Amy’s Casting Couch for January 26, 2003

Casting calls and news items in the film and TV community come in each day here to FJ. Amy Lawrence catches the minutiae that falls through the cracks, and discusses them more in depth than most of them probably deserve.

On the Boob Tube…

The Agency: Gage goes to Jerusalem to bring Israeli intelligence officers together to do what diplomats have failed at doing. Who knew peace was so close to our grasp.

Alias: Episode 667 is called “Firebomb” (COOL!) and involves Ahmad Kamir, an Afghani warlord seeking revenge and his ex-wife Alia, who is remarried and lives in France.

All My Children: Worthy in name only, they are casting for a drag queen named “Rosemary Chicken.”

Boomtown: Did David hit and run someone while driving drunk? It will take several characters perspectives to find out for sure.

Charmed: It sucks, with two new demons Suck and Leech. They feed off magical powers and want to drain the juju from Piper’s baby. The demons are Albinos, so anyone who doesn’t get the albino gig on “Nip/Tuck,” take note!

CSI (the good one): A pro basketball player who has fathered numerous children with numerous women freaks out that his posse of bodyguards could let one of his precious brood be kidnapped. The accused kidnapper is murdered by one of the posse, but is then found innocent. Oh the humanity. Also, another dude dies by “wooden stake through the head”. Gross!

CSI Miami: Based on a preliminary script, we may learn more about Horatio’s family. His sister-in-law is also a cop for the sex crimes division. Then, taking a page from Vegas, the investigation centers around the Show Land Peep Show. And, strangely enough, the Zoo. These storylines may or may not be related.

The Dead Zone: An old friend of Johnny’s comes to visit, to ask him to see her brother’s future. Good news! Her seriously ill brother is going to get a heart transplant! Bad news! She’s the only character on this show whose internal organs are a match!

Dicks: WB is taking the high road about four twenty-somethings trying to be private investigators. They are all college dropouts, and one is a police academy dropout. Tom, Kevin, Molly and Mooks meet their mother figure at a “private investigator class”. Described as “Reality Bites meets the Rockford Files,” this could possibly be the only pitch left in the world.

The District: Call the truffle hounds! In “Rush to Judgment” divorced restaurateurs come to blows over a mushroom. Also, a cheating husband tries to frame his wife for child abuse. And then, the only thing interesting about “Last Waltz” is that the ex-stripper who’s going into witness protection is described as “a poor man’s Melanie Griffith.”

The Division: In episode 56 called “Misdirection” a hit woman fools everyone by pretending to be a victim, and Magda gets a new boyfriend… the doctor who sews her up after she gets shot.

Enterprise: In “Horizon” the crew of the Enterprise meets up with the crew of the cargo ship Horizon. They must protect the Horizon from aliens. In no coincidence of any kind at all, this is the very cargo ship on which Lt. Mayweather grew up. Space is such a small world.

ER: “A Thousand Cranes” has Drs Pratt and Gallant mistakenly arrested. Also, there is a shooting at hospital hangout Doc Magoos. Later, Kovac’s sister in law brings her son all the way to America because doctors in Croatia suck. Not in real life, on the show. I’m sure Croatian medical care is fine.

Fastlane: A crooked businessman turns in evidence against an Irish Terrorist Organization (the ITO) and Van and Deaq must bodyguard his hot teenage daughter from an ITO kidnapping plot. Don’t forget, she’s hot.

Hub: NBC’s new pilot centers around LAX. Populated by stereotypes such as the driven, stressed out career woman, the womanizing Air Italia (Italian! Of course!) supervisor, the alcoholic ex-cop running security, and, of course, a greenhorn fresh out of college working immigration, this show may offer up nothing fresh other than setting. It’s written by Nick Thiel and produced by Thiel, Mark Gordon and Peter Shindler.

John Doe: John feels a connection to a psychic who is helping him catch a serial killer. The real catch? She’s not a psychic but a victim who escaped the killer and has repressed memories. The episode is called “Psychic Connections. I call it the same show they do every week.

Judging Amy: Amy judges Eric, a kid arrested for a crime that may have just been self defense. Also, a doctor is on trial for misconduct in the death of an overweight, diabetic patient who is afraid of needles. Isn’t the patient ever at fault? Ever?

Law and Order: The younger brother of a murdered boy takes revenge on the NYPD for dropping the case by dropping a random police officer. The police called his brother’s death a suicide, but after the murder of on of their own, reopen the case. And then, a super’s kid shows his “Dominance” over the building’s wealthy residents by going on a brutal killing spree. Note to self, rent only houses.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent: How do you people tell all these shows apart? Anyway, a dude jailed for hiring a hit man to kill his business partner, hires a hit man to kill his wife. Paranoid much?

The Legend of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: This movie of the week is also a pilot for NBC. We’re familiar with the set up, and this will take place in Bolivia, as Butch, Sundance and Etta try to escape Charlie Durango.

Miracles: This religious X-Files investigates a healer who has his own TV show. Paul (Skeet Ulrich) has such a profound experience in the studio audience that he passes out. The episode is called “Paul is Dead”, so my passing out Beatles Fan joke is pretty much played out.

Miss Match: Brian Grazer and Darren Starr bring us Miss Match, Alicia Silverstone’s show about a young divorce lawyer, Katie, who finds out she has a flair for matchmaking. Katie works for her father’s law firm, and must earn his respect. Katie dumps her boyfriend in the pilot, leaving her with lots of time to match up her clients and fix up everyone’s life but her own. I like Alicia, but I hate Katie already. Mixing up matchmaking with divorce just give me the ick.

Mister Sterling: It really is Mr. Smith! In episode 9 Mr. Sterling stages a filibuster to stop an education bill from passing without a crucial amendment. Filibuster!

Mr. Ambassador: NBC’s pilot starring Rupert Everett is under way. British Ambassador Ronnie Childers (Rupert Everett), loveably irresponsible, has not done his homework re: the all-important “Reciprocal Agreement” he’s supposed to negotiate with a Texas Senator. However, Ronnie gets lots of help from his all-knowing, elegant, brilliant Chief of Staff H Vugo Vickers, as well as his equally brilliant personal assistant Amy. Though Ronnie thinks Amy’s upset over her break-up with Embassy staffer Trey, he doesn’t realize that Amy’s actually in love with him, and spends the better part of his meeting with the Senator trying to calm her down (she won’t reveal her secret) and talk her out of leaving her job. To the Ambassador’s credit, he manages to keep Amy from quitting and finesse the Reciprocal Agreement meeting with the Senator. He’s always able to pull rabbits like this out of his hat – leaving Vickers incredulous once again. Phew.

Nashville Star: They need a host for this Country Western American Idol. I already know one of the finalists is from my town. Paging Dunkleman!

The O.C.: Fox’s pilot centers on Sandy Cohen, a public defender who takes in one of his young clients because he sees the kid’s potential. Ryan is floored by Sandy’s wealth, but quickly befriends Sandy’s son Seth, and falls in love with rich girl next door, Marissa. Yawn.

Oliver Beene: Oh, the horrors of suburbia as poor Oliver must learn ballroom dancing to impress a girl. Oliver’s parents have a Charades misunderstanding with the neighbor’s mail order bride. Really. That’s what it says.

One Life to Live: Victoria’s son Kevin Buchanan is coming to Lanview. He’s sexy, ruthless and ambitious, not your normal soap character in the least.

Salem’s Lot: Mark Wolper is re-making this mini series based on the Stephen King vampire novel. I cannot imagine that this one will scare me more than the first one did when I was little.

7th Heaven: Eric is having “Performance Anxiety” over officiating at Lucy’s wedding. Lucy’s problems at school come to a head leading to rough times for her and Kevin. Simon and Cecilia get thrown out of a movie for making out. How could they make out during Chandler’s List!!! Wait, wrong show.

The Shield: The Strike Team gets a new member named Tarick in episode 210. He’s in his 20’s and is an ex-jock.

Six Feet Under: In episode 310, “Everybody Leaves,” a guilty husband buys the most expensive casket for his wife to make up for his transgressions which he details to Nate, causing Nate to feel guilty about his choices. Also, Federico and Vanessa take salsa lessons! Meanwhile, Ruth’s new man, George, will appear in episodes 11, 12 and 13 this season. Whoever is cast needs to keep his calendar free, as he may be back for all of next season. Ruth gets wayyy more action than I do. Way to go!

Spellbound: NBC’s new hour show is about warlock Adam Miller, determined to make it work with mortal girlfriend Chelsea. Calling Doctor Bombay!! Sorry, there are just too many Bewitched jokes.

Stargate: I can’t stop laughing! Stargate is doing Big!! Jack wakes up 30 years younger and pissed that his crew won’t give him any respect. Turns out, the kid is a clone implanted with Jack’s memories and used as a replacement by the Asgard aliens who have abducted the real O’Neill. I hope the kid gets to go to FAO Schwartz.

Third Watch: Episode 319 “Officer Down” involves a retired cop’s son, who is now a robber. He calls in fake 911 calls to detract from his burglaries. He almost strangles Cruz. Also, Joy’s Father appears and tells Doc to stay away from her.

Tremors: PETA rallies against the poor treatment of El Blanco. This means nothing to me, as I don’t watch this crappy looking show. The title is “Graboid Rights.”

Twilight Zone: Reality TV gone bad with a game show called “How Much Do You Love Your Kid.” For a million bucks, your kid gets kidnapped and you have an hour to find him. Note to UPN, this is a bad idea. Note to Twilight Zone, this is a bad idea.

Untitled Cold Cases: Jerry Bruckheimer’s producing this show for CBS. It follows a Cold Case unit in Philadelphia. The unit includes Lilly Rush, a lone wolf with a bad temper, Chris Lassing, a good detective “married but bored at home” (gee, wonder where that’s going), and Walter Deep, Lilly’s boss and foil. I love the “cold case” aspect and this could be good if cast well. I picture Lilly sort of like Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect, which means that they will probably cast Pamela Anderson.

Untitled Donald Bellisario Project: Taking place in the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, this JAG spin-off follows the NCIS operatives who investigate many aspects of naval crime, including international terrorism and national security threats (way to feed plotlines). Special Agent J.P. Gibbs is willing to bend the rules to get the job done. He works with Viv Blackadder, a former Olympic Fencer (thanks Madonna), and medical examiner “Ducky,” the wise quacking Quincy of the group.

Untitled Vegas Project: NBC will be bringing us this show, about an ex-marine who is a casino detective. Danny McCoy works for “Big Ed” (seriously) a former CIA op that now works for the casino. Danny’s girlfriend is Big End’s daughter. Jane/Sam is a high stakes gambler who flips between identities and at times is sweet Jane and at times is bitchy Sam. OOOooh, wacky. Hopefully not too wacky.

The West Wing: In an upcoming episode, Toby fires the entire speech-writing department en masse, and is left with only interns. Bartlett prepares to attack Kundu, the show’s version of Rwanda. I can hear his intern penned speech now, “um, killing people is bad, so we’re going to kill some people.

Without a Trace: It’s a Vietnam cover up! Ripped from the pages of James Patterson’s bestseller Four Blind Mice. Without a Trace is calling it “War and Pease.” They named a character “Pease” just for this purpose.

On the silver screen…

Forest Whitaker plays producer for “Loving Jezebel” director Kwyn Bader’s sophomore effort, “The Facts About Kate,” an African-Americanesque “Bridget Jones’s Diary” which will naturally shoot in Vancouver. The Fox Searchlight film will roll in the spring.

Jack Perez’s The Glades finds pretty seventeen year old coed Britttney Havers, still mourning the suicide of her mother, devastated to learn of the death of her stepfather, the very wealthy Niles Dunlap, whose will stipulates that, though Brittney will get a mere fraction of his wealth, a blood heir will receive the whole seventy million. Brittney appears shocked and furious when a scheming classmate, Maya King, contends that she’s Niles’ illegitimate daughter and actually wins his millions. From there, it just becomes “Wild Things” without Kevin Bacon’s eggs. This destined for Skinemax classic will try to get it all done in three weeks beginning in early March.

While he waits for the script for “Seriously Dude, Where’s My Carr” to be delivered, Danny Leiner has decided to make Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle his follow-up film. A stoned-out search for White Castle burgers becomes an increasingly surreal adventure for two longtime buddies, whose simple errand turns into a ten hour odyssey that changes both their lives. Affluent, educated in the Ivy League, Harold has been best friends with his roommate Kumar since high school, but the two couldn’t be more dissimilar in temperament. Harold is neat, meticulous and conscientious to a fault, whereas Kumar is a wild, untrammeled force of nature who lives for his next hedonistic escapade. The guys do share a fondness for marijuana and White Castle burgers – a fateful combination when the two get blitzed on blunts and decide that White Castles are the only food that will satisfy their munchies. Their simple quest, to find a White Castle restaurant, leads them into increasingly bizarre adventures: brushes with the police, encounters with lunatics and even a face-off with a hungry cheetah. All along, Harold has the additional pressure of a project that is due at work early tomorrow. The scheduled start date is April 1st, and one can only pray this is some early April Fools joke. And to think Leiner used to direct episodes of “Gilmore Girls” and “Sports Night.”

Cedric The Entertainer gets ready for a Johnson Family Vacation. Nate Johnson (Mr. Entertainer) takes his estranged wife Dorothy and brood of kids on a road trip back to Texas for their annual family reunion and encounters a voodoo priestess, and a paranoid country store owner, before competing with his brother Beau for the family title of “Best Father of the Year.” Christopher Erskin makes his directorial debut on this Fox Searchlight film, written by Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones. Shooting begins in March.

A down on his luck repo man and his 81 year old partner find a famous baseball pitcher tied up in the trunk of a car they repo, in Eric Fleming’s “The Karma Police.” They learn that the pitcher has staged the kidnapping himself to pay off his gambling debts. Characters include two hairdressers named Massimo whom everyone thinks are the mob. Wackiness definitely ensues.

Jim Carabatsos made a name for himself in the 1980s with his scripts for “Hamburger Hill” and “Heartbreak Ridge.” Now, after a Terrance Malick-like 16 year break from the business, he returns to the big screen to make his directorial debut with The Outsider, based on his screenplay, about a former cop with a shady past is hired by New Orleans crime family attorney to help solve a string of copy-cat murders, and in the process, both become targeted by the killer. The five week shoot begins in The Big East on March 10th.

The Polar Express is moving along. If you look like a “Grapes of Wrath” era Henry Fonda, or sound and look like James Cagney, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart or Spencer Tracy, Robert Zemeckis would like to speak with you.

The makers of Spy Kids 3 have added a little muscle to the new virtual trio of kids. His name is Arnold. Any resemblance to a Terminator is purely calculated.

I have no idea what it could be about, but I’m fairly certain just from the name that I have zero interest in seeing Superstar Designer Danie B Gets An Inheritance.

Three young friends team with a mysterious woman to uncover an alien invasion and ultimately destroy them before they are themselves destroyed, in Jeffrey Obrow’s They Are Among Us. Yeah, it’s “Signs” on a budget.

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