 am. We also have some theatres that are going to run Star Wars around the clock on opening day." As Yoda might say: "Only a movie it is. Crazy they are."

Revenge Of The Sith is released in UK cinemas on 19th May 2005.
  Button Bashing
Horror helmer John Carpenter is grabbing a joypad today to announce his latest project, Psychopath - a simultaneous movie/videogame release. The Halloween director, who's planning to oversee the game, will announce his plans at today's E3 videogame conference in LA. The story of an ex-CIA operative who starts to question his sanity after being brought out of retirement to catch a serial killer, Psychopath (the movie and the game) is being written by Carpenter and Jason X helmer Todd Farmer. It's thought that Carpenter will also direct the game's interlinking "cut scenes".
  I'll Be Back.
The Governator is coming: Arnold Schwarzenegger is firming up plans for his first post-term movie role, a sequel to 1994 blockbuster True Lies. Arnie, who's been the Terminator of the political world as California's Governor, has given the thumbs up to reprising his secret agent role. With James Cameron in the frame to heft the megaphone again, it looks like the sequel could be a go, although the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis, Bill Paxton and Tom Arnold has yet to be confirmed. Wary of offending post-9/11 sensibilities, Cameron is promising "a James Bond type film and not a pre-terrorist action film" - whatever that is.