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Forest Whitaker Sees Trees of Green, Red Roses Too

Nas: Angling for 2016?

What a Wonderful Movie: Forest Whitaker will direct and star in the Louis Armstrong biopic, What a Wonderful World for Legende, the company behind La Vie en Rose. Script, by Amelia's Ron Bass, chronicles Armstrong's life from his early years in New Orleans through his career as arguably the most important figure in jazz. Oscar Cohen, executive of the Armstrong estate and an executive producer on the film, has granted access to personal accounts, letters, and "other material" that may or may not teach Whitaker how to puff out his cheeks without using CGI. [Variety]

Tempest Surrounds Mirren: Helen Mirren will star in Julie Taymor's feature adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, playing a female version of Prospera. Joining her are Jeremy Irons, Dijmon Hounsou, Alfred Molina, and the always-ridiculous Russell Brand; Geoffrey Rush is in negotiations. It's as though the film's sheer mass of Oscar winners will earn it new ones through some kind of Oscar gravity-attraction theory. SCIENCE. [HR]

Under Lima's Thumb: Enchanted's Kevin Lima will direct a live-action version of Tom Thumb for Warner Bros. and Red Wagon. The script, about an arrogant knight who gets shrunk to six inches tall and saves a princess, was written by Saving Private Ryan's Robert Rodat (weird, right?). Either way, the project should have international appeal because "thumb-sized heroes have appeared in cultures throughout the world." [Variety]

O Fortuna: Freddy Rodriguez and Dominic Monaghan have solutions to all your economic woes. The duo will star in Fortuna, a privately financed film about what happens 100 years after the economy collapses, when the superrich have created a mysterious game where poor people get to compete for a big cash prize, although the losers possibly wind up dead. Kind of like if Warren Buffet hosted Battle Royale. [HR]

Cronenberg's Matarese Falcon: David Cronenberg is in negotiations to direct The Matarese Circle, a political thriller with Denzel Washington attached to star, based on a Robert Ludlum novel about doctors and horseracing. Just kidding, it's about spies. [HR]

Photo: Getty Images