Amy’s Casting Couch for February 19, 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. Today’s call includes notices on 26 upcoming television shows and motion pictures, including “ER,” “Everwood,” upcoming Bravo reality series “The Queer Eye for The Straight Guy” and the final episodes of “Touched by an Angel,” plus news on separate features by two former writer/producers of “The Simpsons.”

On the Boob Tube…

The Agency: The Agency: In episode 219, a mob run heroin dealer is buying his drugs from terrorists. He’ll turn them in if the agency will supply him with heroin from a “government approved” source.

The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire: We have a winner of worst title for a pilot! This CBS show is about a group of 40 something small towners, dealing with getting laid off, family life… zzzzzzz

Days of Our Lives: Bill is Bill Horton’s son and he has a secret in his past! He’s also going to be on the show at least three years.

ER: In “Finders Keepers,” Dr. Lewis gets drunk and married in Vegas! How the mighty have fallen.

Everwood: In episode 119, Ephraim gets a musical rival, prodigy Kate is having an affair with their piano teacher.

Everybody Loves Raymond: “Debra Does Time,” going to jail for getting drunk and sleeping it off in her car, after gets drunk at Amy’s bridal shower!

The Howie Mandel Show: Yeah, that says Howie Mandel. NBC wants Howie to play a video artist who is married with children. His kid is up for the gifted program at school, and his wife freaks out and writes her daughter’s entrance essay for her and queers the whole deal by writing a sub-standard essay. C’mon, she married Howie Mandel! Of course she can’t write a middle-school essay!

Immediate Family: Lori Laughlin will return to episodic TV in this pilot which will have her playing Ava, a lawyer adopting her niece and two nephews when her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a fire. Brandin, the broody fifteen year old, deals with the move from the farms of Kansas to the shores of SoCal by becoming a surfer dude. Nikki, the plucky twelve year old, turns into a control freak. And little eight year old Derrick gets suicidal. No word if there is a role for John Stamos as an ornery but loveable beachcomber.

The Law and Henry Lee: Danny Glover is Henry Lee, an ex-cop who is now a private detective in Oakland. He has a young partner and a lovely girlfriend, right up CBS’s alley. I try not to predict the pilots, but I think this one has a decent chance at ratings.

A Minute with Stan Hooper: FOX has Norm McDonald playing Stan Hooper, a New York television interviewer who takes his show to his home town in Wisconsin and interviews all the colorful characters there. I don’t think Norm is going to get enough chances to be cynical, but I’m glad he’s working.

Naked Hotel: Yeah! Naked! ABC is shooting this pilot about a resort in the Caribbean which everyone will watch because of the title.

NYPD Blue: Episode 18 has a male black widow. He sends for mail order brides and then kills them. You know, this is actually a sort of creative plotline.

The Queer Eye for The Straight Guy: Bravo will assemble an elite team of Gay professionals from the worlds of Fashion, Grooming, Interior Design, Food & Wine and Nightlife/Culture, who each week will mercilessly throw themselves upon a Straight Male subject in dire need of a makeover. The first run of twelve episodes will shoot this spring. FABULOUS!

The Shield: Kids are missing and they are rounding up the neighborhood pedophiles in episode 212, “Breakpoint.”

Street Boss: This CBS pilot about an FBI handler of undercover operatives is already getting some tweaking. Joe, the handler, will now also have to deal with a brother, Lou, who is a criminal.

Touched By An Angel: Two parter “I’ll Walk With You” will wrap the series after nine years, as Zach, a world-weary rugged vagabond who meets Monica on a bus, is arrested for the murders of fifty children. The angels must help Zach after he is wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

On the silver screen…

Former “Simpsons” writer/producer Bob Bendetson is about to throw his hat into the animated CG movie ring with his upcoming Big Bug Man, a $10M production which is described, naturally, as an irreverent, “Simpsons”-like take on the superhero genre.

Unorthodox cop Billie and her partner Jason work with two priests to uncover The Cunieform Killer, a serial killer specializing in ritualized torture killings that are based on an ancient Satanic cult. Dimitri Logothetis’ film begins shooting in Canada for three weeks beginning March 10th.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… “The Evil Dead” meets “Scream” when seven college students, pledging a fraternity/sorority, must spend the night in a haunted house and battle against the possessing spirit of an evil college professor who really puts the HELL in hell night! 2003’s model will be called The Hazing, from writer/director Rolfe Kanefsy.

While it did decent business in the States, the shot in Los Angeles Bollywood feature “Kaante” was a huge smash in its native India. Looking to repeat that success, the makers of Jo Bole So Nihal will come to New York this spring to tell their story about an Indian Supercop and an American FBI agent who team to foil an international criminal’s sadistic plans in the United States. Of course, the duo will fall in love in the process. Like “Kaante,” the film will be mainly in Hindi, with all the dialogue featuring Americans in English.

Producers of NYC 2K3 are describing their film as “‘Eyes Wide Shut’ meets ‘Go’,” in which four demographically desirable dancers from a Connecticut dance school looking for adventure in the big city stumble into a dark underworld of upscale decadence and limitless excess. All this is doing is remind me I need to go rent a Kubrick movie.

Andrzej Sekula, who got his start in the film industry as the cinematographer on “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” will soon begin shooting Old Soldiers, his third film as director. Story finds a cubicle jockey who finds himself targeted for extermination after he is unwittingly given a diary full of international secrets while flirting with a pretty young thing, as he is on his way to a much needed vacation.

Joel Soisson, the producer of three previous “Prophecy” features, will also cowrite and direct the fourth in the series, The Prophecy: Revelations. This time around, a post-graduate theology major finds herself back in her native Romania, chosen to fulfill an apocalyptic prophesy. Along the way she discovers that she may be a Nephilim, the Biblical offspring of a human and angel. Simon, the character played by Eric Stoltz in the first film, will return, but probably with a new actor in the role. No word on if Christopher Walken will be back.

Peter Reigert, who depending on your generational disposition is either Otter from “Animal House” or State Assemblyman Zellman on “The Sopranos,” will make his feature directing debut on The Pursuit of Happiness. Reigert will star as Leo Spivak, the head of a dysfunctional family, Shooting will run from March to May in New York and Florida under the tutelage of InDigEnt, the production company who also produced “Chelsea Walls,” “Tadpole” and “Tape.”

Speaking of “The Simpsons,” Wally Wolodarsky, the former “Simpsons” writer and producer, will team with former “The Naked Truth” writer and producer Maya Forbes, to write Seeing Other People, Wolodarsky’s third film as director. Story will focus on Ed Lewis and Alice Marks, a happily monogamous couple for the past 9 years whose relationship hits a big snag when Alice insists that they try an “open” relationship in the final weeks leading up to their wedding. “Panic Room” and “Gilmore Girls” producer Gavin Polone is the money man here, and shooting will begin in Los Angeles on April 7th.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a film called “The Glades,” which I said at the time was “Wild Things” without Kevin Bacon’s eggs. I must have hit the bullseye, as producers have just changed the title of “The Glades” to Wild Things 2. Isaiah Washington has been cast as insurance investigator Ed Gorman.